2D Animation Compositing in After Effects

Happy Holidays from all of us at Base14! As a special gift to our Internet friends, I’ve created something special for anyone stuck at home this season in need of something to do. Why not brush up on your After Effects skills? Presenting the latest Base14 Tutorial: “2D Animation Compositing in After Effects.”

» Download the tutorial files right here.

This is a popular tutorial I have done for some workshops at SCAD and I have been getting requests on my YouTube Channel for some sort of follow-up to my 2D Character Animation tutorials. This video goes into detail on how to properly export character animation from Flash and import it into After Effects to combine with background and foreground elements. It also gives a handy trick of how to duplicate a character animation clip to make a convincing shadow.

Anyone who’s interested in digital animation should find it useful. Enjoy!

Sometimes I Rotoscope When I’m Angry

The week is coming to a close and I have a few updates, plus a poppin’ fresh new video to keep you entertained… while we secretly work on other projects. First, some news.

Duck Heart Teslacoil has been chosen to be included on the Animation Block Party 2010 DVD. The DVD features all the favorite picks of the 2009 Animation Block Party and it’s really an honor to be included! I’ll definitely post a link when it goes up for sale. DHT was also accepted to show in the Smogdance 2010 Film Festival! It will show on January 23rd at Laemmle Theaters in Claremont, California.

Now then, for the video. This was a project for one of my animation grad classes at SCAD dealing with sketching for motion and animation. We had to rotoscope some dynamic piece of motion from a film or television show, so I chose Bret’s angry dance from the 12th episode of Flight of the Conchords. My aesthetic choice was to do the entire thing using office supplies, so the art is drawn in ballpoint pen, Sharpie marker and yellow highlighter. And yes, I retraced the background for every single frame! It’s kinda cool, so check it out!

A Thanksgiving Public Service Announcement

This is a public service announcement from your friends at Base14. This Thanksgiving, don’t let this happen to you:

Remember: food is eaten through the mouth, often with cranberry sauce this time of year.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Happy No Shave November!

Here’s to November! And here’s to another fun shirt from Base14! I’ve always been a big fan of No Shave November (a month-long celebration of beard growing.) But sadly I cannot participate. To fill the void in my heart and to encourage participation from the opposite sex, I created this T-shirt that boldly says, “I find you more attractive with a beard.”

Press onward, noble beard, for today is your day.

Farewell, Savannah Film Festival

Yesterday marked the end of the Savannah Film Festival, and it was nothing less than spectacular! Duck Heart Teslacoil got a terrific reception at it’s screenings Monday and Friday, and we made several new friends and fans. We even had an exclusive interview in the Connect Savannah magazine.

Since I live right here in Savannah, I got a filmmaker pass that allowed me access to every screening, panel and reception, and took full advantage of it! It was an exhilarating week of meeting, greeting, screening, wining, dining and inspiration. Although I barely even attended my classes and did virtually no homework, I feel like the entire festival was a much-needed boost of filmmaking mojo that’ll pump me up for the next few long months of producing our next short film.

Also, I should announce that Duck Heart Teslacoil has been accepted to the Anchorage International Film Festival. Although I always have wanted to visit Alaska, I doubt this December will be the ideal time to make it happen. Still, it’s a fast-growing, trendy festival and we’re thrilled to be a part of it!


So, I bet you’ve been wondering why it’s been a while since my last post. The reason is because I’ve been working non-stop on this new series of handmade silk scarves. Each pattern is hand drawn through a gutta resist dye process. The color is then painstakingly painted on using a liquid dye. (The red scarf alone took over six hours to add color to.) This process is followed up with steaming, rinsing and finalizing.

The series was created for a Donald Hall exhibit that will open at Purdue next Thursday, November 5th. The scarves are in response to the line “beautiful terrible sentences unuttered” from his poem ‘Without.’ Like many, I know all too well what it feels like to lose a loved one to cancer. This series of scarves follows my reaction to Hall’s poem as I personally related it to recent events in my life.  Each one travels deeper into my interpretation.

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Shasta Creme Soda Music Video

So last Tuesday night I suddenly realized I had two days left to produce my experimental “under the camera” assignment for ANIM 705 – Animation Aesthetics and Practice. When the project was assigned over a month ago, I knew I wanted my medium to be stop motion with Lego bricks, but procrastinated for weeks on just how I would apply it.

Finally, in a flurry of indecision, I settled on a narrative piece structured around one of my favorite songs from musician and good friend of Base14, Rick DeSutter. Rick has been a key player in all of our recent short films, providing original music for Ara, Brian Paulson and Duck ♥ Teslacoil. The song I chose was “Shasta Creme Song,” not only for its wit but also its extremely short run time – only a little more than a minute. I set up a rostrum camera and lighting system Tuesday night and started animating bright and early Wednesday morning. By 11:59pm Wednesday, I had finished all animation and had the whole video wrapped up before class Thursday morning. Not bad!

The video was uploaded to YouTube Friday and has already garnered an impressive number of hits. It may not be perfect, but it’s spontaneous and fun, which makes it charming in a crude sort of way. Anywho, have yourself a watch and enjoy!