This week’s Tuesday video (I really need a fun name for it. I guess I should be uploading on Friday so that it could be “Fun Fridays with Kaitlyn!” since that’s the general vibe I’m going for) hold a special place in my heart. It probably won’t be my highest viewed video (as my music videos and experiments in editing never rank as high view-wise), but I wanted to celebrate it on the blog today because I put a lot of hard work into it.
I’ll be honest, it’s much easier for me and has a much better payoff to film and upload videos of myself talking about getting your crush to like you or building up your self-confidence. But my first love on YouTube–what I watch and always have wanted to emulate–are the experimental editors, the motion graphic artists, and the music video directors. I like to see content that pushes the boundaries of video and music and storytelling and art. It’s what I strive towards even if it’s not necessarily what I create on my channel regularly. But this week, I made the effort to learn something new and create something beautiful that tested my skillset.
On the most basic level, “Summer Adventures” is just a travel-inspired music video with shots I’ve taken over the summer (and even some from the end of last summer!) artistically cut to music. I added some light leaks for a whimsical effect, but other than the beautiful scenery there wasn’t anything particularly awe-inspiring in that part of the process. Yet somehow I still ended up spending 6 to 8 hours on the project. Why, you might ask? Because I wanted to give it an extra “umpf” by creating a quirky title and lower thirds.
I had already been researching different types of clean lower thirds for inspiration on a work project and I ran across this tutorial by Mt. Mograph which I absolutely loved. So many people make simple tutorials drag on forever but Matt was able to create, animate, and explain well his piece in just over 5 minutes. That’s a great tutorial! I learned a few tricks to accomplish graphic movements I’d witnessed but only ever clunkily created with much more ease and precision.
The time suck came from my desire to create “Write-On” Text for the title screen. I wanted a really quirky font and I didn’t just want a fade in. I wanted the letters to build themselves on screen. I’ve worked with “Trim Paths” quite a bit in After Effects and I knew the way to achieve the look I wanted came from drawing out each individual letter from watching this tutorial previously. But that’s a lot of lines! And curves. Curves have been the bane of my existence, but after watching several wonderful tutorials on using the pen tool in Illustrator, I’ve found it much easier to work with in After Effects too. So I decided to go for it! I started with just the title and drew out each individual letter by creating paths in their shape and using a stroke to match the width of the letters. I could then animate the stroke using Trim Paths and it came out wonderfully! Each letter has to be in it’s own shape layer and it can feel tedious with the drawing and adjusting the curves to fit JUST right and naming each shape layer so it doesn’t get too confusing, but I did it! And then on Monday I got the crazy idea that I should do the same animation for all the lower third text too!
It’s a time-consuming process, but it does create a really amazing effect (I think especially with the particular text that I chose since there are all kinds of extra lines and curves. So I ended up with a project that includes a few motion graphic elements that I’m REALLY proud of and in turn, makes me even more proud of the project as a whole.
So if you’ve gotten this far, and you haven’t quite understood what I’ve been talking about the in the last few paragraphs or so, thanks for sticking with it! I’m actually quite the motion graphics nerd. I love After Effects and Illustrator tutorials, and I honestly could spend all day watching and experimenting with them. I would suggest that you check out some tutorial channels if you’ve ever been interested in motion graphics or graphic design. Sometimes I watch just to learn the keyboard shortcuts I still don’t know about, but there are so many talented individuals who make amazing tutorials for you for FREE. How often can we really get quality learning these days without paying a boatload of money?
Some of my favorites include ECAbrams, Mt. Mograph, and Kriscoart Productions (who I got to meet and become friends with through the YouTube NextUp program which was super cool to me because his channel was one of the first “tutorial” channels I found and fell in love with). Go check them out! And go challenge yourself to do something cool and creative this week! There are so many things I’ve felt like I couldn’t do until I picked up my pen or mouse and tried them!