Animated Alphabet Round-up

Four years ago I finished my Animated Alphabet project. I had designed and animated 26 unique letters of the alphabet over a two year period with the aim of learning After Effects.

As I was doing this project piecemeal in my free time and because I was more interested in learning the multitude of skills required, the end result didn’t feel like a cohesive set of letters as I had experimented with different fonts, illustrative styles, colour themes and animation methods.

Two very different illustration styles…

In 2020 I decided I wanted a way of showing this piece off as a complete video. But to do that, I would need to revisit every single animation to get some consistency across the project.

Reworking the animations took the most time. I had unfortunately lost of some of the original After Effects files so I had to redo a number of them, based off the exported GIFs. Others had their colour palette changed, animations improved or style edited. It was another good learning experience, as now I am much more experienced in After Effects and could improve upon my process and previous program-skill limitations.

I’m incredibly happy with the final outcome, it’s still one of my favourite projects to date. It no longer feels like 26 unconnected animations. I think the music and transitions between each animation really pull the whole thing together. I think if I did it again, I’d perhaps add some sound effects above the music for some of the animations (like bees and windy etc.) I’d love to hear what you think as well.

Now with over 6,000 views(!) on YouTube, my Animated Alphabet:

Website relaunch!

Hello hello hello! It’s been some time, but I’m back on this blog and raring to go. I’ve spent the last couple months in my spare time working on my website stephjones.co.uk. I started completely from scratch, coding it all myself, so I’m suitably pleased with it, and I hope you’ll like it too.

A screenshot of my new website
You’ll have to click in to see the grin!

It has a large photo of my cheesy grin as above, a few bits of my recent work and some info about me and my blogs. It should be entirely accessible and responsive, as that’s important to me, so if you spot any improvements that can be done (or typos, we’re all human) then please drop me a comment here or a message please!

Outside of my new website, I’ve also rebranded my two blogs to match. This one, and of course my daily photo blog which is still going somehow after 7 years of daily posts. It’s been quite fun to look back at the early stages of the pandemic recently, where we were struggling to find eggs or fresh veg… ahh memories.

I’m planning to do a lot more posts on this site, I have a number of things in the making. I’m planning on posting a final closing update to my animation project as I’ve since done more work on it and now have over 5,500 views on YouTube which is very fun!

That’s all for now. I hope you’re all well, and the last year was kind to you, as it wasn’t to so many.

Many thanks,
Steph x

Animated A-Z: Zigzag

And that’s it, my last letter of my animated alphabet, Z for Zigzag!

Zigzag

This may have taken a while, but I got there in the end! I used a few different techniques that I’ve previously practised. The background is made up of two different shapes with three different repeaters. It’s actually one of my favourites I’ve done! For the z it’s three continuous lines with trim paths, with the outer two at 50% opacity. Finally the whole thing has a drop shadow after it was pre-composed so it wouldn’t overlap. The hardest thing was thinking up a word beginning with Z!

As always, thanks for reading! I’m always eager to hear any feedback on my blog, some animating tips or just general chit chat, so Tweet me if you fancy on @stephhh.

Steph

Animated A-Z: Yank

Off the stage with you – my penultimate letter of my animated alphabet, Y for Yank!

Yank

I cannot believe this project is nearing it’s end! This one is something I’ve had in my head for a long time. It has a number of very subtle things that I wanted to try out, like using alpha masks to keep the spotlights all in a line, making the hook go behind on the way in, but ‘around ‘ the Y on the way out, and the slight bend on the Y as it gets pulled off. All simple things that you wouldn’t really notice, but all together they make the difference!

As always, thanks for reading! I’m always eager to hear any feedback on my blog, some animating tips or just general chit chat, so Tweet me if you fancy on @stephhh.

Steph

Animated A-Z: X-Ray

Who knew that’s what it looked like inside? Letter 24, X for X-Ray!

XRay

I’ve had this one sussed since last year, so I’m really pleased with it! Quite simple but it does use a separate fixed place mask (alfa mask on the layer above) so that the later can move but the mask stays in the same place, a super handy thing to learn!

All in all it took a couple hours, one of my fastest as I knew exactly what I was going for from the start. Only two more to go!

As always, thanks for reading! I’m always eager to hear any feedback on my blog, some animating tips or just general chit chat, so Tweet me if you fancy on @stephhh.

Steph

48hrs in Copenhagen

In actual fact it was a lot less than 48hrs, but who can say no when your boyfriend offers to fly you out to Copenhagen for the weekend? So off I went, after work on Friday, to meet up with Nic after his work’s summer party in the capitol of Denmark.

We had a whirlwind adventure over the next two days as we tried to visit as much as we could in the glorious Danish sunshine! Copenhagen is a beautiful City, Nic is there a lot for work so he was a great tour guide and it was so lovely to have a little holiday with him.

All these photos were all taken on my new Olympus OM-D Mark 2.

Enjoy!

Animated A-Z: Windy

We’re so close! Here’s a blustery number, W for Windy!

Windy

I love this animation, I think it’s totally adorable, and it’s exactly how I planned out from my first sketches of this letter. There’s over 30 individual leaves which has to be animated but it was definitely worth it in the end.

The whole thing took about 3 hours from start to finish, so not too bad! I started out with a Photoshop drawing that I imported into After Effects to animate the different elements after I changed all their anchor points. It was quite a simple animation, but with a few time consuming fiddly bits!

With 23 down, I only have 3 more letters to go! We’ll get there soon enough!

As always, thanks for reading! I’m always eager to hear any feedback on my blog, some animating tips or just general chit chat, so Tweet me if you fancy on @stephhh.

Steph

Olympus OM-D River Adventure

Nic, and his lovely parents, bought me a beautiful Olympus OM-D Mark 2 for my birthday! I have been in love with it ever since, and it’s hardly left my side.

Last week I had the most incredible day when I was promoted to Senior Digital Designer, and then was lucky enough to go to a meeting which required us to get a private boat over the Thames to get to their offices. After the meeting I got a Thames Clippers boat all the way from North Greenwich to Westminster to make the most of my new beautiful camera and the glorious sunshine! It was honestly just the best day.

Here’s a couple of snaps from my river adventures!

Animated A-Z: Vicious

I had so much fun with my last ‘character animation’ I had to have another go! V for Vicious!

Vicious

Yes he’s still a bit adorable but there we go, what can you do? V for vicious, and only four more letters to go! I whipped this up sat in a hotel bar with my Mum in London. She’s down for the weekend, and we like to spend it being touristy and staying in fancy hotels. It took two hours from start to finish and that includes time spent sipping on prosecco and eating cheese…

There’s two effects layers used, Roughen Edges on the V and the water in the background, and Cell Pattern for the texture on the V. Then it’s just a few key frames on the rotation of the teeth (all grouped together per side), the position of them, and then of course the path shape of the V. All pretty simple, just a bit fiddly at times!

As always, thanks for reading! I’m always eager to hear any feedback on my blog, some animating tips or just general chit chat, so Tweet me if you fancy on @stephhh.

Steph

Animated A-Z: Ugly

My first character animation! U for ugly.

ugly

So maybe his tufts of hair make him slightly adorable… But this is my U for ugly and he was so much fun to animate! I wanted to practise my character animation as this seemed like the perfect time to try it.

There are a few things to look out for on this animation. First the eyes glance to the left, then they blink, and finally they dilate slightly. The mouth moves down slightly with the teeth following along, leading to the mouth filling up with drool before it overflows. This combines a number of different things I’ve learnt over this series, but surprisingly the only effect used is CC Rough Edges for the drool falling. Excited to do more work like this!

As always, thanks for reading! I’m always eager to hear any feedback on my blog, some animating tips or just general chit chat, so Tweet me if you fancy on @stephhh.

Steph

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