Level Up: After Effects CC – Flat Animation

And now for something slightly different. ‘Level Up’ is a new series to this blog where I write about what skills I’m currently learning or improving. There’s a range of things this can include, but as you may already know, I’m a digital designer, so predominately this will revolve around graphic, video and animation work for email and web.

AE_Screen2I’ve seen the term ‘material design’ popping up more and more over the last half a year, though it’s not always glaringly obvious what it actually is. I have ‘cooed’ over many beautiful flat design animations shown as examples, but had not found much else until I discovered Google had released this comprehensive mini website explaining what it was all about. I quickly realised what it was all about was a hell of a lot more complicated than I originally expected, so I decided to take a couple steps backwards first.

Last week I was meant to attend a Adobe After Effects (AE) beginners course in Cardiff, which subsequently got moved to a different date. As I was already geared up for it, and clients were being conveniently quiet at work, I decided the delayed course shouldn’t stop me from making a start, so I began looking up tutorials.

I decided upon this video and made a prompt start. After a couple hours of tinkering and getting my head around why anyone would think graphs would ever be a good idea in a design program, I had created this! –


I was unashamedly proud how this turned out, and I was soon loving AE’s graphs and everything they stood for. Whilst I was basking in my new love of abstract animation, I realised it wasn’t much use for any email or web design work we had coming up.

I made the decision to use a combination of my newly found knowledge and cockiness to go rogue, and try my hand at creating some animations of building data graphs without the use of further tutorials.


I’m pleased at the progress I’ve made this week in AE – from zero to hero a bit more than zero. I’m quite quick at picking up programs from a couple of tutorials, but even I can see there’s so much more to uncover within Adobe After Effects, and this is only the mere beginning to what’s possible. However for now, this is all I had time for within my lunchtimes and downtime at work last week, and the rest of my free time is otherwise engaged due to my evenings and weekends being committed to moving preparations and frolicking in Wales.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you found this interesting, or at least entertaining. I’m always eager to hear any feedback on my blog or just general chit chat, so Tweet me if you fancy on @stephhh.

As a bonus, here’s something pretty I put together after getting bored of staring at graphs for so long…



Getting dragged around is the best stress reliever

IMG_3557.. It’s probably not what you think but let’s start with a weekly recap –

What a busy week it has been! It seems like things are changing so quickly right now. We (my boyfriend Nic and I) have finally found the perfect new flat, and it’s safe to say we’re over the moon. However with stage 1 of moving complete, we’re now stuck into phase 2, packing. Oh joy of joys. Does anyone have any cardboard boxes to give us or shall we continue to steal them from the back of Sainsbury’s in the hope it’s not actually theft..?

Swiftly moving on before I write an unintentional admittance of guilt. Work wise, I’ve spent a majority of the week video editing for the CEO of my company; he liked a video I made for an event and now wants to take a slightly shortened version to the states to show our larger American branch of the company. So that’s definitely good news and swimming along nicely.

Next, onto the dragging (the catchy title that brought you here, I’m sure). Saturday proved to be a surprisingly sunny day in London so we decided the best call of action was to get in the car and drive for two hours to Camber Sands, logical, I’m sure you’ll agree. Though what the wide open beach gives us is a wind chill that drives away  the basking sun dwellers and attracts us, power kiters (I might have just made that name up). Power kiting uses large kites that fill with air, causing you to be dragged on a board, the sand or into the air! It’s super fun, genuinely my favourite outdoor activity and we had an absolute blast on our first time out this year. Check out the photos!

Last of all, in bloggy news, I have a couple of web design posts lined up for this week so we’ll see where that goes. Thanks everyone for your kind words on my return, it’s much appreciated.

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