I’m back with a bit more JoshOG stuff. By now you might be used to JoshOG stuff popping up from time to time here. While I don’t work on a day-to-day basis with the JoshOG team. I am someone that they take in when they need something specific or a quick turnaround (fastest designs in the west they say).
This is one of those projects where I get it, execute and have it done within the next day. Tight deadlines can be creatively challenging but at the same time they can be a fun creative challenge.
They wanted JoshOG cheeremotes based on one of their emotes. They wanted 5 different versions of that animated in various ways. I were given the original emote split into 4 different parts (they didn’t have the original file since it was before a change in their team had happened).
Cheeremotes are animated emotes that are triggered by users giving Bits to the streamer. These can come in various sizes from 1 to 10.000. Between those numbers there’s 5 stages, with each having their own animation.
The animations that JoshOG was:
- Big smile
- Slow rotation with pulsating light behind it
- Slow blinking
- Slow rotation, smoke and even more pulsating light
Creating a “Plate” in Photoshop
Since I didn’t have the original version of the emote I had to piece together the 4 pieces into one and resize it down to the cheeremote size. Then to be able to animate each stage I needed to think out what had to be done in Photoshop to make it easier to animate in After Effects.
By painting away smile and eyes I was able to create a basic plate. The same way that you do in movie when you first shoot what you want as a background (in this case the original emote) and then shoot what you want you want to animate (in this case the mouth and eyes).
When that was done I had to cut out each of the elements that was needed to reconstruct it in After Effects. So for instance I had to cut out the eyes and save them as separate images. With the mouth I however discovered that I couldn’t simply make it into it’s own layer and animate it. What I had to actually do was to recreate it in Adobe Illustrator. I’ll talk more about the process on how to get that working in After Effects properly later.
Animation in After Effects for the JoshOG cheeremotes
Let us go over each JoshOG cheeremote and what I took to create the look and animation for each. Below I’ll post the preview that I provided to the JoshOG team. Under that I’ll describe the problems and solutions for each emote.
For this one I had to recreate the mouth. For that I used the plate image, with eyes still on it, and had to use the path tool to create it inside of After Effects. This allowed me to then add a mask that could animate on and off from the subject.
You can also see that it never goes to only a line. What I noticed was that as it went down to only a line the JoshOG cheeremote looked bored or displeased. So instead I opted to go from a small smirk to a larger smirk. That gave both stages look as if they’re thankful for the bits but still maintain a forward momentum.
This was probably the one that had the most workaround to get working. There was no way to really mask things out or create a clipping mask to reveal it over time. Instead I had to actually recreate the entire mouth inside of Illustrator. I simply did this by tracing over the emote — something I would have had to do even if I had the original emote — by hand to get the same look.
I then imported the Illustrator document into After Effects. When you import an Illustrator file into After Effects you can actually turn that into paths. These paths can then be modified and animated. By doing that I was able to animate the mouth. I animated both the outline, the dark red color and the tongue. As you can see I also ended the smile in the smirk for the same reason as in the smirk above.
The first one I started with was the spinning JoshOG cheeremote. At first all that was said was to make it rotate slowly. That’s why it was the first one that I started to work with. Using it as an opportunity to get used to the shape of the regular emote. It also allowed me to warm up a bit since I spend most of my days in Photoshop and not After Effects.
In the final version you can see the glowing circle around it. While it might make sense that it would just be a circle, with a hue animation on it, it’s actually the original emote made into a solid and then the hue animation on that. The reason for that is due to the emote actually not being proper circle. If I only would have added a circle it would have wobbled around and look “off”.
In this case I could leave the mouth on the plate but had to cut out each eye. By doing that I was left with a plate that only had the eyelids and not the actual eyes. When I did have that I could simple import the eyes and animate their position. I used a inverted alpha matte to get the eyes to disappear once they got below a certain point.
Spinning + Color + Smoke
Reusing the spinning animation was a clear choice here. I even reused the same hue animation to get the same color changes. However I did duplicate this effect, offset it (to add variation) and give it a circular mask that grew over time. That is what gives the effect that the colors are growing out from the JoshOG cheeremote.
The smoke in itself is actually royalty free stock footage. By simply giving it a blending mode I could make it transparent so that the JoshOG cheeremote could be seen through it. To get the toon effect I used one of my preset. While it worked to get a cartoon look to match the JoshOG cheeremote look it was still a bit too thin. That was then simply addressed by duplicating the smoke four times. This gave it much thicker smoke that’s a lot more visible.
The weekend is almost here! That means that I’m doing my little Sunday stream again (twitch.tv/twitchsurgeon). Hopefully I’ll have some interesting projects to work on since current projects are in the pre-phase.
If you’re interested in getting branding, do what JoshOG did and check out my Twitch services at twitch.livespace.se right now.