Motion Graphic – Phase 5: Completion

In addition to completing the planes, I’ve spent plenty of time on other moving objects and effects…

Three animals ended up making the cut, and what I did was, I made png files of the animal’s parts so I could move them. It was very similar to how cut-out animation works. and I got the desired effect…


The same was done for a rabbit…

These animal sketches were all created on SketchBook Pro, and then converted to png files in Illustrator.

For slightly more complicated effects…

I had previously made a series of autumn leaves in Illustrator.


In another Illustrator file, I had made various clumps and piles of leaves, and then saved those as pngs. In the After Effects dock, I played around with those and made them move. The positioning tools are really good getting that windy/blowing effect.

The snow was created in SketchBook, I basically just made a few digital splotches of white here and there, before making it all into a png file. After Effects’ positioning tools were also very useful here, and I was able to repeat the keyframes to create a convincing snowstorm.

Titles were also created in Illustrator… I did some searching, I wanted to find fonts that I felt aligned with the book’s style and the year it was published. For the title, I wanted to align with the tree illustrations, but for the author credit I wanted something a little timeless and wintry…


As you can see, I used the author font for the book title as well, but felt it wasn’t as fitting as the tree branch one.

After rendering the roughly 40-second or so project, it was time to edit and boost the piece. Sound effects were found sounds, and I made sure the music choices were ones that were either stock/production compositions or ones that were in the public domain.

I’ve been a fan of that kind of music anyways, and out of the pieces I had on hand, I felt ‘Hackney Carriage’ by Cedric-King Palmer was suitable for the graphic’s second half. The recording makes me think of a carriage ride through a wintry landscape, something similar to the hit Christmas standard ‘Sleigh Ride.’ The recording is also from the 1950s and has that overall retro vibe, which I think fit with the year the book was written in – 1949. Right before the decade’s start.

The first, autumnal half of the graphic… It took me some time to decide on what to use for that. I then decided on using one of the stock tracks iMovie provides, a nice classical-like piece called ‘Indulge’…

This semester was quite the journey for me as a growing graphic designer… The course, titled Professional Practice in Graphic Design, was like an introduction to the field and what challenges await… I am beyond grateful for it, and my experience was wonderful. I’m excited to revisit After Effects and other programs like it, and work my current level of experience as a graphic designer into my other projects…


Package Design – Phase 5: Completion!

All the finishing touches have been applied…



One of the requirements is a staged photo… When I did the package design for my previous graphic design class last semester, I had to make one as well. It is my header image here.


It was great to re-tackle this challenge, as the first one I did back in fall 2016 wasn’t as consistent in my eyes, it helped me learn a lot about this particular kind of project.

… and now, onto completing the motion graphic!

Package Design: Phases 3 & 4

Getting to the end on this coming Monday, so I solved various little complications…

This is what the package looks like right now…


Lots more going on here…

First off, the product!


Up until now, I was certain that these Goobery Gobs were going to be honey buns. Having little desire to buy and eat a honey bun, I found out that someone in my house had one already, so I said “Take the picture while I’m away and send it to me!” What I got was this, instead…


A cinnamon bun. So instead of fretting, I changed the content. No longer honey buns, they’re now just “sweet buns,” because they come in so many different flavors anyway. I doctored the image of the bun so it would appear to look like less of a cinnamon bun, and used those for the package.

Additional stuff… The “Try Our Other Favorites” section got a minor upgrade or two.


I didn’t care for the “GMO Gos” logo, and didn’t care for the little horseshoe doodle I did for “Happy Horseshoes.” So I decided to update those. The smiley faces for the horseshoes were created in SketchBook Pro, along with some other graphics. Bauhaus Bites no longer has strokes.

Now onto fun and games!


Little “Gooby” here was also a SketchBook Pro drawing, along with his Butter Lake.

The sort-of silly characters you see on these kinds of products, I wanted to do a little send-up of those.

Completion is right around the corner!

Motion Graphic – Phases 3 & 4

Phase 3… Getting the planes created…

I wanted to render them in hand-drawn sketch form first. In the previous post, I showed a work in progress version of the first plane…

Scan 5Scan 6Scan 7Scan 8

All four of these have been modified in SketchBook Pro, an art and illustration program I’ve been using for nearly five years. Then I converted them to PNG files via Illustrator…

Next up…

Plane 3 in progress.

Plane 4, also in progress…


Effects and moving things… For now… Only got the autumn leaves down. Additional effects will include snow, fog, the letterforms for the book’s title, and animals…


Getting there…

Motion Graphic – Phases 1 & 2: Launch and Brainstorming

This is perhaps the project that will require it all from me – the research, the preparation, and the big ideas. While the package design and promotional series are indeed major projects for the semester, the Motion Graphic assignment is a 2-point assignment that fills half of the required 4-point latter-half-of-the-semester system…

The mission: Design an introductory sequence for a classic children’s book…

I spent days, indecisive… What was I going to pick? There were so many great ones out there, many of which I grew up with. One of the runner-ups was the 1930 story The Little Engine That Could, but I kept thinking about it… I had finally decided on one whose illustrations have always stuck with me.

Berta and Elma Hader’s The Big Snow


I’ve always had a thing for drawing forests. When I was young, I had always liked the imagery in books like these. I’ve lived in a relatively rural area of Connecticut my whole life, so I had real-life inspiration at my side as well.

The motion graphic represents a real challenge for me as a life-long animation fan. I am working to get into that field, but I’m more into the writing/directing side of it, as I am first and foremost a storyteller. To do an actual 20 or so seconds of animation is something new… I have attempted stop-motion animation back in 2011, with middling results. So to take another crack at this, it’s a bit exciting and it’s a bit nerve-wracking!

Anyways, I felt that the motion graphic was great for an animation technique I’ve always liked.

Walt Disney’s multiplane camera.

Assembled in the mid-1930s and first used for the 1937 Silly Symphony short film The Old Mill, the multiplane camera was used to create environments made up of multiple objects, and bring more depth to them. This worked so well for the settings of his first few animated features, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, and Fantasia. For Bambi, his fifth feature, I feel the art department took the multiplane camera effect to the maximum…


I want to recreate this technique for the motion graphic of a book about a forest… Like Bambi, The Big Snow features deer and goes from autumn to winter. Here is an early sketch of my idea…


Basically, one plane on top of another… What we first see is trees during autumn, and then as leaves fall, we transition to winter, to a snowstorm…

My plan is to create the images by hand and digitally, with aide from SketchBook Pro. The hand-drawn quality of the book illustrations is I want to adapt with my own spin, so I’d like to go a bit mixed-media for this assignment. We’ll see where it goes from there.

Developing, developing…

Package Design – Phase 2: On the Screen


The design is now up on the screen…


So far, I’m getting some of the more complicated and information-heavy parts out of the way…

As I’m underway on this, I’m also slowly launching the third and final project for this semester: A motion graphic inspired by a children’s book? My pick was the 1930s classic The Little Engine That Could… It’s slowly but surely becoming a thing. Some ideas are in my head, which will be detailed in a couple of posts…

Promotional Series – Phase 5: Finale

Here we are… The end. All the problem solving took some time, but everything is all set.

The posters themselves got some improvements…

The album cover was completely re-imagined and played with… And now it’s a physical thing…

I even went as far as making vintage-style record labels.



Fear not, the LP I used for the labels is one of many “junk” LPs I picked up some 9-10 years ago when I began collecting these very things. I always hung onto those kind of schlock records as “dummies” of sorts. The particular record is one of those sort-of mail-in/as-seen-on-TV type compilations that had awful sound quality and packed too many songs onto each side, creating an overall tossaway platter.

The String Series project, in many ways, pushed me as a designer. I have always loved posters, and it’s why I tackled this particular assignment. A lot of thought goes into making a promotional poster, and I try to get the thought process behind the very posters I look at daily. Why those choices? How many revisions did the designers go through? These posters, for three unique string acts, gave me a lot to think about.

Seeing Good Design

In-between projects, we students had to scope out five examples of good design, and do PowerPoint presentations on them.

Here is the link to the PowerPoint itself, but here are my choices, and why I picked them:

LOGO – Paramount Pictures

Paramount Classic

I’ve always loved logos, especially ones for production companies, and I went through all of them and more. To me, out of all the film companies and studios, I felt the iconic logo for Paramount Pictures was a great example:

This logo, a 1968 re-imagining of the pre-60s logo (which was designed by William Wadsworth Hodkinson, there is no information on who created this), I think gets a lot accomplished. It uses just a few shapes to get the point across. The recreation of the mountain drawing is clean, never inconsistent, and fits well within the circle of stars. This logo can be used anywhere, in almost any size, without losing any of the information. The font choice is timeless, and suggests excellence. I feel that the mountain itself doubles as a pun, for a studio that’s at the forefront. It translates well in non-simple form, too.

SINGLE PAGE – Treasure Island Music Festival, 2008 – Poster, 2008

For most of the other choices, I wanted to go beyond what I usually look to. Since Mondo posters, some of my favorite designs out there, were already taken by a student who had presented before me, I ended up going with the other candidate that I felt was worthy. This poster was designed (no info on who, unfortunately) for the 2008 Treasure Island Music Festival, which always takes place in San Francisco.


I love the use of shapes, from the upside pirate ship to the repeated arches used to make the water. Text-wise, the designer combined a sort-of pirate feel and a classic music feel, the use of the RPM adapter, the “Music Festival” banner resembling the 50s/60s Columbia Records “Stereo” banner, and the “45 RPM” add to that greatly. There’s a lot of information here, yet it’s so simple and free of clutter. Color-wise, it’s very dynamic and good on the eyes.

MULTI-PAGE LAYOUT – 71702 / Adaptive Audio, Anthony Benedetto, 2014

This was a bit of tricky one, for so many magazine spreads and brochures are out there. Many of them were runner-ups for this slot, but this piece – student work by a then-graduated Anthony Benedetto – was the one.


For student work, I can see this being in an actual sci-fi magazine. The theme is nailed, the illustration fits, the color choice is appeaking, and the way the text aligns with the shapes is great. It’s overall very eye-popping and easy to read, even if the article body is “Lorem ipsum.”

WEBSITE – Plan B Burger Bar

Plan B Logo

I’ve been to this place a couple of times, as there are some restaurants in my home state. The website home page is seamlessly split into different sections, it’s uncomplicated and fun to navigate through. The aesthetic and the font choice, I think, capture the feel of the restaurant itself. It’s a very laid back place as opposed to a loud and raucous one, certainly a country mile from a TGIF Fridays or Ruby Tuesday’s-type place. Some of the photography aligns with the quieter party experience, makes me think of some resort where you’re on the beach and enjoying a drink or two. Lastly, it presents its product as homegrown, in a way that hits that sweet spot between formal and informal.


When searching through various firms, I was really taken by Spin. They’re a London-based company that has done a variety of projects: Logos, print, motion graphics, websites… They reach out to a number of clients. What struck me was their creative work within a minimalist structure, showing that less can indeed be more.


MY CHOICE – Warrior on the Edge of Time, Comte Pierre D’Auvergne – Album Cover for Hawkwind’s album of the same name, 1975

Admittedly, this was the trickiest of the bunch for me. Everything I’ve seen throughout my life, and I had to narrow it all down to one choice.

Being a junkie of music from the 1960s and 1970s, I have seen a plethora of great album covers. A lot of them, I feel, were made for albums in the progressive rock genre. High-profile artists designed covers for bands like King Crimson, The Moody Blues, Yes, Rush, and several others.

My album comes from a British “space rock” group called Hawkwind, who are still going today. Warrior on the Edge of Time is their fifth studio album, with a cover and songs based on the written works of fantasy author Michael Moorcock. The painting combines a medieval fantasy feel with a sci-fi edge, mixing it with some of the psychedelia of the 1960s, for they were a band that were keeping that style alive well after it had waned. The text for the band’s logo is a variation of the one they used for their previous album, Hall of the Mountain Grill. I feel it meshes well with the illustration here, more so than the more technological-looking subject on the preceding album’s cover.


But the great thing about this album cover is that there’s more to it. When you open it up, it becomes a shield!


The “CHAOS” is integrated well into the shield, and they find a good spot to put things like the United Artists logo and various other text you see on LP sleeves. I feel it’s one of the best album covers of the 1970s, and that was a time when we saw interactive album covers: The Rolling Stones had many (Sticky Fingers, Some Girls, 1983’s Undercover), Led Zeppelin had Physical Graffiti, Alice Cooper’s School’s Out opened like an old classroom desk, and the Carpenters’ self-titled album was an envelope.

Package Design, Phase One: Launch

One of the projects I chose to do for the remainder of the semester is a package design project…

Last semester, I did this project as well. The objective was to bring in a tea box and study it, see who it was being marketed to, to deduce who the company was aiming for by looking at the graphics, text, and other details. I had brought in a variety box from Celestial Seasonings, and from the looks of it, Celestial Seasonings looks it’s marketed to the health-conscious.

For the project, we had to take the die-cut box apart. Completely! Then we had to trace that, and put our design on that, print it on cardstock, and assemble the new box.

Now, our professor required us to take the tea brands we each had, and market them to a different demographic. I like poking fun at market research and focus group-type things, and it’s often a little frustrating how they stereotype with the products they release. To me, good parody exaggerates the kind of thing you’re going for, while also making it funny, and somewhat believable as well. So I wanted to parody how focus groups see different demographics, how they stereotype, and how they generalizes… and make Celestial Seasonings for… A rough rural crowd. A complete generalization of those living in rural areas.

Celestial Seasonings became Slade Blackwater’s Backwoods Brews. It was tea for rough-and-tumble, gritty, truckin’ country folks! Yee-haw!


With the package, I felt I had achieved my goal: Make fun of what I was going after, but also making the product seem believable, like it could exist in this world in some way or another.

I wanted to take a shot at this kind of thing again, so I made a box of Pop-Tarts my next victim.


Instead of making up a similar pastry, I am able to switch that out with another product. A while back, while fooling around on my own on Illustrator during my winter break, I designed some random package labels. I’ve always liked package design, it intrigues me for some reason. Perhaps it’s because when I was younger, when surfing through the bonus features on my Pixar DVDs (like any animation fan would), I would come across clips that showed all the details the artists put into background objects that you barely see in the films, unless you pause them and took a good look…

The top row still image examples come from Toy Story 2. The bottom right comes from Finding Dory. This is just one set of many, for almost of all their films have these kinds of things. These made-up package have these sort-of established backstories to them. Just one look at them, these minuscule things you barely see in the films themselves, and you can tell these things have some kind of history. Almost like it’s their equivalent to ACME or something like that. Many modern animation studios using CGI do this sort of thing as well, but Pixar’s examples always stuck out to me.

Anyways, those kinds of things always got me interested in designing fake/mock packages for things. I’d often draw many myself, which were intended to appear in some of my own written works. In my typography class, one of our assignments was to design a menu, so I decided to go with the ridiculously Wild West-style restaurant one of my characters works for, and came up with all these unrealistic dishes.


I really have a thing for the West for some reason… Anyways, some mock-up food labels I made a few months back…

The one on the right is the one I want to go with. I want to refine that initial design and make it work on a Pop-Tarts snack box. When designing the original one, I was thinking of a street side vending machine or something like that. Now I want to translate that to a box, a take-home box you get at the store. For this project, I intend to push the design and establish enough of a backstory for this “Goobery Gobs” company, and keep some humor as well…

So it begins…

Promotional Materials – Phase 4: Nearing the End…

As a new project looms, I’ve been stepping back and looking at my posters…

The final stage of problem-solving can sometimes be a tricky one. Sometimes it’s plagued with indecisiveness, sometimes it’s plagued with last-minute decision-making. Finally realizing that the Yo-Yo Ma poster had text placement issues and that the Bond poster was lacking a little something, I finally made a decision or two.


I had so wanted to wrap the Yo-Yo Ma paragraph around the cello shape, but I just couldn’t make it work. I figured that the casual viewer wouldn’t want to move their eyes or head constantly when reading the piece, so I wanted to arrange it in a way that would correspond to the cello shape while also being readable. I also had to figure out what to do with the other required text blurbs.

So, it eventually became this…


That way, text isn’t all over the place, and the background has some room to breathe…

The Bond poster was also something of a challenge, given the placement of the photo and the structure of the whole piece.


… After revisions, I came to this…

Mar28 BOND

I feel those stylized separating lines do give the piece more consistency. Some minor modifications will follow…

I finally got around to making the additional item that would be given out during this fictitious tour. I decided to make an LP cover, a giveaway album because I love album cover art and I currently want something that will resemble a 60s album cover… Whether it’s an early 60s, text-heavy cover, or a more psychedelic, abstract one.

So far, I got the basic idea down: The three acts, inside the cello shape I made for the Yo-Yo Ma poster…


At the same time, I want to combine elements from each poster into one cohesive whole: The Superclarendon font used for the 2Cellos poster, the cello shape from the Yo-Yo Ma cover, and something from the Bond cover… Maybe the photo border, if I can integrate it somehow.

A real work-in-progress… The current plan is to ditch the idea of all the posters being inside one cello…

To quote a once-active entertainment blogger: Developing…