Winter Quarter 2016
This quarter I took my first dive into the world of Adobe After Effects. I spent approximately 90 hours learning how immensely powerful the program is and I scraped the tip of the iceberg in my implementation of its fundamental functions. I spent hours watching Lynda.com tutorials that introduced me to the tools of the program, explained basic work flows, and gave me an idea of how the program can be used in the design industry. I used ideas and instructions from these tutorials as the basis for the three projects I created over the course of the quarter:
Still photo animation | This project was my first attempt at using Adobe After Effects and as such, the complexity of this project was substantially increased by my fledgling understanding of the program. I chose this project because I think the technique will be useful in other projects down the road. I’m specifically excited about using (and continuing to perfect) this technique in the video component of my senior project, which I will be presenting in spring quarter, 2016.
Kinetic typography | I also chose to experiment with this technique because of the possibilities I see for implementing it in the future. It is becoming popular in the industry and I only see it growing as social media like Facebook continues to offer instant play of video in user feeds. Conveying your message instantly without sound has become essential, and kinetic typography offers an avenue to do this while engaging the viewer. This project was valuable for two reasons—I learned how time-consuming this technique is and I was introduced to the compatibility between After Effects and other Adobe programs like Bridge, Photoshop, and Illustrator. This cooperation between programs increases After Effects’ power and increases my ability—my advanced knowledge in other programs help to mask my current entry-level abilities in After Effects.
Animated loading Gif | Loading gif’s are an important aspect of a website—they let viewer’s know what’s happening—that something is loading in the background and progress is being made on their request. In this project I used Photoshop and followed a Lynda.com tutorial to create a custom loading gif from my current website logo. This project introduced me to the animation capabilities built into Photoshop as well as educated me on the “save for web” function in Photoshop that allows you to save animation in a file.
Client Project | In addition to getting my feet wet in Adobe After Effects, I spent a large chunk of time working with the Center for Research on K-12 Adventist Education (CRAE), and Ambassadors for Adventist Christian Education (AACE). AACE is based at La Sierra University and is “a volunteer-based organization whose members recognize the benefits of Adventist education and seek to build support for our Adventist schools. AACE is designed to assist principals and pastors by efficiently and effectively delegating tasks—particularly in the area of marketing and public relations—to passionate and capable volunteers.” My contact at AACE was Aimee Leukert, the assistant director. She paired me with a school in Savannah Georgia who had requested assistance with their website.
I worked directly with the principal of the school, Esther Martinez. I analyzed the current state of the website and made recommendations for improvement. I concluded that the layout had too many conflictingand distracting elements. This was emphasized by incorrectly sized photos that had been uploaded to the header of the page, causing the page to constantly re-size as the images cycled through a slide-show display. There were also three levels of navigation creating confusing complexity to an otherwise simple site. I meticulously went through the site and created a new plan of organization. Once this was approved, I began work on the site. I selected a new template that was much simpler, allowing me to create strategic emphasis on certain elements. I eliminated the three levels of navigation by re-organizing pages, and I formatted every page to achieve consistency throughout the site. Once I was finished, I created a “how-to” direction guide for Mrs. Martinez (and whoever administers the website after her) detailing some best practices for maintaining the website.
This project forced me to grapple with the Adventist Church Connect Simple Updates interface and learn the possibilities and restrictions associated with it. That was a difficult and frustrating process at times, but overall working with this school was a rewarding experience. This project afforded me with contacts that will be valuable to me in the future. Aimee Leukert was pleased with my work and has encouraged me to become a regular volunteer with their program. As a working professional, I want to be able to participate in volunteer work such as this for causes and institutions that I believe in—Adventist Education fits the bill and I’m excited to have this contact that will enable me to volunteer my skills in a useful and meaningful way.
I’m appreciative of what I’ve learned in this course. I look forward to using what I’ve learned in Adobe After Effects and continuing to develop my skills in the program. I’m also excited about the contacts I’ve made in AACE and plan on building that relationship in the future.