Video – Animated Birthday Greeting

Thursday was my cousin Sanford’s birthday. We’ve been pals since the crib so I wanted to share my zeal for animation by making him an animated card. Gathering ideas . . . flowers I might have sent him, ribbons I would have used to wrap his gift, a trip he might take to celebrate combined to create his virtual card.

Like creating a new recipe I pulled photos of flowers from my personal photo album, searched After Effects for animation tools to make the animation pop. Once I chose the photos the color scheme became evident. Green for leaves and grass found in the garden. My background. Multiple colors for lettering would also be drawn from lesser evident blooms, weeds, vines, sky, moss in the pix.

Music. Since all movement would be punctuated by musical notes I had to find a tune that was uplifting, light, bouncy, warm like wind blowing through flowers in the garden. has a huge library from which to choose. They’re always my first stop, and usually, my last stop. “Porch Swing Days” is this selection. Seems appropriate when recalling blissful summer days in the garden with my cousins.

Sound Effects. Added a swishing sound when words appeared on stage. Used sparingly.

All supplies assembled. Ready. Go.

Experiemented with Wave effect that didn’t work so well with the colors. Rendering was even worse so I removed it.

Timing was the most fun. Synchonizing spinning cube and letters on and off stage.

Once I Soloed layers adding and moving text was a cinch.

Isolating people, planes, tickets from photos is time consumming. Especially the hula girl with hair billowing in the wind. Heavy use of Quick Selection (my new best friend), Eraser, Clone, Dodge & Burn tools sped work along.

Illustrator is used for text. A HUGE improvement over Photoshop, which I’ll never use again for lettering. Vector vs. Raster really makes a difference in sharpness, especially in Rendering.

Finished file Rendered @ 400MB in Quicktime Movie format. Too large for most free platforms like YouTube & LinkedIn. H264 resulted in murky background and mutted photos in the cube. Not acceptable. So I took the 400MB movie and Compressed to a 5.5MB file. While not as sharp as the original After Effects preview, acceptable enough for online viewing.

The outcome . . .


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