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ICM504

A Challenge in Logo Animation

Diving deep into motion graphic design with a one-week challenge in logo animation.

Until recently, most of my creative world has existed in a non-motion state. From branding, editorial, and packaging, my designs have been determined then set. Sure, I’ve imagined ways for them to animate, but I’ve never dared to do it. I guess motion graphics has always felt intimidating to me, so I’ve steered clear of it. But I’ve braved up lately and finally downloaded and opened After Effects. It was a big first step in the right direction. Then this week, I took another plunge by creating a small, one-week challenge to complete and then dived right in.

The Objective

In one week, take five of my existing logo designs, and create a fitting animation for each one. Throughout the process, explore different animation principles and incorporate various After Effects techniques.

The Process

For each logo, I started by sketching some rough ideas for how it could animate. I realized early on that it was better to focus on what I was trying to communicate versus what I knew how to do in AE—especially since I knew very little. But as I became more familiar with AE, it opened up additional ideas for how my designs could animate. It was a great lesson in letting your creativity run wild first, then using your technical know-how to push ideation or execution further.

After several tutorials, lots of trial and error, and a handful of discouraging moments, I’m happy to have completed the challenge and even exceeding the amount of logos I initially set out to animate. Of course, the perfectionist in me has tweaks and adjustments I still want to complete for each, but the realist in me understands I’m out of time, and if I don’t publish these now, they may never see the light of day. Here they are, my collection of animated logos and how I created them.

The Collection

Pipsqueak

Pipsqueak is a curated, online boutique of well-designed & well-made clothing, toys, and decor for kids. Pipsqueak is playful, designed, curated, eccentric, and whimsical.

Video version of animated logo with sound effects.
AE Features

I kept this animation pretty simple and explored playful ways to highlight positive/negative space. The scale tool and graph editor were used to create this animation. 

Hearsay

Hearsay is an online language exchange platform for people wanting to connect with others in their city and practice learning a new language. Hearsay is global, friendly, energetic, inclusive, and open-minded.

Video version of animated logo with sound effects.
AE Features

I changed the anchor point on each talk bubble, so they popped into place from the same central location. Then I created a null object that would act as a parent to both objects as they change scale and position in sync. A track mat mask was used to hide and reveal the logo text. In the future, I’d also like to learn how to animate the gradient so that it flows through the talk bubbles.

The Collagist

The Collagist is an interactive board game for adults that takes the mess and stress out of collaging and provides players all the tools they need for endless collaging creativity. The game includes a plethora of pieces to work with and timed challenges to get those creative juices flowing. The Collagist is timeless, elevated, mature, and magical.

Video version of animated logo with sound effects.
AE Features

This animation was fun to make and I could imagine endless variations of it. After some trial and error, I realized the best way to work through this animation was backward. I started with changing the anchor points on all of the pieces so they were pulled down from one center. Then, I incorporated 3D perspectives and a camera that changed position, scale and rotation. For the text reveal in the end, I explored text transformation features like offset and random. It took a lot of effort to get the camera position and the speed of each of the object right, but I feel good about where it landed.

Historic Shanghai

Historic Shanghai exists to preserve “Shanghai’s unique history by raising awareness and appreciation of the city’s remarkable built heritage and social and cultural history.” Historic Shanghai is educated, inquisitive, investigative, classic yet modern.

Video version of animated logo with sound effects.
AE Features

For the art deco flower, I used a trim path to reveal and connect it slowly. Track mats hid the text lines until they were ready to be revealed, and text transformations like offset and opacity mimicked the motion of a typewriter.

Money Kit

Money Kit is a personalized, educational platform that teaches millennials financial literacy to achieve higher levels of financial well-being. The platform provides an expert-based, step-by-step economic path towards financial literacy. Money Kit is friendly, educational, goal-oriented, and optimistic.

Video version of animated logo with sound effects.
AE Features

From a technical perspective, this logo proved to be the most challenging. I created a motion path for the trail, then parented the square and circle elements to it. I used auto-orient to have the square follow the direction of the path. Then, I animated the x-position of the trail so that the entire animation felt forward-moving and progressive. The speed was adjusted using the graph editor so that the square sped up and slowed down along its course. I attempted some squash and stretch on the jumping square that resulted in the reveal of the logo. I’d like to refine this logo a bit more and make the ending smoother. 

Planted

Planted is an app that helps you find the right plant for your environment and lifestyle. It populates the best plant matches for your preferences and explains how to care for your new plants. Planted is approachable, organic, encouraging, and refined.

Video version of animated logo with sound effects.
AE Features

I used a track mat to cut the planted logo out of the background. Then, created a gradient behind it that continuously changed position as it traveled through the type. In the effects and presets section, I applied a Turbulent Displace effect on the gradient layers to give it that organic edge as it filled the logo. I adjusted the scale, position, and rotation on the leaves for subtle movement. 

Conclusion

I am pleasantly surprised by how much progress I have made in such a short time. In one week, I went from feeling total creative paralysis upon opening the program to gaining a new level of comfort and curiosity as I worked my way through. If I learned anything from this experience, it is that getting started on a new endeavor can be more intimidating than the endeavor itself. Learning something new will always be challenging, but nothing beats the feeling of self-accomplishment that comes with even the smallest steps of progress and witnessing yourself grow. Below I’ve linked some tutorials and resources that I found useful as I embarked on my challenge.

Resources

Demafiles, A. (2020, December 1). After Effects CC 2021 Essential Training: Motion Graphics. LinkedinLearning. https://www.linkedin.com/learning/after-effects-cc-2021-essential-training-motion-graphics

profgolden. (2016, January 15). AE 3D Scene Tutorial. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwiJFRYoLFw

Taylor, A. (2018, June 28). Motion Graphic Design: Animation. LinkedinLearning. https://www.linkedin.com/learning/motion-graphic-design-animation/add-character-with-squash-and-stretch?u=2208146

School of Motion. (2017, June 29). Squash and Stretch in After Effects. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIZrbW_tfhc

RoboFilms. (2015, November 30). Filling a Text of Logo. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_K_FzP5ULC4

Stran, E. (2014, April 4). Mograph Techniques: Shape Animation in After Effects. LinkedinLearning. https://www.linkedin.com/learning/mograph-techniques-shape-animation-in-after-effects


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