Personalized Birthday Videos

So I Tried Basic Animation

Yeah, you heard me. I tried animating. Send help.

In humble pursuits of my Happy Birthday project, I knew it would come to this. I really did. But nothing could prepare me for the amount of work it took to just do a real little bit.

Last time we spoke, I had made my beautiful balloon letters. I wanted to make the balloon letters inflate, float, and pop as the music continues. I didn’t realize what a mess this would create.

Layers on Layers

I tried first to animate each word. My main reason for doing this was that editing is done in layers. Layers are exactly what they sound like: each object lays on top of the other. More layers tends to get a little messier as it’s harder to manage and Premiere can get a little angry at you. So I created the words in Photoshop to only have four layers at a time (happy, birthday, to, you).

Once I finished, I tried to make them float like balloons. But since the entire word moved together, it looked really clunky. Definitely not like how a balloon moves. And that was the moment I knew I needed to animate each letter one-by-one. So I quickly went from a manageable amount of layers, to a not-so-manageable amount.

Each of these letters I made pop up to look like they were inflated. I did this by starting a letter at 0 size, increasing the size over a few frames. I made a cartoony pop by making it get a little too big and then dropping down the size to where I wanted it.

To make the letters float: I randomly changed the vertical height and also added a little rotation.

All in all, it turned out like this:

I’m pretty happy with it – as someone with very minimal experience editing, I’m realizing that it is possible to learn how to edit.

But it’s not entirely smooth sailing – I’m struggling a bit with how to make the balloons pop. I’m probably going to have to rethink the motion. Maybe instead they’ll deflate or something, I don’t know.

Personalizing Each Name

I want each of these videos to have a person’s name. But seeing as how much work it is to animate each balloon letter, that’s just not feasible. I’m trying to come up with a cute way to have each person’s name show up without giving me editing hell. Some considerations right now are: writing the person’s name in clouds (there’ll be a sky in the background of the balloons), an airplane banner, a name in fireworks, etc.

I have no idea where to go with that, but it’s probably the next step after making a sky background. As usual, to be continued.

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Projects Before the Blog – A Look at My Antics with Abbey

Saturday was my cousin Abbey’s birthday. She’s a regular here on the blog, you’ve probably read a book review or two by her.

I’ve alluded to the fact that we’re no strangers to doing projects together. Hidden away in a shared Google Drive folder named The X Files, we have projects we’ve done for the past five plus years. I thought in honor of her big 2-5, I’d share some of the projects in The X Files that were completed before I made the blog.

The Cocktail Book

I’ve alluded to this one before, but we wrote a cocktail book a few years back. Our Christmas parties tend to get a little out of hand – we have themes and everything. One year our theme was “You Are What You Drink.” We all dressed up as our favorite drinks. Abbey had the cutest champagne costume and as a broke college student, I was a Pabst Blue Ribbon.

We like giving a gift to our large extended family each year as a way to say thank you to our parents and the aunts and uncles that make for such a special holiday. That year, we wrote a cocktail book with a different drink for each member of the family.

The book turned out real cute and with lots of yummy recipes. We have a few hardcover books lying around that come out around the holidays each year.

The South Park Animated Video

Another Christmas gift: we turned everyone into South Park characters.

As if that weren’t enough, we created a rendition of “Christmas Don’t Be Late” and changed the lyrics to correspond with each of our family member’s secret Christmas wishes. Unfortunately, my chipmunk singing was not the best and using Windows Movie Maker made it a frame-by-frame mess. But we certainly all made cute South Park characters.

The Trivia

Continuing in the Christmas spirit, last year’s theme was Disney Christmas. This year, paired with Abbey’s growing love of trivia, we made an epic Disney trivia. There were deep cuts and the slideshow was beautiful. Most of the slides relied on gifs, videos, and music, so posting pictures almost doesn’t do it justice. But here’s a few to give you an idea:

(My parents, brother, and I made a fantastic Incredible family, by the way.)

Other Projects

Aside from these, we’ve built board games, created a (horrible) podcast, and many more dumb ideas. Maybe someday I’ll tell those stories, but for now, a big happy birthday to Abbey – here’s to the next wave of our projects!

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