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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Personalized Birthday Videos

Celebrating Good Times with My First Start-Up!

In returning to my blog, one thing I wanted to focus on was exploring business ideas. So while my usual content was focused on only projects – projects that grow skills, not wallets – I decided to dive a little deeper in my return with a side hustle.

In picking something to do, I wanted to pick something that was a little intensive from the get go, but after, completely hands-off. I have some time during winter break to kill after all, so I thought I could make good use of my time.

My only criteria in picking a business idea was that I wanted it to be cheap. Like very cheap. I’m not about to commit to some serious cash when I’m not willing to commit to heavy amounts of time.

So of course that led me to a pretty obvious starting point: a business that can grow entirely online. After recently having edited a video myself (I mentioned this briefly in my last post), I thought I could do some videos.

Now I don’t have a camera. I don’t want to throw my face out to the internet arbitrarily either. So I was left a little stumped.

That’s when it hit me.

The Birth of an Idea

My birthday was just a few days ago. All last month while contemplating how life could go on now that I was inexcusably an adult at 24, I did think about how unfortunate it was that there could be no celebration, even if I had wanted one. This was also while my cousin-in-law was collecting videos to send to my cousin who was deployed this Christmas.

Then I realized I could use my newfound editing videos for good.

I thought it would be nice to spread a little joy by making personalized birthday videos. I’ll admit, this isn’t exactly a new concept. My family and I used to send around Epic Happy Birthday Videos to one another before and let me just tell you, they are awesome. Allow me to introduce you to one:

Pretty great, right? Now these guys seemed to just disappear. They made videos for every name they could come up with and just watched the views roll in.

Understandably, this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I thought I could fill the void with a more general birthday video. The song “Happy Birthday” is not copyrighted and can be used in videos royalty-free. Several channels have done the same thing I have, but I believe I can do it as well, if not better, than the ones I’ve seen. Besides, it’ll be a fun little experiment to see if I can break into a market.

Progress and Future Planning

As of right now, I’ve come up with a name. I’ve also created a website for it, but am still in the process of acquiring the domain, hence the reason I’m keeping the name secret for now. Once the website is running on it’s domain, I’ll share it.

I’ve begun to create my own music. I’ve shared a little before about my music production past, so I thought I’d create the audio just to have complete control over the entire video. Again, since “Happy Birthday” is not copyrighted, I can recreate the melody without worrying about legal repercussions. Hopefully the song can be finished soon.

From there, I’ll record vocals which definitely has me nervous. I am by no means a singer, but since I’ll be making videos for each and every name I can think of, I’m going to have to be the one to sing each name. I’m hoping my audio engineering can help me autotune my way to partial glory. We’ll see. This will certainly be the most difficult part.

After, I’ll create a template video which I’ll share with you all. Once I have the template, I can just add names in one-by-one and crank out videos at a rapid speed. I think I’ll have to test out different marketing strategies to see what I can get to stick. To be honest, I haven’t really gotten there in my head yet.

That’s where I’m at for now. I wanted to announce this last week, but well, it was my birthday. It felt a little weird to talk about birthdays on my birthday, so I saved this gem for ya. I’m glad to be back and I’m really excited about what may be ahead.

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Project 7

My First Attempt at Calligraphy

This week, I received all my calligraphy supplies for Project 7! There’s no better way to decompress after finishing a massive task than to get a little creative, so upon finishing our law journal writing competition, we decided to blindly test the materials.

The Materials

I chose this set from Amazon (not sponsored!). After redeeming a coupon, the set went from $15 to $9. The set included one pen, eleven nibs, and some ink. While I don’t have anything to compare it to, I did like the pen and thought it was easy to use.

Without any instruction whatsoever, I blindly tested the nibs. Each one is different in both shape and size. Some have a pointier tip where others create a brush effect by a flatter edge. Some also are longer than others, I have yet to figure out what the effect of that is. Here’s what each of the nibs looked like:

As I was using the pen, I realized it was easier to use than I expected. The ink was easily controlled by the nib which surprised me. I thought using a calligraphy pen would be like writing with a needle – scraping the paper. But it really wasn’t. It felt just as natural as any other pen.

I Tried My Best…

From there, I decided to try writing a little bit of print and a little bit of script. I didn’t look up any sort of instructions – I wanted to start at the absolute beginning. While I will learn actual technique, I just wanted to mess around. I’m hoping that as I get better, I can look back on where I started and see some progress.

I also made a time lapse of my first attempt. (Yes, I did have to set up an Instagram just to post this, expect more content there in the future!). Check it out:

All in all, I was not disappointed. I expected more smudging, but I was careful not to overload the pen with ink. I’ve always had decent handwriting, but I’m looking forward to learning calligraphy fonts. I know consistency is the most important part and my handwriting has never been very consistent.

…And Then My Boyfriend Blew Me Out of the Water

My boyfriend also gave it a go. He might have been the underdog being a lefty, but he was able to pull together something very impressive. He’s always been a bit snotty about his pens, always using only a certain kind of pen because he liked the way the ink flowed. Before trying the calligraphy pen, he was already an accomplished doodler. Here’s some of his older stuff using normal roller-ball pens:

Needless to say, he couldn’t wait to get the calligraphy pen in his hands. He managed to make this on his first go:

(To see a time lapse of his work, check out the second slide in the Instagram post above!)

He also had an absolute blast. I made the executive decision to leave the calligraphy materials at his house so he could dabble whenever he wanted.

I’m excited to take on this project and I can’t wait to get into the real stuff! Playing around was fun – but now it’s time to craft an actual skill. We’re looking forward to both learning more and discovering a new world we know nothing about.

How’d we do? Share your thoughts with us down in the comments below!

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