Week 9: After Effects

For my 10 second motion graphic piece, I am making a trailer for the beloved children’s book Matilda by Roald Dahl. I am enthralled by how Kyle Cooper (Se7en) creates his own fonts and how both Cooper and Pes Films (Fresh Guacamole) use physical objects in their media, so I decided to incorporate those elements into my work.

In terms of tone, I wanted to have a tone that was magical, but not cheesy. I thought the movie version of Matilda was made her abilities seem too cheerful and silly, so I want to go for a mood that makes the magic seem more mysterious. Right now I’m debating between scoring the piece with Path To The Citadel or Building a Dream World from the WeStar music database.

In terms of animation, it’s been easy to isolate the books as animatable pictures, especially after a fellow student taught me how to render each book as a smart object. I didn’t photograph all the books in the same lighting for the storyboard, so I had to rephotograph all of them so that they look like they all belong together in the picture. I thought this was a nuisance at first, but then I realized it was a good thing because it gave me the opportunity to find books that Matilda actually read in my trailer. Now, instead of random nameless books, the books that come off the shelves will be two of Matilda’s favourites: The Old Man & The Sea by Hemingway and Nicholas Nickelby by Dickens.

It’s been straight forward enough to animate the two books coming off the shelf, but it’s been tricky to make the transition between the shot of the book’s spine and the shot of the book flying into the air look natural.

As for the shot of Matilda exerting her powers, I still need to figure that out. I don’t know how to make the painting of her I made on photoshop look less cheap. I gotta work on that. I might cut it if it still looks bad even after adjustments.

The final shot of the books coming into place is taking the most time. I want every book to come from a different direction (X Y and Z planes will be used) to spell out Matilda, then drop to the floor. So far it’s been tricky to coordinate everything so that the books don’t fly through each other as they get into their places. It’s also hard to make sure they all get in place fast enough so that the viewer can read the word before the clip ends.

Here are some pictures of my work in progress.


This is a picture of a shelf I took. I left a gap between two of the books so I could animate a book coming from that spot.


This is the drawing of Matilda I made. She looks older than I intended and I can’t seem to get rid of the background scribbles on the right no matter how many methods I try, so I might just not use her.


This is a picture of a book I took at the Ryerson library before I edited it in photoshop.


This is the photoshop of how “Matilda” is spelled out in books. I originally thought a dark background would be good, but I might make it lighter since the shots of the library shelves are so bright. For each book, I had to take a photo of it, take it into photoshop, rasterize it and turn it into a smart object, edit out the background behind it using a polygonal lasso, then place it within the photoshop file Matildalast.psd so it spelled out the word “Matilda”.


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