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Breaking down my animation

BLOG TOPIC 2 – VCD302 Motion Design


This was my first experimentation with the program After Effects, so it was important for me to understand its basic tools and design fundamentals.

I used the techniques suggested by Lupton and Phillips (2008, pg. 224) to make a stationary circle come to life by changing their shape and position over time. I started with the ball falling on a linear y-axis from the top to the bottom of the screen. I used three keyframes, first at the top of the screen, the second keyframe halfway during its descent and the third keyframe at the bottom. The second keyframe was added to create a difference in speed between the first and third keyframes. This was to reinforce the acceleration of the ball, which would happen in reality due to gravity. This was inspired by one of Disney’s twelve principles of Animation (Entertainment 2015), Timing.

As seen down below I matched the frame sequence Disney suggests into my ball animation, to make the timing more seamless.

Figure 1 – (Entertainment 2015)
Figure 2 – My animation key frames
Figure 3 – My animation key frames

I decided to change the circle’s shape, which was inspired by Disney’s principle (Entertainment 2015) of squash and stretch. My animated ball changes shape from a circle into a squashed oval once it touches the ground. It then proceeds to stretch back into its original form as it leaves the ground. Pairing this action with the timing technique explained earlier, an elastic nature is added to the ball which helps to create a realistic animation. 

Figure 4 – Balls squashed
Figure 5 – Balls stretched back to a circle


Further in the prototyping stage, I explored more with the position tool and made the arch of the ball’s movement more curved which contrasts with the initial linear movement. For example, seen in figure 6, the ball follow a curved ‘h’ shape across the screen to reinforce it bouncing. 

Figure 6 – Curved path

I also experimented with the blur effect to make the balls seem more realistic as they rushed across the screen, which can be seen in the figure above.

Also, I decided to experiment with the rotation tool to create a disco ball shape, slowly rotating to match a 60s aesthetic. I experimented with direction of rotation and timing this composition.

Figure 7 – Rotation tool


I intergraded graphic design fundamentals, such as repetition and rhythm to my animation. Repetition was put in place with the circled ripples in the figure 8 and in the rotating balls in the figure 7.

Figure 8 – Circled ripples

Rhythm was put in place with the numerous amounts of bouncing balls coming in and out of the screen.

Once I realised that I was starting to create a 60s theme through the design in figure 8, I selected a certain colour scheme and ran with it. It was suggested by my lecturer to stick to a theme of repeated circles which assisted me in connecting my compositions together.

Parent Colours of Colour Scheme


At the beginning of this design process, I was introduced to designer James Whitney. 

Watching his motion designs, I was instantly fascinated and immersed in a blurry, colourful kaleidoscope. I was able to pinpoint the use of repeated circles, especially in ‘Lapis’ (Whitney in Chapadão do Formoso 2007).

The two images down below are specific scenes I drew inspiration from for my composition shown in figure 7.

(Whitney in Chapadão do Formoso 2007)
(Whitney in Chapadão do Formoso 2007)

Also, I turned to graphic designer Tom Whalen for colour inspiration, for he also uses warm pops of colours.

The Pixels (Whalen 2020)

Reference List

Chapadão do Formoso 2007, ‘Lapis – James Whitney (1966)’, online video, 26 December, Chapadão do Formoso, viewed 13 April 2021, <;.

Entertainment 2015, ‘The Illusion of Life, Principle of Animation, 12 Basic Principles of Animation’, online video, 13 Feb, Entertainment, viewed 20 March 2021, <;.

Lupton, E & Phillips J 2008, Graphic Design: The New Basics, Princeton Architectural Press, New York. 

Whalen, T 2020, The Pixels, image, STRONG STUFF, viewed 13 April 2021, <;.


Published by Kirstywordpress

University student - Graphic design

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