Intro for DUCKSAUCE stream pack
Hey everyone, orels1 here! I know it's been a long time without any uploads, but this was not for nothing, I've been working hard on something I'll be proud of for a long time. It'll be a long journey, so come along for the ride ;)
How it all began
So, one day an awesome guy, who made NoD (NerdOrDie.com), sent me a PM, asking if I wanted to create some kind of intro for a big-name streamer, like I did for NoD himself (you can check that one here). The original concept sounded something like this:
Watch dogs/the division sort of style. Maybe some animation with the logo. Headphones pulsing or something?
Considering how DS's logo and website looked, I considered creating something along these lines:
I thought I will start from the eyes, that will appear upclose, then vanish into those polygons/lines, and then the logo will build up again from those lines
After which I've opened up Photoshop and played around with some shapes, resulting in some base concept, which then I should've properly animated.
The idea was pretty straightforward: "wake up" the eyes, make them look around, become angry, disappear and appear later as the whole logo. But that's right when everything went wrong.
Houston, We've Got a Problem...
I've been working on the frame-by-frame animation for a while, it wasn't turning out to be as great as I wanted, but at least it was some progress, but then it came - the SSD failure. The thing is - the only work files that I wasn't backing up to the cloud at that time were the After Effects files and, as you might already imagine, I payed a very high price for that: I lost all the progress on the project, lost the drive and, more importantly, lost the time spent on the project. And to make things worse, the deadline was in a couple days, but I had less than 24 hours before I flew away to Seattle on a business-trip.
The project was falling apart, I've messaged NoD, trying to figure out what we'll do next, I wanted to resign from the project, but he encouraged me to stay and try once more. And I did so, when I came back from the Seattle somewhere around October 14.
The curse of frame-by-frame
First, I recreated (at some degree) the "scan" animation, which incorporated DS's website style, with dotted lines and such. It was not final in any way, but I figured it'll be a starting point.
So now, according to the original idea, the eyes should "wake up" and that was a total disaster. Quick disclaimer here, I'm not a frame-by-frame animator in any way, but since the animation shouldn't be that complex, I thought my general knowledge of animation will be enough to get me through this. Well... see for yourself.
This is not how you animate basically anything. I was stuck on it and didn't really know what to do, so I contacted NoD again and after some discussion I proposed ditching the frame-by-frame altogether and settling on the more familiar "kinetic" animations. He accepted, I wiped everything and started from scratch, and that's where everything was finally starting to happen like it should.
The heaven of kinetic animation
This is the part which I know the best, and had done a million times, so I've dug into it right away and the first preview was ready in just couple of hours.
NoD was happy and I was pleased with the results myself, so from now, we kept to this original idea and expanded on it. From now It'll mostly be previews which will show the project iteration better than any words.
Here's the first attempt at adding the actual logo into the scene, as well as use of proper background footage.
Next big step, this was a first glimpse of the final intro. From now on it'll only be tweaks and refinments.
The main problem with that one is the brightness of the transition. I needed to find a way to make it less blinding. And I think, that I did not only find one that makes it not so bright, but also makes it a lot more stylish, see for yourself.
As you can see, now it's more of a "pulse", which works better with the whole "thin shapes on a dark background" theme. Next step - add a background, and oh boy, I had a lot of trouble with that one.
So, a whack ton of problems here. The background hexagons has some nice camera blur, but the whole scene still feels too flat, even though the point of blurring the background is to add some depth. And those dots on the front, which were also added for the same reason, didn't make it any better.
So, what did I do? Well, it was pretty simple: add more blur! But really, I added another layer of hexagons with A LOT of blur, which almost looked like a gradient on a the main background, which is just the look I was looking for (no pun intended), also, the annoying dots were gone, since they brought nothing to the table.
After figuring that out, I also made the first attempt to create an "idle" animation for the logo itself, since it should sit on screen for somewhere around 40 seconds and can't be static.
NoD approved the animation, but he had a good point that the whole presentation was a bit too bland... not enough color was present on the scene. So I made a couple variations.
I like first one the most, even though it was the simpler one, NoD seemed to agree, so I re-rendered the whole background to have this nice warm feel to it.
Now it was the time to think about looping the whole animations, since it was expected to seet on screen for an unknown amount of minutes. There were a couple of options, for example since the bg is looped at 20s intervals, I could make something like a 60s long intro loop, but NoD suggested adding a "garage door" animation, which will connect the intro with the rest of the stream styling, I had no reasons to reject that.
After a couple of extra iteration - the final render was made and everything was ready to be presented to DUCKSAUCE himself. I'll skip the part where I was trying to get rid of the overlapping hexagons issues, but you might notice that final intro has those look less bright, that's the solution.
The results! Finally...
That's the result of more than 6 hours of trial and error, but I really like how it turned out... damn it, I'll just say it's dope, and I do not care that it might look like I have such a huge ego or something.
Now, the final bit to finish this project is to extract that nice circle "pulse" transition for future use. That was a pretty straightforward task: I took the existing transition, increased the delay between the last couple of pulses and put a logo in-between. That's how it looks in it's final form.
And to be hones, I feel like this one defined look of everything else in this intro. Somehow it turned out just plain cool and I've just expanded the idea to the whole intro.
And that's it! It just took me 1 SSD, 1 total restart, couple of hours of crying in the corner due to inability to make proper frame-by-frame, a total concept shift and a bunch of cool animations to make it all work.
Huge thanks to NoD for the project, it was really fun to do, all things considered. And, which is the most important part, DUCKSAUCE and his Twitch chat seems to really like it. Want to check it all out in action (with some sweet alerts from NoD) - drop by DS's stream here some time.