I haven't animated in an age, so I thought it was about time I got stuck in with a sequence again. It turned out to be quite an involved compositing project in the end so I've decided to throw together a little process post for anyone interested!
I had a very rough idea of what I wanted to work on so I did some basic design roughs. This whole process was quite sporadic and unplanned so I'm fairly lucky it came together in the end, although that is almost definitely the reason it took so long.
I've always thought the camera is one of the most vital components in any sequence so I start there (in lieu of boarding, as it was just meant to be a little short gif). Cheating the parallax in After Effects wouldn't have worked quite as well as using the calculated perspective of Cinema4D I thought, so I put together a very basic scene with some boxes (the trees and water came later). This allowed me to get a smooth camera motion to inform everything in the animation going forward.
However, it's worth noting that being so reliant on this movement so early cost me later on in the process, some re-timing had to be done.
Following this I worked on the buildings' design and general colour tone of the sequence, working on a design style that fit with the concept and character I already had. I then imported the C4D camera into AE with markers on each of the 3D buildings, which were then replaced with the artwork. This process took a tiny bit of learning but in the end saved me so much time over re-animating an AE camera to match. The pool/water were rendered from C4D and pasted over the top as a 2D element.
// Bringing It All Together
Meanwhile I animated these swaying trees and put everything together with a scale change as we emerge out of the water- this is also applied to the swimmer but the amount of effects piled on top makes it kind of unnoticeable in the final, whoops!
At this point, I began animating the character (maybe just over half of the total time spent so far). Like I mentioned earlier- there was a lot of re-timing on that original camera sequence to fit a natural movement for the swimmer.
I animated in Photoshop - I would have done this in TVP but I animate so rarely I haven't quite justified buying a license (yet). Adobe's clunky raster cousin fit the bill for a short sequence like this but there were micro freezes and realtime playback issues throughout. Still, the freezes didn't crash the program thankfully and it does get the job done in the end.
After a few basic AE touches, I threw together some Creative Commons noise from freesound.org and wrapped it all up. Working on this has taught me that a Witcher's greatest tool is preparation for sure, I feel I could have shaved off days, if not weeks of work if I'd simply planned better - and will be doing so from now on! Hope you all enjoy.