The objective of this project was to create a vector-based animation. The animation had to look good as a still, have movement, and loop. We were to use Adobe Illustrator and Adobe After Effects to create our gif. Here is the process I took to get my final animated gif!

Brainstorming and Rough Drafts

This I think was the first project that I didn’t do a lot of sketches on. I had a lot of ideas and created some rough sketches of those and then hit a wall. I couldn’t decide on a concept that I liked. Since this was the first time ever using After Effects for me, I wanted to do something basic and simple. Nothing I was coming up with seemed to fit that criteria. It wasn’t until my husband aided me in the brainstorming process that we came up with the idea for my gif. Inspired by his own struggles, I decided to create a gif with a guy who’s facial hair would grow right back as soon as he shaved it off. With the idea in hand, I jumped into Illustrator and created my first very rough draft. 

After I created my first rough draft, I wanted to refine my little character. I also created a storyboard to give myself a visual of how I wanted the gif to pan out. After I had decided on a design I thought was good enough, I brought it into After Effects.

Here is my storyboard and some rough drafts that I went through before I ended up with my final result.

First Gif Draft

After Effects and Final

I had never used After Effects before this project and it was a little bit intimidating. My first go at trying to animate my guy went terrible. I had no idea where to start, and I didn’t even create the Illustrator file correctly. I had to go back in and make sure all the components that would move were in their own layers. I also had to figure out how to make the beard disappear over the areas where he was “shaving.” With no idea where to even start, I decided to search online and see if I could find something that would help me out. That was when I stumbled upon a youtube video on how you make text reappear and disappear using alpha mattes. There’s probably an easier way to do it, but I decided to use that technique on his beard. 

This was a challenging project for me and although it was somewhat frustrating at the beginning, I had a lot of fun creating my gif. I think that it’s cool I was even able to create one since I had never used After Effects before this project. And all within two weeks! Overall, I’m glad I got to learn and experiment in After Effects and I’m pleased with how my gif ended up. 


Rachel Cottrell

Rachel Cottrell

Hello! I am a Graphic Design student at BYU-I, a health nut, and chocolate addict. I enjoy challenging the "impossible" and learning new things. I don't have a portfolio quite yet, but until then feel free to email me or check out the work I have on this site!
Rachel Cottrell

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