A small train stops at a station in the middle of nowhere, with no people. Just lonely luggage and a calm desert zephyr…
Trains have always captured my imagination, so I wanted to portray that with my final vector graphics project. I created all of the visual elements in Adobe Illustrator and then took all the layers to Adobe After Effects where I animated everything.
I began with animating the rotation of the wheels and then parenting those to the train body. I also parented the palm fronds to the trunks and the trunks to the bases (the last segment at the very bottom of the trees). I animated the shadows under the trees to move with the swaying of the trees to add another element to the movement of the trees as they sway gently back and forth.
Originally I placed the station much closer, and the trees used to be behind the platform. Once I pulled everything into After Effects, I realized that to even get a decent animation with the train, I realized I would have to scale everything down a bit and move it backward in zed space. Once I did that, everything with the station and the train seemed to click, but all of a sudden I had all of this white space at the bottom of the frame. It wouldn’t be that bad if I was going to just crop it off, but something had to be done. I decided to move the trees forward in the frame to the foreground, away from the station. This also simplified my animation in terms of realism. Now that the trees are further away from the station, I don’t need to accommodate for the movement of the train as it passes.
To make the train “bump” as it stops and goes, I used a distort effect to move the top part of the train forward and backward just a bit each time the train either stopped or started.