As I approached the idea of creating an animated gif, I was honestly overwhelmed at first. I wanted to create something simple, easily recognizable, but also interesting. I am an analytical person, so I like having things planned out before I move forward. And having to think of what I was not only going to create in illustrator but was also going to animate in after effects put my head into overload. But I knew that before anything else, I needed to get some ideas out.
I had a handful of ideas, ranging from mimics from the game Prey, a joke about loot boxes to play off the hot controversy in gaming recently, and characters from mario kart dodging shells. As I sketched them out, I realized that some of them would be using showing objects in 3D, something that I did not want to do for this project due to its complexity. The one I leaned towards the most was the mario kart option. But all of them still scared me, so I took a short break and just let the thoughts work themselves out as I did other things. After that, I realized that the mario kart option could be much easier if I switched up a few things.
Instead of having a kart escape shells, I would have the shells rotate around the kart, like the character had acquired the item, just like in the game. As I started creating the assets, I knew I needed to create an extra long road so I could have it move through the scene to create the illusion of the racer moving across the road. After that, I decided that yoshi had one of the best top view profiles, so I than created him in his kart. Overall, it all came together pretty quickly when I knew what each part would be doing.
I made sure that I thought about what objects would be doing what when I started animating, that way I could be ahead of the game and not need to change things after the fact. I made each wheel its own layer/object so that I could turn them to show horizontal movement if necessary.
When I ported the assets into after effects, I started by making a pre-comp with the shells, so they would spin individually before they spun as a group around yoshi. When that was done, I just moved yoshi around the scene as the road moved under him as a draft to test things out. When I started to show it to people, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted his movement to be, just that it would be simplified. The feedback I got was to keep it simple and have him follow smooth curves, which I went in and corrected.
Finally, I tried a couple different things, like having yoshi dodge obstacles, but found that they overly complicated his movement, defeating one of my original purposes of a simple animation. So I gave him back a simple path and moved forward.
Here is the final animation! I am proud of what I did, both in creating new assets in illustrator, and constructing them into something interesting in after effects. I feel that I kept the whole piece simple, but interesting as well!