Vector Video


By using the much overlooked .swf file format, you can have hand drawn animation that accepts almost all the filters and effects in After Effects.

The first step is always the planning. Nothing can get started without a map, and in animation it’s even more important. Hand drawn animation is extremely time consuming and going back to make changes after the fact can throw off all your work so far.

Once you know what you’re going to make, the next step is to create the animation in Adobe Animate (formerly known as Flash). There are a lot of really great built in features that will help make your production process as smooth as possible. There’s no need for additional ‘plugins’, though many are helpful time savers.

After you’ve completed your animation in Animate, select ‘export>movie’ and the swf will be the default file format. Pay attention where you save this file, because once you make the connection with After Effects, you don’t want to worry about a broken link. (Note: I’m not sure if Animate supports dynamic linking with After Effects, but I’ll check that for the next post.)

The next step is to go into After Effects and import your file. Place the file in your composition timeline, and apply any effects you would normally apply to a vector image. The video can accept filters and effects, and is infinitely scalable. This makes it a perfect format for rolling image zoom transitions and other special effect work.

With a few simple steps, you can achieve the hand drawn look of classic animation, that works great in After Effects.

Jan ??

The snow feel gently against a grey sky. The house was quiet, for the most part. The little girl was in bed, slowly waking by singing songs to her teddy bear, and the house gave off it’s normal working sounds. The rumble of the furnace, the hum of the refrigerator, the tick of several clocks. All was steady and still, poised for the beginning of a new day.
She sat at the kitchen table, sipping coffee and wondering what important thing she’ll make important today. Lately it seems that every time she looks around the house, she can actually see the 12 years that they’ve lived here. For 12 years, she looked out the kitchen window to the branches of the fir tree next door. For 12 years, she’s walked down the three steps separating the bedrooms from the living room. For 12 years, she’s watched the house revert from what was once shiny and new, back into the old tired place of the cranky seniors who lived here before, the sounds of yelling at dusk to the kids playing in the street echoing back from 1975. The slick coat of paint that had covered up all the discontent was cracked and faded, letting the smell of wasted life and bitter memories seep into her own life. It was time to move on.