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How to Make an Animated Title Sequence: Video 101

Posted By Guest Post On December 9, 2012 @ 4:16 pm In How-Tos | No Comments

The following lesson was created by Vimeo for its Vimeo Video School [1]. It’s used here with permission. Look for a new lesson each week.

Title sequences are some of the most memorable elements of classic films and TV shows. We love North by Northwest, Star Wars, and The Brady Bunch for lots of different reasons, but all entrance us from the first frame with animated title sequences that perfectly set the mood for the stories that follow. Recently, we explored motion design [2] and watched many examples of compelling title sequences — now let’s see how to make one. Motion design is a relatively complex endeavor, but luckily our very own Nick Campbell [3], a.k.a. the Greyscalegorilla [4], has some sweet tutorials to help you get started. For those who don’t know him, Nick is a motion-design virtuoso, longtime Vimeo member, and never-ending fount of visual creativity.

In this lesson, Nick walks you through how to make a simple intro for your film using Maxon Cinema 4D [5] and Adobe After Effects [6]. First, he creates the Vimeo logo [7] in 3D text using the extrude NURBS [8] feature in Cinema 4D. Then he lights the logo with simple global illumination and ambient occlusion. Don’t worry if you haven’t used Cinema 4D before — it’s pretty easy to set up. In the second part of the tutorial, Nick puts everything together in After Effects by tracking the scene to situate the logo in the scene. Finally, he color corrects and finishes the composite to create a realistic-looking animation. Don’t sweat the technical jargon too much — Nick is a great teacher and takes you through the process step by step. When you’re done, you’ll end up with a cool animated title sequence like this:

To start, Nick takes the Vimeo logo, tweaks it in Illustrator [9], and brings it into Cinema 4D. There he takes the 2D image and turns it into a 3D object using the NURBS [8] extrusion feature. Next, Nick adds beveling to give the logo a more organic look with softer edges. After that, he modifies the texture and color, and plays with reflection and shadows. One goal of motion design is to make artificial objects fit naturally within original footage, and there are two rules to keep it in mind when trying to achieve this: Go slow and make small adjustments. Just a few slight changes can have a dramatic effect and add up to a very convincing-looking object.

Once Nick finishes up in Cinema 4D, he brings the animation into After Effects for compositing. Compositing takes images from different sources and brings them together so they behave like one seamless unit. The first step is to set up what you’re tracking, or determine the pixel arrangements you want your object (the Vimeo logo, in this case) to move with. Nick recommends picking an area with a lot of contrast, like an edge with light and dark areas. Once you select the area to track, you need to associate it to a null object and parent your null object to your main object. Once that’s done, you can play with the overall look by modifying the blur gradient (to create a shallow depth of field [10]), color correction, some vignetting, and ground shadows. After all that’s done, you’re set to render! For an introduction to the basics of After Effects check out this lesson [11].

Keep in mind that while this is all somewhat technical, there are also a lot of creative decisions to be made. As Nick recommends, make sure your decisions suit the purpose of what you want to convey, and go from there. In other words, if it feels right, it probably isright.

After studying these tutorials, you should be ready to tackle your own title sequence. For more great tips on motion graphics, check out Greyscalegorilla [12]. Until next time — happy extruding, compositing, and rendering!

Ready for more? Learn how to make an infinity wall [13] or view more lessons at the Vimeo Video School [1].


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URL to article: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2012/12/how-to-make-an-animated-title-sequence-video-101/

URLs in this post:

[1] Vimeo Video School: http://vimeo.com/videoschool

[2] motion design: http://vimeo.com/videoschool/lesson/156/what-is-motion-design

[3] Nick Campbell: http://vimeo.com/nickc

[4] Greyscalegorilla: http://greyscalegorilla.com/blog/about/

[5] Maxon Cinema 4D: http://www.maxon.net/

[6] Adobe After Effects: http://www.adobe.com/products/aftereffects.html

[7] logo: http://vimeo.com/assets/downloads/vimeo_logos.zip

[8] NURBS: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-uniform_rational_B-spline

[9] Illustrator: http://www.adobe.com/products/illustrator.html

[10] depth of field: http://vimeo.com/videoschool/lesson/112/behind-the-glass-part-3-depth-of-field

[11] lesson: http://vimeo.com/videoschool/lesson/7/getting-started-with-adobe-after-effects

[12] Greyscalegorilla: http://greyscalegorilla.com/

[13] how to make an infinity wall: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2012/12/video-101-how-to-make-an-infinity-wall/

[14] Keep it in Focus: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2013/04/keep-it-in-focus-video-101/

[15] Understanding Jump Cuts: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2013/04/understanding-jump-cuts-video-101/

[16] How to Make a Non-Profit Promo: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2013/03/how-to-make-a-non-profit-promo-video-101/

[17] How to Connect Your Computer and TV: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2013/01/how-to-connect-your-computer-and-tv-video-101/

[18] The Many Uses of a Ring Light: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2012/12/video-101-the-many-uses-of-a-ring-light/

[19] Essential Video Gear for Traveling: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2012/07/essential-video-gear-for-traveling-video-101/

[20] Learn Final Cut Pro Keyboard Shortcuts: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2012/04/learn-final-cut-pro-keyboard-shortcuts-video-101/

[21] Get Great Results from Smartphone Video Cameras: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2012/03/get-great-results-from-smartphone-video-cameras-video-101/

[22] Light up Your Videos with a Bounce: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/12/light-up-your-videos-with-a-bounce-video-101/

[23] What Is Motion Design and How Can You Use It? Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/12/what-is-motion-design-and-how-can-you-use-it-video-101/

[24] Fast Focus Tips for DSLRs, Video Cameras, Smartphones: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/11/fast-focus-tips-for-dslrs-video-cameras-smartphones-video-101/

[25] Color Your World with Gels and Light Diffusors: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/11/color-your-world-with-gels-and-light-diffusors/

[26] Get Some Perspective with POV: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/11/get-some-perspective-with-pov-video-101/

[27] Learn to Create Scary Special Effects: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/10/learn-to-create-scary-special-effects-video-101/

[28] Learn to Use Zoom, Moving Camera, & Moving Zoom: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/10/learn-to-use-zoom-moving-camera-moving-zoom-video-101/

[29] What Is Crop Factor and Why Does it Matter? Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/10/what-is-crop-factor-and-why-does-it-matter-video-101/

[30] Who's Who on the Crew? Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/10/whos-who-on-the-crew-video-101/

[31] Room Tone -- Why You Should Capture the Sound of Silence: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/09/room-tone-why-you-should-capture-the-sound-of-silence/

[32] How to Create Storyboards: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/09/how-to-create-storyboards-video-101/

[33] The Best Tripod Tricks: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/08/the-best-tripod-tricks-video-101/

[34] Varying Your Shot Composition: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/08/varying-your-shot-composition-video-101/

[35] Learn to Create a Tilt-Shift Effect in Your Videos: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/08/learn-to-create-a-tilt-shift-effect-in-your-videos-video-101/

[36] Setting the Pace While Editing: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/08/setting-the-pace-while-editing-video-101/

[37] Nighttime Video Shooting with a DSLR Camera: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/07/nighttime-video-shooting-with-a-dslr-camera-video-101/

[38] Create a Timelapse Video with a DSLR Camera: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/07/create-a-timelapse-video-with-a-dslr-camera-video-101/

[39] Recording Sound for DSLR Cameras: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/07/recording-sound-for-dslr-cameras-video-101/

[40] Shooting Video with a DSLR Camera: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/07/shooting-video-with-a-dslr-camera-video-101/

[41] Choose the Right DSLR Accessories: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/07/choose-the-right-dslr-accessories-video-101/

[42] Choosing a DSLR Lens: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/06/choosing-a-dslr-lens-video-101/

[43] Learn How to Set Up Your DSLR Camera: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/06/learn-how-to-set-up-your-dslr-camera-video-101/

[44] The ABCs of DSLR Cameras: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/05/the-abcs-of-dslr-cameras/

[45] The 180-Degree Rule Explained: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/05/the-180-degree-rule-explained-video-101/

[46] Learn the Difference Between Frame Rate and Shutter Speed: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/05/learn-the-difference-between-frame-rate-and-shutter-speed/

[47] Getting started with Adobe After Effects: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/05/getting-started-with-adobe-after-effects-video-101/

[48] How to Create a Timelapse Movie: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/04/how-to-create-a-timelapse-movie-video-101/

[49] Preparing Your Gear for a Shoot: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/04/preparing-your-gear-for-a-shoot-video-101/

[50] Understanding Framing and Composition: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/04/understanding-framing-and-composition-video-101/

[51] Mastering Three-Point Lighting: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/04/mastering-three-point-lighting-video-101/

[52] How to Color Correct Your Videos: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/03/how-to-color-correct-your-videos/

[53] How to White Balance Your Camera: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/03/how-to-white-balance-your-camera-video-101/

[54] Learn to Hold Your Camera Like a Pro: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/03/learn-to-hold-your-camera-like-a-pro/

[55] The ABCs of Tripods: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/03/the-abcs-of-tripods-video-101/

[56] The Basics of Image Resolution: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/03/the-basics-of-image-resolution-video-101/

[57] Stop Shaky Camera Syndrome: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/02/stop-shaky-camera-syndrome-video-101/

[58] Editing with Windows Live Movie Maker: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/02/editing-with-windows-live-movie-maker-video-101/

[59] Editing with Apple iMovie: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/01/editing-with-apple-imovie-video-101/

[60] The Basics of Video Editing: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/01/the-basics-of-video-editing-video-101/

[61] How to Shoot Your Video: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/01/video-101-how-to-shoot-your-video/

[62] How to Choose a Camera: Video 101: http://www.onlinevideo.net/2011/01/video-101-how-to-choose-a-camera/

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