I was commissioned by GitHub to illustrate and animate a lesson learned by a leadership team member. They provided me a story of an LT that recalled a quick decision to skydive with a coworker and what he learned from that experience. The visuals were completely left to me to illustrate along with a few interview clips to break up the scenes. Here is what I came up with and delivered along with my process.

* Note: The Voice Over is turned off due to an NDA with the client.
(You can see the story line in the storyboard below)


I began the project with a set of style frames mostly focused on the first sequence to develop the look and feel. The intro was tough to visualize what the protagonist was saying, so I went more conceptual. We first zoom into his mind and as abacus is performing calculations to access the risks, then the strings break and the beads fall into an hourglass turning into sand. One of the beads morphs into a skydiver and he continues to fall into 
the abyss.
The intro scene was the speaker doing risk calculations inside his head and illustrating a quick decision to skydive. 
I find its more efficient to draw and color in Illustrator instead of Photoshop. After refining the sketch in Photoshop or Procreate, I prefer drawing the clean art in Illustrator on the iPad. When the base art is complete, I move to the desktop reduce all path points to a minimum and organize the layers. Then I can select the shape and push them into After Effects with a plugin called Overlord. Now I have full control over the artwork with the path information. This is really helpful because I can adjust or change any of the artwork at any point in the process. If the art was colored in photoshop, I would have to redraw layers to make changes. You also wouldn't have the flexibility of animating the paths and would have to manipulate layers with puppet pins to change the form.
In the final stage of animating the scenes, I make a "Joysticks n' Sliders" head rig to add some more movement to the characters. The skydivers are arms are rigged in and IK system using "Duik", then added the head rigs to the body.
Some of the characters are rigged in an "FK" style parent chain. Then I would animate the limbs with looping keyframes or sinewave expression.
The rest of the characters are set up with the limbs rigged in the "Duik" IK system and attached to the torso.
A couple scenes needed more than what a 2D AE rig could do. I certainly didn't have time to for all the steps to build a classic cell scene. I quickly roughed out a fall in photoshop and imported the sketches to after effects. Then, tweaked the positioning and spacing and created shape layers over the sketches. The ending action was only two seconds, but this really helped push the scene further.
I'm really happy with how these final frames in After Effects turned out. I think it achieved an out of this world look with a grainy effect stack and rich gradients for a deep saturated surreal look.

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