article by Frank Hellenkamp
For the same band, that we already had the privilege to do the packaging for, we have now created a video. The video is based entirely on photo material and on the illustrations that were already used for the booklet. The animation was implemented in flash and then exported as a video.
The starting sequence
The video starts with a 16:9 variation of the cover photo of the album. Then the illustrated dream elements come to life, a white surface replaces the “real” background and the “protagonist” of the video sets foot in the dreamworld:
She has some encounters with other characters (a neighbour, a man who is giving a child a good telling-off, a few camels, Oscar's tin drum, the love of her life whom she has to leave behind with a heavy heart, ...). On the way she falls over a few times until she finally learns to fly.
The characters are all implemented on the basis of illustrations that were scanned and then vectorised. Finally they were animated using the bone-tool that was introduced in Flash CS4.
The bone-tool was initially somewhat difficult to get used to. First we tried to construct the whole figure as a shape and then to superimpose the skeleton. That didn't work very well because Flash shows some unaesthetic cutting edges when an object is strongly deformed or when parts of the same shape begin to overlap.
In the final implementation the characters were subdivided into individual MovieClips that were then made alive with the bonetool. It is important first to decide on the most essential ledger (in our case the shoulder region on which the head is seated) and then to let all bones to start from this point.The display of the bones is not always very intuitive because the bones are only positioned as far as the last pivot point and not until the end of the element that is being moved.
Due to the fact that only photos were available for the video and no video material, some small movements were realized using a morphing tool.
We first had to choose the relevant points in each image. The plugin then calculated the images, that were again used for the animation in flash. And so Mark, the pianist and Christian, the drummer nod their heads simultaneously to the beat.
However, the movement of the eyes was implemented without morphing. These are simple cross-fades within flash.
In my opinion, one of the nicest sequences is the farewell scene. In this scene, that takes place literally in the head of the singer, our protagonist says farewell to her loved one. When he disappears, she waves to him while she gradually strikes roots and her arms begin to move like branches in the wind.
Her head then becomes a planet of its own, in which our protagonist continues her journey until he loses the ground beneath her feet and falls into infinity. Everything he has experienced floats past him until he finally learns to fly.