after effects

Blend Fest 2017

By | after effects, brand, brand identity, design, design systems | No Comments

Blend Fest is an animation festival held biannually in Vancouver, BC. Over two days, guests hear talks by over a dozen award winning animators, directors, motion designers, and sound engineers. It is a place where animators and designers can come together under one roof to collaborate, improve skills, and geek out about keyframes. The festival was built out of love between four friends from Wine After Coffee – a vimeo channel that curates exceptional motion work. Lets get to it!

Here is festival opener, The Blend is Near, created by Oddfellows:

Whoa. Back up. Did you see that?Blend welcomed us all by including each attendee’s name in the title sequence. This gesture highlights how hospitable the festival was to us. From a branding standpoint, this was very powerful way to make a memorable experience.

Here are a few of my favorite speakers from the festival:

Justin Cone:

Justin was this year’s Blend host. You may have seen his contributions around the web in the form of a website called Motionographer. This site is a juicy pitstop with healthy helpings of animation, design, and storytelling. Thanks for keeping the show running smoothly!

Bee Grandinetti:

Bee Grandinetti is an independent designer, animator, and illustrator from Brazil. In 2015 Universal Everything commissioned Bee to create a 30 second animation loop based on the word “Shrink”. Her work was then projected mapped on the side of the Sydney Opera House. This living mural included work from 20 animation studios and animators. Check out Universal Everything’s documentation to see all animations on the Opera House.

Bee was also the lead designer and animator for this years Blend Fest branding. Before the festival stared, Blend asked each guest to create their own geometric avatar when signing up. Upon arrival, they gifted each one of us our very own physical avatar as a totem. Every single shape was cut, sanded, and hand-painted. These delightful keepsakes allow us to take a part of Blend with us wherever we go.

blend fest lanyard

One thing I really love about Bee is her gratitude. To help give back to the community, she uses her well-deserved recognition to spotlight other women animators.


Oddfellows is an award winning animation studio with offices in San Francisco and Portland. As a company created by animators, there were gaps in knowledge for running a business. They quickly realized this problem and reached out to other animation studios for advice. Luckily this tight knit community met them with warm welcomes. Competitors soon became allies in establishing best working practices for the community and began to help prop each other up. The big takeaway: ask for help if you need it. This is a community that loves to share and help others. Don’t forget to share your knowledge and offer help in return.

Because Oddfellows is a relatively new company, they had to hustle to get noticed. In one example, the studio was moved by the actions AirBnb hosts have done for their guests. They took this opportunity to reach out to AirBnb to propose a new project as a way to show their support for this messaging. After impressing the AirBnB team, Oddfellows was hired for additional work.

Erica Gorochow

“Originality is a by-product of authenticity”. Erica Gorochow, also known as Pep Rally, is an independent director, animator, and designer in Brooklyn. One wise piece of advice she shared with us was, “If you have an idea for a self-initiated project, cut it in half. Then cut it in half again. That is your project.” This rule lead her to create VoteGif, the website with a simple task to let voters know registration deadline for each state. She then animated characters for each state and rendered them in very easy to share gifs.

Erica also directed Dear Europe, a highly acclaimed video about the then-upcoming European elections in hopes to educate voters on the lessons learned through Brexit and the US Election. This collaborative video included over 20 animators to help drive the message of unification.

John Black

Sound accounts for half the picture. John Black, aka CypherAudio, is a sound designer and original music creator. This award winning music artist has created work for Apple, Google, Nike, and dozens of others including Blend Fest. The beautiful CypherAudio brand identity was designed by Worship Studio.


Animade is a London based multidisciplinary studio that creates animation, games, and interactive sites. They talked about the importance of internal studio projects. It’s a way for them to practice, experiment, fail, learn, foster studio culture, give themselves a place to play, and help gain attention from potential clients. If there is studio downtime, employees pull ideas (most often puns) out of a box and animate it. Animade has grown quite popular online as they share those animation collections on social channels. These small ideas sometimes morph into much larger aspects of client work, thus further funding additional studio projects.

One of my favorite studio projects is Party Pooper, a web experiment game where your character tries to poop the party.  It pushes the boundaries of SVG animation by utilizing Bodymovin‘ (you’re welcome). NOTE: watch this video AFTER you play Party Pooper for yourself! 

Additionally, Animade showed off another studio project called Boords. They designed a system that makes creating storyboards quick and easy. They are now releasing it to the rest of the world.

Sander van Dijk

Sander co-founded Blend festival. He is a big talent with an even larger heart. Anyone that has ever crossed paths with Sander will know how genuine and passionate he is. His style utilizes simple geometric shapes, bold color, and wicked transitions. This type of thinking is great for companies trying to push a flexible branding ecosystem.

Sander has an extraordinary work philosophy – making a conscious choice on who to work with. After leaving his dream job at Buck, he began to work with companies that have a better vision for the world. The path to get there is simple, work with companies that inspire you. Creating this work helps companies you support gain traction and succeed. “Following your dreams will require a change in life, but if anyone can make a transition it’s motion designers.” Below is an interview with animation podcast, Animalators:

Along with this inspirational mindset, he has developed a unique workflow and released tools to empower others. For example, check out his Ray Dynamic Texture plugin which allows texturing shape layers with just a few clicks:


Design studio Illo is run by power partners Ilenia Notarangelo and Luca Gonnelli. Their talk was broken up into 3 parts: Sharing a desk with your partner, sharing your desk with your team, and sharing your desk with a robot. Illo are as charming as they come. Frequently referencing their love for pizza, they discussed the challenges of working with your partner, the importance of valuing diversity (7 of 11 employees are women), and how they were able to create over 200 videos for The 2016 Rio Olympics–all while on vacation.

“Keyframes are overrated. Better use code.” Among the design work they do, Illo created an algorithm named Algo they continually work with. Building this AI has allowed them to use real-time data to generate videos all within a few seconds. They have also utilized Algo for Italian soccer league Serie A and the S&P500 daily video recaps for Bloomberg.

Andrew Kramer

Andrew Kramer is the After Effects godfather. He is notably recognized for creating After Effects tutorials under the name Video Copilot. Anyone in the motion discipline can tell you they have learned from him. After many years of teaching us his secrets, he went on to develop plugins for the community and started creating visual effects for blockbuster titles such as Star Trek and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Andrew talked about the challenges of working on massive projects while maintaining a healthy relationship with his family. “With today’s software and hardware anyone can make some something – the real issue is actually having a good idea.” Thanks for sharing your heartfelt story, Andrew. And now, another very exciting tutorial.

Tips & Tricks

Sprinkled throughout the conference were short 2 minute sessions of tips and tricks. Here are some amazing tips you can try in your workflow:

Sarah Beth Hulver: Masking a texture

Zak Tietjen: Parallax Rig (everyone at the conference let out an audible gasp after hearing Zak share his tip)

Vucko: A tip for writing on notes

Kyle Martinez: Rubberhose

Animalators: live at Blend Fest 2017 with Andrew Kramer, Patrick Osborne and Erica Gorochow:

List of speakers:
Host – Justin Cone of Motionographer
Andrew Kramer
Bee Grandinetti
Carson Ting
Erica Gorochow
John Black
Patrick Osborne
Robert Valley
Sander Van Dijk
Tuna Bora
Thank you Blend!

Looking back at 2015

By | after effects, design, gergwerk, multi touch, multi touch interface, portfolio, Seattle, Stimulant, touch screen, typography, Video, website, website design | No Comments

2015 was a very challenging year. There were many experiences that took me out of my comfort zone. Although difficult, these milestones have allowed me to challenge myself and grow in new ways. Lets take a look back at 2015!

This first project is one I am very honored and proud to have had the opportunity to work on. It was my privilege to design a projection-mapped real-time data visualization for The One World Trade Center in NYC. This 65ft x 16ft (20m x 5m) projection is the first thing visitors see when they walk into the building. This was the first time I utilized Cinema4D to create the visuals. In case you missed it, take a look at my visual and motion design process.
Image by Edward Blake.
One World Observatory lobby projectionone world trade center lobby wall designIt wasn’t long until the Millionth visitor arrived!_
Genentech Lobby Wall: Stimulant built an interactive system for the lobbies of Genentech buildings that would increase employee engagement and feature a wide variety of content. The system blends content from Genentech’s intranet, social media feeds, and building energy statistics. I produced many of the visual designs early on this project.
Image by Stimulant.Genentech Interactive Lobby Display_
AM / PM design: making back ends pretty.  This dashboard allows us to easily manage apps.   gergwerk ampm design gergwerk ampm designHere is what AM / PM used to look like:ampm-screenshot-oldLogo design Process gergwerk ampm logo process_
This year I did a major re-haul of the Gerg Werk branding and website design (although it’s safe to say you’ve already gazed upon it if you’re reading this). View the process post here.mackbook-mockup-02 gergwerk type card Gerg Werk Resume_
Save the date and wedding invites design. View the full work here. gergwerk-savethedate-2015 gergwerk-savethedate02-2015 gergwerk-savethedate03-2015_
World Famous: Produced a range of animation-ready illustration elements. Here is a small snippet of the styles I created:gergwerk style framesDigital Kitchen: I had to opportunity to work with Digital Kitchen as a freelance creative for a few months. Unfortunately due to Non Disclosure Agreements I can’t show any of the work I completed. While here, I brainstormed and conceptualized many innovative ideas for interactive installations, worked on high-profile projects, produced detailed graphic designs, and composited designs in real-world environments. Additionally, I assisted creating client-ready presentations.

Tectonic: While working here, I collaborated closely with the team to rebrand a high-profile company. Our design system scales between television, web, and mobile devices. Due to NDA, I’m unable to show this work.

One World Observatory lobby projection

One World Observatory Process Post

By | after effects, design, gergwerk, graphic user interface, gui, information architecture, photoshop, portfolio, process, Stimulant, Uncategorized | No Comments

Now that the One World Trade Center is officially open, I can talk a little about my process for creating the designs! This project marks the first time I used Cinema 4D to create the visuals. The look of the water, map, globe, lighting, and pins were all created in C4D, while the typography and stat designs were created in Photoshop. Below is the breakdown of my process.
one world observatory, one world trade center, dataviz, infographic, design, nyc_
Process Design:
Experimenting using Cinema 4D to create a quick topography. cinema 4d pin test_
Depth Maps:
Once narrowing down a good thickness and spacing for the pins, I used two depth maps to create the continents and ripples. A depth map is an informational image that changes the height between planes, all based on black, white, and grey values. White areas indicate where sections of the image will be raised up and black areas will remain lower. The ‘depth map for continents’ raises areas to create continents and the ‘depth map for pin ripples’ lifts elevations around Brazil, Europe, and Japan. Pro Tip: any area that is not 100% black or 100% white will cause the elevation in that area to be somewhere in between the highest and lowest point. In this case, our ‘pin ripple’ depth map is smooth gradient so the elevation falls off smoothly, causing cone-like shapes. depth map explination examples_
Visual Design:
Starting to add color, creating a low poly texture for the faceted oceans, and testing out placement of lights. In this rendering I’m using powerful lighting techniques called global illumination and ambient occlusion. This brings me to a very important point. If your graphics are going to be built to run in real time by a developer, work with them early in the project to make sure designs can be replicated in code. Cinema 4D is capable of very complex lighting, but there are a lot of cases when you can’t replicate it in code due to hardware and software constraints. In some instances, these effects can be replicated but it will drastically cut the frame rate in the build. Always consult your developers! After making these renders and talking with our developer Joel, I learned some of these lighting techniques aren’t practical for apps that are generated in real time. cinema 4d render of the worldcinema 4d render detail cropLighting and camera setup. High school photography classes for the win!gergwerk-One World Observatory process lightingGlobe view. The mountainous areas represent where most guests are visiting from since the opening of One World Observatory. To get this effect, I went back to using our good ol’ depth map technique.globe depth mapLastly, I created a nebula-like background using Trapcode Form in After Effects. This will be tweaked and placed behind the globe for the big transition reveal.nebula test after effects using trapcode form_
Final Design (black space represents a hallway). Graphics were created in Cinema 4d, After Effects, and composited in Photoshop. Click images for larger detail:
01-oww-map-render-full-r403 gergwerk-oneWorld-06_
Motion Graphic studies: Now that the designs are signed off from the client, it’s time to give the visuals some movement.

These first animations are tests for the stat ribbon. Stats update in real time based on live data being collected when tickets are scanned. While creating motion studies, I like to produce one direction with lots of complex movement and a second that is much more restrained. This allows our developers to start building the simpler version and add in additional flair if there is time.

Once tickets are scanned, country of origin labels will populate on the map. Some of these animations transition on at a harsh angle as a way to continue the faceted design language.

This is the Welcome Wall animation (area above the hallway) that greets visitors in a variety of foreign languages. These languages update in real time based on where people are visiting from. To continue with the OWO faceted design language, angular shapes and sharp shines reveal and hide images as a transitional approach.

And that’s it! I feel honored to have been a part of such a grand experience. I will leave you with an image taken by a visitor of the One World Observatory.  To see the portfolio page for this project visit: Au revoir!One World Observatory data wall by Edward BlakeImage by Edward Blake
Client:  Hettama Group // Legends
Agency: Stimulant

Stimulant credit list:
Design Director: Nathan Moody
Art Director: Jules Konig
Design Lead // Motion Designer: Gregory Kaufman
Technical Lead: Joel Pryde

Project Manager: Julie Yamato
Quality Assurance Lead: Aron Schoppert

multi touch light table

By | ac slater, after effects, aniki, czr, deadmau5, dj, dj culture, electro, fidget, gergwerk, graphic user interface, gui, illustrator, multi touch, multi touch interface, photoshop, udachi | 6 Comments

initial sketchesgergwerk-mtlt-process-02gergwerk-mtlt-process-03_
Paper prototypes for scale and arrangement purposesgerg werk multi touch table project process_
Instruments change shape depending on what hand gestures you use. the tools evolve with the dj gerg werk multi touch table project process_
Because each dj has a different method of playing music, each shape is unique to him or her. their table becomes personal.gerg werk multi touch table project process

Stills from the video01vinyl turntablesmixer, side by side, mutli touch light tablevolume, side by side, mutli touch light tablegerg werk, mutli touch light tablegerg werk, mutli touch light table

summer internships

By | after effects, baylor college of medicine, design, internship, typography, vt2 | No Comments

Over the summer I was able to use dip my hand in a variety of internships. I don’t feel like typing much (and considering my eyes hurt from reading so much type on screen), so let your eye balls relax and enjoy the work.

ok i lied. the very first small things I will show are personal experiments using after effects. short, but cool indeed. first one uses gestalt in motion.

the second is the same technique appropriated to something more practical. look mom– i’m linking content, not web pages! now that’s what I call web 2.0!


vt2 envelope

I can’t release the complete cd layout until it’s officially released. My co-worker Dan from vt2 will send me a copy. so until then, these are some of the elements i created for the design

final design/illustration stills for animation spot

organize, edit content, replace elements within e-poster

intern work from Baylor College of Medicine –

web banners

chapter layout for textbook

layout annual newsletter. I might add my photograph was published on the back page!

layout and illustrations for another newsletter