by KirstinBaxter on 6 May 2021 for Rookie Awards 2021

A short film combining 2D animated characters and motion graphics to tell the story of a mushroom falling to Earth before undergoing transformations to an ape, human, alien and then mushroom again, all while exploring themes of creation, evolution, destruction.

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Anthropocene - Final Video

The Brief:

I first heard about ‘Anthropocene’ when two audio students also studying at SAE Sydney pitched their album of the same name to us animation students in hopes of finding someone to create a visual accompaniment for their album. What was presented to me was a spectacular story of a psychedelic mushroom falling to Earth, before transforming into an ape, a human, an alien and then mushroom again, all while exploring compelling remarks on creation, evolution and destruction. Immediately I knew this was something I had to be a part of, and so began my journey with ‘Anthropocene’.

My Ideation & Creative Journey:

My ideation began as an exploration of style and colour. Not far into this process, did it become abundantly clear to me that this was a project that required a bright, expressive colour palette and striking composition. This led me to choose the vivid purples, turquoises and yellows that are so ample in the project, as well as the psychedelic warped patterns that appear in almost every shot. It was here that I also made the decision to incorporate flat, block colours and shapes for the backgrounds, using a noise filter on top to appear more stylish.

After the initial ideation stage I moved on to storyboarding and rough animatics. This was a crucial stage in production, both in clearly conveying my vision to the audio students, but also so I could solidify my ideas. During this phase I worked hard to establish the personality of the characters, pacing and the tonal shifts throughout the piece.

I created the 2D animated gifs of the characters in Photoshop, before compositing it with motion graphics in After Effects to bring the project to life. To create the motion graphics I used a large variety of tools, both new and old to me, mostly including colour correction and hue animation, masking, 3D cameras, repeater tools, turbulent displacement, mesh warps and stylisation effects such as adding glow and noise. 

Creating ‘Anthropocene’ has been an incredibly rewarding experience. My proficiency in all the softwares I used has improved to levels I never would’ve expected to reach in such a short duration of time. As a result, I’ve never been more confident in my technical and creative skills, or more motivated to continue creating stylish, innovative motion graphics. 

Special thanks to Brad White & Tom Hummel for the audio

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