A great short animation by Bran Dougherty-Johnson for Ji Lee’s Words as Image. Lots of great, subtle keyframing going on here. Bran was kind enough to answer a few questions which follow after the video…

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Motion League: How did you come into the project?

Bran Dougherty-Johnson: I actually came across a tweet by Ji Lee which was RT’ed by someone who works at AIGA. He was looking for an animator to work with. After taking a quick look at his portfolio, I responded, to see what he had in mind. Once he showed me the proof of the book, I remembered that I had actually used it as reference in an After Effects Class I taught at Pratt – to show my students how type could be design[ed] with motion in mind.

ML: Were you given any direction from Ji Lee, or were you free to create the animation as you saw fit?

BDJ: He had suggestions for some of the words and others I just came up with simple animation ideas for. We worked back and forth on the ideas, but it was a pretty quick process. Lots of them are dead simple, just a reveal, a rotation, falling, down, etc. Which is something I quite like – making things easy, apparent and legible.

Ml: Did you draw from any other sources of inspiration, or strictly the images from Ji Lee?

BDJ: Really just the book and the rules themselves. We didn’t really have anything else to go off of. The Marilyn one references the scene from Seven Year Itch and Vertigo references the Saul Bass title sequence from the Hitchcock film.

ML: There’s a lot of fluid, subtle animation in the piece. Is this all keyframed or were you using any expressions or scripts (which ones)?

BDJ: Everything is keyframed except for the Gravity animation. I did use a bounce expression on that.

ML: Sound design played an important role in the piece. Can you describe the process?

BDJ: Joel Pickard is a composer and sound designer I work with often. I handed off the Work-In-Progress to him and he sourced lots of effects. Ji and he worked closely on revisions and I stepped out of the way.

ML: Lastly, which word was your favorite to animate and why?

BDJ: I think Oil was. I love doing little fluid stuff and using masks. Probably should do something for myself using that technique.

Bran Dougherty-Johnson is a film-maker, animator and motion designer based in Shelter Island, NY. Challenge Your World, Coalition Of The Willing, Gel Conference Real Design Associates, Scion, The Webby Awards,Yo Gabba Gabba, and others.