In order to produce a video like this...


What tool would you use? Flash? Or there's a better tool?



Never used After Effects myself, but I suspect it would be just as easy in a 3D program such as Maya ($$$), Blender (free/open-source), etc. You'd just have to create images for the text, etc., set up a camera, and then animate the camera and the movement of the images. Something like this would take an experienced person about five days to make, with most of the time being necessary due mostly to the sheer number of objects that need to be added and animated.

In fact, if you look at the grass and the house swapping their z-order (due to rotation) at 1:24, you can clearly see that this was done in a 3D environment. Though it wouldn't narrow it down in terms of figuring out what exact piece of software they used to make it, it definitely proves that they're working in a 3D environment, animating a camera and rotating flat rectangles that are textured with images of text, logos, etc.

Doing this in Maya would be a rather simple process: draw the end goal image where all of the little bits add up to the Darth Vader picture, come up with a script & storyboard that would show the flow of animation, acquire all of the images (there's lots of them), create a lot of image planes and load the images into the images, and put them into position. Create a camera, animate the camera, do a test render. Animate the shown/hidden properties of the image planes, making them pop up as the camera passes, and do another test render. Then simply animate the rotation/scale of each image plane, making it rotate/scale/distort as soon as it is shown.. At the very end, you can traverse all of the nodes with MEL and animate their shader nodes to go from full color to only black. Put simply, it's not rocket science. Anyone with even a little 3D experience could make this. The process should be very similar in Blender, which is free.

I don't know if Maya/Blender are better suited than AE for doing this, but they're very capable and I doubt that it could be any easier in AE. The difficulty in making a video like this comes almost exclusively from the volume of objects/keyframes required.

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  • You're right, Maya could be used to do this kind of thing, but it would be a bit like using an aircraft carrier to go fishing. As you point out, it would be necessary to build a boatload of objects, add the text and graphics as textures, and manipulate from there. AE is not a 3D authoring tool, but nothing in the example video uses truly 3D objects; they are simply animated in 3D space, which is very easy to do in AE. So, definitely easier in AE and quite a bit quicker. The example certainly has the look of an AE project. – Alan Gilbertson Jun 4 '11 at 18:04
  • FWIW, it wasn't me that downvoted you... lol... apparently someone out there disagrees with using AE for this type of video... wish we had their input on the matter, but they just left us with up/down votes and no comments. :P – Michael Jun 5 '11 at 0:45

While you could certainly do this kind of thing in Flash, After Effects, in combination with Illustrator and Photoshop, would be a much better tool. Cueing and synchronizing audio for this kind of project, not to mention a number of the motion and color effects, is considerably more complicated in Flash than in AE.

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Alan's answer, while technically correct, is misleading because it makes it sound like Flash is a viable option here. Using Flash for video work is simply foolish; you definitely want to use After Effects.

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  • It is possible to do in Flash. Not sensible, but possible. Don't be snooty. – Alan Gilbertson Jun 4 '11 at 17:34
  • The question was "what is the best technology for this." It's not snooty to answer the question. I use Flash a lot and After Effects barely ever; I like Flash a lot for the work I do but I'm not about to recommend it for video work. – jhocking Jun 4 '11 at 18:28
  • The snooty part wasn't answering; it was embroidering the answer. The question specifically asked about Flash, which is why I mentioned it. Turning that into "... makes it sound like Flash is a viable option ..." is at best obtuse, at worst deliberately offensive. I chose "snooty," because it certainly came across that way. – Alan Gilbertson Jun 5 '11 at 17:26

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