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Bill the Butcher Kinetic Typography

For one of the assignments, I decided to create a kinetic typography video from Martin Scorsese’s film Gangs of New York, where Bill “the Butcher” Cutting, played by Daniel Day-Lewis, delivers a chilling speech. I love kinetic typography videos, so I thought I’d jump in. The first thing I learned when starting this assignment is that kinetic typography views are very, very hard to make. So I shortened the speech as much as I could within reason, and set to work using After Effects. The film takes place in the 1860s in Five Points, New York, so I wanted it to look a bit like an old 1800s newspaper. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be (if it were possible, I’d rate this assignment 10 stars), but it was a lot of fun to mess around with the different possibilities.

Ken Robinson HG Wells Quote – Kinetic Typography


This may be the hardest assignment yet, and perhaps all semester. The video assignment naturally includes audio and illustration so the time required for a successful assignment is huge. I picked the “Kinetic Typography” assignment from the DS106 assignment bank. I was inspired by the Sherlock Holmes example on the landing page for the assignment. I’ve also been inspired all semester by animations and it seems half of my critiques this semester have been on animated shorts. My choice in subject matter directly relates to my theme ‘the importance of creative arts in education,’ and my scholarship with the works of Ken Robinson. I just downloaded his latest book this week as an mp3 that I can listen to while I work. Needless to say his well-spoken narrative voice is ringing in my head.

Thumbnail Concept

Creative Process

I first created a very rough sketch, also known as a ‘thumbnail’ to get my mind moving in the right direction. This sketch only took 3-5 minutes and the purpose of it is for intrinsic value. I usually don’t share things like this with clients but other designers and artists, maybe. The point is to solve the problem by drawing it out and finding intrinsic value before jumping into more complex and time consuming art.

Next, I used Adobe Illustrator to create a large illustration of the entire animation and elements (on separate layers) as I saw them in my head. Before doing this I watched all of the intro tutorial videos to learn how to use Adobe After Effects. Much like the audio assignment, I am completely new to the software and knowledge required to create successfully. I have created simple animations for games UI in Adobe Flash before but never AE. And I have never created an illustrated animation like this so there was definitely some learning curve. Once I finished the animation, I really feel like I can easily navigate, create, and manipulate video elements in AE. Overall, the assignment was really rewarding. I would have liked to do more animations, but it takes time to make buildings pop out of a planet and for jet planes to race text past an opening book with an illuminated light bulb igniting the wick to a catastrophic explosion!

Illustration Inspired Animation

Kinetic Hand Luke

I tried my hand poorly a few weeks ago at the ds106 Kinetic Typography assignment. There is a reason maybe only 3 or 4 people have braved this one.

Kinetic typography (“moving text”) is an animation technique that allows a creative entrepreneur to mix text and motion. Your job is to take a speech or bit of dialog (try audiobooks, movies, TV shows, etc.) and animate it like this example from Sherlock Holmes. Consider how you could visually enforce the speech’s underlying themes… or subvert them. Be creative!

Without too much fanfare, and a nood to my fellow ds106ers who dig Cool Hand Luke, the classic line by Strother Martin’s aptly named character “Captain”, but more with the lines around it. The whole thing of putting people in their perceived places? What we have here…

I got hooked on thie film a year ago, and did a minimalist poster as well as a Macguffin. It’s just a classic on many fronts, and not just for Paul Newman’s larger than life performance, but many others in the mix. “A night in the box”?

I really fumbled around with this in Adobe After Affects. I swore I had the full version on my old Mac, since I had the CSS 5 full suite, but apparently in some fit of file cleaning, I sapped some key files, and it would not load. So I went for the student approach, the 30 day trial run.

While I ought to give a full blown process run down. I watched a few tutorials, and got the key tip on control scrubbing the audio to match the word entrance. After Effects is not for the feint of software. There are so many settings, effects (duh) and ways you can put key frames and ween things. I did not get as far as playing with the typing effects or the camera effects, so it was pretty much popping the words up in sync with the sound. I did a few position tweens, some with a box blur effect.

It was alos a fumble fest with rendering it. But I bulled through it, and now have some awareness of when I might reach for this large hammer again.

Some men you just can’t reach.

Maybe because they are fiddling with key frames or lost in renderland.

Not so kinetic typography

This is some seriously time-consuming stuff. And I still don’t have it right.

I did this in AfterEffects, which I had never used before. I started out by trying to follow this tutorial, but things weren’t working as planned. So I scrapped it, and this morning tried using this one, which worked a little better. I couldn’t get the sound to play when using the scrubber, so I made the audio waveform visible and tried to align the word with that. Still needs tweaking, but I’m putting it out there as is for now.

Several years ago, I was out in a local tavern with some friends on St. Patrick’s Day. They had a dj spinning vinyl for the occasion. I made my way through the crowd and asked the dj if he had this song. When it came on, most of the bar started dancing to it – most of them were old enough to recognize the song. My crew knew it from the torture scene in Reservoir Dogs. Realizing that I was responsible for this, one of my friends turned to me and said, “You’re sick, Paul.”

Kinetic Typography


One of my all time favorite superheros is Jean Grey from X Men. She has telepathic and telekinetic abilities and is considered to be one of the most powerful in the mutant world. So here is a GIF of her flirting with Scott. https://media.giphy.com/media/xhU7RAjd5Bk5O/giphy.

I’m actually a superhero

Shaboo1 copy (1)

For this assignment called Cartoon You (worth 3 and a half stars), we had to render a cartoon version of ourselves. This gave me the chance to make myself (and my dogs) superheros because, to be honest I do not lead an interesting life. So let me introduce you to my alter-ego: FIREBLOOD!


As a young child, a girl named Samantha was abandoned by her parents. As she traveled the country side she found refuge in a traveling circus where a Master knife thrower named Shabazz took her in and raised her as his own. As the years rolled on, and the circus moved from town to town, Shabazz taught his daughter to master the art of throwing knives. Samantha was close with all the circus animals, but none more so than two mixed breed canines that no one else wanted. One night when the circus was camped on the outskirts of Washington DC, Samantha and her two canine friends decided to go on a walking tour away from the circus. Unbeknownst to them, local thugs decided to attack the circus to steal exotic animals for sale. the thugs were confronted by Shabazz who defended the animals and other circus workers with all the fury of a protective father. As Samantha and her dogs returned to the circus they found it under attack from thugs who were also burning everything in site. Samantha searched desperately for Shabazz, eventually finding him near a burning tent full of cleaning supplies and other cleaning materials. As she and the dogs attempted to pull Shabazz to safety, the tent exploded, sending chemicals in all directions covering her and her dogs. Samantha had never felt such pain, every part of her body seemed to be on fire, her last memory before passing out was seeing her dogs laying on the ground surrounded by a mysterious glow. Samantha remained unconscious for several days in a local hospital. When she awoke, she learned of the death of her adopted father and mentor. Not knowing how to react, she fled the hospital and returned to where the remains of the circus were. Finding Shabazz’s knives, she began to throw them as a means of dealing with rage, guilt, and grief. As she threw the knives , she noticed that for some reason that when the hit target they would burst into flame. It was at this time that her two trusty canines also had found their way back to the circus. They too have been affected by the explosion. Both seem to have the ability to communicate with Samantha telekinetically. She learned that one could shoot heat wives out of his eyes and she named him InfraRed. The other had gained the ability to see UltraViolet rays to aid the location into seeing missing objects or people. Samantha renamed herself FireBlade and with her two canine friends set out to seek justice against those who have destroyed her home and killed her adoptive father.

(Disclaimer: Yeah none of this happened to me in real life.)


Okay, so I could drone on and on about my superhero abilities (or lack there of), I really want to explain how I brought this character to life by Photoshop. At first, I drew out my little superhero and her sidekicks and proceeded to scan it into Photoshop CS2 ( it’s outdated, I know).

I’m going to list out the steps to using Photoshop with coloring in my picture

Photoshop steps to coloring it in:

1.) To darken the black outline I went to Image> Adjustments>Levels. A slider is shown, and you either slide it right for the black to appear darker or left for it to appear more faint.

2.) After that is done, I than went to the Channels panel and took out all of the white by pressing Delete and Control+D in the first Background layer, this allows the image to be transparent.

3.) Then I adjusted the image mode from gray scale to RGB (to enable me to color it in) by Image> Mode> RGB.

4.) I then created a new layer and renamed it “skin” and did this for every detail of the picture and so on. With each layer the image can be colored with a brush tool without affecting the other layers.

Sound Effects Story: Flydragon

ds106 Sound Effects Story Audio Assignment

Source Files

‘dragon wings.wav’ by vedas

‘screams_02.wav’ by studiorat

‘Goblin Cackle.wav’ by spookymodem

‘Smashing-glass’ by CosmicEmbers

‘FireBurning_v2.wav’ by pcaeldries

‘flamewind.wav’ by scarbelly25

‘DRAGON_ROAR.wav’ by JoelAudio

‘Dragon Land’ by Cyberkineticfilm

‘Open a long neck beer bottle with coast / beer mat plop’ by michaelkohler

‘Foley Bluebottle Fly.WAV’ by jamesrodavidson







What is that you say? An attempt at kinetic typography haha http://assignments.ds106.us/assignments/kinetic-typography/ This was one of the most complicated things that I’ve done and it’s only 16 seconds -_- Well the hardest part was trying to use Adobe After Effects on my laptop, probably would’ve run better on a desktop. But what I did.. I [...]