Strings Of Life

Once I'd finished on a Blue Note inspired alternate cover for this rousing house classic, my plan to animate something quick to go along with it quickly snowballed into an almighty mess of a project.

First I edited the tune to a managable length, made a rough animatic to get some camera moves down and to work out how many violin stabs/attacks there are (23), which got me to the end of the build-up.

Next, the keys have to be arranged a particular way if I want to animate them.  There's 3 main types of white key, which need to be arranged in a set manner as real pianos are, and then the black keys have to sit into each space between the keys.  Eventually I got it to work out for me, it took a couple of days coming back to it every now and again - I'd be lying if I said this part was fun or a joy to learn, as it absolutely sucked.

If you're going to animate a piano, it's got to look the part and this was a total ballache, as I can't play the piano. I found a YT tutorial, compressed to 144P with 1982 graphics quality, on how to play Strings of Life, so I copied the keys I think the guy played and eventually, managed to line it up. Not a fucking chance of getting some cool automated setting with a sound effector to animate the keys, or doing it with a noise layer, or even a Wild West style piano punch sheet. All keyframed. Luckily, that piano break is only 11 seconds long, and it loops *relatively* easily.

And then there was the rendering. Using Redshift on 2 x Titan X and 1 x 980Ti, most frames took 60-90s each, so overall, it took aaages, with several shots needing re-rendering, of course.  Or for some other shots, I only worked out I needed them at the editing point.

Compositing, not so difficult. I added stock dust and smoke instead of doing it via 3D as that would've taken way longer to set up and render - and I'm still working out how I can do that with X-Particles.. 

Anyway, glad it's over and done with for now...
mograph, c4d, redshift, after effects, motion design, strings of life, house music, 1987, techno, animation, jazz, blue note, groove, keyboard, rhyhim is rhythim, transmat, detroit, derrick may
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