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Marlon "Pep" McDowell

After Effects Gallery

Adobe After Effects is the industry standard for special effects and other great video editing techniques. After Effects is so important to my workflow, I spend 60% of all my time working within this program, Here is a gallery of a few of my projects and a little detail about each.

Abrupt Title Drop

In 2019, I collaborated with a team of video producers on short titled, "Betta Late Than Never." Originally, my idea was to drop a big fish bowl in the middle of the lawn, but that would've been too on-the-nose.

 

I decided to utilize a 3D plugin within After Effects to present the title. When the title dropped, I wanted there to be some sort of acknowledgment that a huge impact took place. The title drops and the practical "For Sale" sign that was actually in the shot, bounces out of the ground and onto the lawn. To do this, I had to recreate a 3D version of the "For Sale" sign, as well as mask out the original. A huge gust of dust rises on impact, though I love to utilize Maxon Red Giant Trapcode Particular, I just went with a couple of stock .mov's of dirt and smoke, then modified the colors. At the bottom of the title, I grabbed a few stock images of grass and placed them around the exterior of the title.

Painted Concrete Caution Title

I was tasked with creating a trailer/ad video to raise awareness for self-defense seminars. It was important to me to convey a message, as well as leave the audience wanting more... and not only for entertainment purposes, but also wanting more information and wanting to sign up for these seminars. I also DP'd this project and remember a very specific shot that I captured. A police officer, placing an evidence marker near an expended shell casing. This was the perfect opportunity to make that impact because "What really happens after you rightfully protect yourself from harm? Do you go to jail? Do you run?" It forms a question and brings merit to the self-defense seminars.

 

I began with a 3D tracker and created a camera within After Effects. I then typed-out the question, "WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?" Matched it to the perspective of the camera and ground. Created a mask layer from the text, but I did not use the bare ground as texture. The texture was too raw to give off the proper tone of yellow (my favorite color), that I wanted to achieve.  I created the texture from the painted portion of the parking line, then formed the color of yellow I wanted to achieve and finished it off with a quick highlighted glow to capture the audience's attention.

Floating Balloon Title

In this music video, it was important for me to highlight the details of the song and promote it in a cool way through visual storytelling. The artist, Ashten, tasked me to direct and edit this music video to her song, "Shiiine." It is a great song about being a dreamer, but also loving the life that you already have; loving where you are and relishing in the moments. In this scene, she is portraying her real life role as a mother, the kitchen is in this whimsical state after a kid's birthday party and mom is left to clean it all up.

When I originally filmed this shot, it was to be an extended one shot, that lead into the first verse of the song. I had not contemplated a title, but when I noticed Ashten gave me the awesome, dramatic hand swing, I had a bright idea to add in a 3D balloon that she slaps to the ground, Firstly, I created the 3D model and texture within Blender and Adobe Photoshop. I tracked scene with a 3D camera tracker, added in the 3D model within After Effects and worked on the movements to make it float like an actual balloon. Matched the lighting of the 3D model with the scene, edited the animation almost frame by frame. Added in a shadow from Ashten's swing, more masking to hide the balloon behind the counter and the rest is history.

Back to the Future Light Speed Effect

When I first heard this song, I thought the beat was very futuristic, the artist, Drip Wave, is dressed like fashion statement and we have this futuristic, motorcycle, three-wheeled thingy lol. All jokes, aside, my creative juices began to flow. I love the classic music video where the artist is just reciting their song and all of their friend's and entourage are there in support, but for me, it is important that I always add in a... PEP Element. I directed the artist to pretend to drive the vehicle and recite lyrics at the same time.

 

I decided to mask out the background, this was a very tedious process because the video was shot in 2hrs, no time to properly plan or light scene and the subjects are very close to the same exposure and colors to the background. So... frame by frame, with a little trickery here and there, I masked out the background, added in a camera shake utilizing various tools within After Effects. Created a 3D motion graphic of flying light sabers and small emery or firey particles. I wanted to utilize different colors and make them similar to the Back to the Future theme. I placed the 3D motion graphic light project I created in the foreground and background, made a 3D camera for extra control and recreated this scene several times throughout the course of the music video.

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