Creating an Animated Stinger

DFurt Film Animated Stinger
An animated stinger I designed for my small business, DFurt Films.

Animated stinger

Content creators love animated stingers. Most television, Youtube, Twitch, and Vimeo channels include an animated stinger to introduce a content creator’s brand. This week, I was inspired to create my own animated stinger for my small business, DFurt Film. I had an original logo but realized the need to create an animated logo.

I found creating the logo difficult for my brand. I am a content creator, yet I specialize in many different formats, film, digital illustration, and animation. While creating this logo, I didn’t want to create a logo that used a prop, tool, or artifact from the industry. I feel like those types of logos are overdone, and I wanted something different. The one consistent thing about my work is that I get my creative strength from my mustache.

In my research, I found many logos developed with bold continuous lines and knew I wanted to use my Adobe Illustrator skills to try that style of logo creation.

Line drawn logos

Mihai Dolganiuc’s logo for his Youtube channel is excellently crafted. I love the color palette and love the simplicity of the animation.

Designer Lucas Fields produced this beautiful logo and animated it by the animation team, Shake. I love the energy, colors, and animated lines. If you’re curious about how this is made, it all boils down to animating the end time of paths in Adobe After Effects.

This animation produced by Fede Cook is so simple yet so amazing. I love the trim path effect used on this in Adobe After Effects. I attempted to create my animation with trim paths but lacked Fede’s skill and experience in this animation.

This logo designed by IG user: @Savastoic reminds me that simple lines can create beautiful and simple images. This octopus logo is tremendous and got me thinking about using imagery for my logo instead of text.

This pear illustration solidified my approach to this project. I absolutely love the continuous lines, and they gave me the courage to attempt my own continuously drawn logo. Huge shoutout to Studio 8 for this design!

Technical Process

My animated stinger requires three steps to animate this project.

Step 1 Create the Logo

I used Adobe Illustrator to develop the continuous line drawn mustache. The pen tool was responsible for the outline of the mustache. I digitally traced an image I sketched on a Moleskine book.

A rudimentary sketch of the logo in my Moleskine notebook.
A vector version of the graphic.

Step 2: Create the Animated Elements

I used the pen tool to create a line with a 60 point stroke and then the blend tool to create two bars. I offset them a bit and included a set of white bars behind the colored bars.

The animated effects feature three sets of colorful bars.

Step 3: Animation Process

Initially, I had intended to animate the paths of the mustache in Adobe After Effects. In my process, I couldn’t get it to work as I envisioned. I ended animating the logo in Adobe Animate, using the mustache as a mask, adding movement to the colored bars, adding easing effects, and then repeating the process for the text. I know I could do this in Adobe After Effects, but I opted to export the logo as a GIF.

I’m still frustrated why we still can’t export as GIFs in Adobe After Effects…

Other Inspiration

Once again, Liz Blazer and her book Animated Storytelling was pivotal in the success of this project. Liz discusses in great detail the different types of techniques animators can utilize to tell their stories. Liz highlights the need to understand the techniques used to animate a project and cautions animators from constantly using the style and technique they are most comfortable with.

Experimentation is crucial for animators, and designers need to explore the variety of techniques available. Animators can also use still images or video footage to draw reference images from. Animation techniques include:

  • Handdrawn: animation that derives from drawing individual frames.
  • 2D Stop Motion: Using a camera to capture phsyical elements on a flat surface.
  • 3D Stop Motion: Using a camera to capture a 3d object moving throughout a space.
  • 2D CGI: Flat Animation created by the use of digital software such as Adobe After Effects, Adobe Animate.
  • 3D CGI: 3D animation developed by software such as Maya, or Blender.

12 Principles of Animation

I also found inspiration from Disney’s 12 Principles of Animation. The principles dictate how to develop an animation that is more realistic and engaging for audiences. In the animation that I created, it was important for me to embrace the following principles. While I won’t dig into all 12 principles, I wanted to share three principles that helped inspire my thought process on my stinger.

Squash and Stretch

This principle demonstrates the effect of gravity on a character. When something moves, it should adjust to indicate gravity. In my animation, the mustache grows and stretches upwards before shrinking.

Artist: Latham Arnott
Aritst: Ouehrani Soufiane

Anticipation

These principles illustrate and hint at upcoming actions. For example, if a character is going to jump up, the character must first squat down to build up energy. In my stinger, the mustache grows and pauses for a second before quickly shrinking down to size.

Artist: Latham Arnott
Artist: Hamza Ouaziz

Slow in Slow Out

Finally, this principle is my favorite. Essentially, this principle discusses inertia and momentum. Objects never start and end at the same speed, and animation shouldn’t either. Animators should vary speed when objects start and end. For 2-D animators, you can apply an Ease in Ease Out effect to simulate this principle. I used a few Ease in and Eased out effects for my animation to allow my movements to start slowly and end slowly.

Artist: Tom Ward

Reflection

I’m thrilled with my animation. It was a struggle to design a logo that I was happy with, and I ended up creating multiple versions of logos. The animation was the easiest part of this process, and most of my time was spent actually developing the artwork. Once I had a working animated prototype, it was straightforward to create a new art design and install it into the animation.

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