Art of Automation

Art-omation

As tempting as how automation may solve everything; it is not that simple. As the sole automator in motion design, you play the roles of data wrangler, UX, designer, animator.

The data wrangling is not easy because not everyone is exposed to frequent spreadsheet usage unless you are a producer or project manager.

Side note: You probably think I am crazy how relating spreadsheets as the foundations. I was very lucky that my sister taught me how to use Microsoft Excel when I was 12 and later in the army at 22, I had to use it again to schedule guard duties for my subordinates for a year. I never thought when I begin my first job at WarnerMedia Studios, that this knowledge is extremely valuable and relevant to my job scope.

Of course, there will no script or automation tool that will do everything perfectly

Automation will only carry you 80% of the way, there will still be the 20% for human intervention to tweak logo sizes or text kerning.

Hence:

  • Protocols should be "recyclable" instead of single project use only"

  • Spend 20% to code a program that makes Machine do 80% of the work, artists do 20% (keyframers) Spend 80% learning to improve the quality of 20%

Variables

text-based
names
titles / company
tricode
city/state
assets-based
logos
photos
sponsors
Uncontrolled variables
incomplete datasets

Common obstacles

  • Different teams = different colors = designs might not go with the colors

  • Keep in mind that there are branding guides on logos variant when placed in a different background

When should implement automation

  • Is there a high volume of templated work? (eg. more than 5–10)

  • Is the design or animation the same throughout except with the change of name

  • Pre-delivery

  • Logos

    • Sharpness / High res

    • Consistent color with branding

      • Branding guide on logo usages for different background colors

complete dataset with names, titles, hex codes, separated into individual cells

Automation can only be seamless if following conditions are optimal:

  • Data

    • consistent naming convention

    • color codes

  • Assets

    • logos in pngs / eps of acceptable HQ resolution

    • Normalize logo sizes

  • After Effects projects

    • Composition to version out is just one comp only

    • Unused effects, layers, keyframes are deleted

    • Layers to versioned out are

      • labeled "green", and the rest to "none"

      • renamed accordingly eg. logo, primary color, secondary color, text line1, text line 2

Workflow

For automator

  1. Data gathering (logos, grid,input)

  2. Data clean

  3. sprite library preparation

    1. Logos, photos, sponsors (refer to my Youtube tutorial)

  4. normalization

  5. debug and catch error

  6. Create user controls for overriding settings

    1. checkbox to toggle between logo sets & colors

  7. deploy for use

For team-members

As long there is one automator trained in javascript or programming, that should be enough provided a workflow was defined and carried out. Team members who are strictly animating and designing should follow the below protocols

  1. Animate as normal

  2. Get approval for one iteration

  3. Clean up — Remove Unused effects, layers, footage, keyframes are deleted

  4. Organize — labels and rename layers

  5. Send for automation setup

For supervisors & project managers

  • Ensure complete datasets

  • Quality control & check; automator cannot check and prep automation at the same time

  • Looking for outliers.

  • List user controls needed for a project

  • Regular expressions

Photoshop Automation:

Actions

Batch

Droplet