For the past few weeks I’ve been taking classes in Adobe AfterEffects through the Takoma Park Recreation Department that were held in the Takoma Park Public Library’s computer lab. I’ve done it before, which you can see in the posts I wrote on March 25, 2015; March 27, 2015; and December 7, 2015. So I decided to go through with the class again this time around mainly because I’ve gotten to know and like both the instructor and my fellow classmates. Plus one of my friends works at the library and his office is next to the room where I take the class so I can say “Hi” to him both before and after class.

So by this time I have gotten to know the software pretty much okay. (Although due to the months between each class I tend to forget what I’ve learned. The fact that I can’t afford to buy my own copy of Adobe AfterEffects nor pay that monthly software fee that Adobe now institutes on users of its products don’t help at all.) I had hit a snag on what final project I wanted to work on because I literally couldn’t decide what I wanted to do. I thought about the Bernie Sanders campaign but I had already done that the last time I took the class. I wasn’t into going to that well again.

But then one night before class started I stopped by my friend’s office. He had been spending his spare time with helping a new organization that had just formed known as Takoma Radio. The group is currently trying to get a low powered radio station off of the ground that would be community based. What’s interesting is that this project was founded by a former producer at NPR.

Well, anyway, my friend suggested that I made a promo for this new radio station and he made a few suggestions as to how I could approach this. I took notes. One of his suggestions that resonated most with me was this suggested ad line: Ever dreamed of being a DJ at a radio station?

So I did some Google Image searches of DJ’s. As I was sifting through the images, I found this image of a kitten that was dressed as a DJ that came from this web page. I thought it was incredibly cute and I began to thought of doing a cute animation of a kitten dreaming of becoming a DJ.

But then I did a Google Image search of “Deejay Kitten” and I found literally a lot of images featuring kittens as DJs. But then I began to worry that my little promo would become a cliche so I began to think about other animals while doing Google Image searches on these animals acting as DJs. I finally settled on a fox because there were far fewer DJ fox images. Besides, I think foxes are very beautiful animals and the fact that they are close relatives of dogs didn’t hurt either.

So I spent the next few weeks coming up with the designs, doing the vector graphics at home using Inkscape (which is an open source alternative to Adobe Illustrator), then bringing the files into class. There were a few snags along the way, such as the one day last month when the entire Metro system decided to close down on a Wednesday and the instructor couldn’t make it because he relies exclusively on Metro to get around. (It was the first time in its history that the entire Metro system had shut down when there wasn’t a hurricane or major snowstorm.) I had attended the classes on Wednesday while I also tried to go to the Sunday afternoon lab sessions when I didn’t have anything conflicting at church. Last Sunday I was mostly done. I tried to render the file. While the file turned out okay on the library’s computers, for some weird reason it wasn’t playing on my own MacBook (which I’ve recently upgraded to El Capitan). Unfortunately the lab session ended so I took the file home with me. I tried uploading it on to YouTube and it refused to take it. (I was able to upload it fine but then it would balk during the processing phase by saying that it was in an unfamiliar format. This happened despite the fact that the file was in the .mov format.)

Basically I had no other choice but to return yesterday for one final Sunday lab session. With the instructor’s help I changed some of the render criteria. It rendered the animation pretty quickly. I decided to upload it directly on to YouTube and it took over an hour for the whole thing to upload. I had planned on going to a Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School session that was held in the late-afternoon, early-evening at the Bier Barron in Washington, DC but I ended up missing it because of the very long upload time. The instructor patiently waited with me as he did some reading and I did some web surfing using my own MacBook that I brought with me. Well, to make a long story short, the entire animation was uploaded and processed on to YouTube without a hitch and you can now view it below.

When I got home I sent e-mails to my friend as well as to some of the people at the radio station. So far the only feedback I got from the station was to make a minor edit to the promo but it was something I was able to do in iMovie without having it affect any of the animation at all. I re-uploaded it today and I found that the whole video uploaded online in a couple of minutes. As to why the same video took longer to upload the day before is something I can’t explain.

I don’t know if anything will come of this web promo but I can use it as part of my portfolio.