The Age of Video
I wanted to create a YouTube banner for the CLAB channel, something new and different from what I’ve done before. I was inspired by the album art of the Buggles ‘The Age of Plastic’, which depicts a cartoon drawing of the lead singer with a microphone cable plugged into his neck. I decided to design a cartoon version of myself with a HDMI cable in my neck, along with some other touches to make it unique.
Using a photo of myself for reference, I began drawing the cartoon in Illustrator. As the point of this project was initially just to make a still image, I decided to record my work in Illustrator so that I had a video to display on this website. While later I decided to also make an animation for the graphic, the project video remains mainly a ‘making of’ the cartoon image.
While designing the image I decided on a few changes. Firstly, I thought it would look cool to have a circuit board under my skin expanding out from the HDMI port in my neck, with the furthest lines to resemble veins.
Being ‘plugged in’ as a kind of human-machine hybrid suggested to me that the ‘Age of Video’ was a dystopia. To play into this dystopian idea, I drew the cartoon with a straight face, removing the slight smile in the reference photo. I also decided to remove colour, going with a black and white motif. I made my hair and beard black instead of brown, and made my shirt and glasses white.
I decided to animate the finished image in After Effects. The first idea was to make the circuit board pulse, and the HDMI cable spark with electricity. To contrast the black and white motif, and to make them stand out, I decided to make the circuit board and electricity bright neon colours.
I changed the circuit board to a neon lime green and added some glow, then gave it a pulsing animation. To make the electricity, I combined four lines with different amounts of Turbulent Displacement and gave them varying movement speeds. After precomposing I coloured them and gave them an arc.
I gave ‘The Age of Video’ text a glitch effect that would make it distort and shake periodically. I did this with a displacement map. Last, I made some static out of Fractal Noise and put it inside the sunglasses.
In Premiere Pro I cut together and sped up the screen capture videos of my work in Illustrator, I inserted the animation and the final image, and I cut up a song to use for background music. Finally, I inserted some transitions I had made in After Effects to cut between the animation, making-of videos, and final image.