In animation, how do the natural elements and the human figure interact? This was the question that started an investigation into a project that intended to combine Effects Animation and Video Art as single art piece.
Initial Concept Art depicting the idea of a central force that expands outwards with the 4 elements. 
The diamond shape positions were inspired by the classical elements  studies of Sicilian Greek philosopher Empedocles.
Early Concept Art
At first it was difficult to find the best way to combine the human figure with each respective element.
Early Sketch

Early Sketches
Eventually it was decided that the best way would be to simplify the human form to it's most basic shape and adapt it to each element.
Concept Art for each Element (Fire, Water, Earth, Air)
A specific design was made for each element using some of the thought process that goes into Character Design so that each "figure" would have it's own unique shape language.
Silhouette lineup Concept Art
Final Concept Art for the Composition
After the Designs were refined the final composition was adjusted for the animation style and workflow that was going to be adopted for the project. It was decided that it was best to separate each part of the animation but keep it only on one screen.
The general action that happens in the animation is a homage to Effects Animation itself.  A force starts inward and expands outward much like the ripple effect produced by water droplets falling.

Rough Animation
The main difficulty during the production process was trying to coordinate 4 separate animations at once so that the timing would be cohesive. Two modes of animation were employed, one that was more "active" for the elemental figures and another that was "reactive" for the elements themselves. 
All of the animation work was done in TVPaint and Compositing in After Effects.
Clean-up vs. Final Composite

Extra: early sketch from an animation test
Back to Top