Motion Design: Fine-Tuning the Wayhaught First Kiss

How do I make it more dramatic, and punch up the emotion?

After getting some feedback last week I decided to break my motion design scene into separate compositions.

Last week I discovered that I could copy and past layers into another composition and then I could add the audio to make editing easier as long as I muted it in the main composition. (Thanks, Tina Solo!) This took my main timeline from some 90 layers down to 20, including the audio and the background color changes.

New and improved After Effects timeline with the compositions grouped together.

This is much easier to manage and has proven better for my focus on particular parts of the composition. I made several small edits this week which included moving things away from the margins of the screen and adjusting the timing.

Some notable changes I have made:

15. It’s You

While I did previously get feedback to leave “you” on the screen longer. I realized that it was really too long so instead of leaving it there for the last fifteen seconds of the video I shortened it to after the main character says, “…in my head.”

This does look a lot better to me. I also moved the small text “Oh god, that sounded so much more romantic in my head,” to be on the right side and be slightly more chunked together. I also made “oh god,” darker so that it had more emphasis.

02. To Parachute

Compositions 2–4 have a lot of metaphors in them: parachuting out of a plane, swimming far out into the ocean, and eating geoduck. In this first one, I decided to realign some of the text and animate the words out of a plane so that it swooped in from the left. The background also changed quickly to be blue.

I also changed the 15,000 to be a peachy color to give it a little more emphasis and make it stand out. I also tried it in green, but this was the only place where I used green and I wasn’t sure I really liked the brightness with the overall tone of this clip.

03. To Swim

Since I was changing the background color and wanted to animate some of Waverly’s chaotic words I decided that I would try to add some more animation to that slide as well.

I was trying to play with the work far and its position and try to work on the swallowing of something to the bottom of the sea.

To do this I changed the timings so that more of the words are on the screen and then programed a color fade so that the words slowly disappeared into the background.

04. Eat Geoduck

After getting feedback from Ahmed, I realized that the actual spelling of geoduck was at odds with the audio. So I changed the text to read phonetically.

Ahmed also suggested that I consider trying to edit the text as such so that the word was eaten. I asked if it was okay to meld together some circles or beveled edge squares to create bite marks. He pointed me in the direction of a few tutorials to help me get started on the effect.

Before I laid out all the pieces of a bitemark though, I decided to try to time out where and how many bites I would want to take out of the words. Since I only have a few seconds to make this happen I don’t want it to overwhelm anyone at the same point.

10. Scares You To Death

I moved each set of text closer together so that there was less leading and the chunking made more sense. I also changed “to death” to be this peachy color.

It decreases the contrast a bit, but it makes sense to me that this is warmer than the yellow color I used for the rest of my fonts. I didn’t want to use the deep red I used for “it’s you” and I felt that the lower contrast made Waverly’s anxiety more apparent. Right after this line, she takes a breath too so it felt like this contrast change could help indicate that change.

Then I was thinking about how I could manipulate the letter and I was thinking about fear and how I could manipulate letters to emulate fear.

When I would think about fear, I thought about things associated with the state of fear and mostly how bravery can come from it. What I decided to try on this page is to decrease the tracking so it looked like the words had a moment of hesitation.

11. Sitting Right In Front Of You

The timing for this composition was so off that I spent a good 30 minutes readjusting and reorienting this so that instead of being all over the screen this one tumbles out in a single line.

I also changed the color of “you” because it felt like it fit with death. It’s a moment of anxiety and nervousness so letting it bleed into the background felt appropriate, but the spacing between the words feels off.

12. I Scare You

I took another look at it, and I wasn’t sure I liked how big “I scare you” was in my other drafts. When Nicole speaks here she’s really just breathing out a reaction, it didn’t need to be scaled up.

So instead, I scaled it down and aligned it left before playing with the tracking. I started with tracking in the negative and then expanded it just a little.

I still think that I want you to track more so I may split the text up a little bit.

Where Do I Go From Here

I do think that each of the compositions needs varying degrees of attention before next week. I think many of them are in good shape but I think my opening needs the most work because that’s where I think I plan on having the most movement.

My plan is to take a close look at a couple of compositions a day over the next few weeks and see what I can finetune even further.

Progress Video




a graduate student’s process blog where she explores: design, color, typography, and other nuances.

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Lauren Busser

Lauren Busser

Grad Student at NYU Tandon. Associate Editor for Tell-Tale TV. Pop Culture enthusiast. Writer with a dog. Knits.

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