The visual style of the service exists through the art and typography displayed in its YouTube videos. The art displays fantastic scenes that compliment the music. Therefore, the network ID includes digitally painted landscape scenes and animated subtle motions within them. Hosted music from TheSuicideSheep plays in the background, matching the mood of its accompanying scene. Subtle glitch effects and radio-like tuning will transition one scene to another, implying the digital electronic music background as well as the idea of music discovery.

MrSuicideSheep Network ID

BACKGROUND

MrSuicideSheep is an distribution channel hosted by music producer Collin McLoughlin. It focuses on downtempo, melodic, and chill electronic music. Most of this free service takes place on YouTube, where MrSuicideSheep hosts music from thousands of electronic producers.

CONCEPT AND DESIGN

The first part of the project itself was, of course, to paint the layouts. I had already determined three songs from the channel to use, each one with a distinct, understandable mood. So, I only had to decide on what types of scenes I would like to digitally paint, keeping in mind each song’s aesthetic.

For “Monody”, a glitch hop song created by TheFatRat, I sought to paint something that would inspire just as much adventure as the song itself. After writing a word list, I decided that mountains and large, open fields were the best choices. Yet, both of the following scenes contain mountains. To avoid unnecessarily repeating a theme, I decided to instead include a tall, massive cloud. I personally love that choice, as the cloud still portrays grand scale and even adds a level of energy. There could be a storm over there; you’d have to venture toward it to find out.

The next scene is to “Tides”, a melodic dubstep collaboration between Crywolf and Skrux. The song sounds mysterious and large, yet mellow. For this song, I decided to paint a scene from high up a mountain, where fog rolls over a nearby peak. This scene relied the most on texture, as I challenged myself to use more than just the silhouette shape to make the mountains look like mountains.

Lastly, Day One’s remix of their own song “Aurora” was a bit more of a given, especially considering the starry backdrop behind the logo following the scene. I already planned to place the logo on a starry background since TheSuicideSheep does this with their logo often, so making the last scene take place on a clear night was convenient.

For each scene, I was careful to paint each asset separately. I planned to use cameras and the 3D space in After Effects to create parallax, so I created four to ten layers for each scene. For example, in “Monody”, each of the three clouds are separate layers, as are the furthest hill, the trees, the closer hill, and four different layers of the grass. (I decided on an alternative method of animating the grass later on, however. More on that later.)

PRODUCTION

For once, keyframing was the quickest part of this project. I only had to keyframe the clouds (which were constantly moving to the right) and the camera. The 3D space took care of everything else.

‚Äč”Tides” was the first part I completed, as it had no additional assets to animate. This left me to decide how I wish to animate the grass and aurora of “Monody” and “Aurora”, respectively.
“Tides” was the first part I completed, as it had no additional assets to animate. This left me to decide how I wish to animate the grass and aurora of “Monody” and “Aurora”, respectively.

For the grass, I could not think of a way to animate what I had digitally painted for the grass. So, naturally, I utilized CC Hair. As expected, giving the hair negative weight allowed it to stand straight up, and using fractal noise for the hairfall map created wind. I made five seperate layers for the waving grass, masked them, and distributed them along the Z axis. To create depth, I increased the hair color inheritance of the CC Hair effect, effectively brightening the effect more efficiently and precisely, or at least quicker, than the Levels or Curves effects.

Aurora Breakdown

Cutaway of the aurora’s four layers, with 1 being the lowest layer.

Next on my list was the aurora. I knew the aurora I had digitally painted would not work, even as I made it; that aurora was more for conceptualization and planning composition.

I researched how other people accomplished an aurora effect in After Effects, finding mostly inadequate methods. I did find one, however, that would work if I messed enough with it. Fortunately, I reached an outcome I was happy with.

To create the effect, I first created a precomp containing a solid with Turbulent Noise applied to it. I used the “Strings” fractal type to create what would become the base of the aurora. I could have also animated a white path if I wanted more control; I chose to use noise since control was not an issue, while speed was; I had a limited amount of time on this project after all.

I applied CC Light Burst to the precomp containing the base for the aurora, creating the basic form. I colorized and blurred the precomp as well to create a more aesthetically pleasing shape.

Lastly, I duplicated the precomp three times, lowering the ray length, increasing the blur, lowering the mask, and shifting the color to green each time.

With the aurora completed, I moved on to the easier part: compositing and tweaking the camera. It may be worth noting that the stars are not a particle effect but rather a 1920×4080 raster layer; I did this to ensure complete control of the stars’ layout. I wanted the band of stars to cross right through the logo at the logo’s settle. When moving the camera quickly through this layer, however, the stars became lost in the motion blur. This was easily solved using CC Echo to create subtle trails behind the moving stars.

To transition the scenes, I used various glitch effects. I mixed the glitch effects into the soundtrack (and, of course, the soundtrack itself) using Adobe Audition instead of mixing everything in After Effects itself in order to have more control. I marked each glitch so that I would easily find them after importing the mixdown into After Effects. For the glitches themselves, I used displacement maps and color channel splitting. I used a variety of noise layers and glitched images as displacement maps, as well as the next scene to foreshadow it. The noise layers proved to provide the best displacement maps, though the images served well for variety.

Color balance was the most difficult part. I loved the color schemes for the scenes, but they did not blend together very well; their color schemes clashed. As much as I did not want to, I had to change the colors for consistency.

I found that the most significant colors in these scenes were orange and dark blue, so I created an adjustment layer with Solid Composite plugin effects, setting each one to each prominent color and varying their opacity and blending mode. This helped unify and strengthen the key colors, partially posterizing the video to these colors without removing the other colors or shading. I then messed a great deal with Auto Color and Curves to restore anything I lost through the Solid Composite effects.