I Tried Making A DDO Music Video

Yeah you heard me. I tried. LOL.

It’s really just a motion graphics video that I edited and composited together alongside one of Ikson’s recent releases, Lonely. And it was SO much fun & worth it.

It took roughly two days to shoot & capture footage, edit, and create all the motion graphics elements, but OMG I think I have made four or five final exports, and uploaded three times before it was finally press-released to the DDO Chronicle. And uh, there is still a mistake in there even after all that – UGH!

That mistake is 44 seconds in when the third slender hexagon shape’s reflection is slightly faster than the shape dissipation itself. When I first shared the video around in Discord servers, the first upload (at 80 views too) had some transitional errors, and then now this!?! I literally deleted the first one because I couldn’t bear the thought of a flaw, but now I really can’t reupload now that it’s released to the chronicle. IT PHYSICALLY HURTS ME!!! 😂

But it’s whatever, I can just hope people are too focused on the cute winter wolf Sera or the glowing shapes themselves. 😁 Anyhoo, behind the scenes and a closer look into my mind!

So there were a lot of creative decisions I had to intersect with, and this video could definitely have had a more polished look. For one, I didn’t even record this at 1080p… it was some weird default resolution that OBS was set at that I NEVER realized. So that makes sense why all my other YT videos look lower quality than other videos. From now on, that won’t be an issue and hopefully we get to enjoy more crisp n’ clean quality!

In terms of finding the right shots, a lot of shots I ended up scrapping to begin with because they weren’t long enough or fit the certain piece of the song. I definitely could have storyboarded this out to be planned out a LOT better, but this was on a whim and that kind of is how most of my projects are. In the end, I realized that a lot of the scenes that did make it in actually looked VERY similar… so next time, I think some more advanced thought-out planning is in order. In addition to longer pans & motion capture.

However, some of the things I was really impressed at myself for even coming up with the idea on the fly. The bridge cut scene transition was one that I somewhat thought about while recording, and when it came time for execution I just went and did it. In retrospect, that was so rewarding, and really was a testament of all the things I’ve learned & dreamt about doing in my college years. The scene was actually inspired by one of the Ravenloft trailer videos that won the unofficial competition on the forums – and I watched this 4 years ago? I still remember it after all this time. The tree transition cut from 0:27 seconds is essentially the same masking technique I used for the bridge cut in my video, and though I wanted to go for a more clean & seamless feel, the mask path itself could still be better refined and smoothed out just a tad bit more. I just did it the hard way and rotoscoped essentially by frame & with position manipulation at key junctures instead of tracking, since it was more difficult to track a composited scene with the 3D cube on top of the fact that the background scene had so many various blurbs of color and no real distinct “hook point” to track onto.

I had to learn a LOT on the fly for this project too. The Stormhorns lunar hexagon (0:37) used a glitch distortion effect via a displacement map, and for the longest time I shied away from those. I HATED using them because when I was first learning After Effects, I played around with it and I guess I didn’t learn it right the first time, and thought it did nothing. Well, I decided I was gonna confront that aversion from using displacement maps and I got it to work, surprisingly to the beat of the vocal chops as well. Unfortunately, that scene’s reflection was giving me lots of trouble, so I’m still not happy about the way the reflection looks for the hexagon outlines – which works different for some reason on outlines versus filled shapes.

I also researched how to create my own light leaks, since I don’t have a purchased bundle of effects like I do with Trapcode Suite. While I feel like I could have added stronger lighting effects like the use of a radial flare or a lens effect, the light leaks were the last thing I did in production and at that point I was just READY to push this out. I crammed a total of probably >20 hours into this project in a matter of two days and even after the first day I was annoyed that I didn’t have it fully done by the end of the night.

Most of the joy came from editing scenes snap with the musical composition. The movie may not be true HD quality (to which I found a workaround), but my imagination was satiated. I’ve been wanting to do something like this since, sophomore year of college, and now I finally just made myself do it. It has been an absolute BLAST! 🔥

Special thanks to my boyfriend for helping me with some of his own critiques and tweaks! 💕

A Gentleman’s Creed

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

– Ernest Hemingway

I was watching Kingsman some time ago with War and this quote resonated a lot with me (despite not being of the gentlemanly sorts, ahem). I feel kind of dumb for not realizing it was Ernest Hemingway, but it makes this that much better. I love this so much especially for the character lore of Sera. One day I’d like to revisit this and make something out of this quote, whether it be a creative writing piece or an artwork of some kind. 😊

A Letter of Gratitude – 2021

WOW has today been a day. I’m officially 24 years old, age seems to be a very visceral thing to me these days. With my older sister being 30 now, one day I will look back from that age and feel so dang OLD!

But really, so many new blessings to be grateful for. I was so stressed about finding a job straight out of college (much less during a pandemic), finding my independence (which is still an ongoing thing mind you), learning to break old habits and be forced out of my comfortable, dependent square (also ongoing).

Today was probably one of the least “restful” birthdays I’ve ever had, but it was actually OK. The first birthday where I felt like a true adult, going to work and coming home to celebrate a quaint Korean meal with the family. The surprise was when my coworker surprised me with a birthday gift, which was very kind given that I didn’t expect anything from any of them (though at the same time, part of me also felt like the same coworker would be kind like that anyways). Something she said stuck with me, she had promised “next year would be better.” I think the most meaningful part of that polite exclamation was that she insinuated there would be a next year, with the company, with the work family there – and that made my day alone.

Compared to a lot of birthdays, 2021 was relatively quiet. I realized having been more secluded as I spend more time with my boyfriend (which by the way, is a welcome change and blessing in itself that I met and am with such a wonderful guy) and thus as a result, it’s a lot easier to forget about me, and space myself from them with that distance. I think I am finally getting what I need: a mental and emotional space from the “mass” that are the guildies, the friends online – and all the while it made me feel like a celebrity, it also ate away at my mind. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t nice (or even at peace) to be cherished like that, but I think this is my cue to move on with my life too – this time, with the people I find that matter, instead of making others matter to me in mine so that they can participate in the slices of my life.

I’ve never been one to care about what other people meant to me during my birthdays. I remember once my younger sister would be silently upset because it would bother her that she didn’t have X amount of friends even say happy birthday to her in elementary school. Somehow, I feel that I was always blessed with the right kind of friends who cared about me the same way I cared about them. In some ways, I feel that I’ve slacked in giving others my energy in a fair way like that. But in an online space, it can be hard to determine if the investment is worth it because cue the last two times I had to have a mental break from people…

In any case, I am so thankful for these blessings. I have a loving boyfriend who has become my purpose, amazing coworkers and a job I actually enjoy and feel that I can learn from and work up to, an older sister (read: role model) who is happily married (which makes me happy to see that – she absolutely deserves it), and new promises and plans for this year that I have high hopes for and am excited about. It will be a LOT of change, one that I am both anxious and excited to embrace, but one that I will walk alongside God. All of this was possible because of Him and I am eternally grateful for that.

To all my friends, family, and to Him – thank you. 🙂