Creating an intro for the Concerts on the square 2017

I’ve been at Wisconsin Public Television for almost a year now and as part of my duties here, I am responsible for Motion graphics, animation, and I’m also a producer for our grantors.  This last June I was asked to refresh the open animation for the first Concerts on the Square.  In this time-lapse you can see my creation process of the whole graphics package from open, title wipe, lower thirds, and credits.



I was tasked with refreshing this design, meaning it needed to incorporate some of the previous design elements while creating something new.  Some of the specifics i was asked to do was to give it a more “classical music look” and a “little bit relaxed and fancy” which really sums up the concert on the square.  If you haven’t heard of concerts on the square: In Madison Wi at the capitol building lawn, every week from July – August they have live free concerts from Madison Symphony orchestra.  Lots of people come out to enjoy the weather and enjoy the free music.

For the design elements at first I reviewed the previous years and made notes and spent some time looking at “classical music”.  What I discovered was that there wasn’t very much which was really surprising, What I did find was a lot of Wedding things, which seems like it makes sense, or makes a statement about the institution of that.  I originally had several musical instruments modeled in 3D but they just didn’t seem right.

I actually struggled with how best to present this as i had a tough time resolving the newness of classical concerts.  In the end I decided to combine the elements of picnics, music and elegance.  I took footage from the 2016 concert, and some musical score pieces that I modified greatly.  It’s very common to have wine at these things, but didn’t want it to look like that was PART of the concert experience for several reasons.

You’ll notice the emptiness on the bottom right, Well I always need to leave a spot for the station identification bug.

The logo, was provided to me and couldn’t really be changed.  So I ended up retracing it and cleaning the edges just a hair. I animated them as separate elements from the top and bottom text and pulled the q from Square as a separate layer to move in z space.
Incidentally all  the layers were actually 3D layers so a camera pull and inertia can be created.

I didn’t know exactly what was going to go into the “scenes” of the photos so I just created precomped placeholders so anything can be put in that space at a later time.  I pulled up some selected scenes and animated it with some lights and textures.

Origially it went through several iterations.  A lot of the 3D ness was killed off and 2D layers were used in a 3D space instead.  It ended up working much better.

THere were a few last-minute changes from the text on the photo scenes and the flowers replaced and the picnic pulled a bit.  The floweres were precomped and inside the comp there was a puppeted flower to make it look like it was blowing a bit.  Additionally some dust particles were put in and masked out and copied and flipped to make some particles.

I animated a mask to reveal the musical notes.

I didn’t dump all the 3D elements though. The clef was pulled in illustrator, It was pulled then into Element3D and animated as a pre rendered animation for the lower thirds.

The last little explanation is the credits.  We have a lot of people on our productions and its important to thank them. Getting smooth rolling credits are tough unless you know pixel perfect math or have an expression handy. The expression I used basically moved takes care of the subpixel movement that After Effects does by default.  Thats the way you get around it.  When changing colors there’s not really good way to change all the text layers all at once.  So when creating these the Title had 1 color and font size and the Name had a different color and font size.  So to change all of them at once I made the Title black, and the Names white and places a TINT effect on the whole text layer.  Now i could freely change the colors of each all at once.  I made 2 long columns with color swatches and made them guide layers so they wouldn’t render.


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