Here at Brainshark, we have a lot of fun each year putting together holiday greetings using PowerPoint, video, and Brainshark. Earlier in the season we created a holiday greeting using PowerPoint, and published this article filled with tips and templates to help you create one of your own. While we build a strong majority of our content in PowerPoint, occasionally, we like to mix things up by creating content, like the holiday greeting below, using video editing tools. In this article I will walk you through the steps that I took to create this video greeting using Adobe Illustrator and Adobe After Effects. Even though these are more advanced programs, I hope this walkthrough will give you an idea of what you can create with a little know how and some creativity. Let’s get started!
To get started, I selected the type of image I wanted to work with. I knew that I wanted to give the illusion of depth, so I wanted something with numerous foreground and background elements. Since the original image was in vector format, I opened the file in Illustrator and started separating it into different sections. Sky, mountains, background trees, foreground trees, and snow all needed to be segmented out and saved as their own .PNG image files on transparent backgrounds.
Next I built the signs with various phrases of our holiday message pictured on each. When bringing new elements into a picture, be aware of the lighting and color of the new object, and try to create some harmony with the existing elements of the picture. For example, the signs featured in this greeting were originally brown, and I incorporated shades of purple to make the signs blend well with our original art work.
Once the hard part was over, I pulled the full product into After Effects to build the final composition. During this process, although it may be tedious, carefully labeling your elements will save you from a massive headache later on. At this stage, I then took the separate images that we saved earlier in the process, and distributed them in 3D space. This little trick gives your composition depth and allows you to pull your camera through the scene.
Once I distributed the layers, I added in a new camera, think of this as the perspective from which your video will be filmed. The camera will be animated to pass by each layer of the image, and will create an effect as if the viewer were being pulled through the scene. As a final step, I dropped in the video of the smoke and snow to create the transition at the end.
The final step is to upload the video to Brainshark. You can add the video into an existing presentation by selecting the add video slide option from the things you can do menu, or you can simply upload the video as your entire presentation by selecting upload content, then clicking the video tab.
Once you have a grasp of animation within After Effects, simple techniques like this allow you to create some amazing videos. I hope this gives you a quick look into what you can achieve with some of the different programs out there and a bit of holiday cheer!