Join Eran Stern for an in-depth discussion in this video Overview of the project, part of Mograph Techniques: Shape Animation in After Effects.
Before we'll start, I want to tell you a bit about the movie that we are working on. This movie was done by Shimi Cohen, which was one of my students at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Israel. I was the mentor for this project. This movie became viral overnight, with more than four million views and rising. It also won a few prizes such as the creativity award of 2013 Forster Film Festival. The video shows the paradox created by social networking.
On the one hand, the purpose of social networking to create harmonization between people and the preservation of human relations. On the other hand it shows that since the establishment of social networks, people have become more individual and more remote than ever before. This short movie is very subjective, and presents the author's view on the failures and shortcomings of social networks. Unconsciously and years prolonged use of the Internet and these networks change our personality, our perception of the world, and especially our ability to communicate with one another.
Now let's watch the full movie, four and a half minutes long, and then we'll start to dig in. A simple thought. Monkeys, that are known to have a developed social life, organize in small groups of several dozen members. The size of each of these groups is limited. In order for them to function, all members of the group need to know each other well. The average size of the group changes from 20 to 50 members. When the number of monkeys in a group passes a certain threshold, the social order crumbles and the group tends to split into two separate groups. A similar situation can be found amongst humans as well.
The invention of language and gossip has helped to shape larger and more stable groups. Sociological research indicates that the maximum, natural, size of a group of humans is roughly 150 members. Most humans are just incapable of intimately knowing more than 150 people. So even today, the threshold of human organization is around the number of 150 members. Man is a social creature, and the feeling of loneliness can drive him mad. Yet, the Western and modern world sanctions individuality. The individual is measured by personal achievements such as having a career, wealth, a self image and consumerism.
In this course of action many people lose their social and familial connections in favor of a self-actualization ideal. As the social fabric in the Western world weakens, it is not surprising that more and more people define themselves as lonely. And thus, loneliness has become the most common ailment of the modern world. One of the possible reasons for this ailment is the online social network. In a world where time is money, in which our surroundings heavily pressure us to achieve more and more. Our social life becomes tainted and more demanding than ever before.
And then there's technology. Simpler, hopeful, optimistic, ever young. We become addicted to virtual romance, disguised by the social networks which supplies an impressive platform, that allows us to manage our social life most effectively. However, our fantasies about substitutions are starting to take a toll. We're collecting friends like stamps. Not distinguishing quantity versus quality. And converting the deep meaning an intimacy of friendship with exchanging photos and chat conversations. By doing so we're sacrificing conversation for mere connection, and so a paradoxical situation is created, in which we claim to have many friends while actually being lonely.
So what is the problem in having a conversation? Well, it takes place in real time, and you can't control what you're going to say. And that is the bottom line. Texting, email, posting. All of these things let us present the self as we want it to be. We get to edit. And that means we get to delete. Instead of building true friendships, we're obsessed with endless personal promotion. Investing hours on end building our profile, pursuing the optimal order of words in our next message, choosing the pictures in which we look our best.
All of which is meant to serve as a desirable image of who we are. We're expecting more from technology and less from each other. The social networks aren't just changing what we're doing, but also who we are, and that's because technology appeals to us most where we are most vulnerable, and we are vulnerable. We are lonely, but we're afraid of intimacy, while the social networks offer us three gratifying fantasies. One, that we can put our attention wherever we want it to be. Two, that we will always be heard. And three, that we will never have to be alone.
And that third idea, that we will never have to be alone, is central to changing our psyches. It's shaping a new way of being. The best way to describe it is I share, therefore I am. We use technology to define ourselves, by sharing our thoughts and feelings, even as we're having them. Furthermore, we're faking experiences so we'll have something to share. So we can feel alive. We slip into thinking that always being connected is going to make us feel less alone. But we are at risk because the opposite is true.
If we are not able to be alone, we're only going to know, how to be lonely.
- Creating a basic circle animation reveal
- Cascading animation with masks and modes
- Dividing shapes and painting them in over time
- Revealing text
- Building a repetitive shape animation
- Morphing between shapes