Join Michael Winkelmann for an in-depth discussion in this video In depth: Animating a VJ clip, part of The Creative Spark: Beeple, Everyday Artist.
These are the VJ clips that I've been working on for the past couple years. They're basically 20 to 30 second little sort of, abstract videos that people can use for visuals for, you know, concerts or music videos. Or, you know, a lot of people use it for like YouTube, like intros to their channels and stuff like that. Or, you know, commercials, school projects, anything like that, they're creative commons. So you can use them for any commercial or non-commercial project whatsoever. And a lot of them, I also give the Cinema 4D project files with as well.
There's about 100, 180 of them now and you can download them now, you know, through Vimeo. So, here is one of them that I'd like to sort of go through and show you the process of, of how this, you know, got started. And, and how I took it to completion as a, as a VJ clip. This one actually got started as a everyday that I did in October of last year. And I realized that if I sort of, you know, maybe move the camera around and animated some of the things in the project.
That it would, you know, it could be a, a, a decent looking VJ clip. And so I basically, I took the project file, which was done in a mix of Illustrator and Cinema 4D. And I already had this sort of scene set up in terms of the the city. So basically, what I wanted to do was add in some, some little particles that were sort of floating. And, and then animate some of these, these lines so they were sort of pulsing.
As well as these lights that were sort of in the city, kind of blinking on and off. So basically, from the camera's point of view, you can see it's just sort of scrolling around. You've got the, the particles and everything to give it you know, a little bit of movement. The camera is rotating around on a spline, and it's, it actually one of the presets in Cinema 4D is this sort of orbit camera. Where it automatically uses a espresso to make the camera rotate around the path.
It, for the exact length of the project file. So if you have it, you know, 300 frames long, it will take 300 frames to go around. So, it's sort of making a perfect loop. So, these are more meant to be sort of have a, a bit of a broader appeal for different purposes. The music, there's no music synced, you know, directly to this. This is meant more to be used for a variety of purposes. One being people using it as visuals for like concerts.
And so, nothing, there aren't a lot of, you know, very hard changes to it or cuts in the video. So that it can kind of be in a looped and sort of work for a variety of different purposes like in different types of music as well. And it also has, you know, I try and put a lot of stuff going on in the video so that it sort of, you know, as your, if you're listening with to with music. It, it's kind of seems like some of the stuff is synced. If there's enough going on, you're sort of, your brain kind of makes those connections, and it kind of seems like this or that listening to it. So that's sort of the reasoning behind some of the choices with this versus say an instrumental on video.
Where everything is very, very synched up to one specific piece of music. After I have everything, you know, sort of made it in terms of this, then I will render it out to frames. And then take it into After Effects where I can do, you know, sort of post work in terms of color correction. And I wanted to to make it look a little, a little hazier and a little messier. Kind of, sort of like a retro 80s look that something that's modern but has that same sort of, sort of old school 80s feel.
So basically we have a layer that does sort of gives this kind of glow on the bottom. And I have another layer that, that kind of gives that softness to it and, and kind of sort of pops that out. And then, then I got another layer that does the adjustment in terms of, there's a, a twitch effect on it. So that it sort of, the video kind of stutters a little bit, as it's, as it's moving around and it gives it more of an organic, imperfect feel to it.
Then, I've also got like a, a scratches layer on it that just gives it kind of like a scratchy, more analog look to make it just feel like it's done on film, or something like that. Just make it look a little, little more imperfect and not so digitally, you know, sterile. Then, I've also got some color correction stuff that I did to it, as well as another layer that sort of animates this moving up and down of the sky. So the final piece will be 60 or I'm sorry, 600 frames, so 20 seconds.
After I'm, you know, have everything finished here, I'll render it out and basically post it on Vimeo. And then, maybe put some, some sort of 80s sounding music with it just to help, you know, reinforce that vibe. I'm not sure if this is going to be part of more. I've got a couple other clips that have sort of a 80s look as well. I might try and package those together into sort of a pack. But either way, it'll be, you know, free. And then, you'd be able to download the Cinema 4D project file as well, so people can, you know, you can poke around that.
Or if you wanted to change it or change the colors and use it for something else or, you know, animate cars flying around the city. You can do, you know, whatever you wanted or see how I did anything. You could, you know, take that and make whatever you wanted with it. With these clips, you know, I usually spend around, you know, two or three days on them. Just probably a total of, you know, maybe eight hours on them. So it's, it's something that's a little more experimental. A little more you know, just, it's got a very simple concept. It's just, you know, this scene for, you know, 60 seconds. It's sort of basically an animated version of the everyday. I mean, if you look at the the final thing, it looks pretty much, you know, very similar to just everyday, just an animated version of that. So, that's sort of where the the VJ clips in, compared to like a short film. It's not, I don't really think of these as short films, I think of them as more, you know, 30 second visual experiments.
And something that's not, doesn't have, you know, a narrative or a strong concept. Or something that's just more abstract and just something meant to, to basically look cool.
Follow Beeple in this installment of The Creative Spark, as he creates his 2,090th Everyday and shares what he has learned over the years with this project. In the Extended Features, Beeple breaks down his projects and reveals the techniques behind his popular series of VJ clips—free short, animated, abstract visuals for VJs and creative professionals.