Since I've been learning After Effects and been following Andrew Kramer's Videocopilot, my interest has been peaked towards 3D visualisation and animation. As Videocopilot's Element 3D plugin (which I love) has been a signal of the importance of 3D within After Affects compositing going forward, I have kind of followed like a little lost sheep.

I'm no stranger to 3D, having worked during my Retail Design years with some top 3D designers and visualisers. People like Matt Tipping, Creative Director @double-europe, James Cutler @mintviz, Joe Wright @spudcreative, Florent Beaujot @Artform - but they were the one's creating the magic, not me. I just won the business.

So, armed with Maxon Cinema 4D, some tutorials from Lynda.com, Greyscale Gorilla and others, I've been learning and playing.

A couple of months ago, the guys from KiteRight - a charity which uses KiteSports to improve the lives of people who normally wouldn't be able to access the sport - posted a visual on their Facebook page, with an idea to turn it into KiteRight branded globes which would animate to music.

Kite Right balls inspiration

Kite Right balls inspiration

So, initially I had a play with it in Adobe After Effects, using the Element 3D plugin. This was pretty basic and only took a few minutes, to generate a bunch of colourised spheres, with a texture map containing the Kiteright logo. I then animated some basic rotational parameters of the balls and a camera to do a quick sample render. This is it...

From there, and coming back to the initial topic, I decided to have a play with it in true 3D space using cinema4D and toy around with Sound Effectors, using the MoGraph suite of tools. 

I'd been playing around with syncing animation with audio keyframes in After Effects previously, so made for a good set of features to test here. I found a really excellent tutorial by GreyScale Gorilla on the subject.

I picked a song that I'd bought from Audio Jungle, called "Live My Life" by MetroLightMusic, which is nice and uplifting and quite apt for the cause.

Here's the initial result, which I abruptly cut short because a) it's just an initial draft and b) I was using my crappy laptop which takes ages to render out the .tif sequence and I couldn't wait around.

The great thing about this technique is that you can basically swap out the audio in C4D for any track and get a completely different animation effect thanks to the combination of Dynamics engine and the audio-based animation.

I think you'll agree it's a pretty awesome little effect.

Finally, I took it into After Effects for a bit of colour correction, added some composited elements, vignettes etc.

Be kind, I'm learning...