June 8, 2005: This animation started with a Sassi tutorial on the Pixelcorps site--several tutorials actually--that explored the changes that could be made in a primitive object in Cinema 4D by varying its parameters. A cube could be transformed into any number of other objects, for example, and so I animated parameter changes that turned it finally into a sphere. I applied one of my favorite psychedelic videos to the object and rendered it with an alpha channel, then brought it into Final Cut Pro and animated it into a cloud video. Here's a picture of the timeline:

screen shot of timeline

The bottom track has the cloud clip that you see all the way through the video, speeded up 600% to make the movement more interesting. The second track is a duplicate of the first part of the first track that I applied the matte extract filter to. This filter gives you controls with which you can push the blue sky all the way to black, and the white clouds all the way to white. The first two tracks are set to composite mode normal, and then the fun begins with the 3D track. In the motion tab, I set it to start out scaled down, gradually get bigger, then smaller, and finally to 100%. I moved the playhead to various points in the timeline, and dragged the 3D clip around in the viewer to get the motion path I wanted; then I made a cut in the clip at the point where the cube clears the clouds in the upper left corner. The first part of the 3D clip I then set to composite mode travel-matte luma, which means that its visibility is determined by the clip below it, allowing the clouds on the bottom track to show through. I set the second part of the 3D track to composite mode normal, so it appears on top of the cloud track.

When I set up the 3D model, I wasn't really thinking about what I was going to do with it. If I had foreseen this incarnation, I would have played more with the lighting to make it fit into the cloud clip better. Maybe I'll get around to that at some point, but in the meantime, here it is: