Thanksgiving Interrupted (2008)
This artwork served as a holiday card that I gave to my girlfriend Whitney for Thanksgiving 2008. The drawing features Whitney and I playing in a pile of leaves, interrupting the first Thanksgiving meal between the Pilgrims and Native Americans. The illustration began as a hand-drawn sketch that was then scanned and vectored in Adobe Illustrator. Shadows and highlights were added in Adobe Photoshop CS3 using a Wacom tablet.
Ten different, orange-colored leaves were drawn in Illustrator, painted in Photoshop, and imported into Adobe After Effects CS3. Utilizing After Effect's animation capabilities, the ten leaves were put into a timeline and rotated along the Y and Z-axis to add three-dimensional rotations. An animated Level adjustment was then added to change the lightness and darkness of the leaves. The timeline was then duplicated several times and a different Hue/Saturation adjustment was added to each copy of the timeline. By simply changing the Hue, the orange leaves were changed to red, yellow, and brown.
Using Trapcode Particular, a particle animation plug-in, a random frame was pulled from each of the four leaf timelines and used as a particle. By adjusting numerous settings, including velocity, rotation, and particle size, each tree could be quickly populated with a wide variety of leaves, all of seemingly different sizes, lightness, darkness, and rotations. This technique was also used on the multi-colored pile of leaves on the ground as well as the leaves being thrown by Whitney.