Stupid Old Animations


Some time around 2004, I obtained a completely legal ‘educational’ version of the Adobe Video Collection (as a hand-me-down from my then-future wife). The package included Mac versions of Photoshop 7, Illustrator 10, Premiere 6.5, and After Effects 5.5—each of which was then a version or two outdated compared to the newer Creative Suite offerings. I made good use of Photoshop in my web development efforts of the day, but most of the other software sat mostly dormant and unused.

For some reason, in 2005, I decided to start messing around with some of the other products. I used Illustrator to re-create some old characters of mine . . . first, I recreated a hand-drawn cartoon ant named Antzoid. Then I created a new version of an inexplicable character named Peter Spoo, who happened to have been an accidental combination of two royalty-free Microsoft clip-art images (a man with a broken leg and a flower). And once I had nice vector versions of my two characters, I could bring them over into After Effects and animate them. So I did.

I posted a repeating Flash animation of Antzoid dancing, and then later a short Quicktime movie of Peter Spoo walking off a cliff. They were completely stupid, pointless animations that I threw together just to prove that I could make a semi-coherent animation if I ever wanted to. A few months later, I needed to make an ‘easter egg’ (hidden page/joke) for my web site, so I created a third stupid animation . . . an intentionally badly-drawn panda doing an intentionally badly-animated repetitive dance. It appeared on a blank white page that just said, in stark text, “GOD HATES PANDAS.” I figured that was a good explanation for why they are so bad at breeding.

Anyway, eventually my Adobe software stopped working. It was, after all, Mac software from the PowerPC era. Once I upgraded to a Mac with an Intel processor, I couldn’t use it anymore . . . and the cost of a new copy of the Adobe Creative Suite was more than I needed or wanted to spend for software I didn’t really need. Instead, I bought a standalone copy of Adobe Fireworks to do my web design work and went on my merry way. When I switched back to Windows, I transferred that Fireworks license from Mac to Windows and bought the Adobe Photoshop and Premier Elements bundle so I would have some basic photo and video software to do the jobs that iPhoto and iMovie had done on the Mac. Then I started taking a lot more photos, and bought a standalone copy of Adobe Lightroom to manage them. I upgraded those four Adobe products now-and-then in the years following.

Well, Fireworks got discontinued (ugh!) and the two Elements products kept getting more dumbed-down with each ‘upgrade’ . . . so I needed to evaluate my options, and it turned out that the most cost-effective way to get the four products I wanted (Lightroom, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere) and keep them up-to-date moving forward was to bite the bullet and become a full-fledged Adobe Creative Cloud subscriber. The subscription also includes the final version of Fireworks, which ensures I’ll still be able to open and convert my Fireworks files (at least for now). And because I had current versions of a few Adobe apps, they gave me the discounted ‘Creative Suite users’ price for the first year.

But let’s get to the important part: for the first time in many years, I have a working copy of Adobe After Effects (which I didn’t really care about, but it comes included with the Creative Cloud subscription). So that meant that I could go back and reopen my old animations, tweak them a bit, and remaster them in stunning high resolution for posting to YouTube . . . because . . . why not?

Scott Bradford is a writer and technologist who has been putting his opinions online since 1995. He believes in three inviolable human rights: life, liberty, and property. He is a Catholic Christian who worships the trinitarian God described in the Nicene Creed. Scott is a husband, nerd, pet lover, and AMC/Jeep enthusiast with a B.S. degree in public administration from George Mason University.