UArts from Gary on Vimeo.

UArts Animated Holiday Card

Happy Holidays from all the illustration, photography, performance, video, animation, and creative friends of University of the Arts.

UArts, or more formally known as University of the Arts, is the only university dedicated solely to the arts, and is located in Philadephia, PA. I teamed up with fellow UArts alumni Martin Slamon and Mark Dicciani to help create a short Christmas Card video to send out to the UArts community. I am a UArts Film and Video Production alumni (2004) and Martin Slamon is a 2002 Multimedia Alumni and Mark Dicciani is a 1975 Music Alumni, along with the rest of the chorus and musicians credited at the end.

Martin came up with the concept and I had to film a few photographs. UArts supplied us with a few stock images. We cut the images out in Adobe Photoshop and then I placed them in 3D space using Apple Motion. Add some lights, depth of field, and snow particles, and a few hours of rendering and the final animation is ready. (I’m now using Adobe After Effects exclusively since Apple unofficially discontinued Motion).

Here’s some of the photographs for the animated film for reference.

UArts Holiday Card Close Up of Metal Class
Metal Class
UArts Holiday Card Glassblowing Students
Glassblowing Students
UArts Holiday Card Dancing Class at Terra Hall
Dancing Class at Terra Hall
UArts Holiday Card woodworking student
Woodworking Student

For any filmmakers and photographers wanting to make a similar video, just a few suggestions. When shooting specifically for a 4D photo / video animation, it always helps to close down the F stop and not go for shallow depth of field and bokeh. The sharper your subjects, the better the final crop will be in Adobe Photoshop. For instance, if the outline of your subject is blurred since you’re shooting wide open, the crop in photoshop will be obvious. Also, since the 3D camera in After Effects will be getting quite close to the subject, it helps to get that extra bit of resolution from a stopped down lens.

If part of your character is obstructed, you can also shoot closeups and paste over it. For instance the sheet music picture was a closeup that I put on top of a music stand in another photo, since it was originally obstructed in the wider shot. So, I get a clearer shot, and more importantly, better resolution, should I need it. So keep an extended depth of field and obstruction in mind when shooting photographs specifically for a 4D Photo animation.

Thanks again for reading,

Gary Hanna
Psynema, Philadelphia Video Production  


  1. Interesting, nice, Dicciani, Johnson, and Hanna all on the same product

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