Auburn Sky Productions

Animated Bumper Video

John runs a great video production company in a town near where I live in High Country of western North Carolina. Auburn Sky Productions is his first foray into video production (his background is in sound design).


John wanted to give his video production company an elevated brand image. His previous logo was not telling the story of Auburn Sky Productions the way he wanted and his video content wasn't branded in a meaningful way. 

A secondary goal for this project was to give a rich emotion of openness and infinite possibility to the viewer. 

Project Overview

 Design and animate a bumper animation for Auburn Sky Productions

• Capture the following emotions:

     • endless possibilities

     • there is something bigger than you ahead

• Vision from client:

     • Picture going up the mountain, all you see is what’s right in front of you, cresting the hill, you get the big reveal of an endless auburn sky.

• Consideration taken to deliver a solution that can be used in a variety of places and scales (primarily 1920x1080)



Through sketches (not all sketches are shown... there were a lot), I explored different directions we could go for "cresting over a hill for a big reveal." After discussions with John, we determined that a full screen scene would give the big reveal more impact.

Rough Animation

This rough animation was a way to block out elements and test getting a big reveal feel.

John and I had more discussion at this point about the style. The illustration style just wasn't achieving the right mood, so we pivoted, going more in the direction of photographic elements; more realism.

Design and Animation Decisions


I needed a grass field and was having a difficult time finding the right kind of field and the right angle. So I grabbed my trusty camera and stepped no further than my back yard. I got exactly what I was looking for. 


Photoshop brushes were used to create the clouds. I needed to be able to have a cloud with a transparent background, so painting them was the best way to achieve the look and have it function properly in the animation. I also made the grey cloud and auburn highlights on separate layers so I could fade in the color as the sun comes up.


Sky & Sun

The sky and sun were created in After Effects. The sun peaks out towards the end of the clip for one last emotional punch as if to give the viewer the payoff of waking up early to hike and see the sun rise over the distant peak.


I was able to find a good stock image the Blue Ridge Mountains (where Auburn Sky Productions is located). I cut each ridge out in Photoshop and straighten out the horizon.


Putting the Pieces Together in 3D Space

Here's a look at how each layer is separated out into 3D space. 



Now that the pieces are in place, they need to be edited to look like they belong in the same scene. And since this is a sunrise scene, I used some coloring and compositing techniques to really sell the transition.

Final Animation

Remember when I said John's background is in sound design? He's creating his own custom music for this piece. I'll update when that he's done creating his epic music bed.