You know we do video screencasts, right? It’s not, like, super regular, but I have done them for a long time, still like doing them, and plan to keep doing them. I publish them here, but you can subscribe over on YouTube as well.
I’ve had a couple of different custom video intro animations over the years, always done by someone far more handy with that kind of thing than I am. When I asked around in May this year, I got some good leads, but none better than Matthias paging Marc, and then Marc helping me out with an introduction to dina Amin.
One look at dina’s work and it’s an obvious: yes! She does stop-motion and a lot of breakin’ stuff:
We chatted back and forth, scoping out the project. She says:
I worked together with Assem Kamal on a new intro for CSS-Tricks YouTube channel. We wanted to make something very short yet interesting so that audiences on YouTube don’t skip the intro or get bored if they watch a couple of CSS-Tricks videos back to back.
She researched and asked a bunch of questions. I like how she was very aware of the role an intro like this plays in a video, especially tutorials. Can’t be too long. Can’t be annoying in any way. It has to have enough detail that it’s almost fun to see multiple times.
The old video started with a keyboard:
We started with an Apple keyboard, because we wanted to keep something from the original intro that Chris’ audience would relate to, and most importantly because I wanted to take the keyboard apart!
“Did we cut up that keyboard?!” Yes, we did. It was too easy to find multiple broken Apple keyboards, it’s a very well-engineered product and it all comes together beautifully with minimum parts, but only Apple can fix this product. You can’t just get your screw kit out and open this up and fix one flawed button connection. So a lot of these keyboards are thrown away because it’s too expensive to fix in countries like Egypt. We got our hands on three keyboards and we cut up one as we animated and used different keyboard buttons from the other two to make the buttons stretch.
It was fun seeing some behind-the-scenes stuff in her Instagram Stories:
And another connection from the original is the idea of websites as components and building out layouts. That was just referenced in the original with some background sketches and now comes to life with paper prototypes in this version.
We thought of showing the ‘how to make a website’ process in very abstract steps where each step quickly transitions and transforms into the other. Starting with keyboard clicks that turn into code, then design blocks that make up a website, which scrolls to reveal the CSS-Tricks logo.
It’s all done quite literally with stop motion! Hand moving bits around, taking photos, and making those into video.
Once we got the concept approved and our props ready, we spent hours and hours moving little pieces to make all this magic.
Check out a time lapse of the creation!
Ultimately, I got a number of versions in different aspect ratios and sizes, which is wonderful as I can switch it up and use different ones that might be more appropriate in different scenarios. Here’s the main one!
I’ve already been putting these on the start and end of videos like this one.
Thanks, dina and Assam!