I wanted the title sequence for this project to really play a part of the animation as a whole, setting the mood, setting expectations. So the first step I took after roughing what the sequence would look like, was learning how to animate fire in After Effects. I looked up a tutorial on YouTube:
Although this was very helpful, I didn't like the outcome based on the specific settings the video recommended. The person said it themself, creating your desired effect is largely about experimenting and playing with settings.
I wanted fire to burn a silhouette of the title in, before the text kind of punched in. I realise this kind of effect is easily obnoxious, rather than quaintly trite. I wanted the fire to have as little presence, whilst still being noticeable. The tutorial had the flame particles move fairly slowly, and when I made the effect move across the screen It looked fairly unnatural, having the particles hang while the flame had finished. I made the particles move faster, and made their longevity practically nothing, making the flame as a whole much snappier, almost an explosion, rather than a camp fire. The tutorial also recommend circle particles, which simply a ring of colour. I changed these to spheres, which were colour from edge to edge, so the particles were more noticeable, which was required because they were appearing and disappearing so quickly.
In the rough version, I tried to make the fire look like it was being lit, with a small initial spark before the burn, I did away with this in the final one however, going for the quaintly trite effect.
After the flame animation is finished, the burnt in text moves out a little bit, before the full text moves in. The punch is quick, and retains a little zoom motion after the initial movement, which I find just a little more visually appealing than not having this zoom, seemingly the zoom is more natural, like it is recovering from the quicker motion, and makes the whole title a little more dynamic.
In the final version of the title sequence, I made the flame travel a little faster, and like I previously said, removed any ignition effect. I gave the red background a slight gradient, that creates an kind of vignette effect, and just adds to the depth of the whole composition a little. I added a chromatic aberration effect, which both looks cool, and creates a slightly more gritty feeling, which I think couples very well with the slight film grain effect. I think the sequence does a good job of setting the mood I want for the animation, and the red really contrasts the rest of the sequence. The red also becomes a kind of motif, where I use a similar red later in the animation to signify a vital blow between characters. Whether or not the animation holds up to the mood I tried to set, I suppose is subjective, but I think the animation is definitely better for its presence.