Kari Everson | Fall ’20 | Motion Graphics


Tender Buttons by Gertrude Stein is considered one of the most innovative pieces of Modernist writing. Published in 1914, this collection of experimental verses is celebrated for its abstract qualities–the sounds and rhythms of the words.

Select a short passage from Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons from either Objects or Food. Develop a vignette that visually interprets the chosen passage. Use the words of the passage as a jumping off point towards a simple idea you wish to express.

Overview: Cranberries

Count the chain, cut the grass, silence the noon and murder flies. See the basting undip the chart, see the way the kinds are best seen from the rest, from that and untidy.

For this second motion project I chose the beginning two sentences from the section titled “Cranberries”. From here I created a video using type and shape animations to show the sentences and words. My final outcome isn’t so much about telling a story but more a collection/study of After Effects animations. I also wanted to represent the idea that these two sentences don’t make sense to me and are just a collection of words.


When looking back on my process and the steps that I took in this project, I would say that I struggled. Part of it is because my computer struggles terribly when running After Effects and I was constantly worrying about that. Another aspect that was hard about this project was it didn’t turn out the way that I initially thought it would. I initially thought of using a lot of geometric patterns to and morphing transitions for this video but once I started working I realized it was hard to achieve these effects. Overall I think my video turned out alright but I would say it’s not my best work. While I tried to focus on the video I could help but have at the back of my mind if my computer was going to shut down every time I opened After Effects. This was definitely more of a “just trying to get the project done” situation.

Step #1 — Sketches:

First sketches for video clip ideas/concepts/transitions

The sketching phase helped me a lot when thinking about ideas for the video and seeing the words in their full and individual states. This is where I thought I’d be using shapes and patterns to convey the words. Instead of the type being animated it was strictly going to be shapes telling the story instead.

Step #2 — Drafts + First Phases:

Drafts + Individual video animations

Once I started taking my sketches to After Effects I learned really quickly how hard it would be to achieve my initial vision. I ended up finding myself taking different animation tutorials and using those to sort of relate the words to. After a couple rounds of feedback I added hints of color within the animations as well to add an extra layer to the video. Because each animation holds a heavy amount of layers and expressions I had to make them separate videos/projects and then bring them into one video for the final. I did run into trouble trying to render my video both in Media Encoder and in the original render que and both ended up not working. I then sent my video to a friend/fellow classmate to try and render my video and it still didn’t work. I believe it was due to my heavy layers and expressions. Later I received advice to render all my mini animations and then bring them into Premiere and put the video back together which ended up working perfectly!

Step #3 — Final:

Final Tender Buttons outcome

Here is my final outcome for Tender Buttons-Cranberries. A 1 min and 24 second video showing a collection of After Effects animations representing the confusion and randomness of the words.

Graphic Designer