What can a talented animator do when given the daunting task of creating a music video on a shoestring budget? For artist Whitney Alexander, the answer was simple: borrow an iPad to do the bulk of the work.

Alexander: Storyboard

Creating the initial vision for the video.

The project began when Alexander was approached by Ben Talmi, singer and lead songwriter for the band Art Decade. With a budget of only $2,000, Talmi asked Alexander to create a music video for the title track of their new album entitled “Western Sunrise,” inspired by the work of Bulgarian animator Alexander Petrov.

Alexander wave

The motion, which will be created in After Effects, is planned for the art layers.

The biggest challenge was the modest budget. Alexander, who did not even own a computer, needed to crunch some numbers in order to obtain the tools he required, but have some left over for living expenses. He was able to borrow a laptop, but needed an application in order to create his vision. It was Alexander’s girlfriend who suggested the use of an iPad for the design and artwork. In an exclusive interview with AppAdvice, Alexander explained:

“It was originally my girlfriend’s idea to use the iPad. At first I dismissed the idea, but after seeing the price ranges for Photoshop I decided to reconsider. In the end, it turned out to be a much smarter approach.”

Because no 3-D animation software was used, the “Western Sunrise” video would have to rely on the traditional and time-consuming method of layer manipulation to create motion. The Procreate app was chosen because of its key ability to export layered files using the traditional Photoshop format.

Alexander was able to create all of the concept art, storyboards, background, 2-D effects animation, and background assets with the iPad 2. After the elements were created, they were exported to a laptop running After Effects where animators Kipp Jarden, Ryan Johnson, and James Sauter created the 3-D planes and motion.

Western Sunrise

The atmosphere of the video is surreal and beautiful.

Procreate was used after animation as well, Alexander added:

“[After being worked on in After Effects] The character design had a lot of hard edges and sharp corners that would easily be seen had I not been using the Procreate app for final character cleanup.”

The resulting video is serene and fluid, full of vibrant color, and an impressionistic quality that inspires the imagination. You do not need to take our word for it, you can see the video here:

For those interested in learning more about the process, the team made a video about the project itself: 

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Would you consider taking on a project like this on your iPad?