Learning Cavalry through practice

For 2023 edition of 36 Days of Type, I decided to use Cavalry App only to create my letter designs and to animate them at the same time. This software caught my eye from version 1.1, but I had no idea how to start using it or what it’s capabilities were.

36 Days of Type seemed like a good project to learn new software, as I had no real deadline, except “finish it sooner than later”. I could experiment with new features and learn it from the ground up as I went along. And it was a good idea. At the end of this project, after about 3 months of playing with Cavalry, I’m confident in using it to create completely new animations, which I would struggle to replicate in After Effects.

At the end of this project, I feel like Cavalry has a much easier learning curve than After Effects. Once you understand how “linking” properties help you generate shapes or make animations without need for keyframes, then whole new world and workflow opens up.

I would like to thank to Mario De Meyer, Anthony Velen, David Enbom, Chris Gannon, Elliot Mosher, Adam Maurer, Remco behind Scenery.io and Kyle Daily for their help in Cavalry Discord channel. You guys are rockstar aces for sharing your workflow, files and advice. And big thank you to the team behind Cavalry App for making this software and for actively joining Discord discussions and helping out where possible.

Lessons Learned

Cavalry is crazy good at what it does, and that is vector graphic animation. It is fast, it can create complex designs very quickly and it is easy to iterate. I am still discovering new features and uses for it.

The best part that I love is how easy it is to create perfect animation loops. You can create your set ups that are driven by Noise or Oscillator values and get them to loop perfectly, without any keyframes. This makes iteration of animation much easier.

Another thing that I learned from using this software was how refreshing it was to have a lot of built in features, as opposed to plugins or presets that you have to purchase separately. Not only you have access to 2D Physics engine, but quite a few Effects or Filters as they are called in Cavalry. Things like Pixel Sorting or Halftone effects. It was great to have them built in as I was able to experiment with them, without having to purchase extra plugins.

Post Processing and Compositing

I did post processing and in some cases, small compositing, on all the animations in After Effects.

First, I exported all the animations from Cavalry App to ProRes 4444 with Alpha MOV files. Then, I imported them into After Effects and started adding textures, glows, colour correction on all the letters. Even some displacement in few cases to add extra level of detail, grittiness and texture.

As you can see from the above Before / After image exports, base animation was created and locked in Cavalry. I used After Effects to finalise the look and feel or final renders. Cavalry is better suited for Vector Animation, while After Effects acted as a great compositing tool, in this case. I was able to dial in the look quickly and enhance overall feel of the animations.

Looping Loops

Here is a selection of a few looping loops, which showcase power of Cavalry in creating perfectly loop-able videos, quickly.

Final Video

Final Gallery

Here are all the final stills, exported from After Effects once all the compositing and post processing was finished.

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