UFO Cow Abduction Animation

An animation I created with 3D cameras in Adobe After Effects

The “Golden Arches” Cheeseburger Experiment

I was tasked to make a diorama animation in Adobe After Effects. The duration of the animation could be no longer than 15 seconds, as well as an open and close “curtain.” I thought it would be funny to have a UFO abducting cows and spitting out cheeseburgers next to a fast food restaurant. I also thought it would be fun to make a play on the “Golden Arches.” I went from there straight to storyboarding my UFO diorama animation.


Once I had my concept down, I started sketching out some ideas. I came to the conclusion that I would have the UFO abduct three cows and crash on the last one because it is overweight. Here is my final storyboard for this animation:

Storyboard of a UFO animation I created in Adobe After Effects
Storyboard of a UFO animation I created in Adobe After Effects
Storyboard of a UFO animation I created in Adobe After Effects

After some further thought, I realized that I could not pull off the use of three cows being abducted would not fit the 15 second time frame, so I narrowed it down to only two cows. Once I had the storyboard down, the next stop was Adobe Illustrator.

Designing the Assets in Illustrator

I wanted a somewhat clean, simple and cartoony design, so I illustrated the assets appropriately. I gave each asset their own layer because After Effects allows you to manipulate each individual layer. I wanted some options, so I created one cheeseburger alone on its own layer and another with all of the ingredients on their own layers. I ultimately used the single layer cheeseburger because the animation was too fast to notice every ingredient dropping individually. Once I had it where I wanted, I imported the .ai file right into after effects.

Screenshot of Adobe Illustrator, preparing the layers for Adobe After Effects.

Animation Time, in After Effects

My final stop was Adobe After Effects. I imported the Illustrator file straight in and started setting up my scene. First, I started duplicating the cows and trees and resized them to add variety. Then, I set everything up as 3D layers and created a camera and a light. I also added some depth of field to the camera. Once everything was set up, I began animating the scene. One of the most tedious parts was the cheeseburgers falling down from the spaceship. Each cheeseburger is on its own layer and animates individually.

Screenshot of Adobe After Effects, showing all of the 3D layers.


After I finished the animation, I sweetened it with audio and a light that randomly flickers. Overall, I enjoyed this project and look forward to similar ones in the future!

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