The journey through localization in multi-desktop publishing was certainly an entertaining one. With Adobe Creative Cloud, I tackled a number of posters from both Korean and American entertainment to localize into their respective language partner. Here is a selection of a few American tv series posters localized into Korean using Adobe Photoshop and InDesign.
Thanks to Photoshop’s Content-Aware Fill option, this process was not particularly difficult. Moreover, unlike the more complicated entertainment magazine covers, the texts on these posters did not necessarily have a special design other than the font itself and some drop shadows. Long story short, I wanted a different challenge. Dwelling on the ultimate task, I ended up admitting that one of my weakest links is none other than After Effects — so, what else is better suitable for this new challenge? With such a bold initiative in mind, I searched around the web for media content that was even remotely feasible to localize utilizing just the final published product.
TEASER | TRAILER
Following a long search of film and tv series trailers, I realized that a majority of text animation (or any other animation) overlaps the actual source footage. In this case, it is nearly impossible to get rid of such asset burned into the moving image without the original project file with all the layers. Clearly, the content-aware fill option from Photoshop is not something that applies to a video on After Effects or Premiere Pro. Then I finally came to this teaser above for the Korean tv series, Cheese in the Trap. Based on a popular Korean webtoon (web + cartoon), the teaser for this romantic comedy series embraced the characteristics of its original inspiration. As you can see, the teaser — while not necessarily illustrating the story — has the obvious look of a cartoon.
Let’s dive right into the challenges. So the picture list has been created and translation is complete. First challenge, as shown below, was the “trap” graphic that falls on top of the original text. Because the text needed to be replaced in English, I had to come up with a solution to both salvage the graphic while throw away the Korean words.
The solution was to make a screen capture. I then went into Photoshop, took the lasso tool to draw along the graphic (below shows another frame where the graphic covers the text), and made a copy on top of a transparent background.
With a separate PNG file in hand, I took the liberty to mask the original text and placed the PNG of the “trap” graphic on top of that particular layer. Take a look below. It looks quite clean right? But another challenge emerges to the surface here — notice that the background is not a solid yellow color. The gradient is there, and the color palette does not seem even either; in other words, the right edge of the screen appears darker.
CHALLENGES: MASK | SHAPE LAYER
I won’t call this a “mask” because After Effects has a very specific characteristic when it comes to the Mask layer. However, using the word as a verb, that is essentially what this shape layer is doing: it is masking the original Korean text, as illustrated above and below. In order to resolve the uneven gradient background that was mentioned before, I utilized the 4-Color Gradient tool, which allows me to pick four specific points in the targeted area to mix up four different colors as naturally as possible. I’d like to present a disclaimer now, though — it is not perfect. There are a few imperfect areas in the final localized version, and this shape layer is definitely one of them. With that said, take a look at the below screenshot where I’ve highlighted the effects section to choose four different points and colors. Select the target tool per point in order to select a specific area in the shape layer, and use the dropper to define the nearest color.
Next up is the more fun part. The title Cheese in the Trap makes its first appearance in the original teaser in a “cheesy” looking handwriting. What I did here — other than look up a number of YouTube tutorials — was using the pen tool and applying the stroke effect. First, I wrote along the formal font text with the pen tool, simulating the same look and feel as much as possible. It was a meticulous and arduous process because once I connected the dots with the pen tool, I needed to make sure that the path is fluid and smooth. In order to do so, I manipulated the two handles that accompany each point. By smoothing and curving the path, the result ends up looking like what we see below.
We then enter the stroke effect. Enabling the handwriting animation was actually a lot easier than I expected because all I had to use was the end function. Place two keyframes, each at the beginning and end of the designated period, and make sure that the first keyframe has the end value at 0% while the second keyframe has it at 100%. The handwriting effect is complete once that step is finished. To top it off, I applied a drop shadow to make sure the writing pops out from the background and, of course, emulate the original.
CHALLENGES: SMOKE | EXPLOSION
Here is another imperfect area: the smoke and explosion parts. I’ll illustrate this process by just focusing on the explosion that pops up at the end of the teaser. First of all, it was difficult for me to recreate the exact same look for the explosion, so I just tried to imitate it as much as possible. Using Trapcode Particular, a powerful external application that can be installed into After Effects, I created two overlapping explosion animations by manipulating the particle and physics sections. Take a look below: Particular allows me to control air path, meaning that I can adjust the wind direction and level. It also lets me choose the color of the explosion, which can transform over time — so I set one of the explosions to begin in a bright yellow color and end in a mustard color, and the other explosion vice versa.
One of the things that I should’ve done was create compositions per animation segment and compile them together to work on one final nested composition. As you may have noticed from many of the screenshots above, I layered every single component on top of each other, driving my own poor self to struggle through the endless scrolling of up and down.
In addition, considering that the solutions to the above challenges are all essentially lessons I learned throughout this process, I also want to highlight that I learned to make subtitles using Premiere Pro. Although quite self-explanatory, I’ll briefly explain the process below with a couple screenshots.
Shown above, create a new Captions item. Once the base caption has been created, notice that a black box is initially set to warp around the caption, as shown below. I can get rid of this box by reducing the visibility level down to 0% from 100%, and I would then manipulate the stroke function two icons to the right in order to finish off the look of a clean subtitle (black stroke around white font).
Finally! Without further ado, here is the localized version of the Cheese in the Trap teaser.
Click here to download the complete assets.