Sunday, 2 October 2011

Digital landscapes

 [PLANNING]

I am quite excited about this collaboration project with the architectural side of things, as my aim is to become an environmental designer for games.
My initial thoughts on the brief are that its quite overwhelming and too much to take in.
But i am going to break it down and higlight some of the things which i think are of importance and to take into consideration towards our outcome. 

Firstly we went out to gather photographs of Digbeth and surrounding areas, this was our first outing, which was to help us conjure ideas and get a feel of the place. We only covered the highlighted section. We took photographs and uploaded them onto a flickr account, which we will also use for any future photographic material related to this project: http://www.flickr.com/photos/68315493@N02/





In our second outing we ventured into new areas in Digbeth and we also returned to the custard factory and actually started to ask people who work there, questions and interview them regarding the history of Digbeth and the possible future of Digbeth. The area we covered consisted of the following highlighted area.




Research material, composed together by riz




Using the interview video I made a brainstorm picking out some of the points which i thought were useful in regards to what we are trying to achieve for our project, also some of the things we could look into further.





BBC News:




Custard factory moodboard


[Cinematogrophy]
 
Celtx task screenplay format


[NARRATION]

Initial script.
 
A city is a work art... but what makes a city a city?
[POPULATION? BUILDINGS? MARKETS?]

What about [culture, history, atmosphere, art, community, urban grain, growth, environment?]

No-one see's the interior of a city, only the exterior.

 
In 1837 a man named Alfred Bird fell in love with a girl who loved custard but was allergic to eggs.
So out of his love for her he made the first egg free powdered custard.
He then started manufacturing his new found product, in the custard factory.
After he died the custard factory became derelict for 20 years.

But now..
[EVENTS]>[ART]>[MUSIC]>[RETAIL]

In order to progress we need more Creative people.
Creative people who are naturally talented designers with aspirations and a retail mind.
What can we offer you and your new business?

-We welcome you to a community of creative people who are developing businesses just like yours.
-We offer an escape from the rat race that you find in the High street, In the form of a subculture which exists within the boundaries of the custard factory, offering positive atmosphere and a relaxed environment.
-Intimacy between our clients and us, meaning less of the whole suit and tie affair.
-The custard factory helps support your independent business, from funding to cheap rates. Which in turn helps the economy within the custard factory to keep flowing. 
- 400 studio spaces, 15 acres of land, galleries, theatres, restaurants, office and retail space.

Help us help you and watch the city within a city grow.
Its the media quarter,Custard Factory.
[YOUR SPACE HERE]


FINAL SCRIPT

-----
[INSPIRATION]



As soon as this project started i wanted my outcome based heavily on the video above. I really enjoyed this title video and wanted a very similair final outcome using almost every aspect of what is in that video, from the titles to the effects and even style of recording to represent Digbeth. As a group we decided this style of animation would be perfect, but as we continued on this path we soon realised that we had no narrative and there is no actual story, just a style in which we want to use. Hence there could be no room for this style in accordance to our would be narrative, as we started off on the wrong foot we had to start again from scratch on ideas towards the narrative. 




After having an idea on our narrative I imagined the way the final should look like, I thought of the vodka nightlife exchange project ad. It gave ideas as to how we could use this style of work, which is almost like info-graphics and animation put together. I really like the way the words move in terms of animation style.






'This is you' gave us the idea to promote the custard factory, and also helped us to move on from our previous ideas which we kept contemplating on and went nowhere with them.







Kinetic typography was the style we had chosen to use to promote the custard factory, these videos gave us an insight as to how we could incoporate this style into our work.


Made by Tyler Askew
I really like this style in which this artist has composed different text together to make a web of text. I wish to incoporate something like this in form of an animation too.


[PRODUCTION]

[TESTS]




Using this image I wanted to create an effect which i would like to see in the final outcome, so i keyed out the sky and replaced it with actual moving cloud footage. I also experimented with different factors in after effects shown below. 


video

Night scene edit

Custard factory title

video

video


Expriments for the ending title.


 


INTRO TITLE

After doing some tests for the intro i decided it was best to keep it very simple with no form of visuals in the opening scene at all. I felt that keeping it quite basic and simple would add a bit of a dramatic feel and would get peoples attention.


Alfred bird and his girl!

I wanted the illustrations to be quite consistent and not too detailed. All the illustrations in the final animation i made in illustrator.



video
video

After checking with group members we decided to use the bottom one for events and the top one for the office scene.

video
video

Textures

Texture used for the art slide, serving to act as a canvas.

This texture was used in the ending title, it was used as a platform with colour correction and placed in 3D space for the text to sit on.

I used this texture for the retail slide. I was experimenting with CC kaleida in after effects, and i felt that this texture would work really well and give a retro looking wallpaper effect.


[FINAL]





[EVALUATION]

Its been a long journey and quite a painstaking one to reach this stage.

We started off with our group formation with our architect colab partners, at first this seemed to be a good idea as we, the animators thought the architects could provide us with substantial architectural information on buildings and general areas within digbeth, but later on it seemed to not work at all, and the architects were useless.

As we started the project we ventured into digbeth and surrounding areas for any bit of inspiration we could find, we were taking photos, talking to people, and this helped us generte ideas of our own. One of the first ideas proposed by me was heavily influenced by another video i saw on youtube, but i fallen for the style and visuals of the video and this was a problem as we needed to develop a narrative first and use that to create our outcome, not the other way round. I had an idea for a narrative which was looking at new digbeth and comparing it with old digbeth, and incoporating this style of work, but it had no direction as to where it was going, it was too vague.
Even my animation partner proposed a couple of ideas but they seemed to have no sense of direction.

Once we collected all the information we had; photographs, interviews, websites, news articles, we individually filtered out the strongest bits and then bought them together to show each other what we thought are good points.
At this point we started to have conflicting ideas, and we both kept rejecting each others ideas. So with a bit of direction from our tutor, we decided we should promote the custard factory. The reason why we chose the custard factory as our focus point of digbeth was because we felt it holds a lot of information in terms of history and story, this was a great starting point for us and a stepping stone towards our final idea.

With the information we collected and filtered, we thought the interviews were the strongest research material we collated. From the interviews we picked out the custard factory's selling points, as well as any background information we found through all of our sources as we needed these to promote the custard factory.
I then came up with our initial storyboard and narration. After showing the rest of the group the initial idea they were all happy with it, and with a few tweaks made to the script by the rest of the group we were ready to go into production with our narrative!

The storyboard held all of my visual content for this project, I knew what i was doing in my mind, but its the matter of whether my ability and knowledge of after effects will make ends meet. I had been following a lot of tutorials from websites such as www.videocopilot.net before the project started and throughout the time of this project. Many online resources helped me achieve and overcome many of the problems i incurred while producing the animation. As i was working on 70% of the final animation i had to work productively and at a good pace. I started quite well, but as i continued to build on the work, problems started to occur.

Problems such as my limitation of understanding after effects, and the main factor being time. I think time is everyones weakness, i thought i had effectively managed time in terms of creating what i wanted to, but i was wrong. Some of the things i wanted to add into the final video havent been added, such as the art title, i wanted the text to spike out all at once and then swim away, but that was too advanced for me. I overcome this by replacing it with an ink effect. The ink effect was quite effective, but it wasn't as effective as it could have been, as the composition of the text elements wasn't to my liking, but because we were running out of time i had to go with my inital composition of that title scene. Also when the ink wiped out the text towards the end, i should have made it wipe out the canvas too and reveal the next scene, rather than wiping out just the text and leaving a blank canvas. This would have improved the transition from one scene to the next.

In terms of the sound im happy with the music but if only the lyrics spoken by the vocalist were removed. Besides that, i think the music worked quite well, as it relates to the custard factory in the sense of it being a place where there is a lively atmosphere, which holds parties and events. The music was directed towards a younger audience as we wanted something which is upbeat and would relate to the people who attend these events and parties.
I think we could have improved the voiceover, but we had no choice as we tried other peoples voices and it wasnt to our liking, leaving us with no choice but to go with riz's. Again if time wasnt an issue we could have searched for the right person.
I also think that the birds custard illustration could have had more detail in it, as it looks pretty basic and not done very well. I did unfortunately rush making the custard pot illustration as we were running out of time and i had to get the animation done. 

I think the outcome is quite effective in achieving what we wanted it to achieve, which was throwing out there what the custard factory has to offer. The target audience being creative people with limited funds. We could take this further and contact the custard factory and show them the video to see what they make of it, and maybe even if they could use it.
I really enjoyed making this animation and it gave me more experience in using after effects. Some of the parts i think were really effective are the ending, when the media quarter text comes up from the ground in a neon light fashion, followed by the custard factory and then the 'your space here' part. Only thing i would fault on that is the way the camera moves, it could possibly be more organic and natural rather than sudden and abrupt. I also enjoyed the 'events' title, inspired by the vodka nightlife exchange project, i find that quite an effective technique in kinetic typography.

Overall i would say the outcome is good and has taught me a lot in promoting, narrating and animating. A great experience which took weeks, learning different things from working in a group to managing time, but most of all after effects. Hopefully i shall continue to grow my knowledge on after effects as i find it an extremely useful tool which i have grown fond of, and lets hope i become fluent in using it.