Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Xmas Break Work

Not posted in a week or so, because as you may very well have known, it was Christmas! And I was worked like a slave at work, and had to cram in time to shop, play with the nephews new toys, you know, the usual.
But, I have done some thinking and produced some things for this project.

The first thing I am going to post is a test for the instructional video for the audience explaining the pads. However, I would like to begin with my research into coding on Flash.
I watched about 6 or 7 videos about coding on Adobe Flash, read several introductions and had a go myself. I got as far as drawing a rectangle.... Coding is mental! It just seems like a mass of symbols and half-words! If one character is wrong, if a colon, a comma or a letter is out of place, NOTHING works! So after nearly giving myself a brain haemorrhage trying to get my head around it, I gave up to battle another day. I decided to focus on the instructional video...

The instructional video will do exactly as it is called; instruct the audience how to use the pressure pads and how this will create visual representations on screen.
Below is a short clip which I intend to build upon showing the screen animating.

My next step is to create a storyboard for the video, so I know exactly what shots and angles are going to work together to create the full video. I will also use some text or animated slides to link shots together which explain what is happening.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Further Development

Iv'e had another chat with my tutor about my idea and which direction it is going and came up with some really good ideas.

I was struggling to come up with what my final outcome is going to be. The obvious way to go would be to create a longer video of my mock-ups, using the real letter set-up and lights to create the visuals and using all the letters of Alight. However, this would still not show how the visuals are working with the pressure pads.
So, as a short video for an outcome, I could flick between or pan to the feet tapping the pads and to the screen visual. This would show how the screen works, and could also be used as a demo to play for the audience to show them what they can do.

Another thing I could also do is look into coding, and how I could make things happen on screen by doing something in the real world, like tapping the microphone, or pressing a key. This would give me a better insight to how my idea would work. I could create something simple like a square changes colour when the user presses the space bar, but this could lead to something even more interesting. Which leads to idea 3...

Idea 3
Following the idea of the rectangle seating plan, I could replicate this using a keyboard. Look down at you keyboard. Go on, take a look, i'll wait here.
You back? Good. Thats sort of like a grid seating plan. If I look into the coding and get good enough at it, I could create a screen similar to that being used at the City Hall, and use each key to represent a pressure pad being tapped. The user can see what the screen will look like when each light comes on. This will take a bit of research into coding and how to do it using software like Flash, but I think it would look really good!

Next step is to start with research into coding and how to use simple ON/OFF codes in Flash. Watch this space, it could get pretty interactive!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Full Tap of letter 'A'

I added the dimmer lights to the screen visuals which are used to represent the tapping of the audience members not in the selected 'A' seats.

Again, still a bit rough, but with some work, I think this could look amazing! It would create a really exciting atmosphere in the audience, even for the ones not involved.
I love that this idea relies ENTIRELY on audience participation; if the audience did not join in, or only a few did, it would make sense or look attractive at all. In fact, it would look like the screen had broke! So it means the audience must work together to create beautiful imagery on screen.
To combat the audience involvement, a sheet of instructions would have to be placed on every seat connected to the screen. This way, the audience would know what the pads in front of them do, and how they can create the imagery by tapping or applying pressure to them.

Tap Test

I have had a play on After Effects to see what the visuals on screen could look like. It's pretty rough just using yellow light fades to represent the visuals. The result is below:

As I said, a bit rough, but I like the way it would look. If you think to yourself, each light is someone pressing down or tapping on the pad with their foot in real-time, and in representation to their seat, its pretty cool!

I do intend to add the dimmer lights to this too which are used for the audience members who are not sat in a selected 'A' seat, allowing them still to take part. I'll get to work on that now!

Budget issues aside, it is possible!

I checked out how my idea could realistically be achieved, and got to searching for different forms of pressure pads/mats. Here is an example:

Exciting, huh?
This pressure pad is one of many I found for sale online. This one in particular was found on Maplins' online store at http://www.maplin.co.uk/pressure-mat-3091?c=froogle&u=3091&t=module

Most pressure mats I looked at were used for security purposes. The idea being that when an intruder steps on one it triggers the alarm. However, due to my mighty electronics intellect, I know this sends a digital signal to the input device. This signal, being digital, is either ON or OFF. In terms of my idea, this ON/OFF signal would represent whether the on-screen visuals are ON or OFF. I have little-to-no knowledge of computer coding, so unfortunately I wouldn't have a clue HOW to code each input to the screen to show the visuals.

Using the price of this pad at Maplins, and the seating plan intended for at the City Hall, a figure has been worked out. The seating plan holds 25x7 seats, equaling 175 participating seats. Multiply this by the price of each pad (£7.99) and we get the very reasonable price of £1398.25. I don't see the issue here, do you? :p

But this is a step towards how the idea would become reality.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Final Pitch

So after generating this new idea, I added this to my pdf presentation and showed it to my tutor today. The response was AMAZING! Not only am I really happy with it, but my tutor and fellow designers really like the idea too. It a risky idea, as it completely relies on audience participation, but hey, aren't risks the most exciting things in life?

I will find out later if I am to be shortlisted to present to the client. As my tutor and I both mentioned during my pitch, the budget for the festival is pretty tight, and even though he would like to shortlist me for the simple fact the idea is great, both of us know it won't go ahead due to money issues. But the experience of presenting an idea like this to a client could be useful, so i'll find out later about that!
A piece of constructive criticism out tutor gave not just to me, but to everyone who pitched, is that we were very apologetic about the budget in our pitch. Almost all of us were guilt of saying things like 'due to budgeting this idea would have to be stripped down a bit'. A good point he made was if the idea is good enough and the client is interested enough they will find a budget for it. So YES, screw the budget they have warned upon us, my idea IS brilliant, I AM happy with it, and if it needs shrinking, that is something for them to worry about, not me :)

New Idea

After presenting my idea and gaining a bit of a negative response, I was a bit annoyed, but I payed much more attention to the other pitches and the response my tutor was giving to others. And pure inspiration struck...

In my nature I tend to tap beats and rhythms, pretty much ALL the time. In fact so much, that even as I type here, my feet are tapping to themselves! This definitely comes from my passion in music, and the fact i'm a drummer.
So I was sitting on a table in the session (there was no chairs left >:S ) and my legs were swinging, and I was tapping my feet in mid-air, to no music. And I thought, what if the I used the audience for the Twilight event to create the projection for me. I would give them the tools and they would do all the work. So here it is, my new idea:

The city hall seating plan looks like this:

View from the Stage

Birds-eye-view of Theatre

In the section at the front, there is a rectangular section of seats containing 25x7 seats. In a grid, that looks like this:

Grid structure of seats

So my idea is this: I would use pressure pads/mats across the feet of every seat in this section. When the pressure pad is tapped on, an on-screen projection of that action would be represented with a flash or colour, or, depending on the seat, a section of a letter, in the relevant screen-space.
The image below provides a more visual representation of this:

If someone sitting in a white seat taps the pad, on screen they would see a small flash or light or colour. If someone sitting in one of the red seats which spells 'Alight' taps the pad, a small section of their letter would flicker on screen. By the audience working together tapping feet, they would spell the word 'Alight' complete with a vibrant background together. A little bit like this:

If this was used during a performance, and the audience reactively tapped their feet to the beat, the screen would mimic the rhythm. This would look very visually interesting and engage the audience in the performance itself.
This could also be used with other letters in the strap-line;

If some clever coding was involved (which I don't know how to do!), the screen could change throughout the show between each letter.

This idea engages the audience in the performance itself, becoming part of the overall experience, and would definitely be something they would remember.

Dummy-Run Pitch

I am going to be adding 3 posts here explaining what has happened over the past 2 days, so pay attention viewers, because things change pretty drastically!

I'll start with yesterday with a dummy-run pitch to one of our tutors.

We were asked to pitch our ideas to our tutor who would then be selecting a small amount for shortlisting to present to the actual client next week. Yesterday was a dummy-run for today, so we could work out any kinks or issues in our presentation ready for the final pitch today.
I explained what research I had done (which is all here on this blog) and where my thoughts were going. I explained my idea about the short animatic sequences blending into one another to celebrate the iconic and memorable parts/aspects of Sheffield. This did not go down well.
It didn't include any interactive elements which engages the audience (like the CrowdSpeak exercises we had done), which I wasn't aware we needed. It actually doesn't say in the brief this is needed which confused me, but our tutors thought it would be a good way to approach the brief. And because my idea so far hadn't got very far in terms of content and only showed Sheffield F.C., Steelworks and Tinsley, the images didn't seem to work very well together, and did not achieve much of a response. Bummer. Back to the drawing board!
Which is where I started to think differently...

Thursday, 1 December 2011

First Sketches

I have done a few initial sketches based on my idea of celebrating Sheffield.
The 3 sketches I have done show just Sheffield F.C., the Steelworks, and Tinsley Towers.

If I progress with this idea, there will be may more aspects to the projection. I would like to show some significant buildings such as Meadowhall, the Winter Gardens, Kelham Island and more.

The basic idea is shown below:

This section would show a footballer in a Sheffield F.C. kit, dribble the ball a bit then kick towards the camera.

This ball will enter full view of the screen, getting directly in front of the camera, showing just the colour.

This colour then zooms out to show a molten liquid pouring (possibly out of focus like shown).

As the camera zooms out we see this is the Steelworks smelter.

Smoke from the furnaces could then be focused on and zoomed back to show...

The Tinsley Cooling Towers.

From here, this scene would flow to another in a similar way, creating a celebration of Sheffield in one seamless motion.
It needs a bit more development and thought, but as a basic idea I quite like the way it will move on screen.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

First Thoughts

After doing some initial research, and going through the brief again, I quite like the idea of creating a projection based on Sheffield's History, which is one theme of the event. Being born and bred in Sheffield, I have grown to love this city, and I would quite like to do something related to its progress.

Sheffield is full of history. The most obvious is the Steelworks, which created the steel necessary to win the war by building weapons and ammunitions etc. Everybody knows about this, but it doesn't make it any less unique.

Old Steel Works
Forgemasters - Still going strong

Inside Forgemasters
What some people don't know is that Sheffield is home to the worlds oldest football club, Sheffield F.C. Founded in 1857, and going strong for 154 years playing Association Football in North Premier League Division One South (which doesn't make sense...).

Sheffield F.C. Logo

The earliest found evidence of inhabitants in Sheffield dates back 12,800 years ago in the Iron Age at Creswell Crags (went there in primary school to learn about caves!). As you can probably imagine, a lot has changed in 12,800 years...

Sheffield is home to many well-known buildings, which are of interest to tourists from all over. These include Meadowhall Shopping Centre, The Winter Gardens, The Millennium Galleries, Kelham Island and many more.
I would love to create something related to the history of Sheffield, so I think I need to decide on an aspect of its history and focus on how I can visually celebrate it.

BeVox - Timothy Allen

I looked into more info about Timothy Allen and BeVox, and found his websites.

BeVox is the business name of Timothy Allen Music, and on both websites it announces they will be part of the Alight Festival in Sheffield. So it can be assumed this is a definite go-ahead.
From reading about BeVox and Timothy Allen, I found some amazing information about them. BeVox consists of a choir of people singing, and they have performed many flash mobs! I did not expect to find that! On Timothy's personal website it states his recent accomplishments as 'a flash mob at St Pancras International Station in London', and more to come! I HAD to check that out, so I looked on youtube. Here are my findings:

Amazing! But wait my good viewers, there's more! Check out the vid below:

They mobbed Meadowhall! Something a little closer to home! And even better, I was at Meadowhall that day! I was working, and someone said there was a flash mob near the Oasis Food Court and I didn't believe them! I said it was probably just people singing there again, which there usually is! I was amazed when I found this video, and it gives a good idea of what BeVox will be all about!

Research 2

We were given a little insight into who will be playing at the Alight Twilight event, which could give us a bit of help in our idea generation and development, as we will know roughly what audio could be present. I must stress however, this is not set in stone, and also, weren't meant to be given this from the client, we just got a sneaky look at it with our tutor!
So without further ado, here are a few i listed:

Concord Youth Music Ceremonial Fanfare. This is 6 fanfare trumpets with the Sheffield Cathedral Choir. There is no info about a song, but i'm sure with 'fanfare' trumpets it will be pretty up-beat.
Sheffield Music Service Orchestra. 50 young players performing 'Everyone Sang', which is a song/poem about war.
Heavyweight Champion of the World. A modern music and dance retelling of Romeo and Juliet, possibly set in Sheffield (I think). Sounds pretty interesting!

Cutlery Concerto. Only Info given is that is it by Sheffield Academy Students. First impression is music being played with cutlery? Strange objects? What popped into my head, and others too, was the Blue Man Group. Check out the awesome video below of the Blue Man Group playing a cover of 'Baba O'Reilly' by the Who (one of my favourite songs!) This could give an idea of the theme of the Cutlery Concerto. Cutlery could be relevant to the Steelworks of Sheffield?

Also on the list was Vocal Work. Pop songs made prominent by local bands.

BeVox by Timothy Allen. There was no more info on this, but it is one I think will go ahead for definite, as his name has been mentioned since the introduction to this brief. Ill look more into this guy I think.

Our Tutor also mentioned the Glen Miller Band to look at as reference. They are a big-band playing all forms of jazz and orchestral music. Here is a video below.

Another definite is the Twilight Finale, which will potentially consist of about 500+ performers (possibly all the performers throughout the night coming together) to perform a 15 minute piece which will be a world-wide premier of a commissioned piece. This could be something worth finding out more about, but again, nothing is set in stone just yet!

The performances are meant to be based around three words Alight have chosen to represent the festival which are 'Arise', 'Unite', 'Alight'. This is something I need to think about in my designs.

CrowdSpeak 2.0

I joined in another effort at CrowdSpeak with my class. This time it was to be done all digitally, using Adobe Illustrator, passing on the file via email to each other after we added our part of the design. I have collected each section together to create this little animation showing the process below.

This was a NIGHTMARE to put together, and as you can see, it flickers on some letters when I have imported the jpegs into After Effects. I found when I imported them, an error message popped up when i previewed the motion saying 'After Effects error: The file format module cannot parse to file 43 : 35'. Erm.......what?
So after a bit of googling, I learned the problem lies within colour modes, and the suggestion was that one or more of the individual files were set to CMYK, not RGB. So I had the tedious job of taking ALL the jpegs into photoshop to check and re-save each file to correct settings because as the files were passed on, someone had changed the settings and passed on files in CMYK, and oblivious to this, everyone else, including me, carried on. In total there was about 72 files to re-save. Urgh. But I did it, and it worked, so thank you to the kind people at Adobe for telling me about the problem!
Moving away from my little rant, I did, once again, enjoy doing this. I look forward to receiving a new file to see what designs people have added. When  letter came back round which I had added to previously, its really interesting to see how it has progressed, and whether my design has much impact (or can even be seen) on it anymore.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Research 1

I have been doing some research since this project began. Here are some things I have found:

The Alight festival has more advertisement than the client let on. I have found several websites which are adverting the festival and even selling tickets! A few of the good ones are below:


After the CrowdSpeak exercise, I looked into a few of the other user driven, participatory design works out there we were told about.

Spore is a video game which is based on the players creating pretty much everything around them. The creatures they play as are custom built, meaning they are, in a way, unique, the houses they live in are built by the player, the world around them, pretty much everything. The world is a blank canvas given to the player to create to game for themselves.

Character Creation in Spore

World Creation in Spore
Life in a Day
This is a film produced by Ridley Scott, which shows the true story of a real day on earth. It is filmed by people all over the world, showing their day, on the 24th July 2010. It really expresses life at its raw form, no hollywood glamour, no special effects, just how the world lives each day. Some stories are amazing, happy and full of joy. Children are born, people propose in extraordinary ways, some people get married, some people are reunited. Other stories are not so happy, showing how tough it is to live in poverty and famine. But this documentary was created by the world, not one person, and I think it is amazing!

I also began to think about what the main event, 'Alight Twilight', would look like, what it would feel like, what it would be. Reading the description, it seems quite classical and orchestral.

The picture above if taken from the alight website which I linked a few posts ago. This, to me, shows what to expect from the visuals of the performers. However, there are some performances from artists I don't know about, so a bit more research is in order!

My own CrowdSpeak!

As I said in my pervious post, I intended to do my own CrowdSpeak with other people. I decided to do it with non-designers, so I took my iPad to work, and using a simple animation app, I got the people working that day to do it. The result is as follows:

I simplified it just to the letter 'A', because, well, we were supposed to be working! I told them they could create little stories or movements between them, but they would have to draw a frame each. So some little things happened like the weird boomarang-like thing moving across the letter. All of the people involved (I say 'all', there was 3 people other than me working that day!) drew it frame by frame, one after the other to create that effect, which shows that simple animation can be done by anyone! So thanks to my good friends at Red5 Meadowhall, yet another productive day at work ;)
Just to make it look better, I took the frames into After Effects and looped it a few times so you get a chance to see everything going on!


Not posted in about a week, because I have been busy getting involved in a class project called CrowdSpeak. This is a brief which we have been using to help us see other angles at tackling the project. It involved us all using templates of the letters of 'Alight'. One person would draw onto the letter partially, and pass it on to someone else, who would also add a part of design to the letter, pass it on and so on. This creates a design which involves input from many individuals, and creates a piece of work which has a large ownership. Because of this, it gets you more involved and interested in the process.
The idea behind this is that if we could use this in some way to design for Alight, by using other people such as members of the public, they would be more interested in the festival itself, as they would actually be part of it.
I thoroughly enjoyed this mini-brief, and I feel it has helped me see other ways to develop and produce work in a meaningful manner. I can see why some of the group struggles with it, as in order to do it properly, you have to give up control of the work. Once you have finished your part, all the rest is up to other people, with no input from you. I found this rather exciting, and the final outcomes (which were hilarious!) had many different genres of design; some doodles were made, some really arty designs and patterns, some scribbles, colour and more, all on one letter. As each person added their part, a photo was taken before it was passed on, which meant we could input these to After Effects to animate and see visually how they progressed. I do not have the video, as our tutor created it, but if there is a chance I get hold of it, ill upload it!
Although i don't have the video of this one, I am going to do this again with other people and see what I come up with!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

More info from the Client

We had a chance to do a Q&A with the client to find out more info on the brief. It was interesting, but massively confusing! She did seem to give pretty broad answers to nearly every question asked, but I think thats because its a really broad brief!

She gave us the website to the Alight festival (which, as she stated, is pretty terrible and dry, with not much info on it yet). Site if found at: http://www.alightmusicnation.co.uk/

One fact she couldn't stress enough about is that we CANNOT in any way, shape or form relate to the 2012 Olympics, otherwise all goes spiralling downhill, and hefty lawsuits and fines may ensue. Pretty strange seeing as though it follows the Olympics, but hey, I just design the gear, not business!

What interested me particularly was that there will possibly be 2 screens at the Twilight event. This could be used to create the illusion of a projection passing from screen to screen. However, that is not set in stone, and she also mentioned she probably wouldn't find out for sure until a lot later into our project. Really helpful, thanks! Either way, so far I am leaning towards the projections, but it is still early stages, so I need to look into ideas generation a bit more anyway.

She also mentioned to bear in mind that even though it is located in Sheffield, it is formally the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, and the location represents Yorkshire, not just Sheffield.

Other things mentioned were small but relevant details such as things to go on posters, tag-lines and preferences. We did also get told what audiences are expected to be at each event, which obviously as a designer is a massive part of how I am to approach the brief or certain aspects.

It gave me a lot to think about. I think the best thing to do next is to have a think about how to start my research into this project and see where that takes me in terms of idea generation!

Sunday, 20 November 2011


A new project has now started! In this project we are quite lucky to have been chosen by alight music nation to pretty much design their festival.
Firstly, let me explain what this festival is.
Alight is a festival which follows the olympics to its selected country every four years, and runs a 'cultural olympiad' based on the arts. It is in no way related to the olympics, other than it happens once every 4 years in the same country as it. So the fact it is happening in england, and even better, the fact it is going to be in Sheffield is very exciting! Literally a once in a lifetime opportunity!

The Alight festival has 3 events which run on Saturday 3rd March in Sheffield City Centre (so get yourselves there for it, it will only ever happen once!). These events are:
Alight Daylight: Runs in the daytime and features a variety of events in several locations such as the Winter Gardens and the Hubs. There will be dance, music and interactive events running throughout these locations.
Alight Twilight: Runs during the evening, and fortunately has nothing to do with the books/films. This is an event at the City Hall featuring over 500 performers, a mixture of music, theatre and dance. This will be a payed-for ticket event.
Alight Into The Night: Held at the Hubs starting after Twilight and runs into the early hours of the morning. This will be mainly a musical event, most probably with live bands.

So what have I been asked to do?
The students in my course have been chosen to design a large selection of event materials. We have been given six requests (which branch out quite broadly). These are:

  • Alight Brand - A big request. Alight needs an identity, something which people look at and think 'that is the alight music festival'. This includes the logo, branding, colours, themes and much more. 
  • Print - flyers, posters, brochures, souvenir programmes etc. Material which can be handed out and made available to the public to advertise the event. My first thought here is this: When somebody hands me a flyer in the city centre, I either refuse it, or if forced upon me, I throw it away, usually without paying much attention to it. Because of this, something special must be done if I am to choose this task.
  • Projections -  Mainly for the Twilight event at the City Hall. There will be a screen available which needs projections to accompany the music in the show. This could be moving image or a sequence of still frames.
  • Alight Artefact - A unique, one-off object which is used as a symbol of the festival, able to be carried and passed around and taken to key events in the city, similar to the idea of the olympic torch (but not a torch, or anything related to the olympics).
  • Street Art - there will be a single location available for a piece if work which must relate to the Alight theme. Not much more information is given so far on this one.
We must design for at least one of these criteria, but if we choose so, more than one or even all can be applied for. This could be a pretty interesting project, and I am looking forward to getting a bit more info from the client about it to begin my research!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Personal Reflection and Action Plan

Probably should have posted this earlier, but only just found out it should be on here!

Self Reflection


I feel that my strengths lie in my passion for moving image. I love learning new techniques, software and hardware, and building my skill set even further.
I am a quick learner, and once I get the grasp of new materials I can produce some really interesting things.
I also have my own illustrative style when it comes to drawing. I can create interesting pieces in both analogue and digital formats.
Another of my strengths is that I am able to adapt and improvise efficiently under pressure. If something goes wrong, or I am unable to progress a certain way, I am able to think of new ways to tackle the situation quickly with little to no problem.


I believe my main weakness is time management. I always meet deadlines and have never failed a brief, however I sometimes find myself pressured for time, as I usually seem to find myself stuck in either the development or the idea generation stage of a brief for a while.
I also sometimes struggle to verbalise my ideas to others. Obviously I know what I mean, but my presentation skills need more work if I am to pitch to other people.

Action Plan

Building on my Strengths

Target - Gain a quicker grasp at idea generation.
What actions are needed – Start research early on to get a good understanding of new projects, thereby improving my pace at generating initial ideas.

Target – Gain more thorough knowledge of the tools available to me as a motion designer.
What actions are needed – Attend all tutorials in University, and continue to develop skills learned in these sessions. Also look into online tutorials in my own time to find out more about the software and hardware available.

Improving my performance on the course

Target – Build more confidence in presentation.
What actions are needed – Use notes and/or bullet points to refer to instead of reading from a script.

Target – Manage time more efficiently
What actions are needed – Make use of some form of time-plan and stick to it, giving myself good time with no interferences to focus on my work.

Improving my employment prospects

Target – Do some work outside of University
What actions are needed – Do some extra work in my own time to develop skills. Getting involved with other people from other areas of design and/or media will also build upon my teamwork skills and confidence.

Target – Build upon my CV
What actions are needed – Look into finding some volunteer work or get involved with projects outside of University. This will build upon my skills, but also gain some useful contacts.

Self Critique

Now that I have finished this project, I feel I should look back at my work and reflect on how things went.

Firstly, I was a bit slow during the ideas generation stage. I think this hindered me a bit at the start, as I could have got a quicker start on it and got into development much sooner.

I feel my development went really well. I shot about 60 short clips to get the few which were useful and set up how I wanted it for each section of my storyboard! I thought about different ways of approaching my final outcome. Initially I even thought about drawing it out in a cartoon like way! But obviously in the end I went for old fashioned filming with a bit of a play around in After Effects.

Despite how much fun I had creating it, I am a bit disappointed with my final outcome. Not the idea, or the way I did it, just the quality. It looks a bit pixelated around the edges on some shots, like the first one with the book. This is because of the green screen conditions. I found that green screening is really easy to do, but to do well takes a lot of patience and effort. I simply used two big sheets of green paper as a backdrop, costing around £4. Because of this, after effects picks up even the smallest colour differences, and makes outlines and edges looks jagged. If I could afford a Hollywood green screen studio for the reasonable price of a few hundred grand, i'd be all over it! But alas, I am not so lucky, yet.....
But like I mentioned, even though the quality didn't seem up to par, I am happy with my idea, and I thoroughly enjoyed producing it!

Final Outcome!

Tada! Here it is, my final outcome, Enjoy!

Side note: Yet again, like some of my previously uploaded videos, this is a render at 1/3 quality because of my appalling internet speeds. The final one is in full HD.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Green Screen 101

I searched online on various websites for some tutorials on green screening, and one thing came to mind on every video I watched: this seems too easy!
So I thought I better try it out myself before I jumped straight into the idea. I nipped down to Hobbycraft and got two big sheets of bright green paper (25% off! Bargain!) and got to work. Once I had filmed what I needed for the test, Green Screen on After Effects is done within 10 clicks of the mouse.
Layer the background video under the 'to be green screened' video. Check!
Drag on Keylight 2.0 onto composition. Check!
Use colour selector to remove unwanted colour (green). Check!
Change screen matte options to black. Check!
And watch! The outcome is below:

So simple to do! Its obviously a bit gritty and simple, but it is only a test. What I learned from this is not to be too close to the paper, because as you can see around my hand, it cannot get rid of the shadow! So this I must keep in mind when creating my videos. Quite looking forward to this, wish me luck!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Julien Valee

I was shown this video by Julien Valee (with a little ' above the E, couldn't find it on my keyboard, surprise surprise!) which I think is absolute genius!

He uses green-screening to create these amazing little animations using real life objects and plays them on a loop to create this living environment which I think looks fantastic!

It also got me thinking that I could use green-screening for the book part of my story, when the paper scraps come out of the book. By filming the book opening against a coloured backdrop, then layering a film of scraps pouring out of something, I could create the illusion that the book is releasing these paper scraps. Huzzah!
Now just to find out how to do green-screening........
To the internet tutorials!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Storyboard 2

After thinking about my storyboard, it seems like out of context, the paper scraps are meaningless. Where do they come from? Why paper scraps? why Why WHY?
Scraps of paper could be portrayed as rubbish (not the idea, as actual rubbish!), and I don't want this at all. So, I have created a new storyboard, following the same storyline, but with an added origin of the scraps of paper to give them a meaning and purpose.

Extra parts of Storyboard
Above are the new parts of the storyboard. Some scenes remain the same so I haven't drawn them out, but below shows the sequence of events including the ending.

Section 1
The first thing we see is a book - closed, stood upright.

Section 2
The book then opens up slightly , and releases scraps of paper (origin of the paper - they are from pages of a book)

Section 3
Same scene as previous storyboard, close up of rolling papers.

Section 3
Same as above, different angle.

Section 4
A different angle of the book is shown, still releasing paper scraps.

Section 5

Back to previous storyboard storyline, scraps of paper roll into a blank scene.

Section 6
Word 'Arts' is formed from the paper.

This now gives a reason which not just explains the paper scraps and gives them a purpose, but it also links to Sky Arts, as the Book Club is one of their biggest shows, and obvious links are present in my storyboard.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

A Reflective World

Just finished completing a tutorial in both Illustrator and After Effects using reflections and 3D cameras.
I was given a template document in Illustrator and worked through editing all the layers and text to be ready for animating in After Effects.
By using a mixture of lighting, camera and coding techniques, the result is as follows:

I found this tutorial hugely helpful, and I really like how smooth and flashy the final outcome is. I think I may have to have a further play with this using my own work to see what I could accomplish with it.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Paper Test 1

I have just done a quick test to see how the paper will look on screen.

Photo of 'A'

Because this was just a test I just simply used some plain white paper scraps and a sheet of black card for background. When I actually create a final, I will be using lighting as well to create a much more arty scene.
The results are here:

I like the way it looks on screen enough to start some development on this idea. I do have a few things in mind which I will go into further when I look into it a bit more.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Moving Type Tutorial

Today I had a play around with moving type, using 3D space and cameras. We were given some text and an audio reading of...something....not sure what....and was shown how to move and animate it in 3D space, rather than sticking to plain 2D side-to-side-up-down space. I could now move in and out using a camera tool. The results are below:

There are more things I could do with this such as adding motion blur and playing with the easy ease in and outs, but I simply ran out of time in the session. I would actually like to play this a bit more, so I may very well check out these features and upload another video a bit more flashier if I get the chance!

I found this tutorial massively useful. A few hours ago i would not have had a clue how to operate After Effects in a 3D space. Now i feel i could create some really interesting things using this new found feature!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Storyboard Animated (sort of)

I have created my storyboard into a short animation using an app on my iPad (ooooh fancy!) called Animation Creator HD. It is very simple but it gives a better insight to my idea.

The only thing I couldn't do on the app was add the lighting I want for my final production, but again this is just a better visualisation of my idea!

Storyboard 1

I do have a few ideas for my animation, but i have chosen one of them i think could look pretty good as a final animation and created an initial storyboard for it.

Below is the full storyboard:

Full Storyboard

The idea follows the story of scraps of used paper moving around to form the word Arts.

The first thing we would see is a black surface with a single spotlight shining down onto it. (Yes, the drawings are on white paper, but imagine its actually black for the purpose of this exercise. The effort of colouring in the paper black wasn't worth the initial sketches :p)

Section 2
We will then see small scraps of paper then roll in from all sides of the frame.

Section 3

 Cut to a close of up one scrap rolling through the frame with others seen in the background.
Section 4

Another view closer up is shown from a slightly higher angle of other scraps rolling.

Section 5

Original angle is shown again, over the time more scraps have rolled into view and more continue to do so. A shape begins to take form.

Section 6
Once the scraps have come to a halt the word Arts is revealed.

I think with a black background and a single light to illuminate the centre, this could look really nice, as the shadows cast will dance around as the scraps of paper roll (got a bit poetic there, maybe i should join the Book Club!).
There is some development to be thought of however. For example, should the paper scraps be plain white? Coloured? Used? New? I will have to have a play around with this, as well as discuss it with my peers to gain some outside insight.