Professional Practice

Exposition Setup

By | Honours Project | 3 Comments

Despite completing coursework last week, its still a busy week with preparation for the Abertay Digital Graduate Show. Yesterday I picked up my poster from Abertay Copyshop and while my design did print darker than intended (even with a pre-brightening) it still looks pretty good. I did a decent job at mounting it to the foam board (I wouldn’t accept anything other than perfect alignment) which I attached to the wall of my presentation space today.

I also received my business cards earlier in the week which I am really happy with. The print quality is very good and the colours are very bold. I’m also happy with the card quality I’ve chosen and the overall design. It might still be a little cluttered on the front with the addition of the pictures of my work but I’m very happy with these.

I underestimated how long thumbnails would take to produce but managed to complete them all on time for today’s setup. I opted for putting a short text title on each thumbnail to easily grab the attention of the viewer and so they know exactly what each video is before opening it up. I used the same font as the showcase software with an outline so it is visible. For videos with multiple clips I arranged four images in a grid to show the video is a compilation of work. I also included an overview image because if I included a video first it would autoplay that when selecting “Student Two” so I didn’t want people to get caught off guard, they should be able to start the video in their own time.

I have five videos in total: Final Animation, Timelapses, Practical Work, Showreel and just to be cheeky I also snuck in the Lego Batman v Superman Trailer I created in March. While I was originally intending to produce one showreel video I realised the video was quite large in length. I made a last minute decision to split up the showreel from my Honours practical animation tests. The Showreel contains a selection of my work from 2015-2016 and includes some clips from my Honours project among other projects. The practical work video contains all of my animation tests and experiments. I feel this is better for people to choose what they want to watch and it helps reduce the length of the showreel. I also found decent music to add to the timelapse video in addition to the showreel and practical video. These new videos can be viewed below:

The deadline for setting up was noon earlier today which I met with ease. I encountered no problems with using the interface software although setup wasn’t entirely smooth. When I arrived to mount my poster yesterday I found that I was not given the plinth I requested. Many other classmates seemed to have been given a small table which at the time I assumed they had also requested. There were no small tables left for me to choose from however there were two 2 plinths sitting aside. I thought it was weird that I was only one of two that had requested a plinth but assumed that as I hadn’t been given a table then the plinth must have been mine. Apparently many of those who had requested a plinth had been given a table instead which was weird since I had been given nothing. However no-one has told me I shouldn’t have the plinth that I am now using so I guess I’m good to continue using it. I am glad I do have a plinth over a table as I don’t think I’d be able to fill all the table space, and I do not have an appropriate cloth or covering for the table to make it look good.

So my setup is good to go and as good as I could have made it. While I could have explored the possibility of a creative space, had I known I could have benefited from it I may have chosen to utilise them. However I’m happy with my little booth and look forward to the prize giving ceremony and preview event tomorrow.

Exposition Preparation

By | Honours Project | No Comments

Although my portfolio and this blog have been submitted, my project is not yet complete. I shared some research and ideas for my showcase poster earlier and I’ve now completed the digital design which I will get printed out. While I would have liked to have shared the process of creating this poster, I have been focusing my writing towards dissertation amendments. The dissertation has also been completed which I may post to this blog at a later date.

During last Monday’s supervisor meeting I showed Lynn the poster sketches I created and we discussed potential animation title ideas. The three titles we both agreed were the strongest were “Set in Motion”, “Off the Set” and “Building Character”. While creating the design in Photoshop I stuck with “Set in Motion”.

My first digital poster drafts were these:

As discussed in the ideas post, I wanted to create movie poster style text at the bottom of the poster. I found a font which is similar to that used in movie posters. The font conveniently uses key binds to insert “Directed By”, “Produced By” etc. phrases in smaller sizes. I used these key bindings where possible however I also had to create my own smaller text for non-standard credits such as “Animated By” and “Filmed In”. I also used this opportunity to include a couple of humorous lines which people can see if they choose to read deeper into the text. The text was re-arranged a couple of times until I got the layout and content that I was happy with. I also plugged my website and Twitter handle.

From feedback to my ideas, I also incorporated the use of a cardboard texture as the background which added visual interest over a plain black background. I chose to use a frame from the animation which I altered to remove the background and enhance the armature so he stood out from the background more. I would have liked to have composed a new scene and taken a photo with a higher quality camera but due to the state of my animation studio after completing filming and the time I have left before the graduate show, I will just have to make do with a lower resolution photo from a captured frame.

The first drafts included a placeholder title which I acknowledged needed work on. Lynn preferred the first title layout and suggested that the text be tweaked so that letters would line up with each other. In the final draft I amended the E and the T in “SET” to better line up with each other. I also pushed the letters in “MOTION” closer together. The final design features the updated title logo and the spacing for the credits text were altered. I used the colorless logos as they were less jarring and also brightened up the background texture which was not always so visible when viewing outside Photoshop. I also cleared up the photograph included in the poster so that the blending of the photograph to the background didn’t look messy – again this was only showing up outside of Photoshop and I didn’t want to risk it showing up on the print.

I was a little worried to the actual printing of the poster, I’d seen that other people’s posters were printing darker than their designs when using Abertay’s Copyshop. While the price was the cheapest at the Copyshop I wasn’t entirely sure if the paper quality was as good as it could be. I wanted to have a movie poster quality, similar to what you might get from a movie poster bought from a shop. I found little information on what paper is used for this purpose and found that various print shops don’t make it entirely clear on what all the paper qualities are like. I visited various print shops in Dundee yesterday which was unfortunately a bank holiday so PDQ Print Services and Urban Print were shut. Mail Boxes Etc was open however only printed up to A3. I returned to PDQ today but they were unable to give me precise information on print quality or the darkening of the design. Their price was also higher than the Copyshop and I had not encountered anyone who had used them so couldn’t make a guess to what it would turn out like. So I ended up brightening my design up to send to Abertay Copyshop which I will be able to retrieve tomorrow.

I’ve found the exposition process, particularly the printing aspect, to be more stressful than it should be. The course handbook gives very little information in to the process of designing a poster and setting it up for print, e.g. colour mode, where to print, pricing, print quality, etc. While I have discovered a lot, to add on the PC interface content (thumbnails, images, videos preparation) immediately after completing hand-ins on the project leaves very little time to research this process.

I’ve also began to prepare other parts of the exposition including content that will be presented on the PC interface. This includes an animation showreel of my work which I will probably also include some of my work from 3rd year in addition to side projects. I will convert my final animation to the FLV format which works with the interface and also find music to add to the timelapse video I created for portfolio submission.

Poster Ideas

By | Honours Project | No Comments

A requirement for the Abertay Digital Graduate Show is to create and display an A2 poster that encapsulates and represents the work so that people can get an idea what you’ve created before they take a deeper look at the actual work and the research that was undertaken.

I’ve chosen to create a movie-style poster to tell people that my work is a movie (a short one) featuring an armature character. To me, the main things that tell me a poster is about a movie is the layout of the title and text including the credits. I’ll use the credits text to credit myself as well as include links to my website and social media channels. There will also be room for a gag or two, I will want to fill in the space so that from afar it looks like a fully cast movie production.

These sketches show what I am thinking about making. I took inspiration from posters I’d already researched, in particular featuring the character with a non-detailed background. I considered using a frame from the animation but decided it’d be beneficial to replicate it by re-composing a stronger pose and allowing myself to achieve better lighting and image quality by doing this. I’ll either replicate a frame from my animation or be creative and create a scene that represents my animation but might not be a direct scene from the animation.

I want to utilise and represent the texture that comes from stop motion, I’ll do this by utilising the background noise that is present through taking a photograph and will try to capture as much as I can through the photograph before altering it digitally. For the background I want it to be mostly dark, to emulate the style of poster The Lego Movie has (as seen in my previous blog post) or how the Minions promo material often have them appear in a white void. After meeting with Lynn earlier today she suggested maybe using a cardboard or clay texture that repeats and forms the background of the poster, similar to the process in making graphics for my team’s Global Game Jam game.

I’ve began layout this out digitally and will work on this further during the week. Similar to the way I created the business cards, I will create some draft ideas that I can get feedback on. Hopefully I can get this sent away by the end of the week to ensure it will arrive in time for the graduate show.

Creating a Business Card

By | Honours Project | One Comment

As part of the digital graduate show and general professional practice I am in need of a new business card. My previous business cards have been nothing special but I’ve never needed them for actual business purposes, they were mostly a simple way to give someone the link to my YouTube channel.

For reference this is the business card design I created in 1st year Dynamic Communication. In my first year of university I was overwhelmed with new ways of thinking and new skills to learn. As such, the designs I created were nothing special. For this module I also created a logo which I still use today. The logo is still okay but I feel it may need a revision in the near future.

I never actually printed these designs out to use so the last business card I actually had in hand was designed back in Secondary School and was pretty basic. Below is a scan of it since there was never a digital file it existed in.

Although for the Digital Graduate Show, I want my business card to represent me and the work I create on a whole, hence using my “blobstudios” branding quite heavily. Through thinking about my new website design, I want each thing to match well with the other. I primarily use a dark grey or black, reds and whites throughout my brand so I wanted to continue that here. I had an idea about using a Lego style stud grid as a background.

The most important information I have to include is my name, website and email. My YouTube link is also pretty important and I may also want to include my phone number and Twitter handle (which is one of the easiest ways to get in contact with me, its one of the few social networks other than YouTube which I actively post on). I also considered my LinkedIn page but that may overload the card with information. If anyone desperately wants my LinkedIn it’ll be linked on my website.

This is the first draft that I’ve created based on my doodles. I really like the colours used and I think a darker background is a nice change from the white backgrounds I’ve used before. My intention was to use the stud grid background on the back of the card and I wasn’t entirely sure what to have on the front. Having the background on both ties the two sides together. I initially had the background with greater contrast but it didn’t look too great when text was put in front.

The card designs here include a trim area so the design will be cropped on all sides when it is printed.

I think the back of the card is passable on its own however I will want to try out different layouts on the front of the card to make better use of the space. There are other things I will want to consider such as somehow including a few examples of my work or including icons beside the contact details.

To fill in the blank spaces of the card I tried adding in examples of my work in a brick layout which resembles the logo. I also tried out adding different icons.

This is the same design except with a thicker border around the bricks, and I made it white just to see how that looks and also darkened the background to make the text more readable.

And here is another design where I’ve swapped the text and the bricks. I reverted back to the red bricks but included the thicker border. I’ve kept the darker background and have added in the faintest of drop shadows to the text to help with readability. I’ve also swapped out the top image for an easier to read image and colour corrected to make them easier to see.

I showed these designs to Lynn today and she seemed happy with the overall design. She brought attention to the images which may be too small to read easily and suggested printing out a paper prototype to get a sense of the scale. She also suggested maybe cutting down to two images or even one larger image with multiple variants showing off different projects.

I created a new design which features two bricks but one larger image. There are also multiple image variants. I reverted back to the white borders since it reads easier and tried to keep my horizontal and vertical lines aligned.

I also printed this design out and despite the printer running out of ink, I’m happy with how it looks. I will be sending these to print very soon.

Exposition Research

By | Honours Project | No Comments

As the Abertay Digital Graduate Show is coming up, I want to consider the way I will present my work in further detail. We were recently given access to the computer interface software, a Flash based frame that allows members of the public to easily access work.

I’ve got to consider what work I will be displaying both digitally and physically. On the digital interface I’ll of course have my final animated outcome. I will also want to include some of the timelapses I’ve created as they are often interesting to the public who will then understand how stop motion is produced. When working with stop motion you only build what the camera sees as over building is a waste of time as it won’t be seen. Many stop motion behind the scenes like to show what the audience doesn’t see as it allows them to see that behind the magic there is a lot of work going on.

I’ve had a look at how stop motion animations are displayed in various exhibitions. There’s a common tendency to show off some of the practical assets that were used in the animations such as characters, props and parts of sets. They also like to show cross sections of the camera showing off the armature beneath or the multiple faces or armatures required to pull of a shot. I think people like to see behind the scenes stuff. Speaking from experience its fascinating to see how things are made and look off-camera, that will be the focal point of my own display.

I don’t have a particularly complex set so I may or may not choose to display that at the Graduate Show. I am debating on including parts of my set but it’d require to be cut in order to fit the plinth. Alternatively I can just remove the props from it and set those up. The set in my opinion looks better on camera than off camera.

The characters on the other hand will definitely be on show. With the plinth I’ve requested I’ll be able to display a few characters. I will definitely include the wire armature and depending on the outcome of the animation I may choose to display him with clay moulded onto him. I want to show off a few different characters from throughout the year so I’ll likely also include the Rover from the Rover Exploration animation, and a clay monster either from the Global Game Jam project or Poking a Clay Monster animation. The way I display these characters and their poses will depend on the physical space I have available, I will work out the best arrangement during the setup time. Printed name tags to contextualise what they were used for will also be appropriate.

Unlike some other art projects, I feel like I can only research so much when it comes to the display of my work. A bulk of it is digital content so a lot of interaction will be through the computer or my tablet. I feel the tablet is important as its more approachable, people can hold it in their hands and quickly pass it along if the main PC is currently in use. What I can mainly focus on is drawing people in to my booth so the physical artifacts I have on display and my poster design will be the main designed aspect of my exposition.