Evaluation of my Proccess

In this essay I will critique my work and evaluations done for Graphics in Motion. I will first start by talking about my own work process, how I start with doing the research, which lead to my initial and final ideas, and how I finalized them. Looking at, and analysing my processes and evaluating them to see in which areas I can improve.

Once given the project brief, the initial process that I take is firstly to do some brainstorms on the subject of the project, or write down a list of ideas that come into my head. I know that most designers, or any professional who works in an environment where he or she needs to be creative mostly use things like brainstorms or spider diagrams, but that always doesn’t work for me, whilst in the middle of my research I found a really interesting article by Marc McGuinness on which Richard Huntington, Director of Strategy for Saatchi & Saatchi in the UK, contributes his opinions “I hate brainstorms…They waste huge amounts of time and talent …Death to the brainstorm. Long live great ideas.” Sometimes ideas just come to me after I sit down do think, maybe as I am falling asleep, or the bus on my way to university or really any random time of the day. This process seems to work for me most of the time in order to get my initial ideas. This is how I came up with the concept for my web banner and the basic storyline. Since the banner is to advertise the new Masters degree in 3D animation, the first thing that came to my head was that 3D design would be better than any other type of design, in which case most of them are 2D. So I thought that to make the banner more interesting I could make characters to represent both kinds of designs. So the basic story-line was that a 2 Dimensional character would be struggling to walk as he looked like he was made of stiff cardboard, he would fall, and as he would be trying to get up, a 3 dimensional version of the same character would drop from the top of the screen and stomp down on the 2 dimensional character. Which after the presentation I found it proved to be successful. The main thing now for this project was to finalize the look of it. I wanted the viewer to see this new course as something that they would have fun doing, so I thought that since the basic story line already had some humour, that the best option for me would be to create cartoony characters. The banner size that I chose is quite small so I decided that if I was to create very detailed characters, most of the detail would have been lost and I would have been a waste of time and effort. The characters did turn out to be successful, I showed them to some of my classmates and asked them what they thought of them and they did confirm that they were humorous.

At the same time, whether I take the path of either the brainstorm process, or just thinking about it, there is also the need for doing research on the subject matter. I guess for me this part of the process is mainly to come up with the “look” of the final product, by looking at other similar products for inspiration, I can either take similar approaches or come up with one of my own.

This is when the final ideas come together, from a combination of my initial ideas, and the results from the research. One of my biggest weaknesses, however, is when the final idea is developed, and it works from my point of view, but it doesn’t work from other designers’ point of view. I really struggle to change the product to something new. This means to me that I have do go back to  my research and try to look at other different products. For example, once I came up with a product for an ident for channel 4 and presented it, after the feedback I got it was clear that some aspects of it were not working, and didn’t completely fit with the concept and purpose. the concept was “the old versus the new” and it showed the first channel 4 logo which would “morph” into a new channel 4 logo that i had designed. The transformation of the logo consisted of all the different coloured parts of the ‘4’ mixing with each other, expanding and once it contracted it would turn to the new ‘4’ logo with a rock style sound, and an image of the show that would be shown after the ident reflected on its surface (in this case it would be an image of the Simpsons which I picked as it is one of the most popular shows on channel 4). It was made clear to me that the weakest parts of the product were the transition from the old channel 4 to the new channel 4, and the music. I had tried to come up with a new way of doing the transformation and after some tests on Adobe After effects, I had come up with a design that definitely didn’t work, it was a more simple transformation, as my limited skills with the video editing software prevented me from doing any more complicated transformations and the music that I came up with had a more techno feel that it had from the original. This made the product, in many ways less interesting and eye-catching. In the end I had to scrap the new product, and use the original for the presentation with some minor modifications (which was taking off the reflection of the Simpsons and changing the material into something more metallic and adding the word ‘Music’ next to it which I think fitted the look and music better, changing the purpose of the ident a bit from being something that would show every day before every program, to something like a special that channel 4 would do. In his case it read 4 Music and it would be part of channel 4 “music week”.

Since I knew the story so well, it was very hard for me do use any techniques like brainstorming in order to come up with ideas for my title sequence, which has been made for “Brisingr”, the third and latest instalment in a series of books by author Christopher Paolini called the “Inheritance Cycle”. The story is set in a fantasy world called Alagaesia where a boy named Eragon finds one of the last remaining Dragon eggs and follows the great legacy of the now dead Dragon riders. Since there has been a film made for the first book in the inheritance cycle, I decided to first research the opening sequence for it. It was basically a short narration of the history of the fantasy world with matching footage. At first I was thinking of this project more of an opening sequence, than a title sequence, I decided to adapt the concept of the pre-told history of this fantasy universe into a sequence that summarised the story of the first two books to show before the third book showing images in a style that looked as if they were hand drawn on old parchment paper. It would be like an actual record of a “true Story”(for the people living in that fictional universe). At the presentation I was reminded that it was not to be just an “opening” sequence, but a “title” sequence. It lacked the very important typography elements. I did not, however, want to chance the concept of the title sequence, as it would be very useful for it to be a reminder for fans of the first two books about what had happened so far in the story, but it would also be informative for readers who have never read the two first books, as it would set out the basic plot for them as an aid for them to understand the story so far. So I decided to exclude some drawings from the original sequence and replace them with “written” information, such as details from the book, authors name etc.

Towards the end of the title sequence the parchment paper starts to burn from the middle and as it burns out completely, a wall of fire is revealed, with the title “Brisingr” showing in front of the fire. Originally all the typography was done with the Blackadder ITC font, as it looks like a medieval type of calligraphy and then rasterized and edited in Adobe Photoshop in order for the letters to have a worn out look, which suited the product very well. However I had forgotten to add any 3D elements to the piece. It was a big mistake that I didn’t keep this fact in mind as I was coming up with the whole aesthetic approach for this sequence, as end result looked more like a “hand made” piece. So I had to pick the part of the piece that would most likely be successful if I added any 3D elements to it, which would be the typography. I used the same font in 3D Studio max and added an Extrude modifier to the letters for them to have volume. I animated a camera slightly moving from left to right so the letters weren’t so static so as to make it a bit more interesting and then rendered the animation as a Targa sequence so it would have a transparent background when I overlaid it in front of the fire in Adobe After Effects.

After the feedback I had gotten for the title sequence, there was a highlight of an issue that the piece had regarding the way that the fire appeared after the images were shown. It didn’t completely fit with my aesthetic approach. At that point I felt really confused, not because I didn’t understand the feedback, but because I didn’t know how to change it at that point, the fire is a very important theme in the book, “Fire” is even what “Brisingr” the title of the book translates to.  I had thought about removing the fire and just showing the title as another image showing on the parchment, but I knew that it wouldn’t be as meaningful without it, I had also thought about basing the whole sequence on the theme of fire, maybe making all the images look like they were made out of fire, but unfortunately time wasn’t on my side and my skills with Adobe After effects limited, so I decided to keep the original concept and stick with the piece, the only change being the 3D typography.

Throughout these three projects I have definitely learned a lot. About the important things in the creative work process that ultimately affect whether the final product turns out to be successful or unsuccessful in the end. One of the most important things in my opinion is to not be afraid of changing an idea whether you think it’s good or not, especially if it is a design product is aimed at an audience, since I think that most of it is judged in a biased way, depending on the different opinions of the audience it is very smart to listen to advice given to one by people who have more experience and are more successful in this industry, which is very much a “dog eat dog world”.

Bibliography

MARCUS, C. (2008, September 21). Brisingr has dragon saga fans elated. Retrieved May 5, 2010, from theage.com.au: http://www.theage.com.au/national/brisingr-has-dragon-saga-fans-elated-20080920-4knc.html?page=-1

McGuinness, M. (2009 , 01 26). Mark McGuinness . Retrieved may 05, 2010, from Is Brainstorming a Waste of Time?: http://lateralaction.com/articles/brainstorming/

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