Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Design Production for Digital//Top 10//Ident 3 Experiments & Outcome.

More development from today's work on Ident #3 (sadly not the third one that's been made...), 'The diet'. Deciding to take away the beginning 'title sequence' text of my motion designs, I felt that the background (still) looked a little bare- and went on to look for more textures that I could possibly incorporate into my own designs- with a grungy/speckled look or water/ice themed, to suit my content.

Just a quick test- looking quite flat and bland- something more is definitely needed.

After experimenting with several layers, I found nothing was quite right- though I did really like the vignette effect of the royal blue "shatter" texture (second image from the top of the post)- but the colour would be too dark for my chosen scheme- so I went on to create my own vignette background in Photoshop to import as a separate layer in After Effects.

Really happy with the change in the background- as stated in a previous post, the radial gradient on the previous design (the lighter blue background, above) looked far too convex- and I wanted the layer to look far more inclosed and dark so that the other coloured features would stand out more effectively against it (such as the bright green of the CBBC logo)- but now, again, the fish looked too light so I changed them back to their original black colour.

To add further depth, I imported a new solid black layer at a low opacity to dull the blue slightly (to give it more of an appearance of being underwater- as opposed to a 'sky blue' it could possibly be confused for).

Much more atmospheric and interesting now- could still potentially be a little dull if I weren't to have so much movement and motion in my assets throughout the ten seconds- any more detail could potentially be overkill. Started experimenting with the logo too- originally I had considered making the penguin "eat" the logo like the fish- but at the current scale it wouldn't be a very informative and legible size- and I didn't want to alter the penguin scale as I felt this suited the scale of the frame well- so decided to come up with a different option, and, in general, played around with different assets a little more to see what this would bring to the design- whether minimalism was more effective, etc.

Playing around with different audio and sound effects- as inspired by some of the idents research from existing CBBC designs (which can be found on my Design Context blog). I liked the idea of the penguin burping after his substantial meal (representing the fact that penguins can eat up to half of their own body weight in one sitting...something we have in common...) of fish, though, trying to keep a balance between light- hearted fun and informative facts and statistics, as originally proposed for my programme, wouldn't be easy to maintain- though it still does make me laugh every time I listen to it.
Searched for sound sources here and here.

Originally, I had planned for the logo to be in the centre, but it looked a little awkward and ill-placed- moving it to the left hand side with the text information seemed to balance out the frame a lot more- I also wanted to incorporate the penguin in some way- so simply had the character auto-orientated to a position path in a curved shape- to add more interest to the design, and repeat the similar position motion as show previously in the sequence. For this ident, I kept the logo and text simple as there is a lot going on previously- slight concerns that the logo/channel/info doesn't get enough "screen time" within the sequence- 2.5 seconds out of 10, though something to discuss in the final crit tomorrow.
Also bought the fish on in separate lines at the start to add a bit more interest and making the sequence look slightly less awkward and static- the fish opacity increasing with the decreased opacity of the black solid layer at the start.

Playing around with motion blur- with concerns that the sequence may already be too fast, this was only adding too it- completely unnecessary, but an interesting experiment. 

The final design- slowed the penguin down a little- with new trimmed track ending- lower auto-orient on the position path so that the penguin doesn't intercept the CBBC logo- I decided to change the ending, as suggested by a friend, not to change the volume too much, but to add a little more of a crescendo, to build up to the end and suggest that the logo and text information is particularly important (which, of course, in terms of visual communication and informing, it is). I'd never trimmed audio before, but found it was surprisingly easy in Quick Time, and would be confident using it any time.

Other edits made through the experiments include: 

- Drop shadow for the penguin (stands out better, adds depth against the background).
- Drop shadow logo (see info above).
- Audio edit.
- Motion blur for end of sequence penguin.

Reasonably happy with the outcome, still a little fast and many things I could change, though I have developed my ideas a lot over a short space of time- just wish I'd started sooner to allow for more experimentation and design development(!). Will look forward to hearing feedback in the crit session tomorrow to see what changes can be made before a rather busy few days of designing ahead of me!

Quite pleased with my timing in particular- Lorraine's hint of Ctrl + 8 has worked wonders.

Design Production for Digital//Top 10//Ident 3 Initial Experiments I.

Decided to blog my design development on a daily basis as opposed to a "by- ident" basis to avoid both confusion on my part, helping to keep me on top of my work, and also to work more methodically and clearly than I otherwise would.

Starting work at the very beginning with my intro frame introducing the different 'Top 10' subjects- one for each subject matter in the idents (of course, for this module I am only making four- but could propose the other six for the televised programme)- this Ident (#3) being 'The diet'. After creating my assets in Illustrator (which will be posted on the blog as a PDF at a later date) and experimenting with the design, I found the background looked a little too light- and I wanted something a little more atmospheric. 

I also applied this to my sea background for the section where the penguin swims through eating the fish in a Pacman- like way- again, this more vignette look, I feel, is more appropriate than the radial gradient (light> dark) which makes the image look a little convex- again, this looked much better, in my mind, than the original design (shown in the video example above).

As each of the fish vector images in my composition were imported as separate layers (so that they could each be individually manipulated in terms of position and opacity), I soon discovered the merit of using colour- coded layers, which will help me to distinguish certain groups of assets from the other.

Again, more tweaking as I was working through the video- I felt that by changing the gradient of both of the backgrounds that the black fish felt a little too dark, and dulled the blue tone backgrounds behind them- tried experimenting with different fish colours- white was too bright and harsh, but the softer grey (R201 G201 B201)  fit well into the colour scheme (if straying a little from my initially strict colour palette- though very similar). Exploring different fade in and fade outs in terms of Audio, I started to apply my soundtrack- a xylophone version of Scott Joplin's 'The Entertainer' to my design, with the penguins 'eating' the fish (as their separate opacities drop from 100-0% as the penguin layers travel over them).

Reasonably happy with the design direction I'm following at the moment- but I want to crop out the initial title (not necessary/distracting) which will give more time for the penguin sequence as well as integrating the CBBC logo and TV show text more effectively- oh, and I need to get a MASSIVE move on.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Design Production for Digital//Top 10//Initial DVD cover design ideas.

Generating some initial design ideas for my final hand in DVD cover design- which, in the module requirement, states that it sits fittingly with my design subject and outcome for the 'Design Production for Digital' module. My idea was to create a three- part design- an outer egg with a hinged mechanism which opens to reveal a DVD case (covered with a circular penguin-face sticker) and then the DVD inside of this.
After considering my design further, and considering the time left before the end of the module, I feel that the egg mechanism may be a little too difficult to make (would have to, most likely, be laser cut acrylic- sourcing materials/booking sessions on laser cutter may be restricted at such short notice), therefore I will have to look for further options.
However, I still like the idea of the penguin face sticker on the cover- the geometric, rounded shape suits my proposed (children aged 5-11) target audience, as well as the general style and consistency of my motion graphic outcomes. More designs to come soon!

Sunday, 29 January 2012


After my initial research, and generating some simple hand-rendered pattern ideas in my sketchbook, I turned to generating some vector-based design for my final A2 poster which will later go on to be screenprinted (on Wednesday night at the Vernon Street drop in session, time permitting).

My initial idea for the one colour plus stock design was to use a warm, autumnal colour with white or cream- perhaps red? Something a little festive and bold- with one of my very initial concept ideas being "Christmas socks"- and knew that the red and white colour combination would work well together in a screenprinted design.

I began working with the length of socks to determine the order of my eye chart, as previously discussed on past posts on my blog- though felt that the length alone perhaps wasn't enough, and therefore went on to define a series of styles to break up each of the lines- 
1/ Ski socks, 2/Hold ups, 3/Knee highs, 4/Ankle socks, 5/Trainer socks- ensuring that the style of socks in terms of pattern was consistent on each of the lines to show that they were part of a "set", and, as a result, ensured that the design as a whole wouldn't look too messy or cluttered. Originally, (image two above) I considered designing the "gentleman's golf sock", though the argyle print was too fussy and bold in comparison with the other styles on the page.

At the level of tired (it's been a very long working weekend), I felt that I needed some back up as to whether or not my design was effectively communicating socks- and whether or not it was clear as a stand alone design piece. I was very happy that it was generally understood- one friend even guessing that it was for an eye test. Crakerjack!

However, one piece of feedback from fellow GD friend, Luis got me thinking that perhaps the red could cause confusion and miscommunication- looking like more of a "Christmas" design than one about socks. Therefore, I decided to play around with different colours, and I found that a dark, navy blue worked well against the white- still bold, yet maintaining interest without being too gender specific.

The final design chosen- played around with the scale just a fraction to enlarge and centralise the design. Ideally, I would have liked to have spent a great deal more time on the design, but with current project demands through other modules, I unfortunately have to prioritise and put these first- though I still intend to spend the time screenprinting the design, not only to add more diversity to my module portfolio, but also to experience the process again (it's been too long!).

Both digital and screenprinted designs will be posted on the blog as and when they are produced before Thursday afternoon's image session.

Design Production for Digital//Top 10//Wiggler and position effects.

Experimenting with the wiggler tool effect (tutorial found and posted on my Design Context blog)- even with very low settings, I found that the null object mask-like effect over the type was far too erratic in it's movement- I intended for it to be a lot smoother and subtle- although it's a useful tool and effect to now know, manual positioning would be far more effective for the ease in and out over my selected key frames in the timeline.
  Manual position key frames- needs to be smoother- just an initial test for the introduction frame of my ident design outcomes.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Image//Scale/Frame/Format//Pattern Drawings.

Some basic pattern design and idea generation for the scale/frame/format sock eye chart design for the image module- starting to hand-render some typical, and some slightly less typical designs (the moustache pattern inspired by a pair of socks I bought for my partner in his facial hair phase...) that you may find on socks before creating vector-based patterns to the design that will be ultimately screenprinted.
I'll certainly try and keep it minimal within my design so it's not too flashy/messy looking- but purely crisp, pictorial images- perhaps limiting the design to spots, stripes, or both- more vector-based illustration to come.