Animation – week 1

The final part of our ‘Story’ module, was to create a short animation or film of around 30 seconds long, based on our previous story books.

We started off the week and module with a talk from Wendy Keay-Bright, who introduced us to moving image narrative and showed us some example animations, including the Sand Man and an early Pixar animation. We were then set the task to design a story board for a simple animation with a ball being the only character – we were to present different emotions through movement of the ball, for example, if the ball was happy, it could be bouncing up and down; and if it was sad, it could look slumped. As seen below, in my own story board, I have used the ball speeding up and getting faster, to show excitement growing; and the little balls quiver when they become upset.

After deciding that my animation would be based on a nursery rhyme, as this is what my handmade book was about too, by the end of the week I had chosen the nursery rhyme, “I’m a Little Tea Pot.” Below is a more detailed story board that I designed for it, including a description, the duration of each section, SFX and music.

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After having two workshops with Matt – one for iMovie and one for iStopMotion, I decided that I would create a stop motion animation, as it is new to me and something I have never done before. I look at it as a brilliant way to expand my skills by creating something completely different to what I’m used to.

 

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Digital Book – Legends of the Screen

This week we worked with Dave Taylor – we were given a new brief, which was to create a 12-page booklet on Adobe InDesign about famous directors, which was called Legends of the Screen. This was again a very new experience to me, as I never used InDesign before making the specimens last week, so this was the first time I’d made a multiple page piece on the software.

We were given the exact text that had to be included and were also told which page each text had to be included on, just like a real life client would give you, it was then up to us as the designers to decide on the layout and format of the booklets.

We started by experimenting by cutting up different newspapers and creating our own layouts that we think we might use when making our own booklets later on in the week.

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From making these layouts, I came up with what I think are some good ideas for spreads, for example, the way in which the image is spread across both pages in the second one. I also really liked the quotes with the big speech marks, which I then went on to use similarly in my own booklet later on.

Next we started drawing out page by page designs of each layout for every page of the booklet. The drawing included margins and guttering which were measured to scale – I decided on a 10mm margins and 4mm gutters.

Once I got onto the computer and onto InDesign, everything started to come together. Of course there were a few minor hiccups along the way, none of which I wasn’t able to solve though. I found that some of my layouts did not work as I had hoped because I had misjudged the amount of text on some of the pages. For example, one of the pages had a lot more text than the others so I had to shrink down the text quite a bit so that it would fit. This then meant I had to change the size of all the text throughout the whole booklet, or else it would look unbalanced and wrong. This was reasonably easy to fix because I had previously set the font’s design by using ready made paragraphs, so all I had to do was change the style of that particular one and it changed throughout automatically. If I had not created the set paragraphs beforehand, this could have been a much more time consuming job.

I tried to create a clear hierarchy on each page, which I feel that I have achieved well. The headline – which is the director’s name and then their D.O.B. – is obviously the most important part so this had to be the part where the viewers’ eye was first drawn to. One’s eye then falls to the image of the director, and then onto the subheading/introduction, and then finally the body text. I have differentiated clearly the into and the body by using serif for the into and sans serif for the body. I also used tint to add to the effect – as one moves down the page in order of the hierarchy, the black turns to a grey and then to a paler grey. All of this is the same on every page.

To print, we then exported the InDesign piece into a PDF to print, as pages (not spreads!). Here is the finished piece in digital form:

Digital Booklet – Legends of the Screen

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After printing the booklet, I realised that the printer that I had used did not do bleeding so the grey on the front and back cover was not all the way to the edges. To fix this, I simply used a guillotine to neatly cut off the white edges, making a booklet with bleeded edges.

Final outcome in paper form:

Type Specimen Poster

Earlier this week we were given a font to research and ten create a type specimen on. My font was Caslon Pro.

I started off by researching a variety of specimen and typographic posters, which I have included below:

Using the posters that I researched for inspiration, I designed some of my own rough layouts and picked out favourite parts from the poster that I liked. From looking at the posters, I decided on using the character ‘g’ as a focus point on my poster as it was particularly pretty and interesting. I also liked the letter ‘a’ and ‘Q’ so decided to use these as well.

I also did research for the three paragraphs that we needed to include on the poster – one on the type’s designer, another about the type itself, and the third about the context.

Click here to view (in PDF form) the final outcome of my specimen poster.

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Vernacular Typography Image

Yesterday we started looking at what is known as, ‘Vernacular Typography’. Vernacular typography is when a designer is influenced by things, such as the environment or culture, and then turns an everyday common word into a piece that is both current and modern, while sometimes also working with classical ideas when dealing with spacing and proportion.

We worked in groups of 4 on the project and the word we were given was ‘reveal’.

We decided to create an anamorphic image that literally revealed the text as you moved your body to find the prime position. This is the final outcome of our piece once we photographed it:

Reveal Emily Amber, Aimie, Claire

I feel that the piece looked much better in real life when actually standing in front of it and viewing it first hand, rather than second hand from a 2D photographic image.

To make the image was very time consuming, but once we got the hang of it, we did well. Even though the making of the piece involved a lot of tree climbing, getting covered in moss and cobwebs, and even stepping in dog poo, it was all worth it in the end as we were all pretty proud of the result. It took us 3 hours to complete – we had to have one person of the group (Emily) to stand in one spot without moving for the entire duration of the process, holding up a camera and directing where the rest of us had to stick the tape. It is difficult to tell from the photograph, but some of the letters split onto different trees – for example, when looking closely, you should be able to see that the left vertical stroke on the first ‘E’, is actually on the tree behind to the rest of the ‘E’, which is on the tree in the foreground. This is the same for the ‘V’ and the ‘A’ as well.

We decided against using white tape as we felt that it would be too bright and obvious – we deliberately chose the colour black for the tape, because it made it blend into the tree more so the viewer had to really look in order to reveal the word.

During the process of physically making the anamorphic image, because we were in a public area, alongside a footpath, there was a lot of people walking by; many of who would stop to see what was going on as they passed. The majority of the passers by could not figure out what we were doing and just looked really confused, until of course we directed them to where Emily was stood and in order to ‘reveal’ the word to them. We got a lot of ‘wows’ and positive feedback which was really nice and gratifying to get the reactions that we did.

In the review today, when our group presented our Vernacular Photography piece to the rest of the class, we again got really positive feedback so were really pleased.

Hegonomy, Binary & Heteronormativity

In week 3 of Constellation, ‘The Body in Society’, we looked at bodies and identity: reading masculinity on the body.

We looked at and learnt the meaning to three key words – hegonomy, binary, and heteronormativity. All three of these words were new to me, but they were really interesting to learn about and sparked many opinions and friendly debates among our group.

Hegemony: On the topic of hegemony, which is leadership or dominance over others, we looked in particular at hegemonic masculinity. In gender studies, hegemonic masculinity is the concept (made famous by sociologist R.W. Connell) that proposes the dominant social position of men, and the subordinate position of women. An example of a hegemonic man would be David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the UK. When looking at Cameron, one can see he dresses in an expensive suit, displaying his wealth and dominance clearly. The hegemonic concept also suggests that, just as a man in a well dressed in a suit and tie is a dominant and hegemonic male character, a man in just a casual outfit couldn’t be. In my opinion, I disagree with this concept, for example, Steve Jobs (the creator of Apple), was very rarely seen wearing a suit, although he is still considered in most peoples’ eyes as a hegemonic male.

Binary: We looked in particular at the gender binary, which is the classification of gender in two distinctly opposite forms of masculine and feminine. The term can describe a social boundary that discourages people from crossing or mixing gender roles. For example, a male would be assumed masculine appearance (such as short hair), character traits and behaviour, including a heterosexual attraction to the opposite sex. Personally, I feel that this is wrong representation and belief on genders, and that whether you are male or female, you have the right to both look and behave however you like, for example, a woman should be able to cut her hair short without it being considered wrong just because it’s not the ‘norm’. Also, homosexuality is not wrong just because it doesn’t fit with the stereotypical binary of being attracted only to the opposite sex. The gender binary reduces options for people to act outside of their gender role without coming under scrutiny, so instead, it is important to distinguish femininity and masculinity as descriptors of behaviors and attitudes, without tying them directly to the genders man and woman. There is plenty of evidence showing that dividing humans into the two distinct categories of men and women is problematic – by allowing for a more fluid approach to gender, people will be better able to identify themselves however they choose.

Heteronormativity: This is the belief that people naturally fall into distinct and complementary genders. It also asserts that heterosexuality is the only sexual orientation that is the ‘norm’, and states that relationships are most fitting between people of the opposite sex. Because of the view this concept, it is often linked to homophobia, which a lot of people, including myself, disagree with.

Lasercutting Workshop

Today we took part in a laser cutting workshop with Steve in the B block.

After seeing the laser cutting machine which is intimidatingly big, I was surprised at how easy the process was. It was simple because the machine did the most of the work for you.

All we had to do was create a piece on Adobe Illustrator which would then be cut out on the laser cutter. I chose to make a cutout of my name, so for this I wrote out ‘Amber’ and then turned it into an outline (it would not have cut it out if I had not made it an outline).

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I cut it out of a plate of wood and then a piece of coloured acrylic too. I was then able to swap the letters.

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Because some of the letters have hollows in such as the ‘b’ and the ‘e’, if I were to do this again, I would use a more stencil-like font so that they would still be attached and therefore would not fall out.

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The letterforms that were cut out were extremely delicate and fragile, but they could be used for other things too, such as being stuck onto plaques to make more stick-out 3D pieces, and are effective even just on their own.

Below are pictures of the laser cutting machine itself and then of the laser cutting machine at work:

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Expressive Personality

This afternoon, we paired up with new people that we don’t usually work with to work on the next brief. I paired up with Chris. We had to spend time interviewing each other to find out our partner’s personality, which we would then use to create a logo out of their name which also represents the personality trait – our brief was to create three logos from three different personality traits.

Chris’ three personality traits that I chose to represent were:

  • supportive
  • different (not afraid to be different)
  • positive (“life only goes up”)

Final outcome:

'Chris'