Digital Me – Finishing Touches

Our final deadline for the Digital Me project is on Tuesday so I am just adding the final finishing touches to all of my submissions before then.

I am feeling confident with the way I am heading and I have not got a lot to do before handing in my finished work for the deadline on Tuesday. I have completed my Research and Development PDF for Persuasion and am currently finishing off the one for Penguin. I have already got a Research and Development PDF for branding that I created last year after completing the Brandworld project, so I have just got to add and change this one accordingly to my further development since then and my newer final outcomes.

For the finishing touches of my CV, online portfolio, PDF portfolio, I have edited some details to add to the overall final look of the finished pieces. After a tutorial with Neil, we spoke about how underlining titles, historically, was not considered needed after ‘bold‘ was invented. Although I have decided against using the bold version of Playfair Display as I think it ruins the beauty of the contrast between the thick and thin lines in the lettering of the typeface, I have removed the underlines of the titles and the overall look of the CV is much cleaner without them. I have done the same thing on my PDF portfolio by removing the underlines of the titles. Removing these underlines have actually added to the consistency of my overall project, because I noticed that the website does not have underlined titles. There is enough definition between the title and the body text because they are different typefaces – the title is serif and the body text is sans serif, the title is in orange and the body text is black, and there is also a big size difference between the two.

To match the removal of all my title underlines, I have edited my ‘I’m Amber‘ logo slightly as well. I have removed the underline below the text, but kept the line above as the image of me is sat, resting on it. I have adjusted the weight of the upper line to make up for it’s staying though.

Digital Me – Further Development

Since last week, I have made small developments to all three of my main pieces: the CV, the online portfolio and the PDF portfolio.

In the PDF portfolio, I have added in the text and the images to each of the project pages, although one or two are still missing that I want to add in. I have made sure that they are the same images used in my online portfolio and that the brief and solution are the same too. I have added in navigation buttons on every project so that you can flick through the projects using arrow buttons and also return back to the home page. After a tutorial, I have increased the text size by 1 or 2 points because it was suggested that it was perhaps just a little too small. At the the end of my portfolio, I have added an extra page which is a ‘Contact’ page and also has an ‘About Me’ paragraph, similar to the CV.

For the CV, I have added in work experience and also written the ‘About Me’ section. Like the PDF portfolio, I have developed my CV so that it is now interactive too. It has icons which link to my social media profiles: Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. I decided to exclude Facebook because my account is a personal one and I think it is important to keep my CV purely professional and not mix up my personal life with work. I have also added a link to my online portfolio so that employers looking at my CV can get to my work with one easy click.

On my online portfolio, I have gone ahead and removed the ‘Home’ page as I decided that it was not needed – my online portfolio now opens simply with the text saying, “Hello and Welcome!…“. After originally arranging the images on each of the project pages one after each other in a straight line as individual images down the page. I have now arranged them in a more designed layout (image below: I have taken a screenshot from one of the project pages as an example). I have also spread ‘The Solution’ paragraph between these images because I felt that there was too much text to begin with at the top of each project.

screenshot - project layout.png

My next steps are to move on to beginning the Research and Development PDFs for my Subject projects: Persuasion, Penguin and Branding.

Digital Me – the PDF Portfolio

The last main piece I have to make for Digital me is the PDF portfolio, so that has been my next step to take.

I wanted to make the PDF consistent with both the CV and the online portfolio, so I created it in a similar way. I ensured that all the smaller details matched, for example the underlining of titles and the chosen fonts.

Wanting the PDF to be interactive, I created a home page with thumbnails of the six projects that I had chosen to include in my portfolio. From this home page, the user can click a project thumbnail to be taken directly to that project. Also, on hovering over a thumbnail, the image changes (as I have added a rollover image the same but with a white layer over the top with an opacity of only 50%) and the name of the project appears. The image below is a screenshot taken of the PDF portfolio home page – the ‘A Blank Space’ thumbnail shows what the hover over looks like.

screenshot - home.png

I have inserted in all the needed pages for each of the projects and given them titles accordingly. I have then created the links so that each of the thumbnails on the homepage takes the user to the correct project. I have created a rough layout for each of the pages and my next step is to start inserting my design work. I want to have a column of text down the left side, which will include the title of the project and then the brief and my solution, and then the images of the outcomes will be positioned on the right.

portfolio layout sketches.JPG

The Final Touches

Over the last few days before our final presentation on Thursday, I have been carrying out the last final touches to my animation.

I have added multiple details to my animations and trialled out several different ways of doing them in order to get the best outcome.

One of the main things that I have added is  text. I added text to a number of areas throughout my animation, to help back up the most important parts of the voiceover. I have used a handwritten-style font called ‘Ammys Handwriting’ and then to make it seem even more realistically handwritten, I added a fractal layer in AfterEffects in order to make the text move and wriggle over so slightly. One of the things I had to be careful of when adding the text, was that I made sure the text was on-screen long enough to be read by any viewer – to get this correct, I tested it out on my peers.

It was suggested that I change the dots that appear on my stickman character, representing different food poisoning symptoms, to a colour rather than black and although I felt that a colour would not work, I trialled the idea of using a grey instead to see if this would look better. Although I am glad that I tested a different colour out, I have decided to stick with the original black dots as I feel that they work and look better. Because my animation is completely in purely black and white illustrations, the use of another colour does not fit with this and is inconsistent.

The final touches that I added to my animation after adding text and testing the colour adjustments, I finalised the credits that appear at the end of the animation and added the logos of Tenovus and SEWAHSP who support the Zero2Five food industry centre.

Significance of Info – The Masks

After briefly speaking to David today, he reminded me that I still had almost a week to continue to develop and add to my project, so I have decided that rather than leaving the film as it is, I will include my mask idea. As David said, the strength and beauty is in the detail.

As I was worried that by adding more film clips in, it would mess with my timing of the videos and the background music so far, I decided that I could simply green screen over the clips I already had, without ruining the films fabrication. I decided to go ahead with my Donald Trump full-face mask concept, as I felt that this was simple but the most effective.

To make the masks, I used Photoshop to simply edit images of Trump so that it was just his face and then inserted them into InDesign on A3 size paper, then exported to PDF. I measured what size my own face was, so that I could use it as a rough guide to get the masks to the correct size. I printed a grayscale prototype to see if they worked and then from the prototype, I was able to adjust the mask sizes on screen accordingly. I printed the final masks onto thick card so that they would be more sturdy and reliable and then cut them out using a scalpel. The next stop was to create some sticks to hold the masks up to your face with – they needed to be sturdy enough to hold the weight of my Trump masks without flopping over. For the sake of ‘waste not, want not’, I re-used the left over card that I had cut the masks from – I cut several strips which I then stacked together and fasted thoroughly with white masking tape. It did the job perfectly. Rather than tape the sticks to the masks, I have decided to leave them separate for the time being, as I could use a reusable adhesive, such as Blu-tack, to attach them on instead as this would leave them adjustable.

The most tricky part of the mask-making process was the printing of them. Due to the fact that I was printing onto card, rather than normal paper, all of the printer’s settings had to be changed. Because I was feeding in my own printing surface, I had to get inside ‘the printer’s brain’ and tell it not to take the A3 paper out of the tray it normally would, but to instead take it from the manual feed tray which flipped out from the side of the machine. As well as changing the paper tray, I had to also program in to the machine that the paper was in fact card, so I had to tell it the weight of it. It was much more complicated than I had initially expected, but after several trial and error attempts, I managed it with some help from the IT staff. It was useful going through these difficulties actually, because I did not previously know that the printers on the university campus were so extremely versatile – among the paper settings, you could even print onto such things as, tracing paper and recycled paper.

After deciding to use the green screen, I paid a visit to Neil Pedder, who specialises in video editing – he gave me a lesson on the basics of Adobe Premiere Pro, which is the software that I would need to use to edit together green screen film.

Significance of Info – Development and Ideas

Continuing with the making of my ‘How to speak Trump’ film, I have finished all of the analysing of  Trump’s body language, including the voiceovers, added text and background music – it all seems to fitting together really well so far – I have aligned Trump’s movements in the film to match with my voice over. So for example, when talking about Trump’s pointing gesture. At the same time as I say “the point”, Trump carries at the gesture, as I say it – the little details like this, although it’s taking more time to get them right, is what I hope will make the difference and add to the quality of the finished film.

Since my last tutorial with David where it was suggested that I use more irony and sarcasm, I have completely changed the voice over. After studying the way in which David Attenborough speaks, I have tried to use this as inspiration when speaking in the video. In the video, I refer to Donald Trump as, ‘The wild Trump’ as if he is an animal rather than a human being. Also, I treat his body language and gestures as if they are ‘mating calls’, just like a wild animal in a nature documentary. The metaphor that I try and use throughout the film is that, Donald Trump (an animal) is trying to attract and mate with a potential parter, which in his case, is the citizens of America. By the end of the film, he has achieved this – he has become president.

Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 14.14.24.png

Currently, all of my film is more or less complete to a standard that I am happy with. However, David suggested that I include some of my own self-filmed parts, I am just unsure of where I would fit them in at the stage the film is at now – I would not want to add them and then it be ruined. To get around this problem, I have decided to save the film in it’s current state and then continue to add the extra bits, so that I can then decided whether it has improved and bettered the film or whether it was best how it was previously.

I have had several ideas that I could use for my own firsthand videos, including:

Face masks

These would be printed onto card and then either put onto sticks to be held in front of a face, or an elastic string could be attached instead.

Facial features mask

These would be photographs of Donald Trump, but zoomed in close to specific facial features – primarily his mouth or eyes due to him being known to contort these features most commonly. Rather than being printed them onto physical paper like the full-face masks, I could keep them digital, on a small screen such as a phone instead. The screen should then be able to be held up in front of somebody’s face and it will look as if Trump’s feature has replaced their own. I made sure to trial and error it before hand from home, but hope to test it out properly in the photograph suite in University, perhaps with the green screen.

Paper hands

Another idea was that I could somehow make a form of paper or cardboard hands, which I could then wear like gloves. They would be in the form of Trump’s gestures. However, these may not be needed if I use the face mask ideas.

Significance of Info – Development

Today I had an individual tutorial with David to show him what progress I have made with my concepts up to this point.

Since our last tutorial, I had mocked up a rough, short film using iMovie, just to act as a taster of what the finished film could look like. The film is meant to a documentary-style study of Donald Trump’s body language.

After watching  lots and lots of Trump’s speeches, I chose three speeches from three different time periods of his journey to presidency to analyse more thoroughly. The three speeches that I analysed were:

  • Donald Trump’s Presidential Announcement: 16th June 2015
  • Donald Trump Rally in Fountain Hills, Arizona: 19th March 2016
  • Donald Trump’s Inaugural Address: 20th January 2017

Using four of what I had found to be Trump’s most commonly used gestures, I tallied how many times each gesture was carried out throughout each speech. The four gestures are:

  • ‘OK sign’/’Air pinch’
  • ‘The point’
  • ‘The stop and slice’
  • ‘Open palms’/’The Wall’

I put the tallies into a bar charts, but due to the speeches being different lengths, meaning obviously, the longer speech would have more gestures, it would make it unfair if I were to use a pure straight count. Because of this, I converted the data into pie charts which arrange the data by percentage instead, making it fair. From the charts, I was able to tell which gestures were his most popular, but more interestingly, I was able to analyse the change of his gesture-use over the years.

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I have written out a full script of what I want to be said in the voiceover for the ‘Trump documentary’. I was struggling to start the film image-wise, so rather than start from the introduction, I went straight into creating the middle sections of it and then would work outwards – this way has seemed to work well so far because I can now see what the film will more or less look like and where I need to go from here. From looking at so many of Trump’s speeches, I have taken hundreds of screenshots of his gestures, so I started by simply inserting them in order, each for about 0.3 seconds each – when the film is played, it flashes through the images, much like a stop motion. Over the flashing images, I added a few pieces of short voiceover from my script, just to test out my voice and see how it sounded.

I showed several of my peers my short rough film so far, and they thought it was hilarious how posh I sounded in my voiceover, like a weather girl – the voiceover sounded nothing like my normal speaking voice and I think they were finding it hard to believe that it was actually me at all. The only worry they had was that I sounded almost too posh; all emotion from my voice seemed to have disappeared.

My tutorial with David:

When I showed David the video in my tutorial, although the video itself was nothing much yet, he said the documentary style worked well. Like my peers, he thought the voiceover that I had done was very amusing. He pointed out that I sounded like a female David Attenborough doing a wild life documentary. On saying this, he then went on to say, that this was actually what made it great – it just needs a little more sarcasm in the voice to make it work.

After my tutorial with David, I am going to continue with the documentary-style film on ‘How to speak Trump’, however I am going to really milk the David Attenborough wildlife idea, as I feel that this would work as fantastic irony and could create a strong comedic effect for the film – which is what it needs at this point, considering my aim was to make the theme light-hearted and humorous.