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.

Digital Stitch

Today I found the time to go in and finally complete my design that I created a few weeks ago but didn’t have the time to actually stitch it out.

I love how this one has turned out, although I think the simplest design would work best for the branding. However, saying this it was still good fun and interesting to experiment with the range of motif fills that were available. I used various fills that were made up of triangles. I tried to think about where I was using each pattern, for example the filled in one which looks darker because it a block-colour, I used on the back leg which would be in shadow. I used the same block-colour fill to separate the horse’s mane, tail and hooves.

I am interested in using textile techniques where I can in my further projects. I am thinking perhaps I could digital stitch into paper if the opportunity arises and fits relevantly with what I am doing or creating.

Client Meeting and Tutorial

We have one week left until we present our final, finished outcomes to our clients next Thursday 30th March.

Yesterday I had a meeting with my clients in which I showed them the stop-motion scenes that I had filmed so far over last weekend and have put together roughly in iMovie. Before actually showing my clients the animation so far, I had to explain what stop-motion was as they had not seen it before. I was unsure if they would like it beforehand because I was aware that it was in a different style to what they had asked for. Whereas the other members of my group had gone for a vector-style animation created on AfterEffects, my animation is a stop-motion which is very different. However, on showing both of the clients my animation so far, they really enjoyed watching it. They liked how the rough voiceover that I had produced so far was lighthearted and friendly, so not too serious and heavy. Rather than making the viewer scared of the food risks, it just makes them aware of them and that although they are serious, it’s okay if you know how to handle them and obviously, that’s what the video series that I am creating is here to help do. In the voiceover, I have lightened the topic by including short phrases, for example, one particular line in my script is: “…you are more at risk of getting food poisoning, but don’t panic – this is Steve, he’s here to help.” Here the ‘don’t panic‘ works to comfort the viewer, and then the introduction of a helpful character (‘Steve‘) adds to this. The clients admitted that they were at first unsure of the idea of using a character in my animation when I had previously told them this, because they knew from their market research that the viewers from Velindre Cancer Centre had not liked watching and listening to personal stories and actual people talking at them from on-screen. I was aware of this when I decided that I wanted to use a character to create a sense of journey, which is why I chose a stickman. On watching the video, the client agreed with me that my use of the character really worked and they liked how ‘Steve‘ was not human-like: his body (as well as the other stickmen in the animation) are made of single geometric shapes, he has no real facial features – no nose, no mouth – except for a pair of vertical lines for eyes. He is simply an illustration, so is more cartoon-like than human.

At the end of the meeting, I agreed with the client that for our presentation next Thursday, I would finish off the first video, “Food Wellbeing during Chemotherapy”, and have it perfected to present to them next Thursday. I also agreed that I would have all four storyboards finished too. This way it means I can concentrate on getting one video to an excellent standard, rather than having four completed to a rough and poor standard.

Below are a few screenshots taken from my stop-motion animation so far that I showed to my clients today:

Today I had a tutorial with Neil Angove who was really helpful to talk to after my client meeting yesterday, because he gave me several ideas to help improve my stop-motion. He noticed that there were a few long blank spaces in the video which had no visuals, just voiceover. This was because I had had to add in some time where the animated parts of the video had not been quite long enough to fit my voiceover. He said that I could think about my audience, such as viewers who could potentially be hard of hearing – I am going to back up my voiceover with on-screen text, which will also help to fill these blank spaces. Obviously it would better if my text was handwritten and part of the actual original stop-motion, but because this is already completed, I am going to have to add it using other software such as AfterEffects – I am going to attempt to make it as close to hand-written as possible though.

Client Meeting and Exhibition

This afternoon we had our second client meeting in which we showed them our initial ideas and how we were developing them.

We opened our meeting by showing the small exhibition that we had set up on our given topic of ‘racism’. Our client seemed impressed by our setup and was interested in how we were using it to help us and relate back to our work on their own brief.

exhibition

We explained how and why we had chosen to display our existing poster campaigns on racism, by theme. We wanted to focus on the more ‘lighthearted’ and ‘witty’ theme, rather than the aggressive, as we felt that this had more relevance to their own campaign. The ’emotive’ and ‘informative’ themes also had some use, but we do not want to make either of these themes too heavy in our own animations. We spoke about how we felt cancer was a very serious underlying topic, so we wanted to add a small amount of wit and humour to take some weight off. Our client agreed with this, and said that if our animations were able to get a smile, or a giggle, out of someone going through cancer treatment (or their families), it would be wonderful. Showing this exhibition has helped me confirm that by having a positive and upbeat vibe in my own animation, I am heading in the right direction.

When it came to showing our own individual ideas, I presented our clients with my storyboards that I have created so far – currently 3 out of 4. I also gave them copies of their own that they could take away with them to look over in their own time. It was great to get feedback from the clients, which overall was very positive. She seemed to really like how each of our ideas were slightly different but still all worked really well for what they needed.

Video 1: “Background information and the importance of ensuring food wellbeing during chemotherapy.”

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Video 2: “Top 10 tips on food safety.”

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Video 3: “Risk associated foods and the safer alternatives.”

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When looking through one of my storyboards, Ellen (one of our clients) pointed some minor points that could possibly be changed. It was great to get the constructive critique from her as this is exactly what I need in order to be able to go away and develop my storyboards further. My next step is to make minor edits to my existing storyboards and possibly change some scenes that I am no longer happy with. For example, in video 2, one of the modifications that I need to make, suggested by Ellen, is that cans do not technically have ‘use by’ dates on, they have ‘best before end’ dates instead. The dated labels that they are more interested in are the ‘use by’ ones. Although I could use the cans as purely representative, I want to change them to a relevant product – Ellen suggested milk cartons as an example of a ‘use by’ labelled product.

Apart from these minor changes, I need to complete the fourth storyboard that I am working on and also, to finish the scripts for the voiceovers of each of the videos – I will need to record them in order to get the timings of the animations right.

In my previous blog post, I mentioned that earlier in the day before our client meeting, we spoke to Wendy who suggested that we did not actually have to create the animation. I relaid this suggestion onto our client during our meeting, and admitted honestly that personally, I felt that I would not be able to make it to the standard as, let’s say, somebody on the animation course, but would still happily make it for them if they still wished me to. I mentioned that there was the possibility of getting in touch with the animation course in University so that we could perhaps work together in order to achieve a better final outcome. The client put me more at ease when she said that they would not actually be launching the videos until the end of this year, so we had plenty of time to work on them. On saying this, I have decided that I will fully create both the script, voiceover and storyboards, and will aim to complete the actual animations too, but perhaps I will focus on just one within our time constraints and then continue to work with them outside of my other projects in order to complete the others. Our clients did not seem too fazed that I felt my animating skills were not as strong as others, and seemed pleased that I would be happy and willing to continue working with them – they were also open to the idea of getting in touch with the animation course to help further improve our creations. At the end of the day, it’s a great opportunity for me to be working on a live brief with real-life clients – it’s something that I can put on my CV too.