Over the last few days, I have been working on developing my brand style ready for my first tutorial today.
I began with attempting to self-brand myself using my name rather than an actual logo. Finding a photograph of myself that was able to actually interactive with the ‘title’, I’m Amber, made me realise that this was the style I liked best. Unfortunately the photograph is not high quality enough for me to be happy with and I want to capture a better one, but this has at least helped me decide on a favourite style. I should be able to use I’m Amber in both ways, with and without the image of myself sat on it.
After testing out a few different fonts and style, and picking a favourite, I began experimenting with colour and of course I had to use my favourite colour orange (Pantone 144 CP) that I use in so many of my projects. After all, it is my colour, “amber”.
I have put together an initial rough CV layout that I think works well alongside my personality and overall brand. My next step is to begin creating the online portfolio layout in consistency to the CV. As my CV is not fully completed yet, I will be able to make changes accordingly if needed – I think it is necessary to keep myself flexible in the beginning ideas generation and design stages of this Digital Me project.
Although I had more or less decided that I would not use my pre-existing logo (used on some social media), I wanted to put it into my CV just so that I could confirm or disconfirm in my tutorial if I was choosing the right way to go. Sure enough, my logo was pointed out as being probably unnecessary, so I am going to go ahead and remove it. Although the logo is not needed, they agreed that it was a great touch to have an image of myself interacting with the title, I’m Amber, as a personal touch. In my tutorial, it was picked up on by my peers that the use of the key colour orange worked really effectively as it doubled up well as being the colour “amber”, just like I am, Amber. The typefaces that I have chosen are Bebas Neue for the headlines and Champagne & Limousines for the body text.
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.
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.”
Video 2: “Top 10 tips on food safety.”
Video 3: “Risk associated foods and the safer alternatives.”
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.
This morning, before our client meeting, I decided to test out my animation.
When I arrived, I was lucky to meet Tom who is the guy to speak to when it comes to using the software down in the AV suite. He helped me to set up the recording pieces and gave me a lesson on using the stop-motion software. He introduced me to a new programme that I not used before, called ‘DragonFrame’ – it is very similar to iStopMotion but a more professional version – it’s very easy to use and I much prefer it to iStopMotion after today.
Once left to it, I tested out one scene from my storyboard and animated it. I chose to use the first scene of video 1, where my hand enters the screen and hand-writes the title, “Wellbeing during chemotherapy.”
It took me several attempts to get it right, but I managed it in the end. I tested it out in pencil to begin with, which didn’t work due to the lighting which reflected off the pencil once on the paper, making it hard to read. One of the most difficult things I found was getting the size and positioning of the handwritten text right on the paper, because it was hard to tell when looking at the live capture preview on the Mac screen. In the end, I got around this obstacle by very, very faintly pencilling in corner frames onto the paper, so that I could see which part was on screen – this solved my problem and I was able to get the text correct. Next time, I may have to, again, very faintly mark in some straight lines which I can write on because, it was difficult to write in a perfectly straight line from the angle I was at. My attempt using pen was much more successful. I was really happy with the outcome of this very short 10-second clip, but it made me realise just how long the process would be – with a bit more practice and maybe working on the scenes little bit at a time like this, I should be able to piece them all together afterwards to create the full animation.
Before meeting our client, we spoke to Wendy, who suggested that we didn’t actually have to create the animation. Instead, we could just fully design it and focus on the character design and scenes – similarly to the way in which we worked on the S4C project: we designed the storyboard and then they got together with a team of professionals in order to bring it to life. Personally, I feel that I have been holding back on my animation design because I have been creating it to the standards of what I, myself, can make – which wouldn’t be as much as a real animator. I consider myself a designer, not an animator. This is the exact reason that Wendy had suggested perhaps not making the full animations. She even suggested that we could get in touch with lecturers and students on the animation course in the university, and perhaps they could help us when it comes to the actual making of the animation. Wendy suggested having an honest conversation with our client to admit that, creating it myself, I would not be able to achieve the quality and standard as someone on the animation course would, and although I am happy to design it for them, and would put my all into making it for them if they still want me to, it would be more ‘basic’ than an animator’s effort. After admitting all of this, I still believe that I’d really enjoy making the animation if they were still happy with this as I think it’s a great opportunity for me and I love the fact that it allows me to work outside of my comfort zone and enables me to push the boundaries and develop a new skill.