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 – the Online Portfolio

Now I’ve created a rough idea of what I want my CV to look like, I decided to start on the online portfolio.

After trialling out a few different platforms on which I could create my online portfolio on, including WordPress and Adobe Portfolio, I settled on using Wix after finding a theme that I really liked and finding it the most comfortable to use.

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In my online portfolio, I have used a serif font which I prefer over the bold sans serif font of Bebas Neue that I used in my original CV design, so I have since changed the typefaces in my CV to match the online portfolio that I am creating. I have changed the I’m Amber ‘title’ to match. The typefaces now used on both my online portfolio and in my CV are Playfair Display for headlines and Avenir for the body text – personally, I feel that this use of the serif font actually suits me as a person and my personally much better than the original sans serif font did. I have kept the tone of the site informal, friendly and relatable.

I have kept the online portfolio simple and professional. There are only four key areas to my site, all linked in the header menu bar: Home, Portfolio, About and Contact. The website is one whole page which you can scroll through in one, separated by invisible anchor points which split up the four sections – each of the menu bar links simply automatically scroll the user down to that particular anchor. I am unsure as to whether the ‘Home’ section of the website is even needed as it does not really do much for the site as a whole and the ‘Portfolio’ itself may be telling enough as a home page.

On the contact page, viewers are invited to get in touch with me either by leaving a message on the website which I will then receive via email, or they can send me a direct email to my actual email address. My phone number is also available. I have reused the icons that I’ve created and used on my CV as buttons which link directly to my email and phone number.

There are still things to change on the site of course, for example I am still working through my past projects and updating them to add to my portfolio.

Reflection of Dissertation Proposal

In preparation for our full dissertations which we will write in third year (next year), we were set the assignment of writing our dissertation proposals.

Our proposals were made up of an opening overview, a literature review in the middle, and a research plan to end the essay. It was definitely a tricky one to write, particularly the literature review as I had no idea what one even was up until this task. Before beginning the writing of the proposal, the first thing we had to choose a question or topic to write about. Although I had several ideas, I decided on the topic of subcultures after studying them in Constellation lectures in my first year of university with Cath Davies and knowing that I really enjoyed the subject and found it fascinating – after all, my topic had to be something I was interested by because I am going to be writing an entire book on it.

To help me settle on an exact topic or question which included the subject of subcultures, I filled in a planning form. Although there were five types of dissertation structures that I could choose from on the form, the main two which interested me were the 8000 to 10,000 word thesis, or the 6000 word creative enterprise research proposal (business plan) and presentation. I decided in the end on the first of these two as I realised I had no business of my own to write about. The planning form also included a section in which we could state any areas that we were interested in such as, key designers, artists, theorists, and case studies. I made note of the Punk subculture as a case study as I especially enjoyed looking into them last year with Cath and actually wrote my essay at the time on the group. I also listed graphic designer, Jamie Reid, who was most well-known for his work done in the Punk era, particular his pieces done for British Punk Rock band, the ‘Sex Pistols’ – my thorough favourite out of all his outrageous designs was the album cover he made for the Sex Pistols’ song, ‘God Save the Queen’ which was extremely controversial for its time. I made note of Dick Hebdige as an academic and theorist that I knew wrote about subcultures, particularly in his book, ‘Subcultures: The Meaning of Style’.

After having a meeting with my Constellation tutor, they helped me put my topic into a statement for me to use as a title. I had previously been trying to put it into the form of a question and was, now looking back, making an easy job much more complicated for myself. The statement I decided on was simply: “The relationship between graphic communication and media, and subcultures.” Having linked in my own area of study, graphic communication, into the title, means that I will be able to link my dissertation into my own course work in third year. After handing in our proposal forms, we were assigned individual personal dissertation tutors who were believed to be of most help according to our chosen title. It was of no surprise when I got assigned the subcultural expert herself, Cath Davies. I found that having a personal tutor was great as you knew exactly who you could email or talk to during a mini-breakdown or panic attack over your dissertation planning and having regular meetings with mine, meant that I was able to stay on track and know that I was working in the right direction.

The next step for me was to begin reading – reading absolutely everything! My course was lucky to have workshops set up by our course leaders, with the academic librarian for CSAD, Martha Lee. These workshops motivated me to go away and begin looking for potential useful books for my dissertation proposal. However, after a week or so, I found myself struggling to find books that were useful to me. After sitting around and avoiding the hold-up for another week or so (which was most definitely the wrong thing to do), a peer told me that they’d been to have an individual meeting with Martha who helped them to find plenty of useful books, so I decided to try it out for myself. Sure enough, Martha was great help to me too! She helped me find a few books that were subculture-based, but also showed me how I could narrow down my MetSearches to find more exact results, rather than finding books that maybe said the word ‘subculture’ in them once, on one page out of hundreds, and then didn’t mention the word again. I had my first mini-breakdown at this point (which had been expected to arrive soon-ish), due to thinking I needed to change my topic because there were barely any books which spoke about the relationship between graphics and subcultures, it was more about the textiles world (fashion). Fortunately, my personal tutor did a good job at convincing me otherwise and that it was in fact a good thing that there was not a lot written on the relationship, because I had managed to find a gap to fill in myself. Leaving Cardiff to go home for Easter, I had pages and pages of quotes collected from books and a stack of about ten further books to read at home.

I was struggling to get my head around what a literature review actually was, so instead of getting started on it, I found myself avoiding yet another hold-up (which I seem to be very good at doing) and instead just collecting more and more quotes, some of which I haven’t even used in my finished proposal. I found myself not wanting to start it just because I was scared that I might do it wrong. In the end, I convinced myself to just begin writing the overview at very least, and fortunately I got ‘on a roll’ and realised that it wasn’t that difficult after all. Looking back now, I am so glad that I started it when I did, because I have not had the stress of it being a mad rush last minute – I have just been doing little bit at a time, about 500 to 1000 words a day. Overall, I feel that perhaps the definition of a literature review could have been explained a bit more clearly to us, as I left university still not being 100% sure on how I was writing it. Questions I had included things like, “Am I allowed to put my own personal opinion in it?” and “What person am I writing it in – first person, third person, a mix of both?” It was difficult not being able to get it checked over, however my friends and I were able to peer review and compare each other’s proposals to understand if we were on the right track still.

Final thoughts – “Thank god it’s over… for now.”

Research and Inspiration

Inspired by Cath’s talk that she gave us on persuasion techniques, I decided that my next step of the process was to do some research into some existing pieces.

After my meeting with my clients and understanding that the outcome that they desired was a series of short food-wellbeing videos, it made sense that I look into existing animations already out there. This helped me to see what worked and also what didn’t work so well. I began by looking at what ‘food safety’ videos were already out there, but then moved on to a wider research area.

What worked:

I really like the idea of using simple black and white illustrated drawings which lead me to looking into the technique of using stop-motion.  Some other animations that worked really well was the actual use of real food, and although my clients said that their market research showed that viewers weren’t keen on the idea of having food on-screen (as it could bring on feelings of nausea), if I used the food carefully and in the right way, it could work. I also discovered ‘Gulp‘, the largest stop-motion animation ever made, which although I am probably not capable of during this project, was pretty inspiring and amazing to watch and learn how it was created. Considering my clients have already got a booklet that is key to their campaign currently, which uses icons and small graphic pictograms, I believe that the illustrated stop-motion idea has the most potential.

What didn’t work:

Although I found loads of great animations and videos that are already out there, some videos did not work so well at all. When it came to actually ‘food safety’ videos, seeing the use of photographic film to film live food preparation, I can definitely see how this could perhaps bring on feelings of nausea so would not want to use this technique in my own videos. Also, the use of somebody standing and talking into the camera does not work, even if they are ‘doctors’ or ‘professionals’ – personal stories do not work.

After realising that I think I wanted to go down the stop-motion route, several animations shone out to me the most. One in particular was ‘Manipulation‘ by Daniel Greaves. Although this animation is rather old and was created in 1991, it is still a brilliant stop-motion animation which mixes both illustration and photographic image to create an incredible animated pieced all based around a stickman character who is drawn to life. This is one of my favourite animations and I think it would be a great opportunity to create a modern version of it in relation to my food safety brief.

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S4C Pitch to Clients

Pitch Plan

Before our real pitch to the clients this morning, we had a plan. We had made a list of what we needed to say, include and cover in our S4C pitch. We wanted to ensure that everybody had a part to say in order to show the same amount of enthusiasm from each of us.

We decided to open our pitch tomorrow by asking the clients a rhetorical question, “What advert best sticks in your mind right now?” And then giving them our answer, “Humour.” This then leads into us talking about why we decided to use humour in our own ident idea. The presentation matches as it opens with some examples of previous memorable humorous advertisements. We want to talk about our inspirations, in particular ‘Vine’, in the way that they create short comedy videos that often then go viral across further platforms, such as social media sites like Facebook or Twitter. We will need to talk about the target audience and include about how we hope that reaching further social media platforms will attract the younger generations who are its main users. The next slide will present our own detailed storyboard and we will explain the plot verbally alongside it. Our booklet containing the scene-by-scene script should serve this well too if they want to read the plot again. The last thing our presentation shows is the short video clip of our animation on the flipcard.


Reflection

What went well:

  • Everyone spoke well about their parts – nobody forgot what was needed to be said and we seemed to get our idea across to the clients really well. We included everything that we had planned to say from the pitch plan above.
  • The clients seemed to like our idea – they made comments on liking the humour aspect and the use of the animation over photographic film. They also pointed out that our tagline of “This time of year, all you see is Wales,” was wonderful and that they often use taglines within S4C. They mentioned that it would be great for using in hashtags for social media platforms, etc – they also said we were the first group to actually have a tagline, which was brilliant to here as they seemed to approve of it so greatly.
  • The visuals – the visuals were a key point that both Ian and Owen had suggested we work on in our previous practice pitch on Monday, so we made sure that we did this. The whole presentation itself was new since Monday and I feel that this made the biggest and best difference. It meant that the clients had something to look at while we spoke at our idea, helping them visualise our idea as how we’d want it look, rather than just having to imagine the visuals up for themselves in their own heads.

What could have been done better:

  • I felt a little rushed before going in – we had to make a few last changes to the booklet this morning before our pitch. Fortunately, I managed to get everything added in on time so the clients would have had no idea about our previous last-minute panic, but it was of course still a little stressful at the time.
  • We didn’t introduce ourselves – although we all said hello and greeted the clients well, even after planning to introduce ourselves by name, we went straight into talking about our idea without actually each telling the clients our names.

S4C Practice Pitch

Yesterday afternoon we had our practice pitch with Ian and Owen, ready for our real pitch to our S4C clients tomorrow.

We spent yesterday morning preparing a booklet that we would print onto paper and give to our clients to take away with them tomorrow on Wednesday. Hopefully this will be a great way for them to remember us by as they are able to take something physical away with them to look back on in their own time. In the booklet, we included an overview of our idea, a detailed scene-by-scene script, and a detailed visual storyboard. Today I added the final touches to the booklet.

This morning, Yanni brought in her finished hand-drawn images which we then scanned in to the computer and neatened ready for the animation. Once edited, George put together the short stop-motion animation and put it onto the flipcard held by the Psychiatrist character. The outcome was simple but effective and hopefully will be useful in our client pitch tomorrow in clearly demonstrating what the animations would look like laid over the photographic film.

Although this version is only rough for the sake of the pitch, it shows well the combination of both the film and animation that we plan to use if we get picked. Also, in this particular animation, there only approximately 4 frames-per-second, but this is because we only used 8 images to create the animation. If S4C were to select our idea as one of the ones to be taken forward and developed further, there would of course be a much higher rate of frames-per-second, hugely improving the quality of the animation. Also, the photographic image behind the animation would not be a still photo in ‘the real thing’, it will be moving image.

Tom worked on putting together a more detailed storyboard. This would allow the clients to clearly and fully see exactly how the 30-second ident would look. Adding to this, I added annotations of effects, transitions and notes to each thumbnail.

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Finally, I have put together a presentation to show on a large screen behind us during our pitch so that our client’s have visuals to look at. More visuals was an improvement that Ian and Owen suggested, so we made sure to take this into consideration and work on it to make sure we had enough for our real pitch tomorrow with our S4C clients.

S4C Development

Yesterday and today, we started filming and putting a short rough film together.

The work we are doing to develop our S4C St. David’s day ident at the moment, is preparation for our pitches to our clients next week, on Wednesday 23rd Nov. We started yesterday, by writing out a detailed timeline, which we plan on turning into a storyboard before our presentations so that we can show a both visual and detailed representation of exactly what we plan for our 30 second piece to look like, giving them a clear insight.

We developed the storyline since our last rough storyboard that we presented to Ian and Owen originally, so presented a newer idea to Ian today. Although the plot is still that the doctor shows the patient a range of flip cards, the way in which the patient ‘imagines up’ what he sees has been developed and made more interesting. We came up with four different ways of showing how the patient ‘sees’ the Welsh image. The patient would be looking at the flip card in front of him and the image could appear by:

  • the image on the flip card begins to change and morph into the Welsh shape in which the patient is seeing
  • the patient picks up sketch book and sketches what he sees (for example, he could sketch a leek bulb which could then sprout from the bottom of the page into a fully grown leek)
  • the patient looks out of the window at the sky and a cloud morphs (into an image of a dragon for example)
  • a thought bubble coming from the patient’s head with what he believes he’s seeing on the flip card inside the bubble

After we had a plan of what each scene would be, thanks to our timeline, we started filming. We used two volunteers from our course – one to play the role of the psychiatrist and one for the patient. We decided to work on just one out of four, of the flip card ideas (noted in the bullet points above) – we chose to begin with the first idea, and chose the Welsh image of a sheep to be the shape that would morph from the ‘scribbles’ on the flip card. Within our group of five people, we split into two separate groups so that we were able to work on two parts for the practice film, at the same time. Half of the group worked on creating the film, and have of the group worked on creating the images for the animation that would be put over the top in the form of stop motion.

Myself, George and Greta began creating the scenes on Adobe After Effects, which is a video editing software I have never used previously, but had a workshop on with Matt last week.

We found that using the software, we were able to achieve what we needed in order to present the very rough idea to Ian in our tutorial, in motion form. We started by correcting the colour of the video by adding Auto Color to the clips from ‘Effects & Prefects‘ and then began cropping and splitting the clips in order to reposition them within the timeline. For the animation part of the process, the rest of the group drew individual images to show the change from ‘scribble’ to sheep. As a group we had decided that we could manage with 6 frames-per-second at least for the rough version of our ident.

Although we have not fully finished the rough film, we realised that 30 seconds was used up by our timeline a lot quicker than we thought. Without having completed even a single ‘flip card idea’ from the bullet points above, we had already used up about 16 seconds of our 30. We are going to have to shorten our piece once again in order to simplify the piece and fit it into the designated length limit. I feel that creating the video has been a worthwhile task that we set ourselves – we have been able to see both what works and what doesn’t work from the rough mockup and now know what we need to do from here in order to progress and develop our ident further. We hope to have a better mocked up idea ready for our pitch with our client’s next Wednesday.