FMP Pitch/Proposal

 

PROJECT PROPOSAL

EDEXCEL LEVEL 3 BTEC EXTENDED DIPLOMA INTERACTIVE MEDIA

 

 PROJECT PROPOSAL

Section 1:

    i.      2D Concept Art

ii.      I will be creating a series of conceptual artworks exploring and depicting an alternate future version of earth, in the context of a video game, with man-made chemical resources altering the course of evolution, mutating the flora and fauna, over many years. Genre-wise, it will primarily be survival based, with the effects of the chemical resources and time providing a unique visual approach to the traditional apocalyptic depiction of a ruined earth. The intersection between the use of natural and (scavenged) man-made resources, both now found in the environment simultaneously, will form the foundation of the crafted items and structures within the game world. Creating an interactive element at the end of the assignment, such as a semi-animated show-reel, will help to create a centre piece in my end exhibit.

Section 2:

iii.      Research into a variety of subjects is integral to this concept, with exploratory sketches and annotations in my sketchbook helping to establish the early visual language of the project. Real-world references will help ground my designs in reality, with the referencing of other artists providing an insight into techniques and processes that will help create a more efficient work-flow, as well as help with the relevant design language one must use to communicate the desired information. Creating a visually stimulating series of concepts that one can instantly understand is paramount.

 

iv.

Evolution:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130409095414.htm (Environmental change triggers rapid evolution)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3GagfbA2vo (Crash Course Biology: Evolution)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOfRN0KihOU (Kurzgesagt: How Evolution Works)

https://allyouneedisbiology.wordpress.com/2015/06/15/evolution-beginners-basic-facts/

Tribal References:

https://artsandculture.google.com/exhibit/tAKCb6QeUuhmLA (African Tribal Weaponry)

Taylor, C. (2005). Native American Weapons. 1st ed. Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press.

http://www.new-guinea-tribal-art.com/wp/index.php/2011/10/05/native-weapons/

http://www.native-languages.org/weapons.htm (Native American Weaponry)

http://www.imnh.isu.edu/digitalatlas/geog/native/text/tools.htm (Native American Tools)

https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2016/10/15/africa-weaponry/

https://www.warpaths2peacepipes.com/native-indian-weapons-tools/native-american-tools.htm

Art and Design:

https://www.ctrlpaint.com/library/ (Traditional and Digital Art Foundational Skills)

https://bigbadworldofconceptart.com/recommended-resources-foundation-skills/

https://bigbadworldofconceptart.com/recommended-resources-goodies-freebies/

https://bigbadworldofconceptart.com/recommended-resource-environment-design/

https://bigbadworldofconceptart.com/6387-2/ (Character and Creature Design)

Alexander, R., Cowan, F. and Walker, K. (n.d.). The compendium of fantasy art techniques.

Edwards, B. (2014). Drawing on the right side of the brain. London: Souvenir Press.

Lilly, E. (n.d.). The big bad world of concept art for video games.

MacManus, F. and Howlett, C. (2017). Film Concept Art Secrets. ImagineFX, (152), pp.80-86.

Mearls, M. and Crawford, J. (n.d.). Dungeon master’s guide.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPxq0iJ2Qqs (Thumbnails to Silhouettes)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FShRsjeCPQ0 (Silhouette Tutorial)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5X0MB9XWaE (World Building; Forest)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcpsWG_idX0 (Character Design)

Urban Decay, Mutations, and Chemical Exposure:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_genetic_disorders

https://io9.gizmodo.com/10-unusual-genetic-mutations-in-humans-470843733

https://phys.org/news/2016-12-evolution-action-fish-quickly-lethal.html

http://health.mo.gov/living/environment/hazsubstancesites/healtheffects.php

https://www.urbanghostsmedia.com/2016/05/abandoned-by-man-reclaimed-by-nature/

https://www.wired.com/story/gallery-nature-abandoned-buildings/

https://www.theguardian.com/science/grrlscientist/2015/mar/19/how-chemistry-affects-the-evolution-of-life

Genre and Visual Inspiration:

https://io9.gizmodo.com/a-haunting-short-film-set-in-a-world-where-evolution-ha-1787060858 (Dust, a short film regarding rapid evolution)

https://dartgarry.deviantart.com/gallery/49897446/The-Forest (The Forest, a semi-modern survival game)

https://kotaku.com/the-art-of-horizon-zero-dawn-1792878981 (Horizon: Zero Dawn)

https://www.videogamesartwork.com/games/wildstar (Wildstar, a futuristic MMO)

ArtStation. (2018). Bobby Rebholz. [online] Available at: https://www.artstation.com/bobbyrebholz [Accessed 20 Mar. 2018].

ArtStation. (2018). Brother Baston. [online] Available at: https://www.artstation.com/brotherbaston [Accessed 20 Mar. 2018].

ArtStation. (2018). Stephen Oakley. [online] Available at: https://www.artstation.com/possum [Accessed 20 Mar. 2018].

Fengzhudesign.com. (2011). Feng Zhu Design. [online] Available at: http://fengzhudesign.com/ [Accessed 20 Mar. 2018].

Section 3:

i.               The use of both a sketchbook and digital media will ensure there is a cohesive process, with initial ideas and thumbnails being sketched out and explored in my sketchbook, of which are then moved into a digital format (Photoshop) for further exploration and refinement. My Wacom tablet will allow me to digital draw and paint my concepts, refining them to a polished and presentable level. Research and referencing will be conducted throughout the entire process as necessary, however, the bulk will be conducted and organised in the initial stages of the project. Acquiring conceptual art and design skills, techniques, and processes via books, tutorials, and observation will be critical to the success of my assignment. Techniques may include matte painting, shape language, and silhouette design, as well as other design related techniques.

iv.

  Date Tasks Resources/Techniques

 

1 20.03.17 Research + Planning/Brainstorming

-Aspects/Mechanics of Survival Games

-Urban Decay, Evolution, and Chemical Exposure/Mutations

-Story, Gameplay, and Visual Ideas (Informed by Research)

-Internet

-Books/Library

-Sketchbook

-Word

-Task Management Software

-Wordpress Blog

2 27.03.17 Research + Planning/Brainstorming

-Aspects/Mechanics of Survival Games

-Urban Decay, Evolution, and Chemical Exposure/Mutations

-Real-World Tribes and Native Technologies

-Story, Gameplay, and Visual Ideas (Informed by Research) + Planning Order of Work

-Internet

-Books/Library

-Sketchbook

-Word

-Task Management Software

-Wordpress Blog

3 Easter

Holiday

Research + Brainstorming + Early Visual Development

-Biomes + Effects of Chemical Spills upon Environments

-Story, Gameplay, and Visual Ideas (Informed by Research)

-Early Sketches (Relating to Order of Work)

-Internet

-Books/Library

-Sketchbook

-Word

-Wordpress Blog

4 Brainstorming + Early Visual Development

-Story, Gameplay, and Visual Ideas (Informed by Research)

-Early Sketches (Relating to Order of Work)

-Sketchbook

-Word

-Wordpress Blog

5 18.04.17 Development + Feedback

-Begin Digital Development of Sketches (Continue Drawing in Sketchbook)

-Seek Feedback

-Sketchbook

-Photoshop

-Wordpress Blog

6 24.04.17 Development

-Continue Development (Working both Traditionally and Digitally)

-Sketchbook

-Photoshop

-Wordpress Blog

7 02.05.17 Development

-Mainly Digital Development of Concepts

-Sketchbook

-Photoshop

-Wordpress Blog

8 08.05.17 Development + Feedback

-Digital Development of Concepts

-Seek Feedback

-Photoshop

-Wordpress Blog

9 15.05.17 Polish + Presentation

-Refine work

-Ensure that it is polished and ready for presentation

-Photoshop

-Illustrator

-Wordpress Blog

10 22.05.17 Evaluation + Presentation

-Evaluate work and process

-Organise work for presentation

-Photoshop

-Illustrator

-Word

-Wordpress Blog

Section 4:

v.      Feedback will be enquired from both self-reflection and peer review, as well as the advice from tutors. Advice may be acquired from online forums as I see fit. Awareness of the natural development of the project is important, with attention being payed to the progression of my designs in my written evaluation. Reflection regarding my time-management, efficiency of techniques and processes, as well as the overall outcome will be conducted as well.

 

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FMP Progress Diary -22 April 2018-

This week consisted of research, studies, and designs of shelters, structures, and monoliths. I worked in my sketchbook, making studies of the reference I gathered, and then dynamically moving between studies and designing.

FMP Progress Diary -15 April 2018-

This week consisted of digital thumbnails/sketches for the wolf concept, using reference images and my own sketches to help inform my designs. Referring back to my planning and research in order to develop my designs in a more believable and interesting way.

 

FMP Progress Diary – 8 April 2018 –

The first few weeks of my assignment were dedicated to Research, Planning, and initial Ideation.

Research-wise, I investigated a variety of topics, including; Evolution, Tribes, Urban Decay, Mutations, Chemical Exposure, and Genre/Visual/Design Inspiration.

With the help of said research, I was able to flesh out my conceptual idea to a better standard, planning out the different aspects and intricacies to greater detail.

Once satisfied that the overall idea had been established, I moved onto more specific reference gathering, and then promptly began to sketch out concepts.

The concepts that I have worked upon so far include; Chemical Storage Container, Elk (mutated and non-mutated), and Wolf (mutated and non-mutated).

For both the Elk and Wolf concepts, a decent portion of the time was spent creating studies of the animals in an attempt to better understand their anatomy and structure. Later on I was pursuing ways of creating a ‘short-hand’ to easily represent the specific animal during the conceptual ideation process, where I created several thumbnails before developing several design directions.

The amount of days where I can consistently produce work are limited due to my wrist injury, therefore my output is not up to the standard that I desire.

Live Action Game Trailer Evaluation (and Production Diary/Log)

The aim of this assignment was to create a finished live action game trailer, backed up by a variety of pre-production techniques and processes, as well as the use of industry-standard software for post-production. Initially, we were tasked with formulating, in a group, two ideas for a trailer each.

My two trailer ideas can be found here: https://kcimgdryannothard.wordpress.com/2018/01/11/live-action-video-game-trailer-ideas/

After discussion as a group, we settled on a concept relating to the game Planet Coaster, and upon doing so we began to organise and construct our treatment/pitch for our trailer. For the pitch we created a PowerPoint presentation, of which we used to supplement our recorded pitch that we presented to our lecturers. The individual slides of the pitch may be seen below:

 

 

 

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While the roles were decided upon early in the process, they were an organic arrangement that shifted as challenges were presented, and when strengths and weaknesses were pinpointed. My main role was that of director, with my responsibilities including the creation of a variety of pre-production and production documents.

 

Pre-Production and Production Documents (and member of group whom attended to the relevant documentation):

-Storyboards (Thomas)

-Production Schedule (Group)

-Script (Me)

-Art Design and Costume Planning (Group Vision)

-Prop Planning (Group)

-Lighting Planning (Group)

-Location Recce (Maciej + Overseen by me)

-Equipment Research and Booking (Group)

-Health and Safety (Group)

-Call Sheets (Me)

-Logging Sheet (Me)

-Shot List (Me)

-Moodboard (Maciej) [displayed below]

Trailer_Moodboard.jpg

 

After creating a variety of pre-production documents, we moved onto the actual filming, of which we managed to complete in one afternoon. The set was our lecturer Lewis’ office at Anstee House, a room we have used for a film assignment previously and are well acquainted with. Therefore, we had a decent understanding of the variables included in using that location, such as traffic and classroom noise, as well as artificial light from the hallway (we dealt with this in post via editing both the audio, lighting, and colour grading, however, the sounds of traffic were used to add emphasis to the character’s plight).

We experienced an issue with the camera/SD card where it would present an error relating to a ‘Buffer Overflow’ and prevent us from recording clips longer that 30 or so seconds. However, this was not a major issue as the scenes we wished to film were both short, as well as interchangeable via the editing process later.

We recorded many scenes, referencing our treatment/pitch concept, the storyboards created by Thomas, as well as a script provided by me. Very few scenes required more than a few takes, as the nature of the scenes allowed us to splice the footage and audio together in the editing process of the post-production phase.

Maciej was the main actor for the majority of the scenes, performing as the mentally-spiralling worker. Thomas acted as another worker, whom drops off more papers/work for Maciej to complete. I acted as the boss, who arrives to scold the main worker for him slacking off during work as he begins to lose his sanity.

I acted as director during the filming process, ensuring that the camera (operated by Thomas) was aligned correctly, the lighting was ideal, the composition pleasing, and that the actors were following the script. However, input into this process was provided by the entire group throughout.

Moving onto the post-production phase, we used Adobe Premiere to edit the trailer. The main editors were Maciej and Thomas, with me providing creative input and direction for the flow, structure, and style of the trailer. The intent throughout the trailer is to provide the viewer with a sense of empathy for the character, as they understand how a day may drag on in such an environment/situation. The trailer, as it progresses, then begins to include not only bursts of game trailer footage and audio, but the gradual decline of the worker’s psyche. The distinction between the game trailer footage/audio and that of reality, accompanied by the worker’s increasingly confused reactions, cements in the viewers mind that the main character is the one envisioning and daydreaming about the game.

As the trailer progresses, the character’s mental state gets beaten down more and more until he snaps, having a breakdown before giving in and playing the game. The use of the game trailer audio in the final scene, of which is based in reality, where the character is using his laptop in the dark, communicates to the viewer that he is playing the game. The difference in lighting, costume, and props indicate that he has been there for a long period of time, displaying to the user how fun and addictive the game must be.

To help communicate his loss of sanity at the climax of the trailer, we reversed a series of shots and their accompanying audio, moving and distorting them inside Premiere to create a strange series of clips that helped to display a turning point in the character’s story arc.

Overall, I believe the trailer was a success, even though the opinions were usually rather mixed the peer review we conducted indicated that most found the trailer humorous and entertaining. However, the first portion of the trailer did (even though this was a stylistic choice that was required to create the desired impact) have trouble capturing the attention of many. The breakdown of the character confused some, as they had trouble making sense of it, however that was the desired effect.

 

 

References

YouTube. (2017). Anniversary Update Trailer – Planet Coaster. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgv1CZtI1Eg [Accessed 22 Feb. 2018].

 

Production Log (a lot more information and visual evidence can be found in my evaluation above, as well as the documents below):

Date Log
11/01/18 Creation and presentation of two trailer ideas.
18/01/18 A group effort was displayed for the treatment and pitch.
25/01/18 I oversaw, and helped in, the creation of various pre-production documents that were worked on by group. Individually, I created the script.
01/02/18 Continued pre-production and planning.
05/02/18 Directed during the filming process (more details in the evaluation).
12/02/18 – 01/03/18 Provided direction and creative input during the editing process.

 

Production Schedule:

Date (week beginning)   Deadline
04/12/17 Brief given out  
11/01/18 2 x ideas presented Individual ideas pitched to group
18/01/18 Group planning for treatment
18/01/18 Group treatment presented Formal Treatment Pitches to teachers
25/01/18 Pre-production
01/02/18 Pre-production
05/02/18 filming
12/02/18 – 01/03/18 editing
08/03/18 Editing Final Deadline Submission – finished film and all tasks

 

 

Location Recce:

Recce

Script:

INT. OFFICE – – DAY

MAIN CHARACTER (worker) at desk in office, writing on paper. He is wearing a buttoned shirt, glasses, and a tie. Ambient, clock, and writing audio.

Gameplay footage, with audio, appears briefly.

WORKER continues to write.

Gameplay footage, with audio, appears briefly.

WORKER appears confused but continues writing.

Gameplay footage, with audio, appears briefly.

More paper/work is dropped onto the desk by SECONDARY WORKER (right side of screen/desk), the WORKER is startled. A loud thud is heard.

Gameplay footage, with audio, appears briefly.

WORKER stares at new pile of work, motionless.

Gameplay footage, with audio, appears briefly.

WORKER continues to stare at new pile of work, motionless.

Gameplay footage, with audio, appears briefly.

WORKER continues to stare at new pile of work, motionless.

A black screen is present for a brief period, no audio is present.

WORKER proceeds to shove new work off desk, as well as swiping at the papers already present on his desk.

Gameplay footage, with audio, appears briefly.

BOSS (in formal wear, jacket etc.) yells and gestures aggressively at WORKER, whom holds his head in his hands, looking down at the desk. Silence.

WORKER stares ahead, motionless and in silence.

Series of shorts, interspersed with gameplay, of reversed footage of the WORKER having a breakdown/going mad, with footage of the SECONDARY WORKER spliced in. The audio of the characters is reversed, while the gameplay audio remains the same.

Footage of work being delivered is played again, accompanied by the relevant audio.

Another black screen (accompanied by silence) appears before cutting to more gameplay (with the usual gameplay audio).

WORKER stares straight ahead once again, motionless and in silence.

Title screen, accompanied by the gameplay audio, appears.

INT. OFFICE – – NIGHT

WORKER is then seen ‘playing’ on a laptop, in the dark, surrounded by an assorted of props. Audio of gameplay and clicking is heard.

Props and costumes/Lighting:

Props:

-Mug, supplied by Maciej

-Laptop, supplied by Maciej

-Stationery (pencil, paper, supplied by Maciej

-Table, on set

-Chair, on set

-Clock, room 207

Costumes:

-3 formal shirts

-3 blazers

-3 ties

-3 formal Trousers

-Misc. actors’ clothing

Lighting:

-Laptop glow

-Day light

-Night-time/closed blinds

-Artificial light from hallway

Call Sheet:

ED Media

Project: Live Action Game Trailer [Planet Coaster]

Date: 5 March 2018 Call time: 2:30pm
Lewis’ office at Anstee House.

 

 

 

 

Crew

Ryan Nothard
Maciej Gebski
Thomas Goodyear

 

Equipment

 

Camera and Tripod.

 

 

Props and Costumes

Misc. Stationery.
Formal wear for all 3 actors.
Laptop and misc. related props.
Pre-existing props on site (office related).

Shot List:

Pre-production template: Shot list

 

Production name:                                         Working title:

 

Group members: Ryan Nothard, Thomas Goodyear, Maciej Gebski__________________________________________________

 

Scene Number Shot Number Take Description/shot type/ camera movement, in frame movement (dialogue) Location/props/costume & audio requirements
1

 

 

1  

2

 

Character at desk in office, writing on paper.

Office props stationery, formal wear. Ambient, clock, and writing audio.
 

1

 

2 Gameplay footage. Audio of gameplay.
 

1

 

3 2 Character continues to write. Ambient, clock, and writing audio.
 

1

 

4 Gameplay footage. Audio of gameplay.
 

1

 

5 1 Character appears confused but continues writing. Ambient, clock, and writing audio.
 

1

 

6 Gameplay footage. Audio of gameplay.
 

2

 

7 1 More paper/work is dropped onto the desk by another worker, the actor is startled. Sirens, loud thud.
 

2

 

8 Gameplay footage. Audio of gameplay.
 

3

 

9 1 Character stares at new pile of work.
 

 

3

10 Gameplay footage. Audio of gameplay.
 

 

3

11 1 Character continues to stare at new pile of work.
 

3

 

12 Gameplay footage. Audio of gameplay.
 

3

 

13 1 Character continues to stare at new pile of work.
 

4

 

14 Black screen. Silence.
 

4

 

15 2 Character shoves work off desk. Sound of shoving and landing of work.
 

5

 

16 Gameplay footage. Audio of gameplay.
 

5

 

17

 

2 Boss yells and gestures aggressively at worker, whom holds his head in his hands, looking down at the desk. Silence.
 

6

 

 

18

1 Worker stares ahead, motionless. Silence.

 

 

 

7 18 1 for each individual shot. Series of shorts, interspersing gameplay with reversed footage of the main character having a breakdown/going mad, with footage of the other worker spliced in. Gameplay audio, reversed audio of actor/s.
7 19 1 Replayed footage of work being delivered. Sound of work dropping onto desk.
7 20 Black screen, then more gameplay. Silence, then audio of gameplay.
7 21 1 Character continues to have a breakdown, audio and footage is reversed. Reversed audio.
7 22 Gameplay footage. Audio of gameplay.
8 23 1 Character stares straight ahead. Silence.
8 24 Title screen. Audio of gameplay.
8 25 2 Character ‘playing’ on laptop in the dark, surrounded by an assortment of props (including a clock). Audio of gameplay, audio of clicking.

 

 

Logging Sheet:

Production Paperwork –  Logging shots

 

Name: Ryan Nothard, Thomas Goodyear, Maciej Gebski…………………………………… Production:

 

Date: 5/02/2018…………………………………….

 

Name of file? Scene? *Shot number /take? File details (content of shots) Special elements ie: sound, cutting etc Use?

Y/N

 

Throwing_2

4 2 Main character shoves work off desk. Sound of shoving and landing of work. Y
 

Thomas_3

7 1 Secondary character points past the camera. Reversed audio. Y
Thomas

 

7 1 Secondary character sits in chair, talking. Reversed audio of talking is used. Y
Thomas_2

 

7 1 Secondary character sits in chair, talking. Talking. N
 

Slam

2 1 More paper/work is dropped onto the desk by another worker, the main character is startled. Sound of slam. Y
 

Shouting_2

5 2 Boss yells and gestures aggressively at worker, whom holds his head in his hands, looking down at the desk. Silence. Y
 

Shock

6 1 Worker stares ahead, motionless. Silence. Y
 

Throwing_Paper

4 1 Character shoves work off desk. Sound of shoving and landing of work. Y
 

Chewing

7 1 Character pretends to chew. Sound of chewing, reversed. Y
 

Can_U_Do_This

7 1 Character talks and moves around. Sound of talking is reversed. Y
 

Anger

8 1 Character ‘playing’ on laptop in the dark, surrounded by an assortment of props (including a clock). Sound of clicking and gameplay audio. Y
 

Acceptance

8 1 Character retrieves laptop from below the desk. N
Writing_2

 

1 2 Character at desk in office, writing on paper. Ambient and writing audio. Y
Shocked_2 1 2 Character appears confused but continues writing. Ambient and writing audio. N
Writing_Scribbling 1 1 Character writing. Ambient and writing audio. N
Shocked_1 1 Character appears confused but continues writing. Ambient and writing audio. Y
Anniversary_Update_Trailer Footage of Planet Coaster Anniversary Update. Gameplay audio. Y

 

Website Design Assignment Evaluation – Unit 44

Research into Portfolio Websites and the design thereof, as well as the technical aspects behind the creation of them, was conducted in the initial stages of the assignment. Regarding the technical aspects I investigated both the programming languages and coding styles used to create web pages, as well as how the structure of the world wide web operated, with an emphasis however on the communication between the client-side and server-side in relation to web development and access.

The research into Portfolio Websites and their design allowed me to identify good and bad elements, of which I then used to inform my own design process; avoiding bad design choices while ensuring that the good elements of design that I have analysed help inform my own work. The combination of written analysis and mood boards create a wide coverage of the design elements, allowing one to analyse and decipher the thought process behind certain design decisions, of which help inform one’s own work.

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After having completed my research I moved onto sketching out my designs, ideating various wireframe compositions, flow-charts, pages, and design styles, accompanied by annotations and notes to further help the ideation process. Once I had settled on a design style; minimalistic and elegant, utilising negative space and clear font styles, I moved onto digital wireframing using Illustrator.

In this stage I was able to further fine-tune and trouble-shoot layout issues, using rulers and measurements to establish the desired composition and style. Once happy with the over-all layout I moved into Muse to begin creating the finished site.

For the settings of the site I made sure the Max Page Width was 1200, the Min Width 320, and the Min Height 1000, with there being 0 for Margins and Padding.

Inside the document, breakpoints were created at 450, 960, and 1200, rough estimates of different device screen sizes. This, in conjunction with Responsive Width and Height settings, as well as Pinning and composition changes on certain breakpoints, helps to create a website that contains Responsive Web Design elements.

Starting out with the actual website design, I made sure to use a Master page first. On this master page, I made sure to include all the elements that I wished to persist throughout every page on the website, these being; my name, short summary of my ‘position’, and the categories in the site.

To create this ‘header’ I created text boxes, and after some experimentation with font, settled on Batang and Batang Che for my name and sub-heading. Arial was used for the Categories section, with careful placement of each word/text box with the help of rulers. Once happy with the placement of these elements, I created a box that allowed me to hyperlink certain areas of the web-page with other pages.

After testing out the different break-points I realised that the numerous text-boxes were not aligning properly when resized. Therefore, I went into Illustrator and created a PNG of the categories section. Once completed, I moved back into Muse and placed the image, creating multiple boxes for each individual word/category that linked to their relevant pages. To make sure that the Responsive elements of the webpage worked, I ensured that Responsive Width and Height were ticked, certain elements were pinned in the right places at the right breakpoints, with composition changes being made in the relevant breakpoints as well.

As mentioned before I opted to go for a minimalistic approach for my portfolio website, allowing my artwork to be the focus. The Home page allows one to navigate to the Portfolio, Services, and About pages through interaction with the images presented. A certain hierarchy is established on this page, and persists through the others, with the placement and size of the images helping to create a composition that grounds the page and guides the eyes; this is especially true once the font, and placement thereof, is taken into consideration.

The inclusion of a pure white background, with the header parallaxing behind due to the careful placement of layers, helps to create a readable and easily digested format that allows the artwork and information presented to be the focus.

I decided to split my portfolio up into two sections, ‘Paintings’ and ‘Drawings’, with preview images at the main portfolio page that entices the viewer to investigate my body of work. This does, however, create one extra click for one to access my artwork. Although, the structure of this system provides the user with a degree of control, placing in their hands the illusion of choice as they decide which half of my gallery to view. Not only that, but the other gallery is easily accessible from the sections presented near the top of the page, with the current page highlighted in bold.

This type of design, one where the user always knows exactly where they are on the web-site and how to navigate back or to other pages, helps to create an enjoyable experience for the person viewing your work. The presence of good User Experience design directly correlates with the careful design of the User Interface, allowing all who happen upon the site to understand exactly the purpose of it, as well as how to navigate the pages.

The gallery used to display my artwork in my portfolio is a Responsive Lightbox Widget supplied by out lecturer, allowing use to upload thumbnail and full-sized images into a gallery that adapted to the web-page’s size and orientation. The resizing of the images for use as thumbnails was done in Photoshop, with short descriptions being made using the Widget’s menu. To ensure that the gallery operated smoothly, a separate element had to be added first, allowing the gallery to work as intended.

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Lastly, I included various information regarding my services, skills and proficiencies, about myself, as well as ways to contact me.  For the Contact page I used the built-in Hyperlinking functionality in Muse, highlighting the relevant text and adding a hyperlink to an email address or external web-page. Once completed, I published the site to Business Catalyst after naming it ‘ryannothard-portfolio’.

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The link to the website is here: ryannothard-portfolio.businesscatalyst.com

3D Obstacle Course Animation Evaluation

The beginning stages of the assignments consisted of mainly research, where we investigated various animation techniques, tools, and software packages. Tying in with those topics was research regarding the production pipeline of animated films and the jobs thereof, as well as a Pixar short film.

The analysis of the Pixar short film ‘Piper’, and the comparison to another one of their short films (‘For The Birds’), formed a basis for aforementioned research. Investigation into this topic was conducted both through online sources and a more traditional approach; book-based research.

Once the research had been completed we moved onto Development, where we began to plan and develop our animation, as well as the traits our character would possess. Initially, the intended character was meant to be the Fuse model we had modelled after ourselves, dressed in whatever attire we wished. However, the document we were provided with did not support the rig it was imported with and a replacement character was provided for us to use.

Before animating, storyboards and blocking sheets were created in my sketchbook, ensuring that I had a clear understanding of the main keyframes and movements within the obstacle course. Supplementing this are sketches detailing and expanding upon the Fuse character and his traits, of which were to influence his navigation of the course. Filmed references were also gathered and used to help create accurate animations.

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For the animation we had to set the frame rate to 25 (Television output), with renders exported at 1280×720.

Regarding the actual animating of the character through the course, I made use of various tools and techniques. For the manipulation of the character I used various movement and rotation tools, selecting areas on the rig/skeleton and moving them through space. Once I was happy with the placement and where it sat on the timeline (paying attention to the current frame in relation to the previous, in the context of the set framerate) I set a Keyframe using the shortcut ‘S’.

The Graph Editor allowed me to view the differences in position of the various joints on the character, allowing me a degree of manipulation over the timing of the movements even after keyframing them. However, there are diminishing returns regarding this functionality, especially once the graph editor becomes ‘crowded’ and ‘noisy’ due to the multitude of lines and keyframes present.

To ensure naturalistic movement, I made use of filmed reference, as well as acting out the movements in my room as I was animating them. Fine-tuning and careful manipulations of the joints helped to create more natural movement, with the character seemingly balancing themselves as they move through space.

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The animation quality improved as the time went on, with the beginning containing many errors that I was unable to fix later due to the graph editor containing a plethora of keyframes, all of which would have needed to be edited. Looking back, I could have vastly improved the animation quality if I had spent more time reviewing each movement and set of keyframes before moving onto the next.

To up the production quality, I found a free lava texture online (of which is referenced below), applying that to the ground. In addition, I added several light sources of varying warm colours, as well as adding a more metallic material (via editing the material properties of a Blinn shader) to the obstacles.

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For the tracking camera I added it via this method; ‘Create’ -> ‘Cameras’ -> ‘Camera and Aim’ -> ‘Create’ -> ‘Three Point Circular Arc’ -> ‘Constrain’ -> Attach camera to arc via ‘Attach to Motion Path’ -> ‘Constrain’ -> ‘Parent’ or ‘Point’ Camera’s Aim with character -> manually position Camera Aim on character using keyframes, utilising the graph editor to ensure the camera moved at a pace that matched the character’s movement.

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I initially used a regular Camera and a manually drawn Motion Path, however, the method described above was more efficient.

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When rendering I ensured that the ‘Renderable Camera’ was set to the one attached to the Motion Path, as well as changing the Frame/Animation extension to ‘name.#.ext’. After applying all the relevant settings, I moved onto exporting, trying out different export types before settling on Targa (tga). Before rendering all the frames, I rendered the first 10, ensuring time was not wasted. I then used FCheck to determine whether the frames were exported correctly, once satisfied I moved onto rendering the entire animation. To get these frames into a proper video format, I imported them into Adobe Premiere as an ‘Image Sequence’, and then finally exporting the final video before uploading to Youtube.

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Ideally, I would have spent more time on the overall animation, as well as experimented with each movement individually within a separate document to perfect them before moving onto the final animation. However, time was a constraint as the brief had been delivered late. Regardless, I managed to complete the animation in time for the intended deadline. We were then notified of us receiving an extension, however, as mentioned earlier editing of the completed animation would of taken up too much time and other assignments became priorities.

References

Area by Autodesk. (2007). Lava Shader Effect | Tutorials | AREA by Autodesk. [online] Available at: https://area.autodesk.com/tutorials/lava_shader_effect/ [Accessed 20 Jan. 2018].

3D Obstacle Assignment Treatment

Working Title: Unit 52 – Obstacle Challenge

 

Genre: 3D Animation

 

Duration: 30+ seconds

 

Outline: A character in military garb, created using Adobe Fuse, will be navigating an obstacle course in a 3D environment. He will traverse the obstacles before him, overcoming them with speed and agility as per his character traits.

 

Character Breakdown: The character is military-themed, created using Adobe Fuse, and possesses character traits such as; efficient, agile, fit, and precise etc.

 

Audio: There will be no audio for this animation.

 

Rationale: The military theme of the character will allow me to animate the character in a way that makes navigating the course seem easy, with the character quickly and efficiently overcoming the obstacles.

 

Research: Research is to be conducted into animations that have already been created, job roles, subject terminology, animation technology, motion, animation techniques, as well as animation tools and software.

 

Requirements and Resources: The resources required would be a sketchbook, stationery, a computer, Adobe Fuse, and Autodesk Maya.

 

Constraints and Contingency: Time constraint is a major factor, as the assignment begin date did not coincide with the date the brief was received. To resolve this, extra work and sacrifice of free time is required.

 

Legal and Ethical Considerations: I must assure that I do not infringe upon any copyright and/or plagiarism laws regarding my research.

 

Budget: Potential costs would include the items listed in ‘Requirements and Resources’, however, these items have already been previously acquired.

 

Schedule: The entire assignment should take one to two months to complete, however, due to time constraints it must be completed in under a month.

Pixar Animation Research – Unit 52

The Pixar animation pipeline is thus;

Story:

The Director of the film organises his/her team in order to fulfil their vision, initially a script is created, and then a storyboard. Story artists created a series of storyboards and conceptual drawings that they then pitch back to the Director, Writers, and Producers.

Editorial:

Editors are ever-present throughout the creation of the movie, however, at the beginning of the pipeline they work primarily upon creating an animatic utilising the storyboard panels.

Art:

Visual Development artists create, using whatever medium they desire, the look and feel of the film. Before the visual development artwork is pitched to the Director, the Art Director and Production Designer must approve the created work.

Modelling:

Here, the 3D artists build and create the models for characters, buildings, props, and various other elements within the film. They work under a modelling supervisor, working closely with the art department, utilising 3D artwork from the artists. For the characters, they create an armature and wireframe before moving onto sculpting.

Rigging:

Riggers (Character TDs) place the joints, muscles, and fat underneath the skin, allowing the animators to manipulate various nodes to create a believable performance.

Surfacing:

Texture/Surface Artists use a material library to texture various objects within the environment, each different one interacting with the lighting in different ways.

Rough Layout:

The Director of Pre-Visualisation and their team use the pre-created animatic and storyboards to create a rough 3D animation, using a 3D camera to block out the cinematography and rough character positionings.

Final Layout:

The Final Layout Supervisor and their team prepare the shots for animation, positioning the start-points of all the characters in the scenes. The use a master-shot to co-ordinate this, replacing the rough character models with higher resolution versions. After the Animation Team has created the rough animations, the team that works on the Final Layout work upon Set Dressing, Stereo Pass, and Final Composition.

Animation:

The Animation Department, with the Character Animators working under the Supervising Animator, begin working upon animating the characters, using the pre-created ‘puppets’/models that the Modelling, Rigging, and Surfacing Artists worked on. They utilise reference found online, and/or create their own, essentially acting for the characters and using that as a basis for their final animations. They figure out how the characters move in space and conduct themselves.

Crowds:

The Crowd Department, headed by the Crowds Supervisor, create the crowds seen in the film. This task is not handled by the Character Animators as the amount of characters on screen would be too much to individually animate. Several animations are created and then applied to a variety of characters, creating an algorithm that decides which animations to use and when.

Character FX:

The Character FX Department work on anything attached to a character that moves, such as hair, fur, prop and clothes (anything that a character interacts with). This Department is overseen by the Character Effects Supervisor.

FX:

FX Artists work on the effects present in the film, such as footprints, leaves rustling, colour changes, and explosions etc.

Technical Directors supervise and oversee the entire pipeline, stepping in to help fix any issues that may arise.

Matte Painting:

Matter Painters, led by the Lead Matte Painting, use colour keys created by the Art Department to help inform their paintings. These paintings, using digital paint, 3D models, and photographic images, form the many backgrounds of the film.

Lighting:

The CG Supervisor works with the Lighting Artists, using computer generated lights in combination with the other supplied artwork with the help of compositing software.

Image Finalling:

Image Finalling Artists clean up artifacting and various other visual errors in the final footage of the film, ensuring that there are no discrepancies in the final product.

Sound Design:

A Composer writes and records a score with an Orchestra, the goal of these musical pieces being to increase the emotional impact of the film. The Final Mix is created after the score has been created, with audio levels, equalisation, and various special treatments are added to the final version of the film.

Pixar Animated Short ‘Piper’ Analysis:

For the Animated Short ‘Piper’, by Pixar, various animation techniques and software programs were used to push technical and visual boundaries in the realm of computer generated animation.

Among the software used, such as; REYES, RIS, Mudbox and Autodesk Maya (Modelling), SideFX Houdini (animated FX), RenderMan Primvars and RenderMan Denoise (Final Rendered Images), and The Foundry’s Katana and Nuke (Look Development and Lighting) were several in-house software programs and packages that helped Pixar push the aforementioned boundaries, with them being; Pixar’s USD (Universal Scene Description), Pixar’s GIN, Presto (Rigging, Layout, and Animation), as well as the Presto Sculpting Brush (used to easily sculpt and manipulate models, helping the animators to create the multitude of feathers present on the characters’ bodies).

Both Forward and Inverse Kinematics have their uses, allowing the Animators to accomplish a variety of different tasks with the tools and software present.

The animation quality, as well as the visual look and feel of the short film, is several major leagues ahead of a previous animation Pixar had created, called ‘For The Birds’, with the many leaps in technical development (Software and Hardware) allowing Pixar to create visually stunning and technically astounding feats of animation, of which is furthered by the stories being depicted in these animations. These leaps are even more astounding when one reads about the history of Pixar, such as in the book ‘Creativity, Inc.’, a rather eye-opening read regarding the creation of Pixar, as well as the difficulties the company and its members faced.

References

Catmull, E. (2015). Creativity, inc. [Place of publication not identified]: Corgi.

Debruge, P. (2016). How ‘Finding Dory’ Pre-Show Short ‘Piper’ Bypassed the Pixar Pipeline. [online] Variety. Available at: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/pixar-piper-animated-short-film-finding-dory-1201807835/ [Accessed 23 Jan. 2018].

O’Hara, H. (2016). How Pixar hatched Piper: the cutting-edge tech behind the cute Finding Dory short. [online] The Telegraph. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/films/2016/06/18/how-pixar-hatched-piper-the-cutting-edge-tech-behind-their-cutes/ [Accessed 23 Jan. 2018].

Pitzel, S. (2017). Character Animation: Skeletons and Inverse Kinematics | Intel® Software. [online] Software.intel.com. Available at: https://software.intel.com/en-us/articles/character-animation-skeletons-and-inverse-kinematics [Accessed 23 Jan. 2018].

Pixar Animation Studios. (n.d.). Piper. [online] Available at: https://www.pixar.com/piper#short-films/sanjays-super-team-main-1 [Accessed 23 Jan. 2018].

Seymour, M. and Pederson, L. (2017). The tech of PIXAR part 1: <em>Piper</em> – daring to be different. [online] fxguide. Available at: https://www.fxguide.com/featured/the-tech-of-pixar-part-1-piper-daring-to-be-different/ [Accessed 23 Jan. 2018].

Trandafir, L. (2016). How LANDR Was Used to Make Pixar’s Best Short Film in Years | LANDR Blog. [online] LANDR Blog. Available at: https://blog.landr.com/landr-pixar-piper/ [Accessed 23 Jan. 2018].

Wolfe, J. (2017). ‘Piper’ and the Development of Pixar’s Presto Sculpting Brush. [online] Animation World Network. Available at: https://www.awn.com/animationworld/piper-and-development-pixar-s-presto-sculpting-brush [Accessed 23 Jan. 2018].