Hope Animation Assignment – Development and Evaluation

Initially, when I started this assignment, I created a series of goals in Asana. I organised these by task and date, assigning them certain days and general time-frames to achieve in order to accomplish the assignment in an efficient and timely manner. Once this was in place, I began researching and ideating.

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 When it came to research, I investigated several topics;Hope (meaning, in historical and philosophical context, references that are both visual and non-visual, and how hope is used in an example of art, design,literature and or film), 2D animation (methods, techniques, story and content etc.),storyboards, animatics and software.
Once all that research had been compiled and written about,with references and images gathered, I moved onto ideation and sketchbook work.I started with an idea of a triangle, rising and projecting light in a dark world. This light would fall upon a figure, whom is in despair upon the ground,while several more triangles appear in the distance as the sky lightens. A series of notes regarding the storyline, key points and visual elements were created,supplemented with several sketches and thumbnails. My sketchbook, as it progresses, includes more notes and drawings, as well as storyboards and character exploration.

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The direction I took, stylised and semi-abstract, was heavily influenced by research into colour and shape language, especially in relation to the concept of hope and the emotional connotations of those elements. This is evident in the shapes I chose, with an upside-down triangle for the representation of future hope and a better future, flipping the usual connotation of the violent and aggressive shape language that is normally interpreted through triangles. For hope, I used a circle as a representational tool; combined with white and its fleeting appearances in the story, it puts forth a narrative on the elusive nature of the concept.
With several different shapes and value combination present,I needed to find a way to separate them, as well as introduce texture. To do so, I created several sketches, assigning value groups to certain shapes and foreground, middle ground and background sections. To add further character to the story, the character was developed further, seeking out a consistent style to use in the animation. After much exploration, both into simplified/stylised,realistic/semi-realistic, angular and soft, line and broad/charcoal strokes, I settled on a combination of line and charcoal strokes, with the character moving between both the ‘medium’ and visual style as well. Fluctuations between construction-esque manikins, simplified skeletons, fleshed-out bodies and charcoal strokes were made, each representing a certain emotional state, as well as the position of the character in the story.
The bare, simplified and skeletal styles, as well as the constructionist ones, symbolise the emptiness of the character, with some order being restored to their being when the orb/sphere appears and returns throughout the animation. The charcoal strokes, with the character being ‘filled in’, represents the character before the turmoil and distress, as well as afterwards. This shows the character as ‘whole’, his being undisturbed by chaos and discord. Colour experimentation, as well as storyboard development,was explored as well. The colour-work in my sketchbook was done using colour pencils, with a fine-liner being another medium/tool that I used.
The final storyboard, of which I created digitally in Photoshop, does not deviate too heavily from the one in my sketchbook. It was also used to construct my animatic, making the process much more efficient.
For the storyboard, made in Photoshop, I attempted to create a good indication of the story, visuals, content and camera  angles/shots/movements. I used a template found online, creating groups for each storyboard and its respective panels to ensure better structuring and layering. The first panel, depicting the character while still in a happy state, has bright blue and cyan colours in evidence. The character stands tall and proud, confident and happy. This panel makes use of arrows and a rectangular inner frame to illustrate zooming in, where a transition occurs towards panel two. There, a vignette effect is displayed, showing chaos or struggle that is occurring in the character’s life. The third panel shows the character in a dark, textural void with tendrils of black and red swirling towards him, contrasting the ones found in panel 1. This reflection and juxtaposition of the first panel reinforces the idea that the character is going through a difficult time, with elements of his life that were previously positive now affecting him negatively. Afterwards, a transitional sequence is depicted through several panels, with textural effects, custom brushes,masking, layering and grouping being used to create these visuals. Those abstract and textural images, which will flash upon the screen briefly, are representations of the inner turmoil faced by the character. After a series of those images, a panel depicting the character falling is shown. Here, a dark background with a static texture is evident, showing the confusion and negativity imbued in the perceived chaotic void of life.
However, in the panel after this, a white sphere appears before the character, whom raises their head to view it. The camera angle here is slightly above over-the-shoulder, showing the top of the back of the character’s head with the sphere above and before him. The camera will then cut to a view of the character’s face from the front, lifting his head up to face the orb/sphere in the foreground. The camera, in the next panel, is then further back. Here, the character turns to track the sphere as it moves across the screen. It will then fly up and away from the character as he stretches out towards it. Clearly distraught in the next panel, as he has effectively lost his fleeting glance at hope, he walks in a slumped manner before lifting his head once again to view the orb return. In this next panel, the sphere/orb travels towards and around him as he tracks it, turning side to side as it orbits him before flying off into the distance.
Once again, the character has ‘lost hope’ and struggles togo on, stumbling in the dark void he inhabits. Shortly after stumbling to the ground, another transitional sequence of abstract shapes and textures appears.Following that, a scene where an abstract representation of the character’s ‘soul’ is depicted, showing how he experiences great emotional and spiritual pain from the complete absence of hope. He falls into despair, as shown in the next few panels. Here, several camera angles show him on all-fours, within the dark void he still inhabits. After a while, a light begins to shine upon him.This heralds the return of the orb, of which orbits him once again. He then lifts his head, the next panel showing a much more colourful scene; the sun is rising, with both warm and cool colours bleeding into/washing over the background. Here, the character is still on all-fours, however, strong directional light begins to wash over him. The next panel displays the presence of a large upside-down triangle, the sphere residing next to it as it casts its light upon the now kneeling character. The next panel depicts the character standing up, with the camera showing only his shoulders and up as he stands up.Afterwards, a scene with the character standing is shown, several more characters appearing in the background as the light from the main one is cast onto the character.
During the development of this storyboard, I had to ensure a coherent story that related to the concept of hope, making sure that the theme was communicated not only through shape language and story, but also colour and posing.

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Moving forwards, I started to work on my animatic. To do this, I used Photoshop’s Timeline with the workspace set to Motion. I then created several groups, referencing the ones created for the storyboard, as well as copying over the folder structures from the document for the storyboard. Having the storyboard done beforehand made the process of creating the animatic much more efficient, cutting down on the time required to make it.In this phase of the assignment, I worked mainly upon getting the timing of the scenes right, acting out several actions and timing them to ensure accuracy.Some changes were made during the animatic phase, however the visuals remained mostly the same to the ones for the storyboards.

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Once I had created the animatic, we went into a feedback phase. Here, we created Google Forms where we created a series of questions that we then had out peers respond to, essentially gathering feedback and critique.

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The feedback was rather helpful, highlighting the areas thatI needed to work on and re-visit. Afterwards, I moved onto the actual animation for the assignment. Before I begun animating, I took reference videos me performing certain actions. This is to ensure accuracy regarding the motion and timing, creating believability. Not only did I take videos, but pictures as well. Those images helped with specific poses, added to the ability to useAdobe Premiere to dissect the video reference, I had a decent amount of reference to use when animating.
Animation Tests and In-Class Exercises/Tutorials:

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When it came to animating in Photoshop, I had to do quite a bit of research, as well as trial and error. To help with organisation, I organised the animation into several scenes, each with their own folder structures inside. To animate, I had to create video layers using Layer ->Video Layers -> New Blank Video Layer. Within this, I could animate frame by frame, navigating with the arrow keys and seeing the next and/or previous frames using Onion Skinning, of which is accompanied by several options in an expandable menu/drop down menu attached to the animation panel/timeline.
When I needed still images that were to persist over certain periods of time, as well as have certain transformations applied to them, I created a normal layer and converted the contents within to smart objects,allowing me to manipulate, edit and transform them more freely when it came to the Timeline Panel.  Some of the scenes required careful planning and layer structuring due to the overlapping nature of some elements, this was aided by the ability to group layers, as well as structure them in the Timeline Panel, moving them around, layering and lining them up with each other.

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When it comes to animating, I am still quite inexperienced.I faced many challenges, of which having reference helped solve. I used AdobePremiere to navigate my reference videos, pausing it at strategic points to view the ‘key frames’. One area of particular difficulty was the scene where the character is seen from the side view and moves from left to right, stopping and then breathing rapidly. While I was animating, the depiction of breath was initially quite unrealistic, however, as I was drawing I got into a rhythm,realising how to animate the movement better by acting it out myself,exaggerating the movements. In order to depict rapid breathing through the chest, I raised the rib cage and flattened the stomach for the inhalation, and vice versa for when the character exhaled.
To animate the ‘growth’ of the triangles, I created them as smart objects, used the transform option and created keyframes, starting them out small and ending them at a larger size a short period of time. To ensure accuracy, I created a separate layer for guides, placing dots at the original points of the ‘original’ triangles before transformations. To show a gentler fade, I used the gradient tool to fill in a selection when creating the triangles, of which was enhanced by the use of a soft eraser.
In comparison, animating with lines was faster than using the broad charcoal strokes. When using the broad strokes, achieving proper proportions and body shape was difficult, especially when using only a few limited values. The lines allowed me to create more gestural shapes and forms,allowing me to create flowing frame by frame animation. The broader strokes were more suited to the still images and shorter scenes, especially ones affected by lighting and the heavy use of colour.
The use of lines also helped with accuracy, allowing me to break down the movement and scenes more-so than if I had predominately used the charcoal strokes. Ease-in and out, as well as timing and the position of the body and its individual parts during movement are important factors to pay attention to, as these help add realism and appeal to the animation.

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The audio, created by my friend Tristan, is used to emphasise the chaotic and discordant nature of the character’s journey, as well as the fickle nature of hope. The electronic and unsettling notes sound out during key moments, signalling shifts in tone and visuals, persisting even through the times of supposed hope and happiness. The gong that sounds out during the transitions of despair hints at the finality of death, something linked to the feelings of hope and despair, a driving factor for humanity.
Compared to most professionally produced animations, mine appears un-finished, with line work and animation errors throughout. Colour-wise, the use of flats combined with clean line-work would of been beneficial, providing a cleaner look to the overall animation. An example of this would be Snow White, where the use of clean lines, flats and painted backgrounds create visually interesting scenes, as well as fluid animation. Instead of using charcoal strokes, I could of filled in the lines of the characters, applying lighting using the lasso selection and gradient tools. The  backgrounds in my animation are rather simple and abstract, with only a few values used to separate the ground from the sky, and in some scenes only two values are used to divide the ground and the sky, with textures applied to add visual interest. Further along, the background become slightly more complex, with coloured gradients, a sun and several triangles being introduced. However, compared the Snow White, these backgrounds are simple and abstract, lacking the traditional painterly quality evident in the animations of old.

Stop Motion Animation Assignment – Development and Evaluation

For the Letter/Alphabet Stop Motion part of the AnimationAssignment, I started in my sketchbook with the ideation of stop motion avenues and possibilities. I wrote down, supplemented by previous and current research,several types of stop motion techniques, processes and mediums. My initial direction was related to the use of a chalkboard/blackboard and some chalk,leaning it against a surface such as a chair or wall, using chalk to create the required letter.
The way I was going to achieve the stop motion effect with the letter and chalkboard combo was thus; I would measure out segments, each insets of 12 ‘frames’. I would then advance the lines to another segment, talking a picture, and then progressing on. Once I had advanced the lines a decent amount, I would erase by rubbing and/or using a wet cloth to wipe off the undesired marks/chalk.
The letter I was given, ‘Z’, was created using this method.I measured out several sections, broke them up into segments and then advanced the lines across the board, erasing and taking pictures as needed. To ensure stability, I mounted the camera on a tripod and placed the chalkboard on an easel/drawing board. I used some paper and a pencil to record the frame rate and images taken, using tallies and totals to ensure consistency.
After review from teachers, I gathered information on how to improve my stop motion animation. Several of the suggestions were related to font, character/s, lighting, colour and sound, as well as frame rate. Regarding lighting, the images were taken in daylight, light fluctuating through blinds.This created visual disturbances and stuttering, lowering the quality of the animation.
I then went back to ideation, informed by these suggestions and various new directions. The inclusion of a character, such as a zebra,and/or other elements relating to the letter ‘Z’ were suggested. In order to include elements that related more to the letter in question, I created several sketches and did some exploration in terms of font and shapes. I came up with amore organic font, more efficient when it comes to managing the frame rate/number of pictures required in relation to the timing. To relate the letter to an example of a word starting with Z, such as zebra, I included sketches of black and white stripes. I experimented with this in several ways,of which can be seen in the images below.
After creating more sketches in my sketchbook, I went back to taking images to create the stop motion animation. Feedback also included the mentioning of the background in the images I had taken, and that it was too distracting; the suggestion, therefore, was to zoom in on the chalkboard. Due to the orientation of the chalkboard and distances between the table it was on,and the counter the camera was on, required me to pursue other options. I tried out using a sketchbook, however the bright paper made it difficult for the camera to adjust and focus.
To solve these problems, I pursued another medium. I extracted zig-zags from the letter Z, relating to that were twisting pieces of pasta. To make this new medium work, I used a cutting board placed upon a counter. Atop that board, I placed pieces of pasta, arranging them into a Z with extra lines coming off it to form a zig-zag. To add visual interest and some more motion, I created a zig-zag, on the left hand-side of the shot, that would move from top to bottom and vice versa. To boost the frame rate and smoothness of those frames, double pictures for each ‘frame was taken’, thus doubling the frame rate.

Stop Motion Animation:

Digital Development and Evaluation – HUD Assignment

 

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At the beginning of the digital creation of my HUD, I sought to pin down the visual language and style early. I experimented with the modified trapezium shape that I designed in my sketchbook, expanding upon it further. I then incorporated the LED strip around the edge, making use of strokes and shapes and a soft airbrush to create the glowing LED effect. To create the element, I used a pen tool to create the overall shape, added a stroke for the LEDs, copied the shape and enlarged that to create the rim. The segments were created using the line tool repeatedly.

 

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Once I had the main design direction down, I used the sketches in my sketchbook as reference as I began to create the HUD. I decided to have two main elements on the bottom part of the HUD, angled off as though they were jutting out of the HUD itself and wrapping around the viewer. The bottom middle section is more flat, located directly in the centre and below the drivers eyes. A similar process to that mentioned before was used to create these elements, with the side panels being skewed to create the extruding look.

Backing panels were created to keep the other panels from floating off, paired with the bright blue LEDs, allow the HUD to be readable on most backgrounds. The use of guides and the pen tool was integral in this process, allowing me to line up the various elements and ensure symmetry. The shapes, having been created with the pen tool, were able to be manipulated and changed as I designed. The bar at the top was created, once again, in a similar fashion to the other elements. This time I added in a battery charge bar, using more lines to create segments that would react and change colour depending on their charge. In order to create the look of glass covering the chargeing bar, which represents the current electrical charge of the car, I used the bevel effect, as well as manually designed highlights.

Once the main parts of the HUD were positioned, I began to incorporate the overlay. The analogous colours of blue and green harmonised nicely, standing out from one another yet unifying the design as a whole. This is further reinforced later on when I included green in other parts of the HUD, such as in the speedometer and the way finder/compass.

To create a more 3-dimensional look, I used the 3D Extrusion tool/option to manipulate the bottom panels. The extruded area, even when manipulated, did not fit in with the rest of the HUD. I then decided to manually incorporate 3D elements instead, using the line tool to create a vanishing point off the side of the canvas. I then used the pen tool to create sides to the panels.

Moving on from that, I further worked on the overlays. I included your current position and lap, using the TimeBurner font to do so. In order to create the glowing effect, which helped communicate the ‘overlay’ aspect, I used both the Outer Glow effect with the Lighten blending mode. I set the colour to a bright, saturated green and manipulated various sliders to create the desired effect.

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To create the track map, I traced over screenshots taken using Google Maps of London and other surrounding areas. To do so, I used the pen tool to create a series of nodes that I then manipulated using the Convert Anchor Point tool. This allowed me to create curves, more accurately tracing the roads. Once that was completed, I turned the path into a selection and added a stroke to it to create the track. I then took the traced track, on its own layer, and isolated it into another document. There, I placed it in a copy of one of the panels from the HUD. I then created a 3D extrusion, manipulating it in space. Once I was happy with the angle and level of extrusion, I used the gradient tool, opacity and eraser to hide and reveal different parts of the track, fading it into the display.

To add more information to the track map, I created a circle that I extruded in 3D to represent the player (green) and the other racers (red). To create the checkpoint/start/end point, I created a triangle using the shape tool. To ensure readability I added a grey stroke around the border. Afterwards, I created the chequered flag within a mask, using a series of black and white squares. Once completed, I placed that on a part of the track and copied over the layer group back into my HUD document.

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Initially I had created a bar-based speedometer for the HUD, however, that design did not fit the overall direction and was distracting. Therefore, I decided to re-do the speedometer in a more modern, stylish way. I used the TimeBurner font to create a series of numbers representing speed in KM/H. I then created multiple divides, made using the line tool, between these numbers. Below the numbers themselves I created dots so that the positioning of the needle is more accurate and is able to be read more clearly. The needle itself was created using the pen tool and went through multiple iterations. I decided to go for a long, sleek look to the needle, the modernity being further reinforced by the contrasting glow and dark background. To create familiarity, I referenced real-life speedometers and included a base for the needle. With the needle being a digital representation, the base is more to create a grounded area that the eye can use to track the needle along, rather than actually house and operate the needle. It also provides a glow, spreading out from beneath it, helping to illuminate the surrounding area and tying in with the glow from other areas of the HUD.

To create the glow for the text, lines and dots, I used a similar process to the one I used for the overlay. The needle, instead of just having an Outer Glow, had an Inner Glow effect applied upon it as well. This furthered the glowing digital look that I was creating.

As I progressed with the HUD, especially after I added highlights to the panels and displays using bevels and gradients, I realised that the blue of the needle and numbers were being lost and confused due to the close proximity of the same blue colour.

Therefore, I changed the needle, numbers, lines and dots in the speedometer display to green. This created a much better visual impact and increased the readability without creating too much contrast. To change the colour, I added in the Colour Overlay effect and set it to green.

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The creation of the targeting overlay digitally was done with referencing the early sketches made in my sketchbook. The design itself is heavily inspired by the symbol of a battery when represented in an electric circuit. I used the varying lengths and contrasts of verticals and horizontals to inform my designs, creating a tiered overlay. At the centre of the targeting overlay, I have contrasted those verticals and horizontals by creating a diamond shape with a circle at the centre, mimicking a stylised eye. The lines themselves were created using the line tool with the help of the guides and rulers. The glow, once the overlay was put into the HUD, was created using the Outer Glow effect.

 

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In order to create the way finder/compass, I had to extend the middle panel to accommodate the circular shape. The intention of this element is due show the player what direction they should be heading, as well as their orientation in the map. The compass itself will react to the direction that the player faces, spinning to hide and reveal parts of the circular digital display.

To create the way finder/compass, I had to extend the middle panel to accommodate the circular shape. The intention of this element is to show the player the direction they should be heading, as well as their orientation in the map. The compass itself will react to the direction that the player faces, spinning to hide and reveal parts of the circular digital display.

The TimeBurner font did not create the type of capital N that I needed to ensure readability for this element, so I instead tried out a few fonts before settling on Cordia New. Again, I added the relevant glow effects and colour overlays.

 

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I experimented with several colour harmonies, although I did stick with the analogous blue and green. These colours were ones used by the Battery Conservationist team, which is the team this HUD is for.

During the process of creating the HUD, I regularly referenced real life dashboards, my research and analysis of other game’s HUDs and my sketchbook.

For the final HUD design, I added in a background to provide context. In order to create this, I used an image from Google Maps that I then manipulated and photo-bashed with the aid of several other photos. I masked out the sky and inserted an image of a starry night. I then used several photos of cities and long-exposure photographs of streets to build up the rest of the image. TO create the sky line I inserted several images, layering them on top of one another and integrating them by applying blending modes and erasing unnecessary parts. The healing brush tool helped with repairing areas where needed. To create the look of headlights, I used the gradient tool to lay in some blue light spilling out from in front of the player’s ‘car’.

I created several variations, with a solid bevel on one, a glass bevel on another and one with the isolated HUD.

hud-development-final-bevelhud-development-final-glass-bevelhud-development-final-isolated-hud

Compared to some of the more recent driving games that I researched and analysed, such as Forza Motorsport 6, my design is not as minimalist, however I believe that it works well in context. The brief was to create a HUD for a racing sim game that features electric concept cars. The Battery Conservationist’s logo and HUD complement each other nicely and fit into the context of the imaginary game level nicely. However, I could have made better use of the space by going for a more simplified and stylish approach, though that would not fit with the team’s identity.

I applied some of the lessons I learnt when analysing the HUDs from other racing sim games, such as the need to create an area for the player to see without being cluttered by too much useless information. The targeting overlay may appear slightly intrusive but it only appears when you are fully charged and are ready to use your vehicle’s special ability or weaponry.

Seeing as we were working in a computer room/classroom environment, we had to ensure safe working practices so that no harm befalls you, your peers or your teachers. Bags were kept out of the walkways, off the desks and no food or drink was consumed inside the room. This guaranteed that there are no tripping hazards and that no equipment is damaged.

 

Design development process (as mentioned in Task 1 Blog Post):

The design development process can be broken up into R.I.D.E., meaning Research, Ideation, Development and Evaluation. This is a tried and true method that helps provide a clearer roadmap, especially once planned, for projects and assignments.

The process is continuous, even though you may have ‘completed’ your research near the beginning of the project, more should still be done throughout the duration of the assignment. You should continuously be analysing and evaluating your designs, and once you have arrived at a more finished design or prototype, you must evaluate that before either moving onto finalisation or going back to the ideation and development phase.

 

 Images used for the photobashed background were found online and can be accessed here:

 

http://wallpaperswide.com/city_lights_2-wallpapers.html

 

http://hd-wall-papers.com/single/1383638-city-lights-wallpaper.html

 

http://more-sky.com/WDF-418396.html

 

Sketchbook Development and Evaluation – HUD Assignment

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For my logos and HUD designs, I started off creating sketches in my sketchbook. I attempted to create three distinct yet connected design directions for the three different logos and teams, evolving the designs through multiple iterations. I experimented heavily with alterations and variations, trying out symmetrical and non-symmetrical layouts.

The designs evolved as I iterated, with the three different directions becoming clearer the more I worked. I not only experimented with the shapes, but also the values, testing out value hierarchies and making sure that the logos read well. For the Red Angels logo, I focused more on the contrast between round and angular, making use of values to further this juxtaposition. The arrangement of the circles and ‘wings’ were initially inspired by the position of a pilot or driver in the cockpit or seat of a vehicle. As I drew I realised that it resembled a radiation symbol, I then made use of that to help inform the designs, pushing the arrangements and proportions of the angular ‘wings’.

In regards to The Architects’ logo, I wanted to include an angular diamond shape that is reinforced by strong, structural verticals and horizontals. The diagonals helped create an overlapping division, allowing the two other elements to exist on a similar plane without interfering with one another. The use of angles and measurements helped greatly with accuracy in the drawings, allowing me to achieve symmetry in the designs.

The Battery Conservationists’ logo is visually similar to the Red Angles when it comes to the angled ‘wing’ designs bordering the centrepiece. The curves in this design, however, are reserved for the battery symbol in the centre. This simplified shape, representing a battery, provides clues as to the nature of the team. Experimentation was done regarding the overall design of this logo, with changes to the background rectangle, the placement and size of the battery and the nature of the ‘wings’. In some designs, they leaned more towards a battle-axe look, while others were more geometrical and triangular. The curved ones were experimented with extensively, negative and positive space being pushed and pulled throughout the iterations. Positive and negative symbols, and value separation regarding them, were experimented with for the battery part of the designs. However, I decided not to include any other symbols on it, to avoid clutter.

Once I was happy with the sketched options, I moved into Photoshop in order to create the finished logos. Research into colour combinations and harmonies was also done to ensure a visually pleasing final result.

After I was happy with the design of the logos, I moved onto the HUD designs. Continuing the theme of angular shapes, creating rough layouts of the overall HUD as well as the various elements within. The main shape language stemmed from a modified trapezium shape. To help create a border between the information within the HUD and the game world, I created thin borders around the main space of the shapes. Past that, I experimented with bevels and other borders of different values, ensuring that the HUD was visible while against a variety of backgrounds.

I planned for the top bar to display health or electrical charge, whilst the bottom displays would contain speedometers and track maps/mini-maps, as well as other information. For the electrical charge bar and speedometer, I was going in the direction of digital display with a bar that fills up, changing colour as it reaches a different amount of charge or speed. Multiple iterations were created of these various elements, as well as the overall shape language.

Experimentation was also conducted to find other ways to display the electrical charge, such as an overlay. This overlay, visually similar to that of a fighter pilots, would serve to display information that was not built into the car, but rather added as modifications for racing and are able to be updated for various situations. Instead of using it to display electrical charge, which I decided the top bar would do, I instead used it as a targeting overlay. I also used it as a way to show the player their lap number and position. To make sure that this stood out from the rest of the HUD, I flipped and altered the orientation of the shapes that housed the elements in the HUD, arranging them onto the sides of the top bar. To tie the targeting overlay in with the theme of electric concept cars, I researched the electrical symbol used for batteries and create multiple iterations of the targeting overlay based on that. I settled on a design direction that incorporated a series of lines of varying lengths, bordered by strong verticals with a diamond shape in the centre, contrasted by a circle within.

I needed to add more visual interest to the HUD, so I decided to make use of the thin borders around the various elements that I had designed to incorporate LED-like lights, neon in nature and broken up by thin lines to create a series of segments. With the direction leaning towards high contrast and futuristic digital displays, I re-worked the speedometer to include a more traditional approach, edited to create a more futuristic look. I used the visual language of the modified trapezium as a basis to create a speedometer, adding in repeating lines to represent the different speeds and placement of numbers. To further mimic real life speedometers, I included a needle. However, this needle exists separate from its elongated base, it is a digital representation that moves independently from it.

I experimented with different iterations for the needle, trying out thick and thin variations with different proportions. Alongside these iterations, I tried out different value combinations for the speedometer, seeing how the digital representations of the needle and lines would create patterns of light and dark. The digital shapes would cast off a slight glow, illuminating themselves on the dark background.

Design Sheets:

design-sheet-1design-sheet-2design-sheet-3

 

Digital Development and Poster Evaluation

I decided to go for a more graphic approach for my poster designs, making use of silhouettes of iconic London architecture and strong value relationships. The introduction of colour later on using various colour schemes and harmonies adds an extra layer of depth and intrigue to the images.

After multiple development and ideation sketches in my sketchbook I moved into the digital medium to start creating the silhouettes for my posters. I gathered reference images that were front on for the most part to make the silhouette creation process easier.

I initially tried to create the silhouettes with a combination of basic shapes such as squares, triangles and rectangles but that proved to be difficult to manage in regards to layers and overlapping. I then tried to use the pen tool aided by rulers to trace the outlines of the buildings. Once the major silhouette had been created, I then worked on the inner complexity of some of the buildings. I manipulated various basic shapes to create the inner details and used circles to cut into the silhouettes themselves. The way I achieved this was via a technique we were taught earlier in the year where a shape on a layer above another shape is grouped with the lower one. You then navigate to the pathfinder tool and choose the Minus-Front option to cut into the lower shape on the layer stack.

This preparation allowed me to quickly ideate, thumbnail and create layouts and designs quickly and efficiently through the use of modular elements. My direction being graphic and bold for these poster designs, I decided to juxtapose the strong verticals and horizontals of the buildings with circular elements to create higher contrast, not only in value and colour but in shape as well.

Some of the silhouettes were scrapped early for being confusing or not working with my desired composition, two of these were the London Bridge and Cathedral/Abbey silhouettes.

Using the layer stack and overlapping, I situated the main circle behind the front silhouettes of the buildings to create depth and take advantage of relative colour, value and contrast. Having the front silhouette dark, the circle bright and the background a mid tone forces the viewer to look at the area where the silhouette and circle overlap, captivating the viewer. Once their attention has been held, they are free to look around the rest of the poster and are guided by the verticals and diagonals towards the heading ‘London Festival of Architecture’ and logo.

The logo itself is quite bright and saturated, this means that it easily distracts from the rest of the poster if proper value and colour harmony, as well as compositional layout, is not achieved. To help combat the effect this logo has, I used value, colour and composition to help minimise its distracting qualities. For the silhouette based graphical designs I experimented with placement and size, eventually settling on a small logo in one of the far corners and payed close attention to visual balance and weight so as not to tip the image to favour one side.

To help move the eyes of the viewer around and show them what I intend to show, I made use of various compositional rules such as the rule of thirds, leading/directional lines, implied lines, the golden spiral, and value, colour and shape contrast.

As I progressed, I tried out different combinations of silhouettes and shapes to see if multiple silhouettes could work in the same composition together. Ultimately it proved to be confusing, too busy and would require a large amount of value separation to bring clarity to the image. I also experimented with the placement of the logo, attempting to place it into the negative space of the silhouettes and onto the silhouettes themselves. This proved to be visually uncomfortable and moved quickly away from this approach.

I used several architectural landmarks from London to form the basis of my designs and used abstracted silhouettes to communicate my message. The triangle, being the most abstract and least direct, represents the Shard while the others are more obvious in regards to their intended real life counterparts. For the Shard posters I directed the viewer’s gaze throughout the poster with the use of directional lines and pointing in regards to the way the triangles aim and guide the eye towards the intended focal point.

I experimented with the placement and value of the text quite a bit, trying to find a good hierarchy and balance without making the text disappear or overpower the image. For the most part the visual hierarchy was established through value and composition, as well as sizing and proportion. The silhouettes were used to capture the viewer’s attention with their high contrast and juxtaposition and they are then directed towards the text that makes use of bright white and dark black to show what is important and what is not immediately of importance to view. This is supplemented by the text size, with the large white text of ‘London Festival of Architecture’ overpowering the small ‘1st – 30th June 2017’ text below it. The viewer will also note the smaller logo in the corner but not linger long on it, it being away from the rest of the more interesting visual stimuli and being harsh on the eyes with its bright saturated colours. A way that I minimised the intensity of the logo was by making the background around it both light and similar in colour, as to distract from it by lowering the contrast.

Keeping the main visual elements and the value transitions on the rule of thirds help push forward the focal point and detract from the less important logo that lies in the corner of the image.

After I had developed the first two posters, the graphical ones, I moved on the digital development of the perspective poster.

Information regarding the specific development of that layout can be found here: https://kcimgdryannothard.wordpress.com/2017/01/08/digital-development-of-architecture-poster-design-perspective/

This one proved to be more challenging and time consuming, required the meticulous manipulation of angle, grids and line weight to ensure a pleasing and balanced composition using black, white and pink as the only colour information. The process was sped up however once I had discovered the Perspective Tool in Illustrator, only after I had manually set up the grids for the tower. However, I still kept some of these initial grids and perspective lines in, editing them throughout to help aid the layout. Once I had everything blocked in, it was only a matter of refinement and polish before the poster was ready to be printed along with the other two.

While the first two graphical posters aimed for a more stylised, graphical and atmospheric approach to help evoke a mood and sense of time, the perspective layout was more of a nod to architects with the exposed perspective grid lines and technical line work, supplemented by the bold line weight to help push that depth created by the perspective. All three posters are designed to communicate the ‘London Festival of Architecture’, but each one adds a bit more nuance in their own unique ways. The Shard inspired one evokes a sense of time and nostalgia with its cool background and retro burning sun, aided by the graphic triangles the viewer is guided throughout the layout as if on a journey towards the main text; London Festival of Architecture.

For the Strata (The Razor) Tower poster I was more concerned with creating the feeling of power and solidity that is oh-so-important in architectural design. The strong verticals anchor the design in place, with the spreading diagonals sending the eyes towards the high contrast circle behind the main silhouette. The arc and sharp points at the top of the silhouette send the eyes up and into the text above, once read the viewer most likely returns to the high contrast silhouette, or perhaps is sent down towards the logo and date in the bottom left and right corners. The gradient from dark to light, as well as bluish-purple to warmer and softer pinks and yellows gives a sense of mood, the curvature of the earth and the feeling of a cool misty morning warmed by the suns first rays of light before the rest of the day begins.

As mentioned earlier, the more perspective heavy poster was in the direction of creating a dynamic feeling of structure and purpose, aiming to communicate the regal nature, solidity and power of the Elizabeth Tower through the use of line and perspective. It stretches and towers above and past the viewer, appearing to go on further, if not forever. The only colour in the image is from the logo, which has been repeated in two ways; the repetition of the logo itself and the main colour of the logo being used in the title, ‘London Festival of Architecture’. This creates powerful focal points, with the only areas of colour being bold, saturated and mainly on the middle and right of the page, it balances out the visual weight of the tower on the left hand side of the layout.

In comparison to the researched poster designs I analysed earlier in this assignment, I believe that I achieved good quality work. I was definitely inspired by both the contemporary and modernist way of creating bold a graphical designs using a few colours and values, aided by the placement of text and the use of font. The modernist poster I analysed helped to inspire the perspective orientated layout I did, using the grid lines in a similar way to help direct the viewer towards the focal point. That same poster also served to help with the creation of the more graphical posters, especially because of the simple to complex nature in regards to the construction of the shapes used in the head of the main subject matter. I found the interplay between dark and light text and background quite interesting in both the modernist and contemporary posters, with the inspiration of the graphical shapes stemming from the contemporary posters I researched as well.

I found that while the modernist layouts aimed for a more graphical approach to communicate the message in the least complicated yet most elegant way, the contemporary ones attempted to emulate this while adding a busier, abstract and more visually complex series of design choices. The modernist’s seemed to value graphical simplicity and clear messages above the wow factor of complexity that the contemporary’s displayed.

My work, especially the graphical designs of The Shard and The Strata (The Razor) Tower posters, aimed to create a sense of simplified elegance similar to that of the bold, silhouetted designs that the modernist posters communicated.

 

Sketchbook Evaluation

Evaluation can be found below sketchbook images:

 

Sketchbook Evaluation:

My initial direction when I started involved the contrast between verticals, horizontals, diagonals and curves/rounds (circles). My idea for the circle came from the sun or moon combined with the London Eye. With it stemming from the London Eye, I played around with including the carriages/carts from that but it seemed quite busy and distracted from my graphical approach. The sun and moon motif helped to communicate the time of day that the festival is going to take place on and also communicates a sense of mood and atmosphere. Multiple thumbnails of the silhouettes, the layout and composition as well as combinations and experimentation of silhouettes and media allowed for quick ideation. I made notes regarding the directions I wanted to take, changes, ideas, techniques, processes and plans for the various layouts and much more.

I experimented with font for a while, trying to decide on something that would compliment my graphical poster designs without detracting from them. The font also needed to reflect the subject matter, architecture, and perhaps even evoke a sense of nostalgia when combined with the colour palette to create a captivating and emotional mood. I leaned more towards a tall and thin font, a nod towards art deco poster designs and font types. I also tested out different combinations of thickness, value combinations and placement.

Layout and composition were quite a big focus in my thumbnails, with multiple iterations the elements changed and were placed in different ways with different text, silhouette and logo locations. Adding to the thumbnails are notes, more sketches, general and multi-media experimentation.

In my sketchbook, after spending a large amount of time on the development of the graphical poster designs, I moved towards a more architectural and perspective heavy layout and design approach with the Elizabeth Tower/Big Ben being my main subject matter and the focal point, with the logo projecting from it. I wanted to make use of line weight, perspective grids, lines and value/colour contrast to make both the building and logo focal points have a clear visual hierarchy. The use of lighter, thinner grid lines and thicker lines on the building allowed for interesting experimentation in regards to visual weight and composition. The creation of depth helps draw the viewer in and the splash of colour from the logo creates a strong focal point and hook to keep the viewer captivated.

I tried to place another building into the poster, such as the Gherkin, but it made it too cluttered, busy and distracted from the focal point. The perspective, for the most part, is 2-point. However, I decided to create another vanishing point inside one of the clock faces. This vanishing point projects out the logo and conforms to the other vanishing points as well, creating a dynamic and interesting perspective grid and arrangement. One large challenge here is controlling the clutter, line weight, visual weight/importance, hierarchy and amount of lines present in the image without detracting from one of the selling points of this image; the raw architectural feeling communicated from the grid and line drawing.

I did multiple practice grids and forms/constructions to warm up for and experiment with the layout and design as well as the elements within it.

In regards to multi-media experimentation, I made use of pencil, various pens, fine liners, markers and colour pencils.

Designs making use of abstracted patterns and textures were also explored and provided interesting results. Both 2D and 3D emulating layouts were experimented with. The more 3D abstract designs proved to be more dynamic and interesting than their 2D counterparts.

I decided to go for a graphical approach with my digital development, and later worked on the perspective poster design I mentioned earlier. I also needed to find out the type of font and colours that I would be using, so after I had settled on the final layouts for the graphical posters I moved onto colour experimentation. I used Adobe Color (https://color.adobe.com/create/color-wheel/) to help find different colour schemes for my posters. I used the pink of the logo as a grounding point and reached out from there, trying out triad, complementary and a few other colour schemes. Once I had found a few I liked I printed out screenshots, stuck them into my book, and drew up the layouts of my posters. I then used gouache paint and colour pencils to implement these colour schemes, first mixing the colours and finding the right balance and mixture of hues, tints and shades to create the right colours combinations that I needed.

Using gouache, fine liner, marker and colour pencils allowed me to creatively explore the colour schemes within my designs. I pushed a slightly more painterly style with the brushstrokes on some parts of the layouts, not trying to get a clean flat colour but rather dynamically change the colours and textures throughout as a way of rapid ideation, instead of re-creating the layout and painting it again each time.

Afterwards, I did similar work with the font, printing out images (that I found online as inspiration) and analysing them, deconstructing them and picking the parts I liked to inform my font choices during the digital development stage. After experimenting with various types of font, from thick to thin, art deco to bold and chunky, I settled on thin, structural and elegant text. I also included a re-created example of the anatomy of typography from an image I found online, highlighting the key elements of font and text.

Dark on light and light on dark text experiments were attempted as well,similarly to earlier in the sketchbook, trying to find the right balance between contrast of value and size of font. This font development expands upon the earlier text and font work in the sketchbook, allowing for a more polished end result.

After the font and colour development in my sketchbook, I drew out my final graphical designs, with my final perspective design being slightly  earlier in the book.