FMP Evaluation

The basis and direction for my Final Major Project was one of a conceptual direction, where I focused upon the design process during the creation of my concepts. With the genre of work relating to tribal cultures, as well as a variety of other topics found in reality, the opportunity for extensive research was open to me. Therefore, I chose to pursue multiple avenues of research and reference gathering, including; online, book-based, and primary forms of research. Visitation to the Natural History Museum helped to inform my designs with the help of real-world references, supplementing this was extensive research into various topics on-line, as well as the use of book-based references.

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Much of the research was done to visually inform my designs, as well as help to provide function behind them, and thus I was able to expand by reference library in the process. The act of gathering reference helped my designs greatly, as they provided a good grounding point for my concepts, of which is evident in my sketchbook as I use them to create studies, of which I then expand further into conceptual designs in an iterative fashion. The work of others helped to inform the visual style and manner of which to go about designing these concepts, providing insights into the creative process and technical skills required to provide an accurate communication of the designs I wish to put forth.

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In the initial stages of the project I spent a decent portion of time organising and planning, focusing on the structure of the world, as well as listing the various designs I wished to create. Reflecting upon those lists and planning documents, I decided to create a shortlist of the planned work in order to effectively communicate the world I desired to show in a more efficient time frame, therefore allowing me to hit the deadline, as well as present a sizeable body of work. The framework provided by the initial planning allowed me to progress week by week, alleviating stress and establishing a sense of accomplishment as I finished batches of work.

The general process I took was thus; planning and research, followed by reference gathering and sketchbook studies, of which then moved onto iterative designs in the aforementioned sketchbook, with the scanning of said designs allowing me to move onto the digital linework, painting, and texturing, and then finally the presentation and polish phase.

The ambitious nature of the project did change over time, as mentioned earlier in regard to my planning, as I needed more time to take my designs to a polished and presentable level for exhibition I had to spend less time in the ideation phase than desired. However, I still believe my designs were able to communicate the culture of the tribal group to a satisfying level, with consistent design language throughout the concepts. The over-arching connection between the culture’s designs would be the prevalence of the chemicals, as well as their imitation thereof through paint and architecture.

The main tools used in the creation of my project would be both digitally and traditionally based, with Photoshop and my sketchbook being my main avenues for the creation of artwork. Some experimentation of media occurred in my sketchbook, with different media such as colour pencils helping me to experiment with the colour palette before moving onto the digital painting phase.

For the digital artwork, I followed a rather fluid, yet linear, process. Before I begin painting a design, I will import a scanned image of my sketchbook ideations, using them as a basis to help inform, in conjunction with reference images, my concepts. I will then create a rough sketch, adapting the initial design further while using a sketching brush. Once I am happy with the rough sketch, I will lower the opacity and create a new layer above the design. Using a different brush, one designed for refined line-work and lacking a dynamic opacity modulator, I will create the finished design.

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Once that has been completed, I move onto the masking of various parts of the design, creating a series of layer groups that the masks are then tied to. This allows me to easily hide or reveal parts of the image, organise my layer structure to a greater extent, and edit the edge quality in an efficient manner.

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Having these masks in place allow me to easily apply swathes of paint, with the palette colour picked from and informed by reference, easily and efficiently. The masks truly shine when I move onto the more in-depth painting of the designs, allowing me to better control my layers and edit certain areas independently from one another.

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The masking process is rather time consuming, however, it is worthwhile due to the fact that a similar process would have been undertaken via painting without said masks, however with the masks I am provided with greater control and efficiency.

For several of my designs, mainly the weapons and fauna, I decided to add photo textures in order to more effectively communicate the materials present. The use of masks helped with this process as well, allowing me to apply the textures without needing to do much clean-up and busy-work. Experimentation with different layer blending modes and opacity helped in the application of the textures, allowing them to be more effectively communicated without drowning out the overall designs.

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Presentation-wise, I decided to place my designs within groups on A4 sheets, with a grey-scale background accompanied by lighter gradients behind each design, of which help to push them to the foreground. A simple font, Myriad pro, was used to label several of the sheets. The reason for the rather simplistic font is due to my desire to communicate my designs without extraneous information distracting from them; the presentation format is designed to make the designs themselves the focal points.

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In reflection, there are several things I could have improved upon, namely; the efficiency and extent of my primary research gathering, the time and emphasis spent on the ideation phase, as well as the efficiency of my digitisation process. However, I believe that this project has helped me to further develop my own personal design process, as well as provided me with a framework allowing me to further explore and structure personal projects and an insight into the work needed to properly execute them in a timely manner.

If I were to do this project again, I would of spent more time on the ideation phase, progressing it in conjunction with my planning phase via ongoing studies and annotations in both Photoshop and my sketchbook.


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:

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]



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.




YouTube. (2017). Anniversary Update Trailer – Planet Coaster. [online] Available at: [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:




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.


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:


-Mug, supplied by Maciej

-Laptop, supplied by Maciej

-Stationery (pencil, paper, supplied by Maciej

-Table, on set

-Chair, on set

-Clock, room 207


-3 formal shirts

-3 blazers

-3 ties

-3 formal Trousers

-Misc. actors’ clothing


-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.






Ryan Nothard
Maciej Gebski
Thomas Goodyear




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






Character at desk in office, writing on paper.

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



2 Gameplay footage. Audio of gameplay.



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



4 Gameplay footage. Audio of gameplay.



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



6 Gameplay footage. Audio of gameplay.



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



8 Gameplay footage. Audio of gameplay.



9 1 Character stares at new pile of work.



10 Gameplay footage. Audio of gameplay.



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



12 Gameplay footage. Audio of gameplay.



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



14 Black screen. Silence.



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



16 Gameplay footage. Audio of gameplay.





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





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?




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


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


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


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


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


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


6 1 Worker stares ahead, motionless. Silence. Y


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


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


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


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


8 1 Character retrieves laptop from below the desk. N


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:

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.


Area by Autodesk. (2007). Lava Shader Effect | Tutorials | AREA by Autodesk. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Jan. 2018].

Film Noir Evaluation


For our Film Noir Assignment, we were tasked (in groups) to shoot and act out given scenes, with each group being assigned different scenes of which all tie together to create a cohesive story. Once each individual group had shot their scenes, they were then to be shared and edited by each group, applying a greyscale filter and various adjustments.

Our group started by discussing our given scene, figuring out who would be delegated what work and how we were going to accomplish this task. Firstly, a storyboard was created, of which informed our shoot. We decided on our actor, camera operator/s, and director/s, then moving onto shooting, of which consisted of a free-form series of shot selections informed by the storyboard, as well as our knowledge of and research into Film Noir/cinematography.

We worked as a team when it came to filming and directing, giving and receiving feedback and making use of our limited time on the set. Once we had recorded all that we needed, we moved onto editing our own scene, of which was then distributed with the other’s groups clips.

Upon receiving all the footage, we moved onto editing both the visuals and audio, attempting to create a suspenseful narrative through the use of shot selection and audio effects, distorting the voice of the actor in order to create a wind-like audio effect in the background, helping to connect scenes and create tension when needed. The cuts between scenes, with voices overlaid over choice shots, helped create a cohesive narrative and story, aided by the aforementioned audio connections.

A black and white filter was then placed over the footage, with adjustments to the values and contrast as well, helping to create the Film Noir vibe created through the subject matter, delivery, editing, and story.

Platformer Game Design Evaluation

We were tasked, for our games design assignment, to create a game level for a side-scroller platform game based upon research into Classic/Retro games. Initially, research was conducted into various platform games, gathering images and reviewing/analysing their mechanics, visuals, gameplay elements and various other factors. Alongside this, research was done regarding myths and classical stories, another area we had to base our game concept upon, with the classical story I chose being the blanket term of The Hero’s Journey (more info in previous blog post).

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Once I had the majority of my research completed, I began ideating and attempting to figure out the direction that I wanted to take my game, looking at references to help gain inspiration. I settled upon a sci-fi based platformer, backed by alternate evolution theories that touch upon topics such as synthetic life forms and inter-connected utopian societies that have fallen into ruin due to a biological plague (more info in previous blog post).

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A large portion of the experimentation and ideation occurred within my sketchbook, attempting to figure out both the mechanics and visual style of the game. Changes occurred, with different styles and approaches being tried out. The use of colour and multi-media allowed me to experiment more freely, opening new pathways and opportunities for creativity. The creation of the main character was a priority for a while, as it helped to dictate the visual style for the rest of the entire game, of which leans towards a vector-based, ‘flat shape’ design aesthetic. Once the character had been ideated, drawn in turnaround, and created in Illustrator, I moved onto conceptualising the backgrounds, platforms, and other elements within the game environment, as well as fleshing out the character’s animation possibilities and game mechanics.

Animation-wise, I created four different cycles; idle, walking/running, jumping, and attacking. These animations were ideated in my sketchbook and then brought into Illustrator and Photoshop for creation and animating, with Photoshop allowing me to import my Illustrator files with layers intact; of which is extremely helpful when working with animation in Photoshop, as the modular nature of the character’s body and layer structure allowed me to manipulate its body using not only the free transform tool, but the Mesh tool as well.

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For the walk cycle, and the other animations, I researched animation techniques and references, allowing me to match my character’s structure and movement to that of a human’s. The actual animating was done via manipulating it’s ‘limbs’ and placing them in different position on different frames, of which creates the illusion of movement when played back. More complicated animations, such as the jump animation, required a larger number of frames, as well as the use of the Mesh tool. This allowed me to deform parts of the character, especially the limbs, to create a bend in the knees.

The background was one of the more complicated aspects of this assignment, with the concept of this level being based in a city currently being overtaken by a biological plague, vines curling around structures with moss covering the ground, mushrooms sprouting from smaller limbs of vines in order to create verticality and dynamic paths of movement. Visually and technically, the background was created through a vector-based flat shape design workflow, creating modular elements that were able to be slotted together and repeated, with some variation, to create a cohesive visual style.

Creating the ground required the use of the Pathfinder tool/menu, allowing me to cut away the edges to create a modular effect. The actual ground ‘sprite’ was created through a series of layered shapes, varying the colours and values, adding shadows in choice places, in order to create a more three-dimensional look while not distracting the player from the rest of the game.

For the vines, adding ‘cuts’ into the shape allowed me to create disguised ‘form-lines’, once again creating the illusion of three-dimensionality, with the shadows and added detail reinforcing this look. Multiple vine variations were made, enabling me to create a variety of vine structures in various directions, creating visual interest within the level. The same applies to the platforms, with them being based upon mushroom references that I gathered, their three-dimensional aspects created through careful manipulation of different coloured/value shapes to create a visual illusion.

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There are several platform types; Tendril (protrudes from vines), Red Mushroom (semi-bouncy platform), Purple Mushroom (bouncy platform), and Flat Mushroom (regular platform attributes, similar to the Tendril protrusions).

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Once the character, platforms, ground, and main vines had been created, I moved onto the rest of the background; extra vines for the middle/fore-ground, as well as buildings in the background. Based upon ideation in my sketchbook I created, using similar methods as earlier, these elements and placed them within the game environment/level, of which was sketched out beforehand. The pen tool and layer system proved extremely helpful, allowing me to create the buildings out of organic shapes using only two values. For the tendrils/smaller vines, I created a brush constructed from a square consisting of two colours (the medium and shadow colours assigned to the main vines). This enabled me to create paths that I then assigned to that brush, of which I proceeded to manipulate using the Width editor tool, creating slender vines intertwining amongst each other and their buildings. The player will associate the shape language and colours associated with the larger vines with these smaller ones, recognising that the buildings hidden in the background via mist possess similar designs. This creates depth and scale within the scene, as the player realises that those buildings must be rather far away, and, therefore large in comparison to the player.

The sunbeams, of which allows the player to recharge their energy levels, were created with the gradient and pen tools.

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This illusion of depth is further reinforced by the atmospheric perspective placed between the different ‘layers’ within the scene, appearing as a bluish mist.  Creating this effect consisted of strategically placed layers in-between other layers/groups that were assigned to the various spatial areas within the scene/level. Lowering the opacity on the buildings in the background allowed an even greater effect, as well as a more refined control upon the perceived density of the mist and distance of the buildings.


Upon completion of the level and character animations, the HUD and sprite sheets were created and compiled. For the HUD, two main bars are visible, with the blue one being assigned to health and the yellow one designated for energy, of which is consumed when using abilities and ranged attacks. The colour scheme for both the HUD and sprite sheets were pulled from the character and game environment, reinforcing a cohesive visual style.

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Screenshot 1

(not the final amount of frames present here, just several ‘keyframes’)

Character Sprite Sheet 1.jpg


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Finishing off, the character animations were placed within the game level environment, with the HUD present in the top left, reacting accordingly when the character discharges their weapon.

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Overall, I believe I was able to create a visually interested game concept, using research into both platform games and real-life references in order to create an interesting series of design solutions. More work could have been done regarding the overall game deign, fleshing out the level and adding planned obstacles, mechanics, enemies, bosses, NPCs, and other elements.









App Design Evaluation


For this assignment we were tasked with creating a working application design for mobile use, making use of research and references gathered from apps in the industry.

I began by researching application design and its multi-faceted industry, touching upon various principles and theories of design in the process. Not only was research done into application design in general, but also into applications already on the market and available to download. Analysing these applications, both ‘bad’ and ‘good’, I was able to extrapolate a variety of information, especially by observing trends between both the current state of the industry and where it has evolved from, as well as between good applications and bad applications. Observing and recognizing what makes an application good, and what makes an application bad, allows one to create a shortlist of factors to either include or exclude from their designs.

Taking into consideration ethical, moral and law-based obligations and factors is incredibly important as well, as one must respect both trademarking and copyrighting when it comes to Intellectual Property (IP) and design in general.

Not only was written research conducted, but visual as well; gathering a variety of images, both of elements within applications, as well as application designs, screens, and flowcharts, enabled me to be inspired with a basis of design that is grounded in the current state of the industry, allowing me to create an application that leans towards minimalism and modernism, staple keywords in this field of design.

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For my application, I chose a calendar task-management style of application. In conjunction with sketches of my own application design, I researched images of other applications that served a similar purpose, of which helped inform my design process even further. Having mood-boards of both applications/screens/pages from applications, elements pulled from apps and websites, as well as applications installed upon my phone, gave me an opportunity to decipher the structure of good application design, and reconstruct it for my own purposes.

For the ideation process I created a multitude of sketches, testing out different layouts, wire-frames, elements and fonts, as well as different names and logo designs. This variety allowed me to test out different directions and flows for the application and its screens/pages.

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Once I had settled upon the main design direction for my application I moved into the digital medium, utilising Illustrator in order to create my design and flow-chart. Ensuring that there were correlations and similar elements between related screens in the flow-chart and application helps ensure the user knows where they are and where they are connected to/are sitting within the flow chart. Not only does colour help with this, but shape design and text information help communicate the relevant information efficiently in both subtle and obvious ways.

The name of the application, ToDooZ, is a slight play on words; the combination of To-Dos and ‘It’s a doozy’, subtly hinting that this application will make the management of work an easy task. The design of the logo includes the letters ‘T’, ‘D’, and ‘Z’, as well as a simplified and implied calendar design, making use of three rectangles and a box, of which the rest of the design lies within, to hint at a calendar-based aspect to the application. The strip at the top of the calendar is coloured blue, while the three rectangles are red, correlating with various shapes, screens and mechanics of the application.

For the design, there is the main Home page, of which enables the user to access the other three main pages; Calendar, Reminders, and To-Dos. Calendar allows the user to view the entire month, as well as whether they have Reminders or To-Dos for any of the days within the current or future months. Tapping/Clicking on the Reminders or To-Dos icons within the Calendar will bring up a menu that allows the user to view their To-Dos and Reminders for that day, as well as giving the user an option to return to the Home screen. To exit this view, the user can click on the arrow at the top of the screen, allowing the player to return to the currently ‘greyed-out’ Calendar page/screen.

From the Main screen the user is also able to access the main Reminders and/or To-Dos screens, of which give the user the option of accessing either the Reminders or To-Dos pages without returning to the home screen, or they may choose to immediately access the Calendar page.


(Note: Colours displayed are not exact to actual colours used.)

Reviewing my design, it could have used a more professional polish regarding both the visuals and mechanics, allowing the user to have more options and tools at their disposal. Not only that, but the logo design could have been clearer and more readable, enabling it to be recognizable from any distance. For the overall visuals, the use of stroke and outlines could have been minimized, allowing for a cleaner and subtler look to the design. A more in-depth look at fonts and font-pairing would have helped to create a more cohesive design and layout, allowing a better hierarchy of information to exist within the application design.

Muse Screen Flow Test:

Application Design Flow-Chart:


Overall, I believe my design is able to communicate its desired intent, however more work and a closer attention to detail would have ensured a more efficient and cohesive application.

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: