This blog is dedicated to the process of developing various projects for GID 301 - Motion Graphics.
As a Game Design major, I aim to take a wide range of classes that will make me a better, well-rounded designer.
Throughout this class, I will demonstrate my abilities to create interesting and unique graphics. Can't wait!
Pre-production is "The doorway to a well-planned animated piece." Having a plan is key to building a solid base for your project to build upon.
There are three essential questions you must ask yourself when starting a new project:
1. What is it?
- This is the beginning of your conceptual development, which involves some factors you need to consider.
1. What must it be? Decided on what your format will be.
2. Who is it for? Identify your target demographic.
3. How long must it be? Decide if it will be a short or a film.
4. What is your objective with the piece? It can be to raise money, sell a product/idea, etc.
5. When is it due? This is important so that you can assemble a timeline
When you throw all of this together, you have your Creative Brief! This will keep you organized, and it's what clients will use to present their project
2. What does it look like?
- To determine this, you must create the previsualization of your piece. This identifies the look and feel you want to go for.
- Feel free to take inspiration from others, use other works as references, and experiment with different mediums and styles
3. What is it made of?
- The assets are all of the building blocks for your animation. From fonts, to logos, sound effects, props, etc.
- Plan out everything that you're going to need before getting started!
Motion Graphic Design:
Who would have thought that watching a film is actually a trick of the eye. Our persistence of vision gives us the ability to maintain seeing images for a fraction of a second after they disappear. When we see movement across a screen, we are simply seeing a succession of images that are played almost immediately after one another. The origins of moving pictures began with "magic lanterns." Using light and numerous slides, it gave the illusion of movement across tavern walls. In the late 1800's, the zoopraxiscope could project up to 200 single images, and paved the way for more advanced motion picture technologies. The first mass-produced camera-printer-projector was the cinématographe, and it could project films onto large screens; a spectacle which people would pay for! Cell animation and stop-motion animations also became popular, as they could be seen on the big screen. The 1902 stop-motion film A Trip to the Moon had used many additional special effects, like dissolves and fades. Rotoscoping was a technique created in 1917, which involved tracing over frames of live-action footage. The potential that moving pictures had presented was very promising; artists of all different kinds could use their talents in painting, drawing, photography, music, etc. to create amazing moving images. There was also a lot of potential for experimentation with the medium. Digital technology has made a huge impact on the process of motion graphics, and employed new techniques for creating more unique visuals.
Storytelling is the part of animation that has only one limit: your imagination. The opportunities are endless! But, it's important to set boundaries and make sure your story choices are intentional. Stories often follow a structure, and you can use that structure to craft the story you want to tell.
The traditional three-act structure is what we most often see in movies:
ACT 1. Introduce characters & their world. An Inciting Incident occurs; this throws the characters life out of balance.
ACT 2. Obstacles escalate as the protagonist attempts to restore the balance. The protagonist reaches their lowest point.
ACT 3. Story reaches a climax as character redeems themselves from their low point. Resolution shows how the character has changed.
That format allows for a long, fleshed-out narrative, but can be simplified to suit a short story animation, like this:
1. Character encounters a problem.
2. Character works toward a solution.
3. Character solves the problem in a surprising way.
It's also necessary to have a cohesive theme throughout the story; what do you want your viewer to learn?
There is also a form of storytelling that has a more nuanced style, an abstract feel, or more subjective theming. Nonlinear storytelling is just that.
To create an effective nonlinear story, you should take inspiration and still maintain a structure. Some forms of nonlinear structure include:
Book Ending: The story ends exactly where it begins.
The Countdown: A story with consistently rising tensions.
The Puzzle: Reveal information piece by piece to build a bigger underlying picture.
Beaded Necklace: Use artistic elements, like sound, music, and voice, to hold together chaotic elements.
From my own personal experiences, it's best to jot down ideas as soon as you come up with them. As much as I assure myself that I will remember my great idea as soon as I wake up, I always forget it! But, once the idea pops into my head, and I can get my pen onto paper, the thoughts continue to flow and my idea starts to grow just within those few moments.
Motion Graphic Design:
I have always loved the opening title sequences to movies. The sequence establishes the tone and context of the film. An awesome title sequence gets me excited and ready for the movie. The origin of the title sequence started in 1950's, pioneered by Saul Bass. He is known for his work on The Man with the Golden Arm, Anatomy of a Murderer, and Vertigo. Bass's work has had immeasurable influence on the industry, creating his own miniature films within the opening titles of others. Other artists began to explore the medium and developed unique techniques, like split-screen montages, hand-drawn type, and rapid-cutting editing that came to be know at "MTV Style." Every movie now comes with it's own specific title card and sequence, and the style is dependent on how the artist wants to portray the film that follows. James Bond films are known for their abstract, erotic imagery and iconic gun-barrel sequence. The typography also plays in important role in solidifying the theming of the title. A good example of this would be Thank You for Smoking's title sequence, which uses various designs of old cigarette package designs, with the names of people as the titles on the boxes. The opening screens of the movies are the bow that tie the whole piece together.
Storyboarding is the process of constructing the skeleton of your story, with which your animation will become the muscle and flesh. To begin storyboarding, you should create thumbnails that identify the sequence of your shots. This helps you establish composition, staging, framing, scale, and transitions. Once you scribble your thumbnails on Post-It notes, you can tag them onto the wall and set up the progression of your story to make sure it flows. If it doesn't, the notes can be rearranged or changed. The key point of storyboarding and creating thumbnails is to communicate clearly; the drawings don't need to be detailed masterpieces, they just need to show your ideas clearly, but can also be stylized to fit the theme of your piece. Dialogue or explanatory notes can also be written onto the Post-It notes. Keep some cinematic conventions in mind:
- Composition: How do you want to display information to the audience? Close-up, wide panning shots, etc.
- Framing: This is the "Cinematography" aspect of how you present your visuals. The rule of thirds is a good standard to follow
- Staging: This is where you actually put the subject in the shot. Minimize dead zones and use depth to convey everything as clearly as possible
Be conscious of timing and use sounds to understand the pacing, length, and feel of your piece. Use transitions to your advantage, and be sure to maintain continuity. Be creative when moving from one place to another, or use them to represent something something in a unique way, but make sure that everything is consistent between shots. Types of continuity include:
- Spatial Continuity: The rules established in your world should remain consistent, like how big a room is.
- Temporal Continuity: The logic of your story must be consistent. Flashbacks and transitions can support and establish the logic in your story
- Directional Continuity: The direction of actions or movements need to be consistent throughout the shots those actions occur.
Motion Graphic Design:
Media companies have benefited from creating and identifying with a unique style and theming for their network. Creating a branding style will help the network promote themselves and advertise to their core demographic. They create their own form of identification and aesthetic that they connect themselves with and want their viewers to connect with as well. These ID's also give the viewer an understanding of what they are tuning into, so the 15-30 second ID's should be a strong representation of what the network represents. For example, "topical openings" are used to introduce news programs that inform the viewer of upcoming stories. These use live action video, photography, and topography to reinforce the reputation of that news station. Show packages include the opener, bumpers, mortises, lower thirds, and logos. Bumpers are the transitions between commercials and the program. Lower thirds appear on the bottom of the screen and are used to identify relevant information, like the station/network, presenters, and aired content. Mortises are full-screen graphics that frame live footage. Lineups are graphics that show upcoming programs, while upfronts unveil new and returning series. As a simple TV viewer, we may not realize the impact that motions graphics have. Their presence has become so standardized that we are desensitized to them and disregard the amount of skill it takes to design such graphics. We see them so often in commercials, network brandings, promotional campaigns, PSA's, and music videos, that we just see them at face value. It's important to take a moment to appreciate all of the unique pieces of motion graphics that we see in our daily lives.
Color Sense is using the right palette to convey the mood and enhance your story. There are some terms that apply to color theory;
- Hue: common color name on the spectrum - red, green, blue
- Saturation: the intensity / purity of a color
- Value: lightness or darkness of a color
Create a color script to identify how you want to use color throughout your piece. This will balance the colors of individual scenes and will strengthen your piece as a whole. One way to start would be to identify one single color that represents your entire piece. From there, identify what colors individual scenes or sequences may be; tell your story in colors and take note of key moments that require color emphasis.
Certain hues, values, and saturation are used to represent feelings, actions, and moods. Each scene may have a key color that are paired with supporting colors, like complementary colors. It's important to limit your palette and keep it simple; the fewer the better, and will continue to solidify your theme.