Concept Work and development

After our group meeting on  meeting on Monday, 8th Febuary, we were assigned specific processes to develop concepts and designs to .

As follows:

Andrew: Script Writing and Video Shoot

Paul: 2D to 3D animation and Story Boarding

Callum:Creative Concepting and  Post Production

Ryan: Voice Over

For Script Writing I developed the previously established concept of the being a script writing character who receives the brief and based off that, starts typing out a script onto itself  and as a result starts to create items that would be needed to create the video like cameras, character etc…

So stage one, we see a brief on a platform (represented as a ball of clay), to which point it is picked up and carried away to stage 4 where it is input to the script writing character, who analysis’s it and begin to output relative content.

I showed it to the group for feedback, to which the response was although the core idea and design was good the colour needed to be reworked. Niall’s advise was to still to 3 colours, one of them being white.

To which point I responded to the feedback with this updated piece using only variations of blue, yellow and white. Already started to see a massive difference in appeal and look.

Continuing on with my concepts I decided to start working on polished designs for the video production process. However I wanted to do a bit more research on  proper use of colour, so I did a bit of research on Behance and came across some really cool pieces of work with excellent use of colour and and great design elements.

These images stood out to me the most because they seem to relate to our project in some way for example, showing a production like process, being cartoony and very appealing visually. All the traits we want in our final outcome.

Below is the first draft, the largest image being the overall design of the set and how I could potentially look. I didn’t want to over complicate it, so I used as many basic shapes as I could, which will hopefully pay off when It comes to modelling to the set it self in maya. In terms of colour I took influence from the first of the four images shown above. Working with maroons and blues.

So the idea behind this process, is that the camera character is recording footage from this film set in front of him, to which point he then takes this footage and plugs it into the TV bot character to view it.

Feed back was positive where a development had been shown, however I was encouraged to keep experimenting, trying to work white into the image.

So I redid it but this time with a more shaded approach. Working with blue, yellow and tones of white as my main colour scheme using a rendered out occlusion layer to achieve a nice tonality.

When comparing the new image with the previous, I’d say there’s a definite development, which is cool to see. The first version is visually quite heavy with colour which could take away from the overall effect we’re trying to achieve, and red is considered to be an aggressive colour and we don’t want that! So I think the second matches way more with what we need. Simple colours and design that conveys a point clearly, effectively and in a fun way.

With the piece of concept work done bellow I wanted to address to new idea Paul came up with for how the character transitions from the 2D/3D animation stage to the video shoot stage. The little camera character inflates a 2D object (turning it into 3D) and this inflated object then carries the camera character into the video shoot stage.

Paul’s original concept.

balloon

It was a great exercise in gaining a better understanding of what the perspective of the shot would look like if we worked from this angle. I also took what I learned about colour from my previous concepts and attempted to develop it further, working in other colours and patterns to the mix in order to break up the scenes visual elements.

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Explanatory video Research:

Considering our brief is to create a one minute animated sequence that demonstrates and explains the inner workings of Double Jump Studios I thought it would be necessary to look into what others made a great explanatory video.

I found this article on Kiss Metrics giving 9 insider tips to what makes ‘killer’ explainer video.

Tips

1. It’s All About the Script

“A well written script is the key to a successful explainer video. It’s the foundation upon which everything else is built.” 

So the script sounds like a pretty big deal, I understand why Niall wants to write it himself, focusing particularly on what really matters to the company and how to show it off in the best possible way.

2. The Shorter the Better

“the less you say, the more likely people are to remember.”

A short, simple and straight forward message  that explains what your company does is the point of interest that will grab peoples attention.

3.KISS (Keep it Simple Silly)

Structure

  1. The problem – Address the pain your customers are having
  2. The solution – Introduce your product or service as the answer
  3. How it works – Briefly describe how it works or how to get started
  4. A call to action – Tell people what to do next

4. Describe the Benefits, not Features

Instead of describing the technical and more complicated aspects of your services, tell people how your product or service is going to make their lives better.

replace ‘100 GB’ with ‘lots of storage’

5. Use a Professional Voice

You want your company to come across as professional as possible, the sound of a professional voice solidifies that.

6. Have Some Fun

It’s important to develop a video that resonates with your audience and people love to be entertained.

Adding something like humour, a surprise, or something crazy, can carry your message far. It gets people smiling and helps them connect with your brand in a way that a website can’t.

7. Visuals are Secondary

Professional looking visuals are important. However the visuals are only there to help illustrate the story and message you’re trying to convey.

8. Set the Tone with Music

Music can evoke all types of emotions, and  has the ability to set the tone and pace of your explainer.

9. Plan for the Launch

 

  1. Select a video host –  for example vimeo or youtube
  2. Have a marketing plan – Leverage your blog, newsletter, social media channels, e-mail signatures, and events to share your video.
  3. Integrate the video on your website – Have the video on the main page of your website,it should integrate seamlessly with your brand and content.

 

I thought these were really valid tips for creating an explanatory video, the key thing I took away from it is that the message is the most important thing above all else. Simply use the visuals and audio elements to help carry your message further.

Niall also posted these example to give us a feel for what he’s looking for and how to it done.

Play With Oreo

Nice, fun visuals that represent all the wacky ways you can eat an Oreo. Like some of the points above stated, keeping it simple is your best bet. In this case simple shapes and geometry accompanied with appealing design.

 

A Guide To Happy – Panoply

Uses simple, appealing imagery to convey a message, even though at it core the topic of what body chemicals makes us happy, with the pros and cons is quite a technical topic, It is explained in a very simplistic and straight forward way. Refering to steps 3 and 4 mentioned above.

 

Orange Tree

Is a great example of explaining the need and service in 3d with a good call to action.

 

 

 

Guest Lecture: Gavin Moran

Looking at the industry from a game development perspective, our guest speaker this week was Gavin Moran, animator at Epic Games, North Carolina. Telling us about his humble beginnings in Ireland to his development and growth over in the states.

 

  • Growing up in Dublin, he studied design presentation in Dublin, however he failed the course being disappointed by what it had to offer.
  • As a result he took a year off and worked in a music store selling drums for a year and a half.
  • Knowing that this wasn’t a full time gig, he enrolled in Dunlery, art and design, Studying 2D traditional animation.
  • It was the movie Toy Story that caused him to transition into CG animation, applying to work in Disney’s new CG department. The reason for this was because he felt that Toy story broke a lot of tropes and conventions, changing the industry.
  • It was Disney’s contract with Insomniac games studio that caused him to leave but lead him to work on a short called ‘Wild Brain’ which went on to receive various awards.
  • Afterwards he worked for Sony pictures image works, in its visual effects department, working on such films as Stuart Little 2. Bit by bit, his reputation grew moving from a Intermediary animator to the senior animator,working on the previz for Spiderman 2.
  • Leaving Sony to peruse something new he joined up with Dream Works, however thought that they were terrible to work for which led him to contact Sony, asking to come back as if he had never left.
  • Then realised that he to work for games, Epic games, 9 years after working with Sony.

Responsible for:

Animation for cinematics on gears of war 3, the downloadable content, Never Dawn, Samaritan – look into elemental – lighting – pushog unreal 4 for the first time.

When working on Kite his job was to get a brief of the assets, storyboard to show all of the features in the assets, he described how you needed to be flexible, addressing and solving as many issues as possible like working with the depth of field in previous versions of the unreal engine.

They had to establish early on what was achievable in the short amount of time given to them. (8 weeks) Such as:

  • One character, that is all they’d be able to rig in that amount of time.
  • They had the beginning and they had the end and the middle was a little fussy.

 

 

It was after the Skype Lecture that we had an opportunity to ask questions:

Sorcha McGlinchey asked some really good ones!

Why Go From Visual Effects to Games?

It’s getting cheaper, but not getting better.

Bear animation, in the revenant, the fur is weird. Not 100% realistic. They went with cheap renderer instead of what is actually amazing.

real time is cool because its a challenge. “Kite” was meant to not look like it was being rendered in real time. People perceived it as a short. They were in the non games catagory which was a mission accomplished. Pixar were like this was cool! Pixar lost their shit, random locations of the deer, became a problem because when they came over the cliff the bastards were never there. They tricked the renderer to make the deer be were they needed to be then switched it back to AI.

Kite was used to show outdoors a lot of projects swtiched their engine because of this. Kite broke the chain of doing dark and grey stuff, “we can do everything we like or nothing”. Blacksmith demo from unity was very much like what Epic were doing 3 years ago, “who can be the darkest and more violent” and Epic changed that idea entirely.

They got a child in do to the runs in mo cap, they need mo cap to help in animation.

Dailes at Disney, the traditional animators finding it hard to learn were freaking out a little.

Approach to visual effects compared to shorts/features?

Reference in shorts needs to have a lot of understanding and knowledge but it cartoony still, doesn’t need as many real life references, it’s more artistic, while visual effects need to be realistic, photo-realistic, and needs a lot of reference.

Animation in features needs a lot of acting, think about animated shots, it’s a frame of mind you need to be in while you are acting it out. Better at general production than he is at animation. Production interferes with pure art because of time frame. real production isn’t as pure as you think it’s going to be, Kite felt more like art because you are more invested in the whole short, rather than one shot or scene.

Employability?

Sometimes it’s about trying to get a good crew, or a crew that are available in that short period of time. Epic like to employ people for a long period of time. you need to be a person that people can get on with for years to come. It’s not enough to be a good animator, you need to be a good guy.

They interviewed a guy for an hour, and realised that he didn’t eat his soup, they asked him why he didn’t eat his soup and he said he didn’t have a spoon, this made Gavin think well if he doesn’t have a pencil or if something is wrong will be just wait for someone to come over and ask him or “spoon feed” him.

If you got an interview, they think you are good for the job, they just need to check you aren’t a psychopath.

Epic are very aware of how they appear to their consumers and people that use their products.

What do you look for in reels?

2 minutes! no longer. 4 minutes is too long. Only put your best of the best in your showreel.

nobody wants to see a walk cycle on a turntable anymore.

pet hates, stretched out, weird music, scenes from movies with curses and inappropriate stuff in the reel. Think of who you are sending the reel to and always be safe ot sorry. Never take a piece of comedy and re-animate it, the reality is, it was funny when they did it first, you don’t want the person to think “oh the original was better, it was funnier the first time”.

Additional Advice

  • Don’t stick around because it’s easy, do what you want to do.
  • Be as honest as possible! Producers aren’t concerned with the truth, “I want that shot by friday” “that won’t happen” 

Creative Solutions-Double Jump:Concepts

The task set was to come up with one concept for each stage of the content creation process addressing the services provided by Double Jump.

  • Script Writing
  • Concepts
  • 2D/3D animation
  • Video Shooting
  • Post Production
  • Voice Over

One of the initial concepts we had was the idea of Double Jump being a Factory of creativity and fun. Inhabited by little wacky and appealing characters.

A thought I had was of the idea of entering the Double Jump factory through a gate or sublime doorway, almost like we’re about to be taken on a journey through how double Jump works and what they do.

Rough Idea

heaven-gate-o

Rough concepts of how it would look, maybe start further back and make the movement a lot smoother and appealing.

Rough Sketch

Untitled-1

This was just an idea of how the sequence could open.

Script Writing

The script writing phase, being one of the most important stages in the development process, I liked the idea of opening with a few boxes placed on top of pedal-stools all connected by bright, colourful pipes and wires maybe. (against a soft and coloured occlusion background). 

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These boxes would a client product, sent or delivered for Double Jumps creative influences.

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To which point a robot hand or character would lift a small ball representing the clients initial idea, about to go through the Double Jump Pipeline.

(The ball,possibly appearing as clay or play dough, giving the impression that its mould able, easily modified.)

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This ball would then be placed into a pipe which feeds into our script writing character. (similar to the idea of putting a memory stick into a pc or mac). Who frantically types out a script based off the initial idea input.

funny-computer-animated-gif-54

As a result a production line of little characters begin to be created, these character wouldn’t be finalized but would just serve as the basic foundation blocks of where they fit into the script, so would consist of simple shapes (yet still have appealing characteristics, cute faces etc)

The initial idea would then be passed on to the next stage in the development pipeline, in this case visual concepts.

Visual Concepts

With the visual concept stage, I had the idea of the previously created characters from the script writing stage being passed along by a conveyor belt to be moulded into a finalised design.

The script has travelled from the script writing character to the concept character who works on a drawing desk/cintiq like device, who then sketches up designs based off the script. These characters are then quickly moulded to fit the design.

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The initial characters from the script writing process being quickly moulded to fit their design.

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Showing this process from different view points/ perspectives could provide a nice opportunity to show off some humour, e.g. the perspective of the character about to be moulded.

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2D/3D Animation

When ever it came to representing the animation stage I thought the idea of the newly created characters (3D) being flattened by a steam roller or rolling pin could be an interesting way to go about it. Again could be a nice opportunity to show off a bit of humour from the perspective of the characters about to be flattened.

Untitled-8.jpg

Rough Idea, a little less alarming in our version

steamroller-scene-o

Video Shooting

For the video shooting stage, We thought it would be cool to represent it as if it were an actual film set, with simple props and set pieces with characters either acting in it or recording it.

Untitled-9.jpg

However making it simple,looking at using basic Maya shapes and image planes to make up most of the scenery, almost like stage cut outs.

Reminds me of my teams 15 second animation from last year, working closely with basic shapes and textures.

However ours will be much more colourful and bright.

 

Post Production

So with the Post production stage, I was working off the idea of adding polish to something and the concept of a diamond not being a particularly desirable thing until its polished and refined into something awesome.

Its basically saying,”you had clay but now you have a diamond, but lets polish and refine it to make it even better.”

Untitled-10.jpg

Maybe a giant rough diamond falls on the set from the video shooting stage as a method of transitioning from one stage to another. (and a bit of slapstick humour)

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As a simple and quick way of representing the refinement process I thought of a quick chisel and then sprayed and wiped to get that polished result.

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Chisel Concept

Voice Over

Could the voice over stage be represented  with a character? Stylized and made to look like a microphone and possibly speaks with the dialogue.

Untitled-13

A quick concept, the base would sit stationary whilst the head flaps about during dialogue similar to how Canadians are represented in South Park.

Another idea that came to me focused more on the presence of characters, in this case little microphone character carrying the word Voice Over onto the screen.

voice_over

 


 

Some Rough Character Concepts

Focusing on simple shapes like cubes and cylinders. (Maya default shapes)

concepts

Guest Lecture: Gerard Dunleavy

This week we were told that our guest lecturer was Gerard Dunleavy, previously a masters student from our university displaying a wide range of skills as a generalist,

(see 2012 showreel below)

 

Being blown away by his work, I decided to do a bit of research on him in preparation for the talk.

Background research on Gerard Dunleavy

 

 

  • He’s a professional Concept artist and Matte Painter from Ireland,Armagh,  currently working in London for the Film, Advertising and Game industries.
  • He studied design at university, eventually earning a masters degree followed by several years working as a VFX Generalist and Technical Director.
  •  Combines  skills and experience in Art, Design and VFX techniques to create stunning images that tell stories.

Recent projects include:

Film:

  • Assassins Creed
  • Thor:The Dark World
  • Godzilla as well as many

Commercial:

  •  Nike
  • Honda
  • BMW
  •  Guinness

Skills

Concept Art, Illustration, Matte Painting, Digital Environments & VFX

In the lecture he started off by giving a general background to where he started off and how he got to where he is today with MPC, London. To this day Gerard has worked on over 50 films and projects for MPC alone, ranging from the newly released Jungle Book movie to BMW.

He then went on to talk about what’s expected of an individual in his position in a studio environment to which he stated time is a priority (having at most two months for a commercial brief), clients come to them with problems on a daily basis, where typically they don’t really know what they want, simply presenting basic ideas, words or phrases. Which means there a lot of problem solving required as you work but a bonus is that you learn a lot as you work. In addition the agency director will typically dictate the pacing of the project to you so there’s a lot of teamwork and collaboration involved in each brief.

How do we get our foot in the door?

  • Don’t focus on technical aspects like software , software can be learnt and taught with relative ease. Having a good eye for design, composition (etc) is much more valuable to an employer and the team you’re working with.
  • Display what you are doing in a very smart and clear way, making it easier for a potential employer to understand and know exactly what you did and why you did in that particular way.
  • DO ONE THING REALLY WELL – do something simple really well, like modelling and rendering something and making it photo-real.

Other Advice

  • Create your own goals – push yourself constantly and keep growing as an artist.
  • If and when you make it into a studio, work a lot harder and longer in the beginning. Your commitment will pay off having established yourself within the company as a reliable, committed and valuable asset.
  • Being a generalist is good! Having a larger skill set normally means more work with longer contracts and more job security.
  • When writing your CV have your bio at the top followed by your previous work experience with the specifics of what you do.

Awesome talk! I hadn’t considered the idea of doing one simple thing really well to show off in my portfolio. I think its a pretty common issue with students like myself to try and do overcomplicated projects and ending up with a result that shows a lack of development, whereas with doing one simple thing well, is a great portfolio piece and tells others a lot more about your ability and commitment to your work.

More of Gerard’s work can be found from his website:

www.gerarddunleavy.com