Story Boarding and A change in Brief

With our character and set design concepts established, it was then our task to start story boarding.

Before I started, I did a bit of research into what many individuals within industry would consider to be good storyboards, and I came across this article titled ’10 Tips for creating storyboards from Dreamworks’ by TheBeat

It starts off by stating how Storyboards are an extremely useful asset to have in the pre-production process that allow us to show shot layouts and composition.

It then starts to go into the tips and advice,explaining them in detail. Like:

1. Avoid flat staging unless when necessary.

  •  Flat staging is a picture that is void of 3D perspective.
  • A flat image isn’t particularly engaging and therefore makes for an uninteresting storyboard.

2. Lay down grids to help “ground” your characters and compositions.

  • Ground grids help develop a sense of space and camera position.
  • Without grids it can be hard to tell where the figures are standing in the scene.

3. Use foreground, mid-ground, background & far background to sell depth.

  • Keep in mind what elements may take up the foreground and background of a shot (walls, trees, etc).
  • Just like a well composed shot, a storyboard needs to have elements at different distances in order to sell depth.

4. When dealing with multiple characters try to logically group them to help make cutting back and forth easier.

It can be rather difficult to shoot more than two people talking to each other at the same time. Dreamworks recommends grouping up people to make choosing cuts easier.

5. Be wary of composition in which everything is parallel to the frame.

Having objects parallel to the frame makes for a very uninteresting shot. Try offsetting the background to add depth.

6. Careful of how you frame characters…don’t squeeze them just to fit a shot.

This goes down to simple basics drawing. Just like with a video shot, the empty space is just as important as the space

7. Over-the-shoulder shots & reaction shots help deliver dialogue.

“Dirty” shots help to give the scene a sense of intimacy or even hostility, making the dialogue seem more important.

8. Characters squared off & looking at our left or right ear.

Characters looking directly at the camera can make the audience feel awkward. While this can be used to a filmmakers advantage, Dreamworks wants their characters to be as inviting as possible.

9. Exploit different character heights, if you need to establish or re-establish your shot.

As any Film 101 course will tell you, camera angles tell the audience a lot about how they are supposed to feel about a character. High angles imply weakness and fear, low angles imply power and dominance. Cutting to different character heights can remind the audience how to feel about certain characters.

10. Motivate your cuts.

Just like in editing, your storyboards need to show the motivation for cuts. This can be written sound effects, heads turning, movements, etc.

I thought these tips were incredibly useful when it came storyboarding some of our stuff. Although our animation isn’t going to be as complicated as a Dreamworks animated feature, there was still a lot that could be applied to ours, like avoiding flat stages and laying down grids to help ground our characters compositions within the shots.

Story Board Draft One:

As our ideas developed so did we found ourselves thinking about what sort of angle or shot would ensure a even and consistent flow within the animation and how can we have seamless transitions from one process to another.

Feedback from Double Jump and the team for the first draft of the story boards was pretty positive.

  • It’s heading in the right direction
  • Have a single group of TV Bots. It’s make things simpler.
  • Whenever the TV Bot characters come up the with idea, having them reacting more, like a thumbs up or an enthusiastic pose.
  • Could you also fit in a joke in the creative concepting stage?  E.G, where one character goes way off course with it’s idea, causing the surrounding characters to slap sense into it.

 

PROJECT UPDATE – BRIEF CHANGE

“28th of Febuary”, with an increase of work emerging, Double Jump Studios changed our brief from,

 Create a one minute explainer video highlighting the processes and services Double Jump provides to Using all the work, designs and assets already created, Create three 20 to 30 second stings highlighting the processes and services Double Jump provides.

This change would enable us to keep on working and developing the visuals of our project without requiring or relying on a script from Double Jump whilst maintaining a continuous connection of feedback and development.

As a result of the brief change we had to go back to the drawing board to think of a way we could effectively convey all the processes in a shorter time however, across 3 videos.

We came up with the idea of the all the processes existing together on a cube world, in an attempt to keep our environment simple and confined.

Rough Sketch by Paul McGrath

Rough Ideation Session in Uni.

the main influence of the cube world idea was the end of the ‘Play with Oreo video’ where it reveals that all the sets had existed one one large Oreo shaped island. (seen Below)

oreo

We thought this would also help keep our transitions from process to process simple.

Continuing on with the story boards based off our new concept, I tweaked the previous storyboards I drew up, to match the brief and the feedback given previously.

  • Added a joke into the creative concepting stage, (slaps sense into unresponsive TV Bot)
  • Decreased the number of TV bots from a room full to a small group.
  • Updated the set design to fit the new brief, cube work concept.

As the idea developed further we came up with the concept of the scene consisting of a vertical chain of cubes, where each process would sit top side on it own cube, complimented with mini processes happening around it. As illustrated by Paul’s concept below.

Double Jump’s response was really positive! and suggested to make things easier by simplifying each sting to three cubes each.

Below are some quick story boards I drew up addressing a potential Scriptwriting,post production and video shoot, focusing on closer and more focused shots and angles to potential look into. I also developed the set dressing slightly to something a bit more interest in an attempt to convey Double Jump as a Busy factory like environment.

3

Although I prefer the set dressing for this one, I think the transitions would be difficult to pull off. Also the whole ‘pipe carrying the brief to the script writer’ idea doesn’t really work to the same extent any more with the cube world concept.But thats something that’ll be addressed with feedback! looking forward to it!

 

 

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What is a sting?

With the brief changed to ‘create three 20 to 30 second stings’ I decided to do a bit of further research into what a sting is and how others have done in the past t gain a better understanding of the format we’ve been asked to create.

STING 

A visual and/or musical punctuation that signals a break between two sections of a program.

Examples

E4 City – City Wanderer 

E- Stings – Woolly Package

BT – Commercial Stings

The Telegraph – Commercial Stings

 

So there seems to a wide variety in terms of approaching a sting, for example the Telegraph’s sting is straight to the point in which it represents the brand with a clean and simple logo animation, Where as the BT stings use abstract shapes and colours, combined with some animation as their commercial branding. On the opposite side of the spectrum the E4 stings seem to represent the brand with little stories filled with characters in different settings and circumstances.

Despite the different approaches seen above, they all have a definite feature and that is the representation of the brand as the priority, where all the visual elements are simply used to compliment how the product or brand is shown, making it interesting.

I personally prefer the the E4 stings as a method of conveying the brand. It tells a story and shows a sense of progress with various elements such as humor and creativity to demonstrate the fun aspects E4 has to offer to a wide audience. I think this approach suits our brief as well.

 

 

 

Research: Websites

We were asked to go and do some research on how other CG artists have set up and layed their websites, saying what we like and we think could done better.

Here are some of my finds:

Chungkan – Cinematic Artist

http://chungkan.wix.com/portfolio

Chungkan.jpg

From looking at the site we are immediately hit with how organised and well presented everything was. The content is split up into three areas, professional, personal and workshop.

Professional – Portfolio created from the variety of Blizzard projects he’s worked on.

Personal – A small collection of portfolio pieces that he’s done outside Blizzard

Workshop – A series of tutorials he’s made himself for any artist to work from.

Good Points

  • Simple,clear and well presented
  • Collection of work is a very high quality
  • An email address is found at the bottom of each page as well as links to his other online presences such as facebook,vimeo and linkedin.
  • The fact he creates content that sets out to teach others demonstrates a sense of confidence in his own work.

What could be done better

  • He could go into a bit more detail when it comes to the work he produced, which tells the employer more about the artist.
  • The site doesn’t have a showreel demonstrating his work in greater detail

Overall, I think Chungkan’s site is simple but really well thought out.

Victor Hugo – Freelance Artist

http://vitorugo.com/

victor Hugo.jpg

Another artist’s site I thought was worth mention was Victor Hugo’s. His site is organised in a way that allows the user easy navigation through out.

When we first enter the site, the first thing we see is his showreel that clarifies his specific responsibilities in each project and a collection of work from multiple other projects ranging from advertising to comic book illustrations.

Good Points

  • Well organised and easy to navigate
  • Demonstrates his work and portfolio clearly
  • The ‘about me’ and ‘F.A.Q sections tell us more about the person behind the work which could be useful for an employer.
  • The ‘Get in touch’ section displays a variety of different contact options including links to his presences on social media site like facebook.

Victor hugo_contact.jpg

What could be done Better

  • I would really like to see some form of blog from the site that gives us a better understanding into how he works and gets the results he does.

Cant really fault Victor’s site, it seems to tick a lot of boxes for me and demonstrates a variety of really cool stuff.

 

Peter Zoppa – Character Artist

http://www.zopfx.com/wordpress/

peter

Peter Zoppi has gone for a slightly different approach when creating his online presence, where he’s merged his website and blog into the one area.

From the home page we are greeted with a small bio section off to the side of the site and a continuous flow of blog post detailing interests and recent projects.

The content is broken up into both professional and personal work, tutorials,photography, about me and contact information.

Good points

  • The website demonstrates a variety of high quality work, both personal and professional.
  • The fact that he creates content set out to teach others suggests he has confidence in his work.
  • The addition of a photography section gives us a better idea of how he perceives things such as composition and framing within a shot, etc.

What could be done Better

  • The site could be simplified as it’s currently very busy looking
  • The addition of more contact information would be great
  • A show reel or at least a gallery of work being present on the homepage would be useful.

CV Drafts

Below is the first draft of my CV, I wanted to follow along with the advice and feedback given in class, in which you would typically have your name and occupation at the top, followed by your bio and then experience as these pieces of information are what tell the employer most about yourself and whether or not you’d be a good fit for the company.

fist_cv

I started by breaking it down into into a basic format highlighting the main headings to go in each section.

layout_1

However looking at it and comparing it to others, I felt like it was quite boring. It has the information, but visually it doesn’t say or reflect a lot about myself and therefore not standing out which could cost me the position i’m applying for.

As a result I started looking at the other CV’s that were produced by the rest of the class. In particular Sorcha McGlinchey’s and Christan Johnston’s.

Sorcha’s CV

What I like about Sorcha’s CV is that her personality shines through it. You can really get a sense of what kind of individual she is, fun, creative and hard working, the visual elements also help tie it all together with the  little rendition of herself as her logo or brand symbol which adds a nice sense of character to it. An awesome CV Sorcha!

Christian’s CV

christ

One of the things I thought was great about Christan’s is the design. It’s very simple and layed out to ensure the information on the page is organised, clear and well formatted.

So as a result, I re-did my CV, taking influence from Sorcha’s and Christian’s.

I rearranged the layout, changed the colour scheme to make it more visibly interesting to look at and added a little character I made up in Maya to add a bit of personality to it.

 

CG_AC_CV_NEWEST

 

Careers Advise from Glenda Martin: Career Development Consultant

We had Gelnda Martin, Careers adviser for Ulster University   give us a talk on how to correctly prepare for our career development.

Key notes:

What will we get from Placement?

  • Earn yourself some cash
  • Stand out from the crowd
  • Put your academic knowledge into practice
  • Test your career options
  • Build your confidence working with others
  • Develops skills employers want
  • Training and Development

What do we want from a job?

  • Lots of responsibility
  • Finacial Security
  • International Experience
  • Company with good reputation / profile
  • Local / Home experience
  • Work with lots of people
  • Work independently
  • Good training opportunities

The value of placement

  • On average students completing a placement year achieve a higher degree classification compared with those who don’t take placement eg 2:1 compared  to 2:2
  • Placement students are more like to be employed six months after graduation and to have higher salaries than the average graduate

Why placements are important?

  • More than half of recruiters warn that graduates who have had no previous work experience at all, are unlikely to be successful during the selection process and have little or no chance of receiving a job offer for their organisations’ graduate programmes.

Employability

  • Employers want more than just a degree
  • It is your responsibility to manage your own career
  • Nothing is certain – Future of the labour market consistently changing

What employers are looking for

  • Employers expect to recruit people from university that have not only the relevant academic qualifications but also a wide range of skills and experiences

Desired Skillset

1.Commercial awareness (or business acumen)

2.Communication

3.Teamwork

4.Confidence

5.Problem solving

6.Accuracy & attention to detail

7.Organisation

8.Perseverance and motivation

9.Ability to work under pressure

10.Negotiation and persuasion

How do I find Relevant Work Experience?

  • Personal Contacts (family and friends)
  • Previous work experience contacts
  • Yell.com – map who is in your area
  • Professional Associations
  • Academic support
  • Career Development Centre
  • Internet Searches (jobsites)

 

How do I write a good Application?

  • The key to a good application is making sure your Skills, Abilities, Knowledge & Experience (SAKE) fit the job and/or person specification.
  • In these highly competitive times, you’re unlikely to get far if you can’t align your SAKE to all or most of the essential requirements.

Preparation is Key

  • Research the company –Its Development, Expansion,  Markets,  Products, Mission Statement,  Its Values,  Its Ethos /Culture.
  • Often the application form will test your knowledge of contemporary issues which face a particular organisation. This is to check that you have done your prep work.

 

Application Form Checklist

  • Follow instructions, for example about the use of block capitals, black ink, your own handwriting and word limits
  • Complete every section or insert NA (not applicable) if it doesn’t apply to you
  • Pay attention to your writing style. Use action verbs such as ‘organised’, ‘responsible’, ‘managed’, ‘lead’, ‘planned’ to create a dynamic, competent image
  • Check for mistakes in grammar, spelling and punctuation
  • Compare what you have written with the job description – is it concise, clearly illustrating why you are right for the job?
  • Re-read your draft answers to the questions while imagining you’re the employer. Do they impress you? Would you want to interview this applicant?
  • Keep a copy of the form so that you can read it before the interview

Identify three things about yourself that make you the best candidate for the job!

How do you write a CV?

  • Look at the job
  • What does it involve
  • What skills are needed
  • Think about your skills/qualities/abilities/experience
  • Match the two together – and provide evidence!

 

Design and Layout

Should be:

  • 2 sides of A4
  • Appropriate to role/job being applied for
  • Follow a logical sequence/order
  • Aim to be ordered and allocate space in relation to the importance of the information
  • Draw reader’s eye to important areas

Include:

  • Personal Details
  • Career Objective
  • Education
  • Work Experience / Employment History
  • Skills Profile
  • Achievements / Interests
  • Referees (Usually 2)

Tips:

1.Always tailor your C.V.

2.Sell your skills – always be positive

3.Use bullet points

4.Use positive, action verbs

  • Don’t use weak words such as “did” or “worked”; change them to “achieved” or “implemented”.
  • Include active verbs when describing your activities
  • e.g. achieved, arranged, contributed, established, implemented, initiated, negotiated, organised, increased.
  • Put the most powerful words at the left-hand side of the page – where the scanning eye travels first ie not “While I was at Brown and Co. I developed a new database system”, But: “Developed a new database system while at Brown and Co”.

5.Include covering letter

The interview process

  • Show enthusiasm
  • Smile
  • Be positive
  • Make it easy for the interviewer to obtain information
  • Even if it feels as if things are not going well don’t give up.

Answering Interview Questions

  • Identify the key skills being asked for
  • Reflect on your own experiences to find a suitable scenario which highlights these skills/competencies
  • Good approach – is to use STAR

Situation – describe the situation

Task – what did you do

Action – what steps did you take to complete the task

Result – what was the outcome

  • Try to draw on a range of experiences

On the Day

  • First impressions count
  • How you come across is as important as what you say

-7% words

-38% tone of voice

-55% body language

Questions to ask the interviewer

  • The Organisation

–What are the likely future developments?

  • The work and training

–What projects you would be involved in?

  • Colleagues

–Who would you be working with?

  • Prospects

–What career paths have other graduates taken in the organisation?

  • Timing

–How long will you have to wait before you hear from them

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research: CV

What content should a CV have?

  • Your name
  • Contact Information
  • Bio (About Yourself)
  • Experience
  • Skills
  • Software Experience
  • Education

Additional Content

  • Recognitions (achievements)

I  want my CV to stand out in a crowd, but also have it fit in with the company i’m applying to work with.As a result, it should clearly convey all my information to the individual reading it, making it easier for them to decide whether I fit into the company or not.

As a result, I decided to collect a variety of CV’s picking and choosing what I liked from each one, and trying to implement these features into my own.

1

I love the sense of depth you get with Errol Veloso’s CV, it makes certain bits of information stand out to the reader. Also the simple and contrasting colour scheme helps highlight key bites of information.

2013 Resume

Patrick Rogan’s CV is simple, displays the information on the page clearly, and uses a single colour scheme to break up the information in a contrasting way that helps it stand out.

creative CV:

With Monica Gomes’ CV you get a real sense of personality from it. I love the logo as well, its like she’s creating a brand for herself, which is a really cool idea. In addition to that her skills, experience and contact information is clearly shown for the readers ease.

I think Stewart Mayhew’s CV looks incredibly professional, using contrasting tones of grey, suing white and blues to allow key bits of information to stand out. With regards to the content, all the relevant information is there, ranging from a personal bio to skills and experience. The only thing I would say is that maybe there’s a bit too much information and visual elements. The CV itself is quite busy and slightly distracting in some places.

5

I love the simplistic design of David Maddocks CV, again, a simple colour scheme of one colour contrast well again the white of the page. Similar to some of the examples above, he also uses colour to highlight key pieces of information. However I do think it could be simplified to one page as there’s a lot of information which can make the viewing process tiresome.

Research: Showreels

In preparation for putting our show reels together we have been asked to do a bit of research into the show reels of others. Taking note of what we think is good about them and what could be done better.

Jonathan Cooper – Game Animation/Motion Tracking Showreel

Immediately what I like about this showreel is how it shows off some of the basic character animations, having the same animation present three times and from different angles in the shot allows us to see how the overall animation plays out. We can see that Jonathan has taken the time to ensure that the animation is good from all angles, which would be an important factor in a third person game. I also think its cool the way he shows off how these animations play out in the game itself.

However I do feel like he could say what software he used, and have his contact information at the start of the reel. If an individual exits the video on the half way mark, they wouldn’t know how to contact him.

Xin Zhao  – Character Animation Showreel

I love this showreel! it’s full of brilliant animation and has a lot of character. It also shows a strong understanding of various different emotions and scenarios, ranging from humour to sad/ upset. Its simple and straight to the point.

I would have my contact information at the end as well to reinforce my details with the viewer and maybe have the software used as  well.

Ryan Manolov – 3D Modeling Showreel

Another really cool reel with a lot of high quality work, the combination of presenting his work using rotation and still images makes a lot of sense to me, the rotations allow you to see the models from every angle which is great but doesn’t necessarily give you the opportunity to see the finer details, that’s where the rendered stills come in.

I wouldn’t mind seeing the uv’s for his textured characters, and similar to Johnathan Cooper’s showreel, I would have put my contact info at the start of the reel, to reinforce my details with the viewer but the addition of software used at the end is cool.

Gregory Chalenko – VFX and Compositing Showreel

I thought Gregory shows off some really nice work here and the way in which he break down each shot is interesting to see. I also like the way he included the project name, client and responsibilities at the bottom of each shot. However I don’t think he has enough contact information on the reel.

 

Class Notes

  • Keep it simple and professional
  • Put you name at the start and at the end of your showreel, include software used and contact information
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of what you have done in the reel
  • Maybe credit your course or the company you worked with, “special thanks to”