10 Days in another part of the world.

Study trip to Beijing, China

Saturday 18th – Tuesday 28th March

BIFT University

A whirlwind of 10 days, experiencing another world; which China really is. A culture so different from what we’re used to, so many things we experienced were so far from our western life. With our BIFT student buddies beside us, we took on what Beijing had to offer and fell in love with it – excluding the toilets of course. We saw so much in a matter of days, including the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China as well as experiencing student life at BIFT university. Beijing was such a busy and vibrant city, with the architecture heavily influenced from communism and only snippets of traditional Chinese buildings. It’s a rich city and there was little sign of poverty – which I’m sure would change if we went further out of the city.
We experienced the teaching style at the university which I learned to be strict and that ‘happy accidents’ most certainly do not exist, after having my work taking of me a couple of times and being told it was wrong. I did become more thankful for the kind of teaching we have, the fact that we don’t have to strive to be perfectionists and we can be really playful with our work. BIFT campus is an incredible space; a fashion show was taking place it it’s own assigned room and huge exhibition spaces on the ground floor. And the students certainly knew how to dress, can’t imagine it’s ever a jeans and baggy jumper day for them. The canteen reminded me of the ones you see on American films yet the food was far from it – the best ‘school dinner’ meal you could have ever tasted. The food really was amazing out there. Eating at a different restaurant every night we really experienced what they eat in China. It’s such a social occasion, with all the food placed as a buffet in the centre of the table – rolled back to the hotel most nights. The week we were with BIFT university we had the most amazing people take care of us – Robin, Edward, Dave, Dylan and Chris – and they showed us their view of Beijing. They all had hearts of gold, really looked out for us and showed so much commitment to what they do. They respect their education and teachers so much that it really puts a lot of Brit students to shame. They all have curfews in their dorms: they’re not allowed to shower after 9pm and even when they do shower it has to be public (no curtain) and they have a curfew of 11pm every night so if they’re not back by then they are locked out of their room. This was a complete shock to us, to think these guys were 19/20/21 and were stuck to a curfew by their university. While we were there though that didn’t stop them from taking us out and making sure we were having fun, which included a couple nights at Karaoke – and they knew how to party.

Hebei Academy of Fine Arts

Whilst being in China we travelled to Shijiazhuang, Hebei where we visited Hebei Academy of Fine Arts – quite possibly the most bizarre university I’ve ever seen. It was like a cross with Chinese traditional buildings and Hogwarts – however on their website they stress that it was not built to look like Chinese Hogwarts, instead “the castle serves as an animation studio for students and is called “Cinderella’s Castle” and is designed in the Gothic style and modelled on castles of medieval Europe”. We met the Dean of the school as well as the owner who showed us the university and the plans and building work of what it were to become. Turns out we were the first group of international students to visit the university which explains why they were so excited about us being there. It was a beautiful campus, the architecture was so picturesque. We stayed in a hotel which was on campus which I thought was amazing, such a nice hotel too.
The university really was bizarre though because the ‘Hogwarts’ part was so modern, very grand and beautiful, yet they showed us classrooms which were literally falling apart. Wires all over the floor, broken floor boards, just generally dirty and could do with a bit of TLC. I found it very odd that so much money was being put into this new build, yet there was a building that was still being used, that could do with a revamp. Despite all this, we did get a taste of true chinese culture which I loved. We got to wear Chinese gowns, which we wore for the ceremony of Cardiff Met signing an agreement with the Hebei Academy of Fine Arts. We were taught Chinese calligraphy which I was really excited to do because who doesn’t want to learn how to write in Chinese? We also did a workshop with the Hebei students that Olwen ran; basically a game of pictionary, which was an experience to say the least because the students could speak as much English as I could Chinese. Though we were only at the university for 2 nights, it was a beautiful campus to experience and so so different to anything we have in the UK.

Overall, I had the time of my life on this trip and learned so much. Being alongside the amazing BIFT students during the week was such an eye opener to see their life and what their university was like, as well as get to know them and become a great group of friends. Coming back, I have so much more drive and motivation for my work now. To see what these students that are the same age as me are achieving, really makes me want to push my work further and always try to make it as good as it can be. I’m so incredibly thankful that I got to take this opportunity and I will certainly be going back China again soon.

I took videos on GoPro throughout – video of trip to be uploaded.

End of Project: Evaluation

The final submission of work comprises of an 1:05 animation, an app for the digital ephemera and posters for the printed ephemera.

Animation:

I’m really happy with the final outcome of the animation. Everything we have all designed has all come together and there is a clear visual style that follows throughout. There were all certain parts that we each animated: I animating the middle part (see before blog posts); George drew most of the illustrations and animated them alongside Simeon, who also animated the intro and clock; and Ellie, animated the end part of the animation from the ‘unsure what to do?’ frame onwards. Despite that we all animated separately, it has all come together so well. The fact we all established a clear colour palette and visual style before animating help to do this. Each transition onto each frame runs smoothly and the pace is neither too fast nor too slow which makes it easy to read and understand. The sounds effects and music in the background work really well and makes the animation a lot better but I find the narration lets it down. Not everything in the script was read and it’s quite an unenthusiastic tone of voice for an animation that is supposed to fun, friendly and convey important information to wide audience. For example: at the start it should have said ‘The pressure on A&E is rapidly increases” over the frame of where the ‘A&E’ blows up like a balloon and bursts. Instead, the first narration is on the next slide when it says “more and more people are using the services…” Though this is to the script and makes sense, I feel that something was needed to be said at the start of the animation to provide a bit of context of what it was going to be about. Also, the part that I animated – the slide that reads ‘URGENT CARE & LIFE THREATENING’ – over the animation it should say “A&E is for urgent care and life threatening cases”. I felt that this was important to include because it is emphasising the meaning of A&E and when it should be used and by not having that narration, that illustrated frame doesn’t make a huge amount of sense. On the next slide, what was written in the script was said but not to the pace of the animation. There may have been a reason for choosing not to include some of the script – which obviously I wasn’t there to enforce it was said as the script – however, I do think some of it was needed to add some context into the animation. This may have happened due to lack of communication and in hindsight, it would have made more sense to record the script before animating so that there was no confusion and was animated at the exact pace of what was said.

Digital ephemera:

I think the designing of an app was a great idea for the digital ephemera. The idea of this app is that it will provide information on what each service is for and the location of the nearest service to you. I like the logo/icon designed for the app because I like how the heartbeat is used. Continuing with using the colours and typefaces keeps the visual style the same as the animation, so I feel like it’s clear they are the same work.

Printed ephemera:

poster with context

We always spoke about using a poster as the printed ephemera and I like how they’ve chosen to have it as an information poster explaining about the pressure on A&E and to download the app. I don’t like the black used though. After the interim presentation, we all discussed what colours to used and agreed to use blue, red and white only, no black. So using black in this poster, I think it makes it stand out too much and doesn’t fit alongside the animation and app. I like the actual design but I do think if the colour of the outline was used as the whole background and all the black in the poster was white instead, I think this would have made it better and fitting well alongside the other work. There are also a few spelling mistakes – which are easily fixed anyway – and apparently this was because there was less time spent creating it.

Overall I’m happy with all the work we’ve created. I think that we have worked well as a team, obviously had initial problems with being on the same page which a lot of groups are bound to have, but once we decided our final idea and direction we were to take, everything ran smoothly. I do think there were elements of lack of communication which is something that definitely would need to improve if we were to work together again. This is also something to take forward into the future group projects. This project has been really successful and I’ve enjoyed learning how to use After Effects. Animation is definitely something I will use and develop more in future projects.

Final presentation:

Final Presentation

Completed animation

The next stage was to put all the of the animation together. I’d successfully animated 3 parts of the storyboard. After each thing I animated, I was rendering copies and sending it to the other members of my group who were all happy with it and I made changes when they suggested to do so. After putting what I had done together, I chose to animate the storyboards before (shown below; caption in quotations underneath is the narration):

Screen Shot 2017-04-01 at 15.49.41.png

This seemed like it was going to be a hard one to do because there was so much to animate for such a small sentence. I really liked the illustration Ellie had done though (below) so I wanted to give it a try. However, I soon realised that it wouldn’t work because the text on the screen needs to be read but if I were to animate all of what was storyboarded, that would mean it would have to play really quick to meet the pace of the animation. This would make the writing really hard to read and since our target audience is people of all ages, it’s needs to be readable. I decided to scrap this storyboard idea and keep it simple just by having each word appear, frame by frame.

17195457_1477276478951857_1154988700_o.jpg

I used the type that I had used for the word ‘care’ in the previous animation but in bold instead of regular. For the important words I used white and red. I chose to emphasis the word ‘not’ and ‘treatment’ because I felt they were the most prominent from the message we are trying to give to people watching the animation; as well as volume, but I chose to have this in red and a lot big to emphasis the word and the problem the A&E is facing. It’s at quite a slow pace at the moment so I can imagine it will need to be sped up when the narration is added.

In total I have completed 23 seconds of the animation. Overall, I’m proud of what it’s become; from the drawings I made in the storyboard to an actual moving image piece. I think we have made a good choice in colours and typeface(s). We want it to be friendly and convey to a wide target audience and I think the soft pallet of colours and the handwriting-style typeface does this.

My final animation:

This is my completed input into the group before going away.

‘Signpost’ animated

The next part of the storyboard to animate was the part where all the services are displayed to show other places to go to other than A&E. When illustrating ideas, I had the idea to display it as a sign post to show a different direction you could take depending on your injury or illness. (Storyboard below; the caption below the one slide is said as the animation plans out; the idea is that the screen pans into each sign).

Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 13.46.40Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 13.46.45Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 13.46.52

The first thing I did was draw the signpost on illustrator using my type and colour scheme. The name of each service was the most important part to be seen in the animation so I made the background of the signs white and the writing red. Red is a colour used for important information so with the combination of a white background it was made clear to read. I used a darker blue for the post to separate the signs.

Screen Shot 2017-04-01 at 15.17.50.png

As I began to animate this, it became clear that there was no need to zoom in on each sign if they were easy enough to read as they transitioned onto each page. I had all the signs transition from off the page onto the post and were at a slightly slower pace so that you could read it as it came onto the page.

I showed this to George and he suggested that there was no need to have the post. Instead, just make the signs bigger so that they fill the page and have them transition on the page to link together. This make’s a lot of sense because with the post being there it is leaving a lot of blank space and it is distracting to what should really be read. Watching it again, I didn’t like how each signs were going underneath each other because for that point of the animation, even though it was only a few seconds, you could not read what was on the sign. It made a lot more sense to have the signs transition horizontally from the side of the page it was placed on the page. This would make all the services a lot easier to read and will fill the page.

Final:

Screen Shot 2017-04-01 at 16.14.33.png

You can definitely see the difference with taking out the post and enlarging the signs. It looks a lot better and works more successfully in allowing the viewer to read the name of each service.

Continued animation

I showed the rest of my group the animation I had created and they suggested I put a box around the word ‘URGENT’ so that it add’s emphasis to the word since the lines around it weren’t working.

Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 14.57.51.png

The next part of the animation I waned to animate was the storyboard shown below:
The caption underneath the storyboard is the narration that will be said over the animation. The idea of this is that the heartbeat on this previous frame will continue to the end of the page so that it can start this frame (image of what it’ll look like below).

Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 16.41.11.png

To do this, I needed to move the ‘URGENT CARE…’ off the page and then make the heartbeat line move and form a new animation. First of all I drew everything I needed to use in Illustrator so I was able to animate it, once again using the same colour scheme and typography. This part was really difficult because everything had to move in alignment to each other and it was hard to get the timing right so that it didn’t move too fast nor too slow. I needed to create a plain slide with just the line running through so that I could add the new words for the next part of the animation.

Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 14.58.20.png

I next wanted the line to go up, add the word ‘but’ on top of the line, as well as have it move along the left hand side, gradually moving off the page. The timing on this was really crucial as the word ‘but’ needed to appear on the page at the exact moment it was said it in the narration. It also needed to move in the same formation and at a perfect pace so that the word wasn’t blurry when it moved of the page because it still needed to be able to be read.

Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 14.59.00.png

Once the word ‘but’ had appeared on the page, the line needed to continue into a heartbeat shape and span the length of the frame.

Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 14.59.17.png

Originally on the storyboard I was going to place ‘what are the other options?’ on top of the heartbeat but the way the animation was forming it made much more sense to have the question underneath the line. It worked really well because I was able to slot the sentence perfectly next to the heartbeat. Again, it was important to get the pacing right so that the words appeared on the screen as it was spoken in the narration.

Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 15.00.11.png

Take one:

At first I had a problem with animating the line as it was quite jolty and it wasn’t running smoothly through to the next page (above). I showed this to the rest of the group they agreed that it didn’t run smoothly and was too fast so you couldn’t read the word. It took a while to getting the pacing perfect so that it ran smoothly and the didn’t go too fast. It was really frustrating at times as I had to redraw some of the line and reposition the entire animation a lot but eventually it worked.

Animation:

It was a very long process to get to the final part but I’m happy with it’s look. I worked really hard to get the timing right and learned a lot about after effects in the process of doing so. I’ve never used the software before but I’ve learned that something that would seem really hard to create is actually quite simple to animate (once you know how to do it). I’m glad that the heartbeat running through this part of the animation works because it’s one of our original ideas (all the way from when we were initially mind mapping what to do) so it’s good it was successful. I feel that it’s an important visual symbol to have because it emphasises the saving of lives that the A&E is supposed to do.

Group crit

As a group we each presented what we had done so far. We were all at different stages in terms of progress. Simeon had began animating one part of the storyboard and so had myself. Ellie was still at the stage of illustrating what we had on the storyboard in a similar style to how I was drawing and George was also illustrating some of the storyboard but in a different style.

(Below: the presentation)

After presenting and receiving our feedback, we discussed what was next. We all had the same idea but myself, Ellie and Simeon were drawing in one way and George was designing in another way. We all really liked George’s illustrations, (I personally preferred them to the ones I had drawn myself in the initial storyboard design), so we worked at using them within the animation. Some feedback from the crit was that the colours and typography I had used, worked well so we decided as a group that we would use my type and colour scheme throughout the animation. The background colour will always be the same throughout and then white, red and blue will be used for the typography and illustrations on each frame. All imagery drawn on the animation will be in the style of George’s illustrations, so the plan next is that George is going to draw his sketches onto Illustrator using the finalised colour scheme so that it is ready to be animated. This colour scheme, typography and Illustration style will also then be used for the ephemera so that there is a clear visual theme throughout.

After today, we now have a clear plan of action which I feel much happier about because I am now clear that we are all heading in the same direction. It was helpful having the group crit presentation today because it cleared any confusion about what to do in the project that each of us may have had. My last day in uni is the 17th now I have 3 days to complete a part of the animation to submit to the rest of my group. I will continue with what I am currently animating.

‘Urgent care and life threatening’: animated

The first thing I wanted to do was drawn on illustrator what I had designed on paper (below).

Screen Shot 2017-04-01 at 16.21.44.png

When we were storyboarding, Simeon had said that he had liked my typography I was drawing with. I want to draw the above image exactly on illustrator so it made sense to make my own typeface rather than use someone else’s. Our target audience for this animation is very large, people/families of all ages so it needed to appeal to a lot of people. The simplest way to do this was to use a friendly typeface that was easy to read. I chose to draw my typeface on Illustrator as if I would by hand on paper. It’s imperfect and the letters are slightly different thicknesses but that was the idea of it because it has a more personal approach which people generally respond to better anyway. More round typefaces tend to be used for a younger target audiences which is who we want this video to be shown to but we also want to appeal to an older target audience. Drawing a typeface that was in-between straight and round letters and was a bit uneven, I felt, would do this. I will use this for animating this particular part but it could be used throughout the entire animation.

(Typeface below)

Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 21.29.32.png

URGENTCARE2.jpg

I then started to experiment with colour. Our group had a conversation on the group chat to discuss what kinds of colours to use. I was looking at pop art and the way they contrast strong colours (below). We decided with red and blue to use as they both contrast well with each other. Also below is a piece of work Ellie drew, I like the bold red, blue and black but I’d like to try experimenting with what the lighter colours would look like.

Pop art imagery:

Work by Ellie:

sign post

Below is my first drawing: I tried to use light blues and reds but with grey instead of black as I didn’t like how dark the black made the piece look. After drawing it on illustrator, I then animated it on After Effects.

Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 21.39.51.png

Animation:

After having it move, I found the colours weren’t right. I don’t like the grey with the other colours but I do like the tone of the red and blue. I think the tempo of the animation also needs to slow down as it’s too fast to read and since it’s going to have a narration over it, it needs to be the right tempo to be read. I spoke to the rest of my group and showed them the animation; there was mixed agreement with whether they liked the lighter colours or the darker colours. I personally prefer the lighter so I will continue with that idea until we next meet as a group and we can discuss properly what colour tones we decide to use.

The grey in this made it look very dark and I find that darker colours might be a bit harsh on the eye. Since it’s moving image, we need to make it as easy to read as possible. As well as that, we need to have our target audience in mind at all times and the reason why we are doing this animation. It’s important information; it needs to be translated clearly and remembered. Information is more likely to be remember if it is bright and colourful, so I chose to use white instead of grey which instantly brightened up the page. This worked so much better. I also changed the pace of the animation and decided to take out the moving lines. Overall, it’s much better to watch.

Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 21.45.06.png

Animation:

I decided to take out the moving lines around the word ‘urgent’ because I found it really distracting when trying to read the rest of the animation. I do prefer the look of it without lines. The colours on this version are also a lot better and continue to use these. As I was tweaking the final formation, I spoke what was written in the script so that the pace was at the same speed as what the narration would be when it is added to the animation.