MDM570 Week 4 Reflection

Connecting/Synthesizing/Transforming

When doing research earlier in the program I came across a study about using active white space (AWS). In creating the infographic, I chose a style that relied on shapes so that there would be good contrast. This was carried into the design for the dynamic vision board (see figure 1). This would allow for the limited color palette to work and not become muddled together. Using designs that have good contrast as well as limited design elements also helps with viewers’ processing. As Sharma and Varki explain, by using AWS it creates a clarity that enhances perceptual fluency because it cuts down on the stimulus that the viewer has to process (p. 272).

Dynamic Vision Board Screenshot
Figure 1: Screenshot from dynamic vision board. The AWS is the empty shapes that make up the windows, columns, embellishments, statues, etc inside the black shapes.

This was later backed up by the Cognitive Load Theory that was mentioned in an article I found while researching motion. In the article it explains how motion graphics need to find a sweet spot between audio and visual information (Creative Bloq Staff, 2014). A motion graphic’s responsibility is to relay information. If it gives too much or there are too many design elements the viewer will be overloaded. If there isn’t enough stimulation, then the viewer will get bored. By using a simplified style, with good contrast it allows for more information to be given or more opportunities to focus on the movement.

In the planning for the parallax motion graphic, I had to decide how to best use the motion effect’s strengths. In Belluso’s (2019) article, he writes about how parallax can be used to bring life to images and to give dimension and movement to a stereo piece. I cut up my images so that they can be separated out into layers that the camera and text can move around (see figure 2). This combined with sound effects and other visual effects (like wiggling the exposure on the lamp lights or smoke added to the train tracks) help trick the viewer’s mind into perceiving it as dimensional space.

Riga Harmony Screenshot
Figure 2: Screenshot of Riga Harmony. the camera travels on the boys’ right while the text swings out from behind his left.

Problem Solving

One of the biggest design issues was creating the timing for the dynamic vision board. This problem was solved by metering out beats into a three-part story structure. I started off with just creating a series of beats, or important actions, on note cards. I then broke up my time into the three acts: set-up, working towards the answer, and the conclusion. From there I sorted the most important beats into the appropriate categories. Once I worked out the minimal amount of time each scene needed, I then filled in the time with the remaining beats. Working like this made it easy to meter out time and to rearrange scenes into the most impactful sequence. This process works well because as Blazer (2015) states, “stories are malleable and that no card is precious until they’re all in their final order”. By having the story separated into beats, it allows for me to try different orders and clump different types of information together. This then gives me a place to start to look at transitions.

Page two of story board
Figure 3: Page two of story board displaying the beats for this sequence.

Innovative Thinking

My motion in context pieces differ from the norm because they combine different effects to give images life. The main motion effect used was parallax. But the effects in a cinemagraph, really added to giving a piece life. So, on top of adding the parallax effects I added elements of a cinemagraph (see figure 4). The camera moves to make the space look dimensional. That is the parallax effect. But in the Riga Lamps piece I replaced the sky with video of moving clouds, and I added an expression to the exposure on the lamps so that they would flicker. In the Riga Harmony piece, I animated in smoke and a moving light source. By combining the two effects, I was able to create a more interesting piece.

Riga Lamps Screenshot
Figure 4: In the animation, the lights flicker and the sky is replaced with a video. This is to give movement to the actual clouds and keep it from looking like a painted set piece that is being moved.

Acquiring Competencies

In this course, I learned how to better plan out a story and how to use motion effects to their full extent. Timing is difficult to get a handle on. Especially when there is a lot of information to get across. By using the three-part story structure and metering out my beats into that, timing was easier to deal with. By researching which motion effect, I was going to use for the motion in context piece I learned about different techniques and their strengths. This led to me actually combing parallax and a cinemagraph to create a stronger piece.

 

From here on out…

This course helped me to better understand planning for a complex project. From here on out, I’ll try to do more preliminary sketches to help with layout and staging. I will also focus on gathering examples of styles, motions, transitions, and graphics before starting on a design. Having references helps keep me on brand and stops me from making something that looks like it does not fit. It can also give me ideas that I had not thought of. For instance, when approaching the motion in context pieces it had not occurred to me to use puppet animation to give movement to the pictures. But after watching the WWF Parallax Sequence by Ad-Hoc Films and Glynn I saw how even the smallest movements kept the scenes from looking like cutouts placed into a set. I then added slight animation to the child to make him smirk and I animated some of the pigeon heads.

 

References

Ad-Hoc Films, & Glynn, D. (n.d.). WWF Parallax Sequence. Retrieved from https://makeproductions.co.uk/portfolio/wwf-parallax-sequence/?doing_wp_cron=1531703982.1003189086914062500000

Blazer, L. (2015, November 19). Animated Storytelling: Simple Steps For Creating Animation and Motion Graphics. Retrieved from https://ce.safaribooksonline.com/book/animation-and-3d/9780134133812.

Creative Bloq Staff. (2014, January 06). Discover the language of motion design. Retrieved from https://www.creativebloq.com/graphic-design/discover-language-motion-design-11410269

Davidson Belluso. (2019, January 22). Animate Still Images With Parallax – Davidson Belluso | Phoenix Advertising Agency. Retrieved from https://davidsonbelluso.com/animate-parallax/

Sharma, N., & Varki, S. (2018). Active White Space (AWS) in Logo Designs: Effects on Logo Evaluations and Brand Communication. Journal of Advertising, 47(3), 270–281. https://doi-org.oclc.fullsail.edu/10.1080/00913367.2018.1463880