Sunday, April 14, 2013

Poem Fire And Ice Animation Assignment April 2013

Below is the current version of the poetry assignment.


When I started this animation course, I knew nothing about animation software like Adobe Aftereffects (Ae) or modern animation and had a little trouble getting up to speed. Illustrations are often imported from Photoshop, in which I need more practice. Several factors have helped me make progress.

After an assignment to illustrate and animate sounds ("Onomatopoeia"), I began to get interested in telling a story and felt a little more comfortable with the software. With more emphasis on "kinetic typography" instead of creating and animating figures, I got some traction and made a 15-second clip about motion typography on my own.  It helped that I got the Ae software at home (leased), cut out some of my social life and sleep, and put my little animations on a tablet to study and show others for critiques. I have now checked out some animated TV shows to watch on the treadmill so I can get used to more of this area of study.

Once students like me could stumble through Ae, the animation instructor demonstrated and lectured on the twelve or so principles of animation with examples from the Internet. Then he showed how to use a lot of presets and buttons in Ae, but not everything, of course. Finally, he asked us to create a 4-5 part animation of three of the principles of animation and gave us a file with three sections or "compositions" to get us started. I tried to prove what I could now sort of do with the software, which did not include good design.

The point of that assignment was to prepare us to create a more complex 25-30 second animation of 5-7 compositions based on a poem of our choice, using elements and principles of design and animation. It has to include three kinds of sound: voice, music and effects. So far the only effect I use is a cymbal crescendo at the end of the first composition. After discussion with the client (the instructor), we decided on the poem "Fire and Ice" by Robert Frost.

I originally thought the poem was about the main words in the title, then decided it was really about the end of the world. I changed my focus (font, color, size, transformations) from words in the poem like "fire" and "ice" to "world will end," "perish" and "destruction." It's due Tuesday.

I've probably spent 15-20 hours on this outside of class, and late Saturday night it reached a point where I can now spend time on a typography assignment that has to be printed Monday for critique on Wednesday. Thank goodness the most recent History of Communication Design poster has been turned in and critiqued. I've been very busy this semester with class work.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Grid and Dynamic Design in Typography

Once again, we learned the process of producing graphic design and also how to critique it.
For an exercise in grid versus dynamic design in Spring 2013 Typography, we were given definitions of "order" and also of "chaos" and had to use all the text in visually engaging designs that were to be mounted on the same mat board to be critiqued together.
The instructor explained the rules of grid and dynamic design and furthermore excluded use of objective elements like stars and cats.
No one photo could do all these posters justice, so I edited from multiple photos.
Poster #12, in photo part 3, scored several times in the student voting. As Berne pointed out, it was very good as a thumbnail (small sketch), and the thumbnails serve as "a map to the party." You want the best map to the party that you can create in order to design the best party, if I may mix metaphors.
My poster, #2, which should look magenta in photo part 1, did score in readability and the top part was cited for playfulness. That's not taught as an element or principle of design but is a characteristic I like to see.
For poster #4, the instructor asked what one thing would improve it. I was happy to supply the answer, more contrast. Contrast would have shown text around a void in the shape of an anchor in the top picture and waves formed by text in the bottom picture. After you can see it, then it counts as clever.
Berne also showed us how to add 1/32nd of an inch of white space around the edge of a dark poster so it would print with a thin white line to separate it from the black mat board.
Our tables for critiques and scoring or voting are in the last photo. Criteria included:
> Readability (from 10 feet away)
> Conceptual Clarity (Does it look like it is about the subject?)
> Visual Impact (When you see it from 20 feet away, do you want to walk out of your way to see more of it?)
> Principles of Design and
> Elements of Design.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Constructivist Solar Energy Poster

I've been working on a poster in Constructivist style for History of Communication Graphics. If that style doesn't ring a bell, don't worry, it's not as well known as Art Nouveau. It seems to be mostly about simplicity, dark colors, and heavy text.
Our possible subjects included controversial topics and energy and the environment.
Years ago, in 1985, I took the train every day from west of Tokyo to inner Tokyo to attend language school. I marveled at the many residential rooftops decorated with solar panels in a tiny country better known for snow than for natural energy reserves. By contrast, in 2013, I am surprised and dismayed to see little evidence of residential or commercial solar power in sunny San Antonio.
So I used a non-profit organization called Solar San Antonio as my "client" and made versions of this poster. This version is bordered with black to imitate attaching it to a black mat board.
In case anyone wonders, most solar energy panels look dark blue because of the silicone used in them, although other materials may be used in some panels.

A later version , more Constructivist with all capital letters: