Archive | February, 2014

Mini Project 2 – Photography – History

28 Feb

We have recently been set a Photography task at Uni so I have been doing some research into the techniques and history behind Photography. Although photography can be traced back to 1827 when Joseph Nicephore Niepce took the first known photographic image with a piece of technology called the camera obscura. 

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Camera Obscura

Mary Bellis (2014) described the process.

“Niepce placed an engraving onto a metal plate coated in bitumen, and then exposed it to light. The shadowy areas of the engraving blocked light, but the whiter areas permitted light to react with the chemicals on the plate. When Niepce placed the metal plate in a solvent, gradually an image, until then invisible, appeared. However, Niepce’s photograph required eight hours of light exposure to create and after appearing would soon fade away.”

Doing this further research into the history of photography and where it all started was very interesting and I learnt a lot and makes you think about how easy it is to take photos today. We just click away as much as we want and don’t have to worry about how long the whole process takes.

The old history of photography was fascinating however for more relevant content for this brief would be better suited so I set out to learn more about digital photography. The first consumer purchasable digital cameras that where connectable to home computers via serial cable came available from Apple in 1994 and Kodak in 1995 (Bellis, 2014).

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Apple Quicktake 100

 

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Kodak DC40

Although Kodak aggressively marketed the idea of digital photography the new technology was available and photography giants such as Canon and Nikon jumped on board and we now have Digital SLRs that are consumer available for professional high quality imagery.

I then wanted to focus on the techniques that have been used throughout history and are still used to this day to help produce a professional still image rather than just a snap-shot. The first technique is the ‘Rule of thirds’ this is the idea that the photo is split into a 3×3 grid and depending on the style of photo you are trying to achieve you can weigh different subjects on different lines or areas (Guy, 2008).

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Rule of Thirds

Another technique is line and shape, the three well know line directions that can help guide the viewers eye when looking at a photo are Horizontal, Vertical and Diagonal. For example horizontal lines portray stability, vertical can help emphasise hight, and diagonal lines can be used to show perspective (Busch, 2011).

Shape is another important technique that can be overlooked, the space inside a shape is referred to as +ve and the space outside is -ve. This is important as to make sure you compose the image to make the -ve interesting/there for a reason. I then went on too look at a few more techniques that I shall make sure to always consider when doing this task, these included Balance, Dynamic and Depth.

References

Guy, N. 2008. The photographer’s dictionary. Crans-Près-Céligny: RotoVision.

Bellis, M. 2014. History of Photography and the Camera. [online] Available at: http://inventors.about.com/od/pstartinventions/a/stilphotography.htm [Accessed: 26 February 2014].

Stieglitz, M 1996, ‘Photography/Digital Imaging: Comparative Histories’, Exposure (00988863), 30, 3/4, pp. 29-36, Art & Architecture Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 26 February 2014.

Busch, D. D. 2011. David Busch’s mastering digital SLR photography. Boston, MA: Course Technology PTR.

Mini Project 1 – Animation – Extended

21 Feb

I choose to extend some of the techniques of animation further with a small piece of work. For this I wanted to create a quick stop motion time lapse using my iPad and the sunset. As my Bedroom window doesn’t face the sunset I used my flatmates and had to tape my iPad to the window as there was no ledge to rest it on. In hindsight this was a bad idea however lucky nothing was broken in the process. My inspiration came from videos such as ‘stunning time-lapse video: Elemental Iceland’ that was uploaded by The National Geographic YouTube channel. To some extent I wanted to play around with the idea of light and time, this i why i chose to to a time-lapse of the sunset. For this process I used an iPad app that i was introduced to called ‘iMotion HD’ this is a free piece of software that allows you to take photos on you iPad and choose the quality and how often a photo is taken, you can then choose the frame rate and export it to a video.

I’m very happy with the outcome of this video however I definitely feel as though this idea could be made more professional and higher quality. As with the iPad i had zero control of the camera properties that why in the future I would like to try this again linking my Canon 650d DSLR up to my Macbook and running a piece of software called DSLR Assistant available for mac. This allows me to tether my camera to my computer then I have full control of my DSLR settings within it and am able to have the high quality images and choose the time interval between each image.

 

 

Mini Project 1 – Animation – Summary/Outcome 2

20 Feb

After working in Adobe Flash CS6 for a while I began to pick up old techniques that I had used in the past. Along with prior experience with the software and that my ideas where simple yet distinct and effective this helped with the timing. This was because the project I was making featured a total of 360 frames as my animation was set to 24fps (frames per second) as this is PAL standard.

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360 Frames

I had multiple layers in the animation as I was using a range of different shapes that would transform and change between each frames. This was very time consuming as I had to change the size and aspects of each of the shapes for each of the 360 frames.

Some features inside Adobe Flash CS6 that I found very helpful where the align tool this was specifically helpful as it allowed me to centre certain shaped and object to the frame allowing them to all be in exactly the same place. Another tool I used a lot was the transform tab, this allowed me the change the scale, rotation and skew of each object very precisely meaning that it changed transformation by the same amount between each frame.

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Align tools

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Transform tools

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next process was producing the sound track, for this we where required to use Apples Garage Band. For professional client work this wouldn’t be suitable but for this task it fit well. I followed the same as the ‘Blinkity Blank’ Video. I create a sound track that was in time and kept the same tempo as the action within the animation.

After this project I feel that I re-learnt some techiniques within the Flash that I had forgotten and I feel this is very helpful as lots of tools inside Adobe Flash is transferable to other similar Adobe products that I will be using constantly throughout my time as a designer. I would like to further this idea of animation and maybe take the route of trying to tell a story and build characters in a series of short films. My background in sound production is very minimal so this small project helped me get started and I shall progress this further to see what I can produce.

My final Animation for this project can be viewed below.

Mini Project 1 – Animation – Interpretation 2

18 Feb

The brief for the second animation was to produce a 15 second short animation using the Academy Ration of 22mm x 16 mm, We had to use Adobe flash along side Garage band to add a sound track.

As I have worked with flash in the past I felt fairly confident with the task and as it had been a while since I had used Flash CS6 I was excited to start playing around with it again. Knowingly Flash is slowly die-ing out due to the fact its not searchable via search engines and that it its not supported on many tablet and mobile devices (Lendino, 2011). However even though this is true I feel that for the task at hand it is still a very suitable piece of software for the project.

My ideas for this piece of work stemmed from the early 1955 animation produced by Norman McLaren.

I really enjoyed the idea of simple but effective movement of shapes and plain backgrounds. The technique used here was scratching straight onto film frames creating vivid, percussive effects(Rist, 2001). However I would be using a digitised version of this technique. I wanted to use this idea but also to counter is rather than using a dark background with fast white flashes of shapes I wanted to have a strobe like effect of colours and different shapes.

References

Lendino, J 2011, ‘Adobe Flash Meets Its End’, PC Magazine, 30, 12, p. 1, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 18 February 2014.

Rist, P 2001, Guide To The Cinema(S) Of Canada, Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, eBook Collection (EBSCOhost), EBSCOhost, viewed 18 February 2014.

Mini Project 1 – Animation – Summary/Outcome 1

18 Feb

After working with the Praxinoscope in the workshop i produced an array of different designs, the two main ones I focused on where the flower/butterflies and the slice of pizza.

Flower Drawings

Flower Drawings

Above is the 12 drawn frames from the flower animation. The issue with this was that when i placed it in the Praxinoscope the butterflies didn’t look like they where moving much. The reason behind this was that the animation wasn’t long enough and the movement was far to subtle and not exaggerated enough

So this I when i moved away from the idea of the flower and chose to do the below animation of a slice of pizza being eaten bite by bite.

Pizza Drawings

Pizza Drawings

Animated GIF

Animated GIF

I am happy with the outcome of my work, I feel that it was very helpful for many reasons. This includes idea creation and how to be innovative rather than just producing a character based animation. This small project also allowed me to understand the underlying basics and some techniques used in early animation and processes that are still vital today. I would like to pursue the ideas of animation a little further with projects including stop-motion and some more digital techniques.

Mini Project 1 – Animation – Interpretation 1

16 Feb

The brief for the first animation task to to produce a 12 frame hand drawn animation, we would then be able to use a Praxinoscope to test out our ideas. My initial idea was to create a layered animation focusing on the early idea of drawing on transparent cells that can be changed to create motion and the idea of parallax (Kuhn and Westwell, 2012). I used the idea that you can draw on different transparent cels for the background, mid ground and foreground. For example if you had a still background you wouldn’t have to draw this out each time you can use it again and only have to draw the foreground.

My idea was to have a still flower in the background with butterflies hovering around it. I used this idea of cel animation in a different way, I used a lightbox just to copy the flower onto each 12 of the frames, this helped save time and allowed the flower to be exactly the same each frame. I then added a few butterflies that moved up and down between each frame.

When I tested this idea out on the Praxinoscope I didn’t like the final outcome. Although the technique used was effective I wasn’t overly happy with the result. One issue I found whilst practising with hand drawn animation is that you have to over exaggerate movement considerably more than you would expect.

After a few failed tests with easier objects such as bouncing balls to worked out how much I had to exaggerate and stretch objects to create a realistic movement, I then decided on a final design. This design was a slice of pizza that had bites taken out of it frame by frame.

Please read my next blog where I shall be showing the outcome of both the flower and the pizza animations and explaining how I digitised them.

References

Kuhn, A. and Westwell, G. 2012. A dictionary of film studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Mini Project 1 – Animation – History

14 Feb

Due to the large quantity of children’s animated cartoons from both television and now also the web it is popular belief that “Animation if for kids”. I highly disagree with this idea due to early examples of animation that is regarded portrayed towards the adult audience. Examples include ‘Sinking of the Lusitania’ (DelGaudio, 1997) and ‘Betty Boop’ (Kanfer, 1997) both of these animations are focused towards the adult audience.

Lets go back to the early years when animation was born, back in 1645 ‘The Magic Lantern (Pfragner, 1974) was invented, this was a very early example of a projector. The technology behind it was a concaved mirror that directed light through a sheet of glass which held a image that would then be enlarged onto a projection screen, which was usually a white wall. However back in the mid 16 hundreds people did not understand the idea of animation and how it worked. Until 1824 when Peter Mark Roget explained the principles of ‘persistence of vision’ (Borrell, 2010). The idea is that a humans retina stores one image until replaced by a new one, this principle is relied on by film and animation

Moving up to 1929 George Horner invents the Zoetrope, this shows the principles of ‘Persistence of vision’ in action. The a British photographer named Eadweard Muybridge invents the Zoopraxiscope, this was more sophisticated as it allowed the projection of more complex images. Further forward the motion-picture projector was invented in 1896 by Thomas Edison. The first animated film in 1906 was created using a chalkboard, it was produced by James Stuart Blackton. After ‘Gertie the dinosaur’ ‘Felix the Cat is know as the first true character in the animation scene in the 1920’s and is regarded as inspiration for for Disney. In 1927 Warner Brothers made ‘The Jazz Singer’, this was renowned for being the first feature length animated film that included the integration of sound and action (Bradley, 1996).

Animation history still flourishes however in the 1950’s we can see the beginnings of a new era of animation that we all know as ‘Motion Graphics’. We begin to see features such as ‘Yogi Bear’ ‘Huckleberry Hound’ and ‘The Flintstones’. We then are introduced to computer animation as Disney creates ‘Tron’. We then see a whole new technique being used in ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’, Richard Williams uses a computer animation techniques to add realism to composited shots. Computer animation and CGI take off from the 1990’s onwards with films such as Toy story, Shrek and Stuart Little along with large TV shows such as The Simpsons, South Park and Family Guy.

We are then delved into the depth of computer animated 3D films. And the rest is history.

References 

DelGaudio, S 1997, ‘If truth be told, can ‘toons tell it? Documentary and animation’, Film History, 9, 2, pp. 189-199, Communication & Mass Media Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 14 February 2014.

Kanfer, S. 1997. Serious business. New York: Scribner.

Pfragner, J. 1974. The motion picture. Folkestone: Bailey and Swinfen.

Borrell, B 2010, ‘BEFORE MICKEY MOUSE’, Scientific American, 303, 2, p. 48, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 14 February 2014.

Bradley, E. M. 1996. The first Hollywood musicals. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co.

Channel Project Update – Website

10 Feb

Our Channel Project is now fully complete, the videos are edited, exported and uploaded to YouTube and the website has been complete.

The website focus’s on a white grey and black scheme, the reason behind this was that after research at looks on similar technology sites that report news this was a common theme of colours. It also is helps portray a futuristic look to the site that is also encompassed by the welcome slogan and logo that floats in the middle of the page whilst the background is still scrollable. This gives of the impression of a hovering effect, the background is compromised of three images to loop infinitely and fade in to the next. In the footer of the page we have links to three of our social media pages, these being Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The reason we placed these at the bottom of the page and not the top was that we thought people are likely to finish reading the content and reach the bottom and when wanting more they can then follow the links for more info on our social media pages.

Time Frame - Home Page

Time Frame – Home Page

Along the top of the site we have 4 tabs these consist of Home, About, News and Contact. When the viewer rolls the mouse over any of these tabs they will change to a dark red, this is to shower the user where they are on the page. Next is the About page, this features the same layout style with the looping background and centred content that is scrollable. The page features a small portion of text explaining the company and the aims that we have, then below we have head shots of our the crew and staff. When the mouse is hovered over any of the images it changes then from black and white to a red with a text overlay of the roles they manage.

Time Frame - About Us Page

Time Frame – About Us Page

The next tab we have is News, this tab holds all of the videos that we produced. Each video sits inside its own wrapper that contains a title and a brief summary of the product being reviewed. The video player has been made using pure css to ensure compatibility via all the main browsers. We then have the video in multiple file types to ensure that each browser is able to play the video as well.  

Time Frame - News Page

Time Frame – News Page

Finally the last page we have is contact. At the top of the page we have listed all of our social media pages so that viewers are able to keep up to date with any content we produce. We then have a clean easy contact form that people can fill in if they want to speak to us about and ideas or future content they wish to promote.

Time Frame - Contact Page

Time Frame – Contact Page

Overall I think we have produced and effective website that portrays the image they we desire and and images graphics and content are of high standard.

Channel Project Update – Editing

10 Feb

The editing process has now been complete on time before the deadline. Between the two of us we decided to tackle the editing by doing two videos each, this us allowed us more time to spend perfecting each video. My job was to focus on the ‘Portal’ and ‘Teleporting’ videos, to edit these I used Final Cut Pro X.

For the start of the videos i chose to use a iconic spinning world intro screen that is widely recognised as a news broadcast, i then placed a png of our logo over the top to show our company name and brand. This intro also was accompanied by a 6 second sound track that was downloaded and is allowed for commercial use.

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Time Frame News Intro

The next scene would be the two news anchors reporting on the latest advance in technology. The reason we shot these scenes on the green screen was that we would then be able to key out the green and replace it with an animated studio background to give the effect of them being in a news studio. The final out come can be seen below and is surprisingly realistic.

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News Anchors in the studio

Sticking with the running theme of a news broadcast I then added a lower third that shows the names of the two News Anchors reporting. Below is the result of this.

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Lower third indicating news anchor name

Next is the showcase of the products that the anchors are talking about, The first video was portals so we have Oli in a hallway showing of this new technology. I was able to achieve this effect by placing two identical layers of Oli placing his hand out in front of himself onto the background image of a hallway. The background is just a still image and the video of Oli was shot on a green screen, so I keyed out all the green and then placed to animated portals behind and in front of him. Next I cropped and feather both copies of this layer differently and aligned them with the portal to give the effects of his hand going in one portal and coming out of the other.

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Final Portal effect

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Green screen un edited

The showcase for the Teleporting video was much simpler there was no green screening required. For the effect in this video I took two videos of Jake from the two locations one outside in the rain and then indoors. Placing the video of Jake outside in the rain first I then used the audio levels to find the exact point that he clicks and cut the video about half way through the audio of the click. I then did the same for the video of Jake inside out of the rain to give the effect of him teleporting outside to inside.

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Shot 1 – Jake outside

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Shot 2 – Jake inside

Both videos then ended back in the studio with the reporters saying thanks for watching join us next time. In my opinion I am happy with all of the videos and the final visual effects that I was able to implement.

Channel Project Update – Filming

6 Feb

We have now completed our filming that needs to done in the green screen studio. For the filming process we decided to hire out a Panasonic video camera that we had previously had a video workshop on, this was helpful as so we all knew how to operate the camera. We also decided to hire a clip on tie microphone, this was helpful as it allowed us to attach it to the person who would be the news anchor and would be able to pick up clear audio of their voice as this was the only sound required.

After the two days that we had hired out the green screen studio we finished shooting all the indoor footage required with out facing many problem along the way. The only problem we encountered was the fact that none of us in the group where great actors, the result of this was that we had to shoot lots of takes to make sure we had enough to choose the best. An affect of this was that the end video didn’t look as professional as we hoped as some actors looked nervous on screen, to rectify this in further projects we would think about recruiting people that have a background in acting.

We however have now come across issues with further filming. Due to bad weather we are now unable to film tomorrow this is an issue as it halts the editing process for one day, to combat this I began editing all of the green screen footage we have to ensure we have sufficient time when we shoot the rest to edit it all together to meet the deadline.

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Filming in the green screen studio