Time and Movement
Our BBC Weather Animation explores how we ultimately have no control over the weather. We combined filmed footage and well as illustrated stop motion animation to illustrate the effects of extreme weather conditions on technology. We chose weather conditions and countries we had experience of and an understanding of the way the weather in these countries can have an effect on a mobile phone in particular.
Little animation we liked that explored turning and camera rotation around an object
We stumbled across this music video by Bruno Mars and really liked the white illustrative, almost stop motion style illustrations that came up on the screen based on his movements. It combines illustration and real life really well which is something we have been keen to do from the start. Based on this video we'd like to create an animation in a similar style; filming the majority of it and then creating and animating illustrations of different weather elements and movements within the piece to combine these two styles. Although it will be difficult to achieve I think it could be really successful if we execute it to a high level. We will have to experiment with different illustration styles and see how we can introduce these into After Effects but once we have done this I am hoping it'll be fairly easy to produce as everything should follow a fairly similar process.
Idea 1: Outfits
We spent a lot of time discussing these three different ideas but decided to settle on how weather effects technology; through this we could incorporate the imagery of the BBC Weather App. We thought about how selecting different countries and weather conditions through the App could effect the conditions out side of the phone; the user would select a location and her environment would change accordingly. For example she'd select her location in London, see a rain cloud and rain drops would start falling heavily on the phone screen - this would then cause the phone to break down or something similar. Likewise she'd select her desired location; sunny Dubai for example and her phone would over heat and start smoking. I think this could be a really playful way to represent BBC Weather and how it changes so dramatically between locations - this allows us to explore weather extremes.
Digital experiments using After Effects
After having made these we realised that they were not the kind of visuals we wanted to use and that we'd have to generate our own visuals to use in our final animation. They looked too obviously edited and as a group we decided to create something a bit more playful. We discussed the fact that there is a massive difference between designing and creating something to look intentionally animated and a real effect that looks as if it has been superimposed onto the imagery (which is what we thought the below experiment ended up as).
Interim Crit Feedback
Our feedback based on our paragraph of intent and storyboard was fairly positive. Our tutor suggested to consider the animations purpose in greater detail - what're we trying to achieve? We discussed this with her and came to realise that we are ultimately powerless against the weather and that despite being in an age where we are able to control almost everything digitally the fact that we can monitor weather and alter our location is ultimately futile against the power of the weather. This is the main kind of theme we are exploring in our animation - we will do this by animating a phones and its user's reaction to the changing extreme weather conditions. Our tutor encouraged us to consider how we see the user and how they convey irritation and other form of emotion throughout the video - we thought about this in more detail and discussed using hand movements and frustrated 'finger tapping' etc. Because the animation will be shown as if viewed through the eyes of the user we'll be able to establish (hopefully) a more emotion animation that the audience can relate to and feel a part of.
We still have to think about the style of illustration that we'll use within the piece as well as the sound we will use. We are all going to produce individual concept art to experiment with different illustration styles so we can compare and decide what works best. I will discuss this with my group tomorrow when we start filming and hopefully we'll be able to sort out our idea properly. To film we will be using a green screen and then editing either a moving or station background against the phone - we are going to test both to see what looks most successful as we don't want to distract the audience from the main animation and image.
Concept Art Experimentation
Final Crit Feedback
Ou final crit went really well; we received positive feedback from our tutor and our peers who said that our animation answered the brief really clearly and combined film, sound and illustration really effectively to create a fun and playful clip that represents how out of our control the weather is.
The said that the work had been well researched and was successful due to our tests and experiments throughout the process which made the final outcome look more finished and considered.
To improve they suggested exploring different locations that the phone could be set in, so the different weather conditions apparent in the video are more relevant to the user's environment - you wouldn't get rain inside after all! We'll also need to work on cutting down the video as it is slightly too long; I think we can do this simply by shortening the initial start sequence.
Overall although I didn't really enjoy the process I am really happy with the outcome and the feedback we received. I feel I made a big contribution to the process and outcome and that we worked relatively well as a group to divide up our time and split up different stages of the animation successfully - if one person had had to do all the frame by frame animations it would have taken ages so me and Carol did well to split this up whilst retaining a very similar visual style. Artur also worked really well on the start and end sequences as he felt this is where his strengths would lie - I think this played a huge part in the success of our animation (that we were able to split up tasks).
We initially thought about the different ways that we can be effected by the weather for example:
- Whether we go out or not
We thought that the fact that your outfits change depending on the weather was quite an interesting concept and we could be quite playful with outfit changes as an umbrella was put up or as a person moved in front of the subject etc. like the Devil Wears Prada scene below. Another key idea we had was to design a little man that followed the weather around the map of England based on the report read out by a weather reporter for example he gets whisks up to Scotland by a "strong wind" and then floats down under an umbrella because its "raining in the Midlands" - we looked at an Asian animation 'Mr Weather' (as seen below) that explored a similar idea. We did consider this in quite a lot of detail but decided that it was too obvious an idea. Our third idea was to explore how the weather effects technology for example when a phone overheats or is too cold it shuts down, when it gets wet it glitches etc.
Idea 2&3: Map and Technology
PARAGRAPH OF INTENT
Our work will focus on how we interact with the weather through technology as well as how the weather can interact with and effect technology. We wanted to do this is quite a literal and playful way by exploring how the weather can physically damage or effect a phone; for example when it is too hot or cold a phone starts to shut down and can’t be used, likewise when it gets wet it’s screen will start to glitch. We wanted to explore a user’s navigation through the BBC Weather App and animate the different weather conditions that the user comes across. They would select and choose the different countries and temperatures that intrigue them.
We experimented with both a green screen as well as a black paper background. We were originally going to put a moving background as if the user was walking down the street but think it will be more successful to keep it simple and have a black background; this way we can really play around with the digital illustrations which will be clearer and stand out more against the black.
We filmed our final clip today which went really well and we got the final outcome fairly quickly. Over the next few days we will edit the final film with the intro and end sequences and then introduce the animated illustrations. We have split up the work so that Artur will edit the final film and myself and Carol will work on the illustrations. I had a go with trying to create a stop frame animation with the white illustrations today which I originally found really difficult; I think my problem with animation is that I don't tend to have the patience for it but once I got the hang of it it just became a repetitive process which I think I'll be able to get done fairly quickly. I had a go with different smoke effects but think it will be most successful to create cartoon style puffs of smoke like below; this will also require less frames. I will use a graphics tablet to create the illustrations so I am going to have a play with that tomorrow (as I have never used one before) and work out the quickest and easier way to work.
Start and End Frame Exp
Me and Carol both really liked the direction Artur's start frame was going but suggested working more closely with the BBC App logo - which was what we initially discussed, as well as trying to create more of a glitch type frame that would work more closely with our idea of the weather having complete control over our lives as well as its effect on technology.
I used the above tutorial to help me create the After Effects illustrations - it was unbelievably helpful as I originally had almost no clue how to do it.
Carol's first visual experiment
Editing Final Clip
We decided to create a frame by frame animation so it was extremely time consuming - I also managed to delete all my work so had to redo my entire section which became very frustrating. Although I am happy with the outcome I really struggled with this project, I'm not so keen on animation so I found it difficult to fully apply myself to the work and enjoy the process. I think it's because for me it feels like it takes such a long time to achieve something very short.
After having met Carol today and after combining our digital illustrations with the sound files I am really pleased with the outcome. I like the stop motion style aesthetic of the film as it creates an almost childlike style clip; this combined with the news report readings adds to the playful nature of the work. Artur will be working on introducing the start and end frames of the camera zooming into and out of the BBC Weather App logo (as seen in my storyboard) - hopefully this will be done by Saturday so we can work on anything outstanding by Sunday night ready for our crit on Monday.
We have shown our work to some of our peers and received a really positive response so hopefully we'll get some good feedback from our tutor on Monday.