Wednesday, 16 February 2011

end of module evaluation - design production for digital

When this module first began back in December, I had not so much as glanced at Adobe After Effects before. I had never even considered opening it out of being inquisitive, and in some respects, it was very daunting for me being thrown into this very technical, industry standard piece of animation software. But nevertheless, I persevered. Over Christmas I did a lot of self directed learning on After Effects based around the Silent Movie brief which helped me grasp the basics of the program a lot. However, Mike Flower's sessions were even more helpful for my development on the program. Mike's extensive knowledge of After Effects meant that he could tell me how to do pretty much anything I wanted on the program. As well as Mike, as everybody got better at After Effects as the module progressed, everyone was helping each other out which was very useful. This was also a good thing for studio morale. Particularly due to the heavy work load everyone has been experiencing.

Clearly After Effects is a major skill that I have picked up on this module. However, I have picked up lots of other animation-based skills that were not familiar to me before this module such as storyboarding, and flip booking as a process of creating ideas for a resolution. These are all skills that I will definitely find beneficial in the future. After Effects is a top end piece of professional software and having a good knowledge of that can be very valuable to employers in the future.

Time management can always be improved. Although, as usual, I don't feel that my punctuality has ever been an issue in concern of my own learning development or the development of others. The main issue I can have with time is jiggling work around so that it comfortably fits into a routine. I generally tend to work on either; a) What I instinctively feel I should be doing, b) What I am enjoying the most. This generally tends to be the former of these two methods. If they cross over then that is just a bonus. I do feel comfortable working like this, however, this may not necessarily be the most effective or efficient way of working. I need to reassess my system of managing work in order to direct my work flow much more smoothly.

Nevertheless, this does not mean that I have not been working hard. For a good majority of this module I have been in the studio until 7pm onwards. I balance these late hours with an adequate social life. Sometimes a break from graphic design is nice. As Craig Oldham from Music in Manchester stated in his talk; graphic design is boring. Why talk about layouts, type and image, kerning and tracking all the time? That is boring. Particularly out of the studio! This has led me to believe that talking about graphic design constantly can suck the creative fun away from it. I make it my personal goal to just get on with it - because of course I enjoy it - but at the same time, not constantly go on about it.

Research methods in this module have been a bit different to previous modules for me this time around. During the first half of the module (Silent Movie brief) I took the liberty to dive into the general world of animated graphics as a response to the 'What is Design fro Screen?' design context brief. This set me thinking more creatively and it was a good thing to look at motion graphics that wasn't just kinetic type situated around the Silent Movie brief. It was very beneficial to look at image based examples of motion graphics also. When the second half of the module kicked in with the 'Top 10' brief, my research continued with innovative motion graphics. However, it was much more situated around my subject matter of The Beatles as a way of researching an appropriate aesthetic. I produced a lot of genuine research into The Beatles as a way of justifying design content which was useful in helping explain the design side of the project.

In terms of the physical side of work for this module, I am actually very pleased with my final resolutions for both projects. I am particularly pleased with my animated sequences for 'Top 10' and I see them fit for portfolio use which is great. However, I really feel as if I could have put more effort into developmental work in this module. Animation requires a very different method of working compared to other forms of design which I struggled to get used to. This in turn effected my development. However, I turned a lot of focus toward final animation production with I feel paid off in terms of personal benefit. Particularly for the Top 10 brief I could have done with more idea development and perhaps a couple more storyboards. However, I am still pleased in general with the personal and professional development that I have made as a designer. I have gained a multitude of new skills and methods of creative thinking that will inevitably aid me as a designer in the near and distant future.

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