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Digital Design and Animation Blog

By Matthew Sait

1.1 Analyse the requirements of a creative media production project.

Requirements of The Animation Industry

The rapidly growing animation industry is structured by accounting to the skills of different people, such as having an animator who is familiar with software that can be used to design an animation instead of having a cartoonist, for example, who may instead draw. The animation industry includes both 2D and 3D animators along with other roles such as art directors, graphic designers, storyboard artists, character animators, “Inbetweeners” and other media designers to assist in the creation process. The projects are usually funded by money from previous productions or after being proposed to industries that specialise in digital media.
Film production has a team at the top of the hierarchy, for instance “DreamWorks” is an animated film label from America and has a management team consisting of chief; accounting, marketing, financial, operating and global brand officers that control the budget, distribution and awareness of the products. In addition, they also have a chief executive producer who is responsible for hiring the right people such as directors and animators to suit the needs of their target audiences.
Under the ownership of the animation industry, and each of the leading bodies, the following are important in the development of the produce:
Technical Director who organises and maintains the equipment that is required along with programming and supplying the ability for files to be transferred across the different areas.
Director of Photography who organises photographers to get real life equivalents of story boards and concepts by digitally photographing images that the animators or designers can reference.
Editorial Cartoonist who directs artists to draw and create the cartoons/animations, using their acquired techniques.
Story Artist who creates the storyboards for the contents of the animation, like movement, backgrounds and annotations to share ideas with later developers.
Layout/Background Artist who directs the production and creation of the backgrounds/backdrops that can be put in the frames of an animation.
Finance and Marketing Dept. who specialise in advertising products and making sure that the budget is not breached.

Knowing this, my project should allow for me to take on the roles of a Story Artist, an Editorial Cartoonist and Technical Director, for me to ultimately perform the role of a Character Animator.
I will require storyboards that will be drawn to map out the frames for the animation to be able to acknowledge the context and concept behind each one before animating.
I will also need to create flipbooks to show the techniques of animation I hope to use (such as the 12 principles) before transferring the animation to a digital platform.
I will also need to be sure I have the correct equipment and software to perform the animations and include audio.
I can then animate the characters using the designs and equipment that I have prepared, to achieve a higher standard of animation.

Although I would consider the work I am doing to be independently developed, it could easily be worked into a mainstream production. This is because other media industries can require character animations, such as interactive media and game developers, to improve the visual effects of their work. Other industries such as film and TV would also be able to put the animations to use but not in the same way, as the animations would act more like scenes instead of the characters being animated separately from them but this is dependent on the requirements set by the producers and directors.

An example of an organisation that could publish my work could be the social media game developer “Zynga” who release games that contain animated, rendered images. They would be able to use the animations in their games as either sprites or graphics, as they already do. The animated products would be useful for this as the animations can be smaller and less detailed as they can be targeted toward phone platforms and this also means they can be loaded quickly by computers, unlike for example 3D animated models. This can be achieved through turning the animated graphics into GIF files (with any audio being MP3 formatted).
Zynga use Facebook as a platform for their games meaning that the animations would be required to be targeted toward the online social media’s audience.
If I had a concept for the game or worked with a game developer, I would be able to propose the animations in context to Zynga’s Board of directors to pitch the idea as well as present the animations. The board of directors at Zynga consists of Frank Gibeau (Chief Executive Officer) and Gerard Griffin (Chief Financial Officer) who have worked for Electronic Arts., another mobile game developer, Matt Bromberg (Chief Operating Officer), Bernard Kim (President of Publishing) who has worked of EA and Disney mobile and Renee Jackson (Vice President of Human Resources, Associate General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer). They would determine whether the proposal would be within capabilities along with whether it is practical along with the standard being worth their time and money.
The target audience would be a mainstream audience because Facebook itself already has a wide audience of many demographics meaning that Zynga aim for anyone who uses it as their target audience. This can be seen in two of their most successful games, “Farmville” of which has 57.9% of the audience being female (and/or aged 26 to 45) as opposed to “Texas HoldEm” which has a percentage of 72.7 of the users being male.

Animationcareerreview.com. (2017). Types of Jobs in Animation | Animation Career Review. [online] Available at: http://www.animationcareerreview.com/careers-animation/types-jobs
profile, V. (2017). Structure & Ownership of Media Industries. [online] Victoriaimedia.blogspot.co.uk. Available at: http://victoriaimedia.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/assignment-1-structure-ownership-of.html
Hierarchystructure.com. (2017). Animation Company Hierarchy. [online] Available at: http://www.hierarchystructure.com/animation-company-hierarchy/
Zynga.com. (2017). Our Story. [online] Available at: https://www.zynga.com/about/our-story
Zynga.com. (2017). Zynga Leadership Team. [online] Available at: https://www.zynga.com/about/leadership-team/zynga-leadership-team
 Su, S. and Su, S. (2017). Who's Using Facebook's Top Apps? Demographic Data Indicate Diverse Audiences. [online] Adweek.com. Available at: http://www.adweek.com/digital/whos-using-facebooks-top-apps-demographic-data-indicate-diverse-audiences/

Relevant Equipment and Technology of Animation

To complete my project, I will need to consider and include the technology and equipment that I will require to animate a character successfully. This is important as the quality of the animation, along with the time spent on it, can rely on the capabilities of the equipment and technology that I choose to use.

For designing the characters, I will need to use a pen/pencil along with paper (graph paper for the sprite art) to draw and annotate my designs. In doing so I will be able to have minimal limitations as to the visuals and can also work the posture, details and size of different concepts. I will also make storyboards and flipbooks that will require the drawing stationary along with other potential drawing apparatus such as rulers, stencils, colouring pens/pencils and erasers.
I will also require instruments to perform Foley sounds that may be used to imply or express the movement of the animation.

To record a reference of movement I will require a camera to act out the movement from story boards to use as a reference while animating. This means that I can record myself performing an action in hopes to slow it down to observe the specific movement that I undergo to make the movement. This means that the higher recording speed of the camera, the more frames of the animation that can be made using the movement. I can use the footage to understand the weight, forcer, acceleration, slow-in and out, direction, overlapping and secondary actions of the way that a person/character moves to convey a better understanding of emotion.
As for recording sound, a hyper cardioid or cardioid mic would be preferable as to ensure that I specifically only get the noise of what I hope to record, such as footsteps. A “pop shield” could also be used to prevent any sudden bursts of air from getting into the recording device and potentially decreasing the effectiveness and quality of the audio.
After collecting and designing the assets, I will be required to use a computer capable of running the appropriate software to create the animation along with editing it where necessary.

I will need two separate processes regarding the software I will use:
For the frame-by-frame animation, I will use Adobe Photoshop to create the pixel art character sprites as well as it’s “Timeline” to make the animation.
For the vector animation, I will need to use Adobe Illustrator to create the body parts of a character, along with the actual character, posing them in key frames. Then I will need to use Adobe After Effects to put the animation together to “tween” which involves working on the parts in-between the key frames.
Other software that can be used to animate include; DigiCel’s “FlipBook” for 2D animation and could be used instead of pen and paper if required, Adobe’s “Flash” for Web animations, The Blender Foundation’s “Blender” for easily made 3D animations, Autodesk’s “3ds Max” for higher budget animation design and Autodesk’s Maya for higher budgeted animating. Adobe have also released a software called “Character Animator” which can be used to animate assets from Photoshop and Illustrator.

To be able to create an animation effectively, the computer must have the appropriate graphics card to be able to run more efficient software along with enough memory (RAM) to be able to store the assets and changes to them. The CPU of the computer is preferably a dual-core processor (or better) that is compatible with 64-bit operating systems.
Some of the file formats that support animation are; Dynamic HTML which can be used with Java Script to create less complicate animations (such as button presses), SWF files which are what Flash animations tend to use to be used online and GIF files which are compatible with web as well as most other software but can’t have audio included as it is read as an image file. For my project, I will use MP4 (after making the animation a GIF for the frame-by-frame) as to include sound but I will need to make it high quality to improve the visuals as pixel art and vector graphics have straight edges which could be lost using lower quality file formats.

Animators use the operating system UNIX to transfer files to each other across the industry. Not requiring this for my project, I will use a memory stick to transfer files between computers. I will also use the Internet for both the aforementioned as well as for referencing and researching my project.

Southerland, P. (2017). Animation Computer Info. [online] Available at: https://www.regent.edu/acad/undergrad/pdf/animation_hardware_requirements.pdf
Animationcareerreview.com. (2017). 7 Types of Computer Animation Software Worth Knowing | Animation Career Review. [online] Available at: http://www.animationcareerreview.com/articles/7-types-computer-animation-software-worth-knowing
Animation World Network. (2017). Creating Better Animation Reference Using High Speed Video. [online] Available at: https://www.awn.com/blog/creating-better-animation-reference-using-high-speed-video
Instructables.com. (2017). [online] Available at: http://www.instructables.com/id/Recording-audio-for-videos-and-animations-A-Few-Q/
File Format for Animation. (2017). File Format for Animation. [online] Available at: http://fileformatforanimation.weebly.com/

Week 2 – Prevent

“Prevent” is a safeguarding policy that works to prevent extremist behavior and show concern toward people who may end up joining groups of this nature, such as religion, politics and “rights” movements. The government enforce this by responding to any terrorism or threats, making the person aware that it is for extremist measure (not because of the reason for the acts), doing all they can to stop people getting persuaded into extremist act, giving help/support to those involved and they work with institutions to help the communities. Continue reading “Week 2 – Prevent”

Term 2 – Week 8: Evaluation

Term 2 – Week 7

Term 2 – Week 6

Term 2 – Week 5

Term 2 – Week 4

Term 2 – Week 3

Pixel Art: Problems & Solutions

Pixel art can be used in games as a style and a creative direction. There is a lot of Software that can be used to create pixel art (including MS Paint and Adobe Photoshop) which can then be used for textures in a game.  Pixel art has been used in a wide variety games over the years and has shown to be a very successful way of animating 2D games as well as an effective way to portray a creator’s concept. Continue reading “Term 2 – Week 3”

Term 2 – Week 2

Introduction to Pixel Art – “The Queen”

For this task, I was required to interpret one of two images of Queen Elizabeth II into pixel art as if she was a side scrolling player sprite in 16×16, 24×24 and 32×32 resolutions. This also involved making sure that there was contrast or blended colours where necessary to show the change in parts of the body along with adding depth to the image. The sprites were also supposed to just have features that imply who it is so imitating the original image’s pose was not advised. Continue reading “Term 2 – Week 2”

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