From Prototype to Product

This was the initial prototype along with the animation included in video 1.

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2nd Prototype – This is the second prototype scanner which was added to Draft 1 Video included in the submission. As you can see the background is lit more professionally and includes a vignette to add to the focal point of the video.

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Initial Prototype – Inspection machine model – created before I found out about there own in house inspection machine model

 

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Colour Inspection Machine

This ended up being the final product as C-Tex already had an inspection machine model. Therefore I decided to incorporate this into my final pieces and scrap the scanner entirely as there is already videos of it taken by Josh and Adam. Also the C-tex model looks a lot more professional and when added to my background and lighting looks pretty good i think. It also helps to show the clients this as they will know exactly what it is without getting too abstract and creating my own interpretations of various mechanical objects.

 

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Project Process – Teamwork and Communication

 

As this was a group project a lot of effort went in to collaborating and gelling well within a team. Overall this process went very well. I felt that as a team we worked really well supporting each other along the way and generally respecting each others workflow and personal process.

Once the project roles were decided I was pretty much left to create the 3D elements in piece. Adam did make storyboards which helped me out a lot as I realised which sections of each video needed what and I think this management and support really helped me to produce elements that were actually essential to the success of the project. This meant I could get to work on the 3D specs straight away. Of course by the end the elements all looked very different to the initial prototypes and first drafts, but this has taught me a lot about give and take and adapting skills and workflow to fit with the constantly changing aspects of the project.

Of course the elements had to be framed and shot correctly to allow for the callouts to fit in and look professional, and I have outlined this process in one of my previous blog posts.

This process on top of constant communication and back and forth regarding the correct placement of 3D elements. length of footage and movement within each segment of animation meant that the overall product looks sleek and somewhat professional.

Client Feedback

In order to gauge how well the the project is going, We emailed the client for their own personal feedback from the first video drafts. As I was not directly involved in the edit I was only looking for feedback specifically relating to the 3D elements. The following is the feedback from the videos and the suggested changes that were highlighted by C-Tex:

Pre-Install

  • I know it seems obvious but we should stage ‘take photo of the machine you want to install c-tex colour onto
  • White dimension arrows – need for the other dimensions we require
  • Need to include text: we will manufacture to your dimensions, and send unit boxed and ready for you….we can then unpack, partially dissemble and fit to your machine

Training Video

  • Format 1: should read: Real-Time Operator Interface
  • CVS data: should be: CSV Readings
  • OK: so I prefer Adam’s edit on how to interpret roll maps. Then we need Josh’s edit on the 3 example roll maps included.

As you can see from the above text there is no mention of the 3D elements which can only be a positive sign as no corrections have been suggested! Therefore in terms of the content I have provided I can only assume that no news is good news, meaning that it works well within the context of the videos.

However for my own personal development and from the feedback from the C4D Geeks and also from peers, there are definitely some adjustments that can be made and that testing will follow this blog post. But as far as the client goes we are definitely getting a lot closer to completing the 3 videos.

Searching for Feedback!

I still feel that I am struggling with the lighting and also just looking for more professional feedback from seasoned pros and experts within C4D. Instead of using survey monkey to ask basic yes or no questions, which don’t provide much in the way of helpful and constructive feedback and criticism, I have decided to post in the C4D Café forums to see if any expert motion graphic designers can help to push me forward in the right direction and give some much needed feedback and advice. The last time I used this I also included a survey. However I have realised that the questions I was asking were a bit constricting in there answers and I have decided to just let people give more general and personal feedback which could help me uncover things I didn’t even consider. In short i have realised that a simple yes or no answer to a question that might not even be relevant to the information I am really trying to collect from the survey is not a very productive way of thinking and leaves no option for any other answers or feedback.

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Hopefully this approach will reach more of a technically minded audience. I will also be sending out the completed videos along with the filming that we did yesterday to some of the clients clients (target audience) as this will be the real test in terms of completing and solving the visual communication problem at the heart of this project.

Catering for an international audience – Design Methods

This is something that as a group we all have to consider when creating our videos. As well as the actual language used it is also necessary to look further than that and consider different colour theory for different countries and the eastern hemisphere. Therefore I decided to look at several sources to see if I could find some pointers and tips to point me in the right direction.

Designing for an International Audience

Although all these links are more related to web design it is also important to consider several elements relating to colour and also the specific audience within the different countries.

“Studies have shown blue to be the least offensive color for international audiences, which explains why so many websites use “corporate blue.””

“For example, on a dashboard widget in Western countries, green means great, red means danger. In China, those colors are reversed and have the exact opposite meaning because culturally, red is a sign of happiness and well being. White is typically a sign of purity, clarity and innocence, but again, in Asian cultures, it symbolizes death and mourning.”

This is very important to consider during my own design process making sure to use non bias and non threatening colours.

“The difference is obvious. Chinese audiences prefer a much more cluttered home page with loads of information cramped in, while English audiences prefer a cleaner interface with a few neat categorisations.”

Design from East to West

Could this be true of Visual animated content as well and if so would this effect the Chinese market if we tried to simplify everything to cater for a solely western market?

Although I am not really involved with the call outs and translation of them into several different languages (outlined in the brief) I came across a website through doing this research. I have suggested in the group chat that google translate might not be the most effective and efficient way of collecting a wide range of translations in a short period of time. It is also risky as it is more often than not incorrect. More political blunders in the link below!

Why Relying on Google Translate is a Bad Idea

The website is called Phrase app and translates from within the app to help efficiency within international companies on a project by project level. Although this is not the purpose of our project the reliability and accuracy is a lot higher as this is a standalone platform.Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 18.01.22.png Forget Google Translate 3 Ways to get Accurate Translations

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I also found a few cheaper alternatives, however there is a free 14 day trial with phrase app which is all we need considering the project deadline is the 12th of May.

 

 

Researching Instructional Videos (Specifically 3D)

 

 

 

All these videos are similar in what they provide to the customer. They are basically instruction manual styles but animated in 3D. This is very similar to what i want to recreate. However the pre-installation video is more about asking the customer to tell C-tex what they need to know about there machines so that they can send a pretty much complete colour machine ready for fixing on. By this I mean things like dimensions of the company’s own machine so C-tex can create a correctly sized rig. Also what side the computer / control box is own and which way the fabric rolls. Therefore instead of showing the customer how to build the machine from scratch i just need to show through animation which information C-tex need to receive in order to proceed with the order.

However I am definitely going for the same basic structure of showing them what they are getting and where exactly the information that C-tex need can be found, with the same clear white infinite background to keep it simple and not too cluttered.

Although the instructions will be 80 percent visual I thought it would be a good idea to look at tips for written instructions as this will help give me insight on what a video could do to help and speed up these tips. Also the same tips really apply for video and so it helps to understand both sides of the issue.

9 Tips for Writing Effective Instructions

  1. Know your audience. Have an idea of your submitter’s demographic and background so you can include language and terms that you know they will understand.
  2. Keep your instructions short and concise. Don’t say something in 30 words that you could say in 7 and limit each instruction to one main idea. There’s an acronym on the internet–tl;dr–which translates to “too long; didn’t read.” Don’t succumb to this.
  3. Use the simplest terms. Your audience may be new to online collection (or submitting materials in general) or English may not be their primary language. Use small words.
  4. Have contextual instructions. Make sure that your instructions are in a place nearest to the appropriate activity and at the appropriate time in the collection process.
  5. Place sequential instructions in a numbered list and optional instructions in bullets. Instructions that are in steps should resemble a recipe. Those that are optional or alternate (this OR that OR the other) don’t need to be in numbered order, but make sure you include your “ORs” between bullets. (This is a numbered list because there is at least somewhat of an order to these steps.)
  6. Use the imperative mood. Make your instructions specific commands instead of vague statements (you may have noticed I’ve been trying to do this as much as I can). Example: “Select one topic below,” instead of “Please pick from this list of topics.”
  7. Call attention to warnings. Style warning text bold and even change font style/size if it’s not too aesthetically jarring. You can also make the text red, but realize that some colorblind users may not be able to make the distinction between red and black/dark gray text.
  8. Give it a dry run. Have some staff try going through the process and see if they suggest revisions to your instructions. Go through the instructions on your own and picture yourself in the role of submitter. If possible, have a few trusted contributors test the instructions and provide feedback before you open the site to everyone.
  9. Don’t be afraid to change the instructions. Making the instructions clearer halfway through the submission process at least makes it easier on the late arrivals.

9 Tips for Writing Effective Instructions

and also looking at what makes an effective training video to see which points interlink and compare them, and then which are different and solely used for video or written.

10 TIPS TO MAKING MORE EFFECTIVE TRAINING VIDEOS

1. Use a Script  – Don’t Ramble

Too many people tend to want to skip to the fun part – the shooting, and not work with a script, storyboard, shot sheet or any type of plan to getting their training video done. This wastes a lot of time and doesn’t inform the audience well, and key points can be missed or lost in translation.

2. Keep it Short – Be Concise and Succinct

People have very short attention spans nowadays, especially for internet video. They have a lot of distractions taking them away from your video.

3. Audio is MOST Important!

Videomaker harping on the need for good audio is like listening to a broken record. (You remember those, right? Black vinyl discs with grooves that spun on a player with a diamond needle that projected cool tunes in the old days?) Some people still don’t get it – your audience will forgive bad video, but will tune out due to bad audio.

4. Simple Background and Lighting

An elaborate set isn’t necessary for most How To videos, and in fact it often detracts from the subject at hand.

5. Use Two cameras or Shoot it Twice – Then Edit it!

Many people really want to do a training video in one long shot, with one take. More power to them. You can’t run the camera and do the demo at the same time effectively, and zooming in then out to illustrate points wastes time.

6. Closeups and Cutaways of the Action

Closeups are necessary for most training videos. Whether it’s to demonstrate a techniques or show a collection of materials needed, most training videos will have some cutaways of closeup shots.

7. Add Simple Graphics

From an Open Graphic that tells the audience what you are demonstrating to a Closing Graphic that tells them where to go for more, graphics are essential for all training videos. Even the easiest entry-level consumer video editing programs can make simple titles nowadays.

8. Check out Examples Online

Critique them for how you think you’d learn to do the technique yourself.

  • Are they too sloppy? Can you understand what the message is implying? Do you feel confident that you can do the process they are teaching? Is it rushed or does it drag to much? Does it have a busy backdrop or distracting background?

9. Bonus Material

If you’re making the training video to sell on a disc, adding bonus material to the DVD is a good way to elicit sales other than just views from a free online audience.

10. Teaser – More to Come!

always leave them wanting more.

  • If your training video is one in a series that runs online, you can have a short 10 to 20 second teaser at the end advertising the next video in the series using a simple voice-over that discusses what the next video will be along with an expected time it might appear. Don’t forget to add your product name, company or business name and website.

 

As I am reading this i can see that quite a lot of these points we are already implementing which is definitely a good sign and this research has definitely helped me realise that we are heading in the right direction with everything!!

Project 5 Animation Sequences

For project 5 there is around 4 main 3D sequences that occur in video 2 and 3. These are highlighted in the storyboards.

These consist of showing the ctex machine and its flower pattern lights (the animation used for the concept/prototype)

Showing the fabric rolling left and right so that the customer knows to notify ctex about which direction the fabric rolls on their own machine.

Showing a PC on the left and right of the machine so the customer knows to notify ctex about which side the controller will be standing on.

And lastly the control box being closed to show dimensions needed to install. Or if they don’t have one to offer purchase of correctly sized control box.

Therefore I have created a timeline and lists to hopefully create all the assets in the allotted time.

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As you can see so far I have created most of the initial assets needed for the animations however I still have to create the control box and also figure out a way to actual get the fabric to roll.

I have also created a basic setup where most of the animations will occur. Although this is very early stages and really just a jumping off point in terms of layout and structure.

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I tried to use this tutorial to add movement to the fabric but unfortunately on my first attempt i couldn’t get the motion graphic elements moving. This was very irritating however I will attempt it again with a more thorough understanding of the concepts behind it and hopefully it will be second time lucky… Watch this space….

 

I have also made a start on the computer side to side animation as i have created all the necessary assets for this section. Again it is really basic with no real texturing or lighting etc. However it is a starting point for further development….