Project 5 has been the final project and therefore the most insightful in terms of really getting experience within the industry and working with real clients with real expectations. This has definitely helped to push me to be more on time and treat this experience with a lot more respect. I think working in a team has also given me the drive to keep up with the rest of the group and work in a more time efficient manor.
In terms of the actual finished project I am very pleased with the aesthetic look of the 3D animations. I feel that they are well lit and fit very well into a corporate style video(s). I have learnt a lot from this process, not least the difference between sticking up a few oddly placed lights and professionally lighting and executing the layout of said lights. Other than just the technical elements I feel that I have grown as a professional individual through learning the process behind the final creating the final videos. I have had time to fine tune and tweak my process so that I can test it and experiment with several different concepts. I have also become a lot more time efficient throughout the year and now have more of an understanding of why time management is so valuable. My efficiency has definitely been impacted.
Over the year I feel that my communication skills have also vastly improved and this has been due to several factors. Group work has worked on these skills and given me the ability to pitch my ideas confidently as well as public speaking for presentations which has helped with this as well. I have realised my strengths and weaknesses throughout the year and through using S.W.O.T. and other planning techniques I have been able to identify the areas of my practice that need the most work. This has helped build my skills as an animator.
For example I realised in project 4 that the lighting of a scene was an area that i struggled in and I was able to work on this during project 5. It is now something that i feel is of great importance and can add a lot to any dull scene. Therefore I find that I am still learning something new everyday and working on my skills.
Throughout the year I have had a chance to really find my speciality within the creative industry. I feel that i have now found my niche within motion graphics. As you can see in the first project I tried my hand at 2D after effects style motion graphics and felt that although it went alright I feel in a much stronger position now having spent a few months perfecting my more attractive skills within digital content creation.
Project 5 is definitely a culmination of all the skills I have learnt over this year and is really a testament to the journey I have taken over the last 9 months. It uses everything I have learnt from workflow and time management to technical skills like lighting and camera movement. It has also been a step in a completely new direction in terms of creating my own opportunities and finding real clients who can actually benefit from the work I do and vice versa. This back and forth with a real client has shown me a different side of the media industry and the more intricate details of freelance work and how to go about it. This has been a real learning curve for me and has been influential in going forward into the big wide world with these new found negotiation and project management skills.
Overall I have enjoyed my time at NTU and feel a lot more prepared and fine tuned for the next step in my life.
Three Heads Are Better Than One springs to mind…
Throughout this project it has been very beneficial to acquire as much feedback as possible. As well as collating and analysing my own feedback it has also been tested with other professionals in the industry. This is courtesy of other members of the group and is another reason why working in a group has been such a vital and influential part of this procedure. It means that as a group we have been able to spread the videos far and wide and have managed to gather a lot more data and constructive critiques of the videos than if this had been a one man project.
Josh received some feedback from a company that he did a placement for and they gave feedback on a lot of different aspects of the video however I have only taken the 3D part of the feedback so as to highlight my specific role in the team.
“Video editor 2: I agree also agree, the 3d PC could have been textured to make it more interesting.”
This is valuable feedback and given time to re-render and texture the PC, this is something I would definitely consider to bring more interesting and visually eye catching content to the videos.
Other than this they were happy with the 3D elements within the videos and I am quite pleased that these feedback sessions have gone so smoothly.
This was the initial prototype along with the animation included in video 1.
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.
Initial Prototype – Inspection machine model – created before I found out about there own in house inspection machine model
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.
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.
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:
- 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
- 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.
After my last post I revisited the site to see if anyone had left feedback from the two videos I posted and these were the results:
Although there were not loads of responses it is good to get at least a few which directly relate to the questions I asked. It shows that people on the forums have more to say than if you just use a simple Survey monkey style questionnaire as this gives a lot more room for explanations tips and tricks.
This basically supported my suspicion that there is almost no need for a GI element as the light boxes (light dome) have done a good job lighting the scene efficiently. It is also apparent that the shadows may be the reason that the realistic feel is not complete. This can be seen in the latest control box update with the shadowing ending up looking like two different materials have been used. This will need to be edited and now that I have some suggestions on how to do that I feel a lot more confident doing so.
There is mention of trying out an HDRI for reflections however I really haven’t the need for much reflection and therefore don’t think i will use this technique. Also studio HDRI was mentioned however this is a very costly setup and considering I can get a pretty similar effect without having to fork out for a professional lighting kit this is not an option i can implement. Although for my re renders i will try adding some slight bevelling to help with reflections. However I feel that using GI on top of this process will just push the render time through the roof and therefore will be pretty ineffective in the time we have left to complete the project.
It was also mentioned by an esteemed colleague that the computer used within the control box videos would be made more visually effective if screenshots of the software were added to show that there is a reason for them being there e.t.c so this will also be added in to hopefully boost all aspects of the animations.
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.
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.