Creating My Video

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I have a bit of experience using After Effects, but by no means am I confident in using it. More recently I have used frame animation in Photoshop, and originally I had considered using this function to create my video. The issues using frame animation though is that (in my experience) producing single frames for each necessary movement is a long and arduous task, and it can be difficult to edit. Photoshop does offer a video animation function though that seems to use the very basics of After Effects, and this means that I can edit my animation more simply and easily. The movement with an animation is much smoother too, and as I worked more using the function I found that I could produce a much more natural look to hand movements.

The above examples show how I produced the video using the layers I had previously created within Photoshop. Each individual layer was given key positions so that they could be seen visually moving. This was paramount to my idea of showing how the card worked, and how a person would interact with it, as well as giving the viewer a sense of movement across the user interface.

To combat the need for a voice over I decided to incorporate type into my video. This has been used previously in Apple and similar commercials, but to not overcrowd the visuals I had to use type sparingly and at key moments.

Below is a gif which is an example of my video so far. I want to complete this by moving to a shot with a television in view with the card still in focus, to show how it can connect to other devices. As yet I’ve not been able to achieve this in Photoshop in the way I want to.

Video

Below are examples of how I created a second animation which shows the connection between a larger screen and the business card. It uses the same principles of scrolling using the card, but the visuals are mirrored on a nearby screen.

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I will attach this to the first animation and to create a seamless link I will use a simple fade out and in. Below is a gif as an example of my second video.

Video-2

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Preparing My Video

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To demonstrate my business concept I have taken inspiration from Apple commercials which are simple, yet effective. They show their devices against a plain, white background with the device in focus and a hand holding it. Points from a finger show the interaction between user and device, as well as giving the viewer a sense of how easy the interface is to use. This is also key to my concept, as I want to be seen not only for my work now, but for my ideas as a designer for the future.

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The screenshots above show how each stage of this portion of my video have been created. I have used an image of a hand holding a business card against a white background. I’ve simply deleted the business card and using layers in Photoshop I’ve been able to show the different stages of my interface concept. The design of my interface has been borrowed from my own website: www.scratchdiamond.co.uk. I felt it was simplistic enough in layout that it could be transferred over to a smaller screen, whilst retaining the same scroll over effects. The pull out menu has been inspired by my time with smartphones, in particular, the Android OS and it’s use of movement for everything that is touched. This movement on and off the screen gives the viewer the sense that things are coming from somewhere and going somewhere. This aesthetic aids the interaction between the user and the device. I will use Photoshop’s Timeline function to animate my layers.

Video Idea and Storyboard

As spoken about in my previous post, I am going to be using Google Cardboard as my physical hook to entice users to view a video. This video will revolve around my prediction of how graphic designers will promote themselves in the future. I have decided to centre it around my earlier idea of an interactive business card, one that involves a touchscreen and the ability to scroll through work anytime, and anywhere.

I have focused on this idea of future predictions as I feel it promotes me as future thinker. It is something I am very interested in, and I feel my research has shown this, and has also sparked a few ideas of what might come in the future. With graphic design ever evolving to keep up with an ever changing world, promoting myself in this way will show potential clients and future employers that I am aware and up to date on a current and future technology world.

Initial storyboard concept for my video

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The video will mainly be typographic using kinetic typography. I consider myself a typographer, so it seems an obvious choice to focus on this element. I would also like to add in moving imagery such as infographics to show how my future business card will work. I have an interest in GUI and UX design, and I am currently writing a dissertation which will involve both, with an outcome that will hopefully lead me to creating my own. This video will showcase this interest by way of moving infographics. To show the card in action I will use work from my portfolio as examples of how someone might use it. Not only does this help promote the idea as a physical product, but also involves my own work, both of which are in focus.

Experiencing Google Cardboard

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After my time of printing out templates, and putting together Google Cardboard myself, I decided it would be good to gain the full VR experience, so I purchased Google Cardboard; NFC tag, lenses and all. It came to me all packaged up as one mailer, and just like on the Google Cardboard website I had to unattach it from the cardboard housing, and assemble it. It was a very simple process, and by having it contained within its own box means that the lenses and NFC tag are already in place. There were even infographics as instructions printed inside, and on the Google Cardboard itself, so it was pretty much self explanatory.

The experience itself of using Google Cardboard was, in a word, amazing. It was my first virtual reality experience, and I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing. I have a smartphone with NFC capabilities, so once inserted into Google Cardboard the NFC tag instantly recognised my phone and opened up the Google Cardboard app. Menu icons moved with every movement of my head, and each section of the app was completely immersive, transporting you into a virtual world as if you were there. I could even watch YouTube videos as if I were sitting in a cinema, looking around a theatre.

YouTube app through Google Cardboard

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Google Cardboard isn’t only a simple idea, but it is a cheap solution for the VR experience, and this example shows me that it is an easy way to get a product of this kind out to people, via direct mail. I think this would make a great physical hook, as receiving such an item would entice a recipient to open it and put it together. With clear instructions on the package, anyone could do it, and once they’ve assembled it the only thing left to do is try it out with a smartphone.

The NFC tag is also a simple way of getting the user to view whatever you want them to view, and in my case I would program it to take the user to my video. I would instantly have a captive audience, and all it took was a mail out, and a simple assembly of a product received for free.

Of course, this also negates the need for a QR code, and doesn’t rely on the need for a user to install a code reader on their phone. Google Cardboard is also something tangible; something that entices the recipient to get involved and explore what they’ve received in a physical way. Getting them to download an app to use it could be the tricky part (NFC programming isn’t something I’m capable of), and that may need an alternative idea of getting them to watch my video.

QR Codes and the Alternatives

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QR codes are used a lot today, and are common place on things such as advertising poster, packaging, even clothing. They’re everywhere it seems. The idea behind them is is that they are a readable via a smartphone camera, and are commonly used as a website redirection. The code essentially is a website URL, and they have become an extension to things such as billboard posters, where a person can scan the code with their phone and be taken to a website which corresponds to the advert they are viewing. They are only readable with a QR code reader app though, and to benefit from them, a person would need to download and install one on their phone, which not everyone will do. Also, they are everywhere, and no longer seem to be a novelty anymore which means they can be easily missable by a viewer. To overcome this, some designers have thought up clever ways to reproduce the QR code.

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The above examples show codes used in alternative ways; Heineken have used bottles tops to create a layout of QR code, while the right example shows how the pattern can be used to create a clothing design. Both of them will work as a QR code, and being that they are common place, viewers would instantly recognise them, and become involved with them. But are there alternatives to this form of code?

Marvel AR


The above video shows a demonstration of a Marvel Comics app which uses augmented reality to expand a comic book further. This requires the user to download the Marvel AR app onto their phone or tablet, and using the app and their camera can point it at any page, and via the screen will see an augmented reality, which brings a new dimension to the physical comic book, seemingly bringing it to life. This only requires a single app download and works without the use of a QR code.

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Clickable Paper is another app that doesn’t require the use of a code. Again, the user has to download the appropriate app, and once opened the idea is is that they can scan anything; book, advertising, and via the app, information will be viewable regarding the scanned item. Google Goggles is a similar app, but requires the user to take a photo using their smartphone. The app will identify the image and bring up useful information about it.

Snap Tag

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Essentially, Snap Tag is an evolution of the QR code. The idea behind it comes from the use of a circle which contains a set of uniquely placed dots. The user can either scan the circle via an app, or they can take a picture of it and send it via an sms, and receive appropriate information. With QR codes, the user has to have an app dowloaded to their phone or tablet to scan the codes. In theory, Snap Tag only requires the camera, and the ability to send it via sms. Also, only needing a circle to be identified means that a company logo can be centered within it, bringing the two together. In many cases a QR code would have to be placed separately, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as they are instantly recognisable.

I myself rarely use QR codes, simply as I never have an app on my phone to read them. I also believe that they can stick out like a sore thumb when used on such things as advertising; they’re not exactly pretty. They are very simple though, and have become very popular, which means most people will know what they are and what they do. I feel though, that the alternatives I’ve shown here like the Marvel AR app involve the viewer more, and give them an experience rather than simply directing them to a web page where they can be advertised to further. Using a phone or tablet, and engaging with someone via the use of augmented reality brings them instantly closer to something, and involves them more, as well as having that certain wow factor.

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I have an idea of how I could use the Marvel AR app idea for my self promotion. It would involve creating an app that the user would download, and they could interact with one of my typography books (example above). The viewer could open up the app and scan one of the pages of the book. This would bring up a 3D view that was viewable in 360 degrees on the screen, making a 2D design three-dimensional, and getting the user to interact with it. This could become an augmented reality app like the Adidas shoe. The problem I have with this is how I would animate the idea. It would also require me to turn my work into a 3D design to show it in action, but at this stage I am unsure how to achieve this.

Making Google Cardboard

Google Cardboard might seem like a strange idea, but in essence it gives anybody with a smartphone, albeit the correct sized smartphone, the chance to experience virtual reality without having to buy a high cost headset. All that is needed is some cardboard, and is this idea has led me to consider using such a thing as my physical hook. My thoughts are that I could attach a template of Google Cardboard within something; a book, or vinyl sleeve for example. I consider myself a typographer and would want to advertise myself as such, so print is important to me. One idea is that I put together a book of my work, and part of that book would include a pullout of Google Cardboard. The reader would assemble it, and use it in conjunction with the book, bringing my work to them in a three-dimensional way. Scanning pages with Google Cardboard would display my work on their smartphone screen. This could be done with the use of augmented reality in some way.

To see how easy it was for myself to construct Google Cardboard I’ve set about downloading, and printing off the Google Cardboard template from Googles website.

Google Cardboard templates…

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Templates cut out…

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The finished product…

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To complete this product I would need lenses and an NFC tag, but although unusable, it does give me an idea of what it looks like; how big it is, and how easy it is to assemble. It took me nearly 2 hours to do this, and mainly because the card I used was too thick, and was hard to cut through. The actual cutting out part proved to be time consuming and difficult, but the assembly of the product once cut out and ready to go, was quite simple. If I were going to include this in something like a book, it would need to be perforated into a page so that it could be easily removed and assembled.

Idea: Portable Smartphone Camera Filters

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As discussed in my previous post, Social Networks are used in a variety of ways to gain attention to products, causes and brands. It has become a way for the public to share things with each other and become a part of something, as if doing their bit. These are known as “trends”, and of course, these trends have to start somewhere. A trend normally occurs when the publics imagination has been sparked by something they have seen via either the web itself and/or social media. The Ice Bucket Challenge is a great example of this, and the actions of celebrities online provoked the public to get involved and do the same thing.

My idea shown above tries to start a trend using such social media sites as Instagram. Instagram is a photo sharing app/website where users can upload and tag their photos which are normally taken via their smartphone’s camera. It’s a way of instantly sharing captured moments with other people. Instagram is also known for its use of filters which add a dynamic look to otherwise conventional photograph. This idea is about giving people something physical; filters that they can attach to their smartphone camera lens and take unique pictures with them. Each lens would have my logo engraved or printed on them, so that with every photo shared, my brand is also shown alongside each, gaining attention to it.

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I’ve made a prototype of this filter using a sheet of acetate. I have printed a coloured circle with a simple shape in the centre, onto it. I have then put this on top of my smartphone camera lens and taken some sample shots to see what the results were.

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As can be seen by the above pictures, it didn’t come out very well. The camera lens simple can’t focus when the acetate was directly over the lens and each shot was completely blurred. I could only get focus when the phone was held away from the acetate, but again focus was an issue. To try and combat this problem I attached a macro lens to phones camera to see if that would help.

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The macro lens helped a lot as can be seen in the above examples, as it was able to focus more clearly on closer objects. This defeats the object of my idea though, as I wanted the photos taken to be of any moment, and this would resort the user into taking closeup shots of everything.

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To try and move this idea further I have gone back to my original drawing whereby the filter was placed onto a tube, which would then be attached over the lens. The idea being that the filter would be far enough way for the lens to focus while at the same time retaining the detail of the wider shot. Although a rather primitive prototype made up of a piece of cardboard rolled up into a tube, the above picture shows that the focus handling of the phones camera lens would still be an issue.

It has been pointed out to me by one of my peers that the idea of these filters doesn’t seem to be a clear hook to self promote myself, and this has made me rethink the value of this idea. I interpret the end result of this being one where people would get involved through social networks, promoting my name, but in the end this is all they would be doing. There isn’t a clear goal for this product; one that shows me as a designer and, more importantly, my work. The end result could be one where people simply use the filters and my name would visible on them. Hoping that they would do more and get involved with my name through the use of the filters would be leaving it to chance.