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theurbanchild

Creative blocks!

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Hey guys,

this is my first post to mograph. i figured if i could find answers anywhere on motion graphics it would be here.

Just a quick briefer about me. i start working at a motion studio about a year ago. i graduated in multimedia arts and am versed with photoshop AE etc.

But recently i realized i should start stepppin up my work, personally and professionally.

i have never been properly trained in ae, but i took tutorials.

 

so now, i have been asked me to do an exercise.. making an OBB which i have already conceptualized.

I have thought of making a mock up Opening title for a "Surf Video".

 

Ihave tried a go at it, and the first one didnt turn out too well.

so i have been stuck, i cant think of how to go about this project, i know everything starts with the lay outing. although i know i should add elements such as surf boards flowers waves palm tress etc amosngst the images for motion, i cant picture how to layout it in photoshop. should the canvas be 3000x3000 or 720x480, how do i start layouting.. all these questions pop into my head.

 

I would just like to know the process in which one takes in making any type of motion project.

Any help advice or suggestions would be deeply appreciated.

 

*on a side note, ive been watching videos on other opening titles, and one that i would like to give a shot at is the opening for the MIAMI INK show.

Both the old and new season.

heres the link for the first season opener : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJtd-S0D5Pg

heres the link for the newer season : http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseacti...ideoid=33814774

i think you guys get the idea of what i want to do. how do i go about layouting, storytelling and animating? Also how do u get that color overlay transition effect that doesnt look too cheap.

 

* Last side note, i have to use still images for all this.

 

I hope to hear from you guys.

Cheers to mograph!

 

theUrbanchild

//Dream to live, Live to dream//

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Kind of hard to go about answering how to make motion graphics. Am I correct to assume that what you mean by layout is storyboarding? It sounds like you're on the right path. This is very roughly the process that we tend to go through for projects: 1)concept/brief 2)boards/frames 3)revised boards/frames 4)motion tests 5)execution. Obviously that's highly compressed and idealized, sometimes things get out of order for whatever reason (clients' demands).

It sounds to me like you're not so much having trouble with the process itself, but with the actual design aspect of things. You know what individual elements you'd like to include ("surf boards flowers waves palm tress etc") but don't know how to use these elements. Is this a correct assessment?

If this is the case you're difficulty lies more in your level of comfort with design than with the process of motion design I would say.

There are some things you can try in order to break through creative block such as:

-Don't think in motion immediately. Start with a still frame that is well designed and well made. This will help you to work out what design elements you'd like to include in any given frame and how they relate to each other. As you go through this exercise you may get some ideas for how elements can move and interact with one and other in motion.

-If you have one I would suggest listening to your audio track over and over to get a feel for its pacing and energy level. Maybe scroll through some of your desired imagery while listening to it.

-Analyze your inspirations (the miami ink stuff) to figure out what makes them good and what elements you're responding to in their execution.

-Take a break and step away from the project for a while. Clear your head. Maybe just watch surfing videos while trying to not think specifically about your project. Try to just absorb the feeling of the surfer culture and aesthetic.

 

I hope at least some of this is helpful. I think, in general, the process is straightforward and where people get hung-up is on the actual execution of design which comes with experience and confidence in your design skills.

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My process is think of where I want to go and then work backwards. Figure out all the steps that need to be done to get me there. It can often be overwhelming to try and figure everything out all at once but once you have a solid idea about where you want to get to it's amazing how simple most of the steps to get there are. Questions like canvas size etc. will be dictated by the end result you want to acheive, if there will be a lot of panning around in an image then maybe it has to be huge but you can't know that before you have a solid idea. As far as figuring out where you want to go, you might want to take a look at pretty much any of Binky's posts from the past little while. Along the lines of what he talks about is that it also helps to get specific. It's hard to think of a good original idea for a generic surf video, it's better to think of a specific surf video (you can imagine it, or base it on an existing one or whatever) what's cool about that particular video what is the mood of that video, if this wasn't an excercise you would be presented with a real video for which you have to make titles that fit, so it will help to approach your excercise in the same way.

Edited by anothername

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It's not that much different than any creative project of any substance. Start with an idea and develop the idea on paper. You should have a very good idea of what things will look like and how the various elements will work together before you hit the computer.

 

-gl

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Everyone has their own workflow. No universal process will work for everyone, or for every project.

 

Personally, I find that storyboarding is usually essential for me. I don't need to draw the whole animation out, but at least a few frames are often vital to help me visualize where it's coming from, and where it needs to go. Seeing the elements of the scene in concrete form also relieves the pressure of sitting in front of a blank canvas, and lets me focus on fleshing out the details.

 

I (usually) find it easier to get started when some rough boundaries, rules, or goals are set, as this helps me find direction--and rough guides/goals can always be revised, or even discarded, as you go along.

 

This is all dependent on the type of project, though. For formulaic or short projects, I find it's rarely necessary to plot things out.

 

Also, as for where the project gets laid out: I'm a fan of laying it out in C4D, since it's much easier to work with 3D in a true 3D program, then import to AE after. If the scene is simple and mostly 2.5D, then AE is sometimes okay--but C4D offers so much more flexibility and ease of use.

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Everyone has their own workflow. No universal process will work for everyone, or for every project.

 

Personally, I find that story boarding is usually essential for me. I don't need to draw the whole animation out, but at least a few frames are often vital to help me visualize where it's coming from, and where it needs to go. Seeing the elements of the scene in concrete form also relieves the pressure of sitting in front of a blank canvas, and lets me focus on fleshing out the details.

 

I (usually) find it easier to get started when some rough boundaries, rules, or goals are set, as this helps me find direction--and rough guides/goals can always be revised, or even discarded, as you go along.

 

This is all dependent on the type of project, though. For formulaic or short projects, I find it's rarely necessary to plot things out.

 

Also, as for where the project gets laid out: I'm a fan of laying it out in C4D, since it's much easier to work with 3D in a true 3D program, then import to AE after. If the scene is simple and mostly 2.5D, then AE is sometimes okay--but C4D offers so much more flexibility and ease of use.

 

I understand where you're coming from, its really tough putting stuff down on paper or photoshop or whatever..

but story boarding/sketching out, i find does help.

I guess im just panicing a little and should breathe, relax and start from a fresh point of view.

Thanks for the advice!

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It's not that much different than any creative project of any substance. Start with an idea and develop the idea on paper. You should have a very good idea of what things will look like and how the various elements will work together before you hit the computer.

 

-gl

 

Thats exactly my problem _gl. I mean, i have substansial skills in photoshop and other programs, but its always been a problem for me to come up with something from a blank canvas.

I usually go around design sites/portfolios and research alot, but i would like to stray away from trying to copy or "immitate" of sorts you know?

 

Like when i started this project, i did some layouts for the surfers in the "video". I had them layedout , per character, ina 720x486 canvas. I had texts all over for elements, some color overlays, a main pic and secondary pic. Then when i tried animating it, it turned out medicore. Then when i showed my boss, who gave me this exercise... he said he needs to see motion design, more elemetns mroe storytelling, etc.

I mean im not taking it personally of course, i dont want it to bum me out.

But i want to wow him with the next presentation.

Bt hey, thanks for the advice too.

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My process is think of where I want to go and then work backwards. Figure out all the steps that need to be done to get me there. It can often be overwhelming to try and figure everything out all at once but once you have a solid idea about where you want to get to it's amazing how simple most of the steps to get there are. Questions like canvas size etc. will be dictated by the end result you want to acheive, if there will be a lot of panning around in an image then maybe it has to be huge but you can't know that before you have a solid idea. As far as figuring out where you want to go, you might want to take a look at pretty much any of Binky's posts from the past little while. Along the lines of what he talks about is that it also helps to get specific. It's hard to think of a good original idea for a generic surf video, it's better to think of a specific surf video (you can imagine it, or base it on an existing one or whatever) what's cool about that particular video what is the mood of that video, if this wasn't an excercise you would be presented with a real video for which you have to make titles that fit, so it will help to approach your excercise in the same way.

 

 

.. that does make sense too. Having the last frame ready in photoshop, working backwards?

it is hard figuring out how to start where to start and figuring every step after til its finished.

But maybe by having an end to my intro, i can "work backwards" towards the begining.

This helps alot, thank you another name.

*whos Binky? and what posts are you talking about?

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Kind of hard to go about answering how to make motion graphics. Am I correct to assume that what you mean by layout is storyboarding? It sounds like you're on the right path. This is very roughly the process that we tend to go through for projects: 1)concept/brief 2)boards/frames 3)revised boards/frames 4)motion tests 5)execution. Obviously that's highly compressed and idealized, sometimes things get out of order for whatever reason (clients' demands).

It sounds to me like you're not so much having trouble with the process itself, but with the actual design aspect of things. You know what individual elements you'd like to include ("surf boards flowers waves palm tress etc") but don't know how to use these elements. Is this a correct assessment?

If this is the case you're difficulty lies more in your level of comfort with design than with the process of motion design I would say.

There are some things you can try in order to break through creative block such as:

-Don't think in motion immediately. Start with a still frame that is well designed and well made. This will help you to work out what design elements you'd like to include in any given frame and how they relate to each other. As you go through this exercise you may get some ideas for how elements can move and interact with one and other in motion.

-If you have one I would suggest listening to your audio track over and over to get a feel for its pacing and energy level. Maybe scroll through some of your desired imagery while listening to it.

-Analyze your inspirations (the miami ink stuff) to figure out what makes them good and what elements you're responding to in their execution.

-Take a break and step away from the project for a while. Clear your head. Maybe just watch surfing videos while trying to not think specifically about your project. Try to just absorb the feeling of the surfer culture and aesthetic.

 

I hope at least some of this is helpful. I think, in general, the process is straightforward and where people get hung-up is on the actual execution of design which comes with experience and confidence in your design skills.

 

This is really helpful, thanks TO ALL who posted.

But SaintEfan, the way you explained it is pretty straight up.

I must say i overthink things alot, its my personality, im my own worse critic.

When layouting, should i consider it in 3d plane already? or just work from photoshop adding the elements behind the pics and whatnot? what would your best advice be on this?

 

"It sounds to me like you're not so much having trouble with the process itself, but with the actual design aspect of things. You know what individual elements you'd like to include ("surf boards flowers waves palm tress etc") but don't know how to use these elements. Is this a correct assessment?" -> this is partly it, i mean i have sort of an image in my head what i would want it to turn out like, something much like the miami ink intro with my style into it... but again, how do i start it? how do i place these said elements in to the comp etc? I apologize for the noob questions, as these design related stuff were already taught to me back in college. But its nice to refreshen your mind with these things.

I hope its no bother me asking you these things.

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I'm relatively new to motion graphics and am still undecided as to the best way to approach a project but what i found works best for me is to firstly create a playlist of well-suited songs to get me in the right frame of mind (I find this helps a lot when deciding on animation techniques), maybe even sit there for a while, eyes closed, just thinking, then sketch out as many ideas as I can on paper, with initial ideas of how things will animate.

 

Secondly, referencing my sketches I'll open illustrator or photoshop and start mocking up some compositions, normally just the same size as I want the finished movie to be, adding effects etc and separating the different elements on to separate layers, making it easy to export into after effects later.

 

Thirdly I'll start animation tests, this is probably the most time consuming part of the process as I'll discover that the animation ideas I sketched previously don't look quite as good on screen as they did in my head. So i'll work on these until I'm happy, then slowly bring all the varying scenes together to hopefully create a project you're happy with.

 

“Genius? Nothing! Sticking to it is the genius! Any other bright minded fellow can accomplish just as much if he will stick like hell and remember nothing that’s any good works by itself. You’ve got to make the damn thing work!… I failed my way to success.”!" Thomas A. Edison

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I really like SaintEfan's post as well. I will also listen to a track over and over to recognize the patterns and run the motion in my head while I listen. I have always found my greatest inspiration from music. I also find that I need to let the ideas simmer and continue to add to them. This is why I like my little sketchbook that I carry around. I can work on something in the office and then take it outside, in the car (pull over when inspiration hits) everywhere.

 

Sometimes, you just have to step away from the project and breathe. If you push it too hard the whole process clogs up.

 

-gl

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Personally I find myself doing a lot of styleframe work in After Effects itself. I like its non-destructive effects and I feel comfortable being able to use all the tools I would use to animate for the purpose of setting up my frames. Since you're doing a title and are interested in something similar, in approach, to the Miami ink stuff I would recommend starting with one well developed style frame for each main shot. For example the Miami Ink piece is broken up, roughly, by the cast members. So if you were doing the Miami Ink piece I would start with a style frame for each character. These frames could be done in After effects but make sure not to jump into or even really be thinking too much about the animation. Just design some good still frames.

 

Once you have these and are happy with each shot's feel take a look at all the shots and make sure they work together. Make sure there's a cohesive feel to it all and that they share certain visual elements that can tie it all together. Once you're happy that they feel like they are from the same piece you can start thinking about the transitions. This is the point when you can start thinking a little bit more about the motion and the animation. Keep it simple at this stage and don't get bogged down in the little details. Think on a broad level; "How am I going to get from this shot to the next shot?"

Make one or two frames to illustrate the transition between the shots. Again, don't worry about actually doing the animation, just visualize it in stills with a couple frames.

 

When you have your transition frames visualized you can stand back and make sure the whole thing is still working. Evaluate the flow of it. Do the transitions still make sense? Are things getting repetitive? Is the timing going to be alright on the transitions?

 

Now you've built yourself a roadmap for actually executing the motion and animation. Don't feel like you need to animate the frames you already laid out. You'll probably be better off recreating a lot of it specifically for motion, since you were thinking STATIC before. This will also bring an extra layer of quality since it will force you to do things again and refine your technique.

 

This is sorta the long way of going about things. Once you feel more comfortable with your skills you may not need to frame out every transition, but for now this process should get you thinking in the right direction.

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.

. that does make sense too. Having the last frame ready in photoshop, working backwards?

it is hard figuring out how to start where to start and figuring every step after til its finished.

But maybe by having an end to my intro, i can "work backwards" towards the begining.

This helps alot, thank you another name.

*whos Binky? and what posts are you talking about?

 

Sorry maybe I was a bit unclear of what I meant by work backwards. A lot of times I will work back from a final frame/style frame in photoshop or AE, especially when time is tight, but I meant it in a much more general way. As in I start with an idea of what I want to acheive and work backwards from there. Depending on the idea it might make more sense to start on paper, in Photoshop, C4D whatever. But I try and have the idea come first and then figure out the steps I need to do to get there. I try not to worry about the technichal side too much when I think of the idea, then when I work out the steps I see if things need to be changed because they aren't realistically acheivable given the limitations of time, budget, my skillset etc. The only limitations I try and worry about at this stage are the limitations imposed by the brief and what has to be communicated. Of course this is a best case scenario there are plenty of quick and dirty jobs where this doesn't happen or steps are skipped but I try and work this way as much as I can (also I am sure somewhere at the back of my brain some technichal considerations are always leaking) through. I also don't want to suggest that the end product is just the final result of some great original idea, ideally there are plenty of changes and discoveries along the way, as well as compromises etc. I just find having a really strong destination and road map helps me get lost in a productive way. I'm certainly no super experienced or hot shot designer, this is just what seems to work well for me.

 

 

 

It's not all a mental process sometimes you need to play around on paper, or some software, to arrive at the idea or design but I find it helps not to worry about the other stuff at this stage. Of course it is always easier for example if you are sketching your ideas out in the same aspect ratio as your final output but it's not essential the main thing is just to get a good idea/concept/design and then you can work out whatever adjustments need to go on to make it work.

 

Binky is another poster on this forum. By clicking on a username you can see people's profiles and their previous posts. He has written a lot of good posts about the questions to ask yourself and the process of fleshing out that initial idea and concept and so I thought they might be worth a read for you.

 

Good luck.

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I'm relatively new to motion graphics and am still undecided as to the best way to approach a project but what i found works best for me is to firstly create a playlist of well-suited songs to get me in the right frame of mind (I find this helps a lot when deciding on animation techniques), maybe even sit there for a while, eyes closed, just thinking, then sketch out as many ideas as I can on paper, with initial ideas of how things will animate.

 

Secondly, referencing my sketches I'll open illustrator or photoshop and start mocking up some compositions, normally just the same size as I want the finished movie to be, adding effects etc and separating the different elements on to separate layers, making it easy to export into after effects later.

 

Thirdly I'll start animation tests, this is probably the most time consuming part of the process as I'll discover that the animation ideas I sketched previously don't look quite as good on screen as they did in my head. So i'll work on these until I'm happy, then slowly bring all the varying scenes together to hopefully create a project you're happy with.

 

"Genius? Nothing! Sticking to it is the genius! Any other bright minded fellow can accomplish just as much if he will stick like hell and remember nothing that's any good works by itself. You've got to make the damn thing work!… I failed my way to success."!" Thomas A. Edison

 

yeah, i find music really helps u get in the mood for any type of work.

and with your process, we're in the same page.. its just lately i havent had that creative spark to get me going,

also sucks workin under pressure. but hey thats how the industry goes right? haha

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Personally I find myself doing a lot of styleframe work in After Effects itself. I like its non-destructive effects and I feel comfortable being able to use all the tools I would use to animate for the purpose of setting up my frames. Since you're doing a title and are interested in something similar, in approach, to the Miami ink stuff I would recommend starting with one well developed style frame for each main shot. For example the Miami Ink piece is broken up, roughly, by the cast members. So if you were doing the Miami Ink piece I would start with a style frame for each character. These frames could be done in After effects but make sure not to jump into or even really be thinking too much about the animation. Just design some good still frames.

 

Once you have these and are happy with each shot's feel take a look at all the shots and make sure they work together. Make sure there's a cohesive feel to it all and that they share certain visual elements that can tie it all together. Once you're happy that they feel like they are from the same piece you can start thinking about the transitions. This is the point when you can start thinking a little bit more about the motion and the animation. Keep it simple at this stage and don't get bogged down in the little details. Think on a broad level; "How am I going to get from this shot to the next shot?"

Make one or two frames to illustrate the transition between the shots. Again, don't worry about actually doing the animation, just visualize it in stills with a couple frames.

 

When you have your transition frames visualized you can stand back and make sure the whole thing is still working. Evaluate the flow of it. Do the transitions still make sense? Are things getting repetitive? Is the timing going to be alright on the transitions?

 

Now you've built yourself a roadmap for actually executing the motion and animation. Don't feel like you need to animate the frames you already laid out. You'll probably be better off recreating a lot of it specifically for motion, since you were thinking STATIC before. This will also bring an extra layer of quality since it will force you to do things again and refine your technique.

 

This is sorta the long way of going about things. Once you feel more comfortable with your skills you may not need to frame out every transition, but for now this process should get you thinking in the right direction.

 

This really helps. I appreciate it how you explain in detail how to go about my problem.

Thanks, much thanks.

For some reason, i feel lighter knowing all these tips you guys are giving.

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.

 

Sorry maybe I was a bit unclear of what I meant by work backwards. A lot of times I will work back from a final frame/style frame in photoshop or AE, especially when time is tight, but I meant it in a much more general way. As in I start with an idea of what I want to acheive and work backwards from there. Depending on the idea it might make more sense to start on paper, in Photoshop, C4D whatever. But I try and have the idea come first and then figure out the steps I need to do to get there. I try not to worry about the technichal side too much when I think of the idea, then when I work out the steps I see if things need to be changed because they aren't realistically acheivable given the limitations of time, budget, my skillset etc. The only limitations I try and worry about at this stage are the limitations imposed by the brief and what has to be communicated. Of course this is a best case scenario there are plenty of quick and dirty jobs where this doesn't happen or steps are skipped but I try and work this way as much as I can (also I am sure somewhere at the back of my brain some technichal considerations are always leaking) through. I also don't want to suggest that the end product is just the final result of some great original idea, ideally there are plenty of changes and discoveries along the way, as well as compromises etc. I just find having a really strong destination and road map helps me get lost in a productive way. I'm certainly no super experienced or hot shot designer, this is just what seems to work well for me.

 

 

 

It's not all a mental process sometimes you need to play around on paper, or some software, to arrive at the idea or design but I find it helps not to worry about the other stuff at this stage. Of course it is always easier for example if you are sketching your ideas out in the same aspect ratio as your final output but it's not essential the main thing is just to get a good idea/concept/design and then you can work out whatever adjustments need to go on to make it work.

 

Binky is another poster on this forum. By clicking on a username you can see people's profiles and their previous posts. He has written a lot of good posts about the questions to ask yourself and the process of fleshing out that initial idea and concept and so I thought they might be worth a read for you.

 

Good luck.

 

Thanks a bunch buddy. I get it now. haha

i wasnt takin' it too literally was i? i didnt mean to haha

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yeah, i find music really helps u get in the mood for any type of work.

and with your process, we're in the same page.. its just lately i havent had that creative spark to get me going,

also sucks workin under pressure. but hey thats how the industry goes right? haha

 

Some days i'll be full of enthusiasm, other days its like I've forgotten how to de a designer... I'm working on a animated sting at the moment and I've been sketching ideas down for few days now, everyday i'll start from scratch, purposely not looking at previous sketches to keep the ideas fresh. The quality of ideas will vary from day to day... if its not working for me, I have to give myself some time away from the work, which is obviously frustrating when you're working to a tight deadline... but when the mood does hit, I'll take full advantage, working all day and through the night...

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