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Rafael

Educational Video - Arc Flash Boundaries

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Ahoy!

 

Just joined the forum. Here is a project I just finished up recently. It's on the thrilling topic of Arc Flash Boundaries. OOOooooo AAaaaaahhhhh. I hope for the admittedly dry material, the presentation is somewhat engaging. Got some obvious video game inspiration in there. Anyway, I was in charge of everything other than script writing, and voice over.

 

Oh! If you watch it, stick around for the dance party at the end. :D

 

Thanks!

 

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I watched on a laptop with tiny, tinny speakers, and it sounded ok, if that's informative at all. Not that you shouldn't balance it out for other setups. But admittedly, I thought it was funny. The character animation in the first scene is simple, and telling. And the visual jokes in the second are cute. The quality of the imagery itself is a little unpolished and lackluster, and the animation is sometimes oversimplistic, tending toward amateur, but again I think you have a sense for character/behvaior and that helps a ton. Nice job!

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The VO is being drowned out by the music. Just mix it a bit and it will be in good shape.

Dang! I was wondering if it might be a tad too loud. Thanks for letting me know!

 

The quality of the imagery itself is a little unpolished and lackluster, and the animation is sometimes oversimplistic, tending toward amateur, but again I think you have a sense for character/behvaior and that helps a ton. Nice job!

What about the quality of the imagery is unpolished and lackluster? Can you be more specific? I'm trying to get better at design, so anything actionable is greatly appreciated. This was really my first foray into Character Animation, so you're comments are right on the mark. Next time it'll be better!

 

Also, thanks for taking the time to reply, I appreciate any feedback you may have for me! :)

 

Update: Checking out your site BTW, awesome work! Checking out your tutorials now...

Edited by Rafael

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I think overall you did a pretty good job at making a very boring topic at least somewhat entertaining and engaging. I think his comments regarding design stem from the art direction on this being firmly within the bland "explainer video" style that is so saturated today. I think that if you are looking for anything actionable to take away from it, perhaps try to find a twist or style that resonates with you personally and incorporate that into your art. Shading, texture, and just some extra detail overall.

 

Changing up camera angles and framing to make it feel more like an edited shoot wouldn't hurt, either. Lingering on a shot for so long gives the viewer time to study the shot and find something to moan about in the first viewing pass.

 

Using Chris Davies as your VO is another sore thumb... Cheap and good, but just too common and recognizable. Its better than a random joker off voices yelling into their laptop mic, I suppose.

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Yeah, there are lots of ways to move forward on this. Design-wise, there's just no coherent illustrative strategy here, for starters. And I get it, you're not an illustrator, and this is a first attempt, which is why the imagery is amateurish. But take the first scene, for example, where you have the trees, which are highly reductive, to the point of geometric abstraction with some shading. Then you have the bear, which is reductive, but less so, and somewhat geometric, but not really, plus shading. Then you have the human character, with thin bendy arms, round features everywhere, and flat detail drawn into the vest and hat, and no shading. They're all meant to live in the same world, but they seem to all come from different worlds. They're drawn by different illustrative strategies. I'm not saying that can't work, but it probably has to be for a pretty good reason, and here it's apparent that it's more a result of lack of consideration.

 

When you develop a visual strategy, maybe it includes textures, and shading, and detail or a lack thereof. Maybe it involves hand-drawn elements, or 3d elements, or flat generated colors, or randomly generated inkblots, or collaged bits, or found materials, or code-driven shapes, or... y'know, whatever. But right now you're sitting down in front of adobe illustrator, presumably, and using the square tool, and the pen tool and the whatever tool and calling it good because you're not asking yourself what kind of imagery would actually be appropriate or compelling for the content of the piece. That's pretty common (non)-thinking, but the more you can develop that aspect of the work going forward, the more character your work will have, the faster your voice will develop, and the more people will respond to what you've made.

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Guys, thank you so much for taking the time to give me your thoughts - it's invaluable to my progress, as I don't really have too many people to get critique/direction from at work. It's great because I get to practice design...animation etc. and have a large degree of control over the project. It's bad in the way that I only know what I know, and have no one more experienced to help me see things from a different perspective!

 

I have another one of these videos coming up shortly though, so I'll have an opportunity to try and address this stuff.

 

@AromaKat - Thanks for the feedback! I'm gonna have to revamp the style for the next one, and I totally should have cut into closer shots! Maybe between walks or something. Seems so obvious now!

 

@Binky - Your tutorial on 'storyboarding' - this is your process for developing a visual strategy yes? Also, do you think the bear would have been a stronger design had it been more geometric, or is that just a way I could have gone with it? Both?

 

For what it's worth, I was really inspired by this:

 

 

Aim high right? Anyway, thanks again, I'm gonna study my video with your notes, study the inspiration with your notes...

 

 

P.S. Just realized my pic is the human version of Binky's avatar. :o

Edited by Rafael

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@Binky - Your tutorial on 'storyboarding' - this is your process for developing a visual strategy yes? Also, do you think the bear would have been a stronger design had it been more geometric, or is that just a way I could have gone with it? Both?

 

Well, it's *a* process, for sure. It's not like a factory assembly line where you can count on the same series of techniques to produce a great result every time. But yeah, I think it gets at thinking visually. In the episode I'm working on now, I'm getting more into breaking down a brief to discover the real goals and the process of building up imagery to meet those goals. Which sounds incredibly dry, but it's lookin pretty cool.

 

With regard to your bear, I'm advocating for asking yourself why you did it that way to begin with. Maybe you were on to something, maybe not, but I can't see what your reasons were for it. When you start figuring out real reasons to do one thing over another, then you end up making design decisions that are very intentional and very specific, and you imbue your imagery with purpose, and that imagery becomes more meaningful to your audience. That purpose also makes your decision-making process a lot easier moving forward. So to answer your question, I have no idea whether "more geometric" is a "stronger design" because I don't know what sort of story you're really trying to tell. There's a simple straightforward plot, clearly, but you can take your story elements to an infinite number of places. It's up to you to decide what's compelling in that regard, and to let your imagery be driven forward by that decision.

 

I do think, though, that your characters should probably live in the same world, by the same visual logic. And it's definitely a visual design challenge to make that happen.

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In the episode I'm working on now, I'm getting more into breaking down a brief to discover the real goals and the process of building up imagery to meet those goals. Which sounds incredibly dry, but it's lookin pretty cool.

 

Count me in! Probably something I need to watch. I'll be checking out Tutorial 004 here shortly.

 

With regard to your bear, I'm advocating for asking yourself why you did it that way to begin with. Maybe you were on to something, maybe not, but I can't see what your reasons were for it. When you start figuring out real reasons to do one thing over another, then you end up making design decisions that are very intentional and very specific, and you imbue your imagery with purpose, and that imagery becomes more meaningful to your audience. That purpose also makes your decision-making process a lot easier moving forward. So to answer your question, I have no idea whether "more geometric" is a "stronger design" because I don't know what sort of story you're really trying to tell. There's a simple straightforward plot, clearly, but you can take your story elements to an infinite number of places. It's up to you to decide what's compelling in that regard, and to let your imagery be driven forward by that decision.

 

I do think, though, that your characters should probably live in the same world, by the same visual logic. And it's definitely a visual design challenge to make that happen.

 

I think I must be starting to head in the correct direction at least, as I did have a thought process for the design of the bear, unsuccessful though it may have been. My thought was to use blocky, rectilinear shapes to try and make him seem 'immovable', and 'strong'. Certain features, like the eyes and claws, I used more triangular 'sharp' shapes to try to make it seem 'dangerous'. I was also hoping the sharp triangular trees would give the scene a sense of danger too, but now that I think about it again, perhaps it would have been best to have the bear against a rounder background, so there would be more contrast of shape.

 

I definitely see what you mean with the same visual logic too. I re-watched it a few times yesterday with the critique in mind, and things like the bear having eyes, but the human not having eyes suddenly captured my attention.

 

So what sort of factors in the story would influence your decision to make something more geometric or not?

 

Also, I realize that these questions are asking a lot, and you are being pretty awesome taking the time to reply to them, so thanks!

 

 

P.S. I'll be starting the next video in this series shortly, so it'll be interesting to see what I come up with in light of your guys' feedback. Thinking the next one will start out with a knight and dragon...

Edited by Rafael

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Again, there are a lot of ways to move forward, to build character into the illustrations. And that will convey things to your audience, much like how the animation conveys things. Thinking about curvy vs angular, eyes or no eyes, etc.... that's a good start. But also consider the other aspects of illustration. What are the materials involved? Ink, pencil, aliased vector, newspaper cutout, photoshop airbrush, real airbrush, real broken sputtering airbrush, crayon, cross-stitch, printed transparency, cel-shading? Is it filmed, or rendered, or stop-motion photographed? These decisions affect the qualities of your elements, and therefore their character. Some may be more right than others for your story, but it's mostly up to you to dictate what the story is by making those decisions. Telling your story through stop-motion imagery handpainted in blood on charred metal plates is much different than telling it through cel-shaded 3d renderings of bubble-shaped characters in candy colors, and that difference changes your story hugely.

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For what it's worth, here is the next video in the series. I had to keep it stylistically similar to the others, so I'm going to try and be more conscious of all my decisions on whatever the next video is. I've also been drawing a lot, and going through some character design courses. Once again, thanks for all the great feedback!

 

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