Category: Year 2

Moonlit Wings – Final & Evaluation

Introduction 

Due to various technical and time limitations/difficulties, I have been unable to create Moonlit Wings as an interactive webcomic. I have however been able to create an effective simulation of what it could look like as an interactive executable. Regarding vector-based images, Adobe After Effects does not support vectors, so the images I made in Adobe Illustrator I had to convert to PNG.

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An example of a vector based icon that I then had to convert into PNG

The finished product, representing what an interactive webcomic of Moonlit Wings could look like. If we are grading this on simply an interactive/animated version of the original webcomic, I’d call it a success.

Aesthetic Qualities 

I had designed the original webcomic around it’s use as an interactive piece, so everything worked well together. I just ripped the original assets from the comic and compiled them separately.

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A plethora of different PNGs, ripped directly from the graphic narrative for use in animation

However, being so accurate to the original it inherits the same problems.

Again, the graphics were certainly the strongest part without a doubt. Like the vast majority of my work, I put a disproportionate amount of effort in when it comes to making things look visually appealing, and it’s only augmented by the use of animation. As far as the animation itself is concerned, it’s very simple and I feel that it mirrors the art style itself.

Technical Qualities

All of the animation was created using basic keyframes, and then smoothing them to provide more organic movement.

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For the glowing elements of the animation, I simply overlayed a separate PNG and adjusted the opacity with keyframes. I used this effect on the radar, mast lights and red alert light.

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All of the animated parts in the video are created using these simple techniques. Overall, I found the whole process simple but time consuming and tedious. In the end though I got the desired result.

The final animation was exported as H.264 in MP4 using Adobe Media Encoder, with the preset set to Youtube 1080p. Creating the animation in 30 fps HD gave it a silky smooth look and everything transitioned well. I was going to include some sound effects to really help immerse the viewer, but I ended up having no time at all.

Time Management & Workflow

Time management for this project was absolutely atrocious. I spent most of the time trying to learn Fungus, only to learn a few weeks before the end of the module that it wasn’t necessary and I was forced to use after effects instead. This basically rendered all the time I’d spent learning the basics of Fungus void completely, and given me little to no time at all to get back into the swing of After Effects.

It was a disaster and a huge panic, but I managed to get everything out on time. And I’m actually pretty satisfied with the result, there isn’t much more I think I could have done given the time I had.

Conclusion 

At the end of the day, It’s a good concept. But that’s all it really is, a concept. If I were more competent at Fungus I probably could have created something interactive, but not nearly as to the same level of polish I achieved in After Effects.

I’m satisfied that it stays as true as possible to the original source material while adding some extra flair and immersion with the animations.

Web Animation Sequence Planning

Stimulus 

Tall Story Studios has announced tat my graphic narrative concept has been selected to enter the next round of the competition.  As a result, I am required to turn my graphic narrative into an interactive web animation.

Web comics (animated or otherwise) have become increasingly popular over the years, with big names like VALVe and Blizzard choosing to expand their games with extra material in the form of online comics. Comics published on the internet also become widely available to far more people, as opposed traditional physical copies.

Ideas

The visual style of the project will have be exactly the same as the original graphic narrative, as to not cause a disconnect between the two. This will be very simple to do as not only is the graphic style not complex to reproduce, I’ll be re-using a lot of the original assets and simply animating them.

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Interactivity 

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For example, when the viewer opens this page they will see the bullets fly past the screen and the searchlight pan up and down over the page. Moving the mouse around on the page will also cause the aircraft to react, moving up and down and left-to-right depending on the location of the mouse on the page.

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In this frame for example, the viewer could be able to mouse over certain objects and click on them. An example would be the radar flashing or the dials moving. The horizon outside could also gently sway left-to-right, helping give the effect of a ship at sea. Of course not all frames can have interactive elements, but all the frames will be animated to some degree.

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In this scene, I would have to add something extra to enable the interactivity. There isn’t anything obvious to click on in this scene, so I’ll have to add switch or lever or sorts that turns on the spotlight. The red lights at the top could flash to make the scene feel less static.

Assets 

The assets I’ll use will be straight out of the graphic narrative, with some converted/redrawn as vectors (as the client requests at least some vector images to be used).

I created the assets with animation in mind, as a result the individual elements are all divided into individual layers and alphas for easy customisability.  For a more in-depth look about the asset art style and asset creation, see this post here.

Legal and Ethical Considerations

When it comes to copyright, the contemporary issues apply. As far as I’m aware (since these are designs dating back to the 1930s) copyright/creative license does no apply to the vehicles used. I will however be refraining from using company names such as Grumman, Kure Kaigun Kosho, or Mitsubishi to avoid any complications, as these names/brands are still in active use today.

Ethical considerations are always an issue regarding media based on war. As I said, to avoid any racial/ethical issues, I will not be portraying any disrespectful/negative stereotyping or have one country superior over another, even if these things did occur in history. This is simply not to offend anyone or limit my target audience by ways of discrimination.

Animation Specification 

The setting of the graphic narrative takes place in the Pacific Ocean, 1942. Unsurprisingly that period of time (1941-1945) remains a relevant subject in the minds of the public, especially in America. The war in the Pacific Ocean has lead to countless game, film and novel adaptations, notably movies such as Pearl Harbour and Midway, and games such as Battlestations: Pacific and World of Warships. Both aspects of the Graphic Narrative, the historical setting and the medium, are popular with the public.

The Webcomic will be posted online, and contain interactive animated vector-based images, as per the clients request.

What is Professionalism?

Being professional at something means that you display a certain amount of skill or competency at something that would be expected by someone who does the activity for a living. A professional is usually someone that usually gets paid and/or is employed to do that something.

Professional behaviour can be things such as; staying composed in stressful situations, presenting yourself well, and having proper manners in the work area.

Web Animation Presentation

Presentation;

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1a8SRLbfArVrUC_ErW19jBFnYRVdhlOp7eqY-0Tw1Iqw/edit?usp=sharing

Notes;

Introduction – Web Animation

This is a short presentation about Web Animation. I’m going to briefly cover the history of animation, different animation types and the different softwares you can use.

The Uses of Animation

We’ve all seen animated adverts on sites, they pop up everywhere. It’s a really effective way of getting a viewers attention, especially if everything on that page is particularly static or still, it stands out really well.

It’s also an effective way of getting as much in that box as possible, as these types of ads tend to alternate between texts to give you more information.

Brief History of Animation – Pt.1

Even though this isn’t animation per-se, its the first example of an attempt to capture movement and motion. This was made in the Paleolithic era nearly 2.6 million ago. The real animation came with this Phenakistoscope, created by Joseph Plateau in 1832.

Brief History of Animation – Pt.2

This is where animation starts to become more familiar to ones we know today. Though these two animations look very different and were made nearly 60 years apart from each-other, they both rely on the exact same principles; repeated drawings layered onto static backgrounds. This was the only way to create animation until the advent of computer art/animation in the 60’s.

Brief History of Animation – Pt.3

If you think about it, every single animation up to this point, nearly one and a half centuries of animation had been 2D, so imagine the impact that 3D  had on the animation industry. This piece here is called The Adventures of André and Wally B, and was one of the first 3D animated films ever produced. It was created by a company called The Graphics Group, who would later rebrand themselves as Pixar. 

This other image is a still from a short film also from Pixar called Piper, which I personally think is the most beautifully rendered animation yet. This is 30 years of technological progress you can see here.

The computer age didn’t leave 2D animation behind in the slightest. This last image is of Adobe Flash, one of many different programs you can use to create digital 2D animation.

The Science of Animation 

All animation, whatever the format or medium relies on frames, and it’s only because of this mechanism in our brain that we are able to experience these seemingly fluid movements. The higher the frames-per-second of course the more fluid the movement looks. Here you can see what a Phenakistoscope looks like when it’s spinning, and when seen through it’s view port.

A frametate is the one thing that has been consistent throughout the entire history of animation.

The Uses of Web Animation – Entertainment 

Animation since it’s conception has been used for entertainment, and it’s only been broadened with the internet. Here you can see a page from an animated comic. Like the animated adverts we discussed earlier, animation and movement catches your attention and can really emphasise certain things. This makes it perfect for use in comics and graphic novels.

The one on the right here is an example of an interactive graphic novel. Like the last it has animated elements, but this one allows of the viewer to interact directly with the elements on the page, clicking buttons and dragging objects using animation and effects.

The Uses of Web Animation – Advertisements 

If graphic narratives can be interactive, so can adverts. Interactive ads, when moused over, allow the viewer to play a “mini game” of sorts, something normally related to the product. An example of this is this advert for World of Tanks, that allows the viewer to choose an ammo type and a package for a tank.

The icons light up when you mouse over them like you’d expect normally. What ends up happening of course when you select an icon it takes you to the World of Tanks website.

The Uses of Web Animation – Interface Elements

Animation with interfaces is everywhere, and chances are most of the time you don’t even notice it. There is a saying, and it goes “If a UI designer does their job well, its like they’ve done nothing at all” This is the same for UI animation. It’s normally really subtle, like a slight shadow or change of colour when you mouse over an icon, or the way that a dropdown menu animates.

All these little things provide that little bit of extra information and help the viewer understand the UI easier.

Animation Formats 

Nearly all animated adverts you’ll see on the internet will be Gifs, because they can be loaded quickly, provided they are compressed appropriately. Most interactive adverts use .FLA, which is from Adobe Flash, and requires a Flash-player installed on the machine to view.

Web Animation Software

These different softwares each serve different purposes and for different formats, but they each enable an animation of sorts for the web. Flash, as we’ve discussed is the most common format for creating animated and interactive graphics.

Quicktime is able to provide something called Quicktime VR, which allows the viewing of panoramic photography in the browser, letting the viewer to interactively pan around an image.

Realplayer, though somewhat obsolete and outmoded, has similar capabilities to Flash and Quicktime and is still used. Realplayer allows the playback of videos from websites, and was used by the BBC until recently, though most sites now favour either Flash or HTML5 for video.