Week 10: Farewell but not Goodbye

 

This course has been a lot of work (much more than just 2 hours a week during class). David Green was right when he said we’ll never be able to fully learn Photoshop or After Effects in just one semester – it takes a LOT more time than that. I definitely want to explore what else can be done in Photoshop because I’ve done photographic manipulation but I also want to try creating animated posters.

Taking this course has made me appreciate what I see on a daily basis. They’re all works of art (some are much better than others). I realize now how much thought goes into creating something and how nothing good is done arbitrarily. This course has opened my eyes to the way I should be looking at my future work: plan ahead, work at it until you want to cry, and always get critiqued!

I won’t be continuing with Digital Media classes but I honestly had a great time here. Tuesday morning lectures were the highlight of my week and the lab was challenging yet rewarding. I’ve learned so much, and I can’t wait to apply my new knowledge into multi-cam and single camera classes next semester. For a mandatory course that I didn’t really want to take in the first place, it somehow managed to be my favourite class this semester.

Week 9: After Effects

I’ve decided to completely change my idea for my after effects project. Now, I’m basing it on a movie called Wristcutters: A Love Story. It’ll start off with a man in a bathtub full of blood (he just killed himself). Then it’ll zoom out to a cross cut of a house where the only thing seen other than the walls is a side profile of the bathtub with the man inside it. It’ll zoom out a bit further as the soul of the body starts rising toward the roof and the body itself goes underground. I received the rights to the song Through the Roof ‘n’ Underground which is the theme song for the movie.

I need to comb through a billion tutorials to figure out how to make my animation look more real. Hopefully, it looks good!

Week 8: Storytelling and Transmedia

Part 1: Halloween came and went – although most uni kids probably don’t remember much of it – and along with it came some really crazy costumes with really cool stories. One of my favourite costumes was a male in a nun costume, wearing a beer hat and a construction vest. I can only imagine what random generator gave him that idea for a costume. The story extended when I decided to snapchat a selfie of us to my friends to satisfy our constant need for stimulation. It wasn’t enough that I could see his costume with my own eyes, I had to share my Halloween stories on social media and see what other people were sharing too. The story that night was about Halloween and we told it through the clothes we wore, the social media we used, and the community we made.

Part 2: The only transmedia project I could think of during the lecture was Pottermore, and the Harry Potter world in general. Pottermore is a site where you can get sorted into a house (just like in the book), and discover additional details that didn’t make it into the book. The site itself was underwhelming, but if it had been executed properly, it would have been amazing. An even bigger extension of the Harry Potter world is the Harry Potter Alliance, a movement that brings together HP fans to fight for social/political causes. They’ve helped out with the Fair Trade movement, the earthquake relief in Haiti, gay-marriage rights etc… all (unofficially) under the Harry Potter brand! It’s inspiring to see what superfans will do.

Week 7: Colour Palettes in Film

The first time I watched 500 Days of Summer, I misinterpreted it completely. I took what I saw at face value and missed the point. It’s an easy thing to do because the movie is heavily skewed toward the protagonist’s point of view rather than an objective look on the plot and the characters. Eventually, I got it (after rewatching the movie many times), but it was only when I talked to another student in RTA did I realize that there were one clue in particular that made the underlying message so obvious: the use of colour.

You can read more about the application of colour in 500 Days of Summer here if you want (there will be spoilers!)

There are lots of movies/TV shows that are very deliberate with their colour palette, and they stick out because of it. One of my favourite examples is the movie Her where the cinematographer, Hoyte Van Hoytema, decided to get rid of the colour blue in the film. It created a future world that was different than the normal, sci-fi, futuristic setting. It stood out.

(http://www.hitfix.com/in-contention/cinematographer-hoyte-van-hoytema-on-capturing-spike-jonzes-her-through-a-non-dystopian-lens)

Colour is huge. It can change the mood for any piece of art. On their own certain colours evoke feelings, but a colour palette can play a big role in a story.

On a side note: digital colourists are super cool. http://nofilmschool.com/2015/01/colorists-most-appreciated-people-post-production

Week 6: Motion Graphics

This video, made by popular youtubers Rhett & Link, was one of my favourite videos as a kid. I remember watching it and trying to understand how they made it all work. At the beginning, they give you a glimpse of how much work it was (Afterall, changing tshirts 222+ times can’t be done in an hour). Part of what makes this video so strong is that it isn’t seamless. It’s rough and sometimes it skips a few frames, but that just adds to the humour and the style.

I’m also thinking of creating an animated stop motion clip for my project. The idea is centered around a book called “Couch” by Benjamin Parzybok. It’ll start with 3 guys sitting on a couch when their apartment floods. They get soaked but stay on the couch. The water will then take them and the couch to the ocean.

Everything Is Illuminated

I chose to create a poster for my favourite book, Everything Is Illuminated, and its movie counterpart. Unfortunately there will be spoilers in my artist’s statement!! The story follows an American, Jewish man named Jonathan who goes to Ukraine to try to find the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis during WW2. He’s equipped only with an inscribed photograph of his grandfather in his youth with this woman. The inscription says only two things: Augustine (the name of the woman, presumably), and Trachimbrod (the shtetl in which they lived).

Because the grandfather is the catalyst of the journey, I decided to make him the central figure of my poster. In Everything Is Illuminated, Jonathan and his grandfather looked identical. It must be a Jewish thing because my older cousin looked identical to our grandfather too. I decided to take a photo of my cousin in my grandfather’s old clothing to reflect this aspect of the story.

One of the themes of this story is that, “Everything is illuminated in the light of the past”. It’s the idea that we are who we are not in spite of our past but because of it. We are shaped by the past that happened even before our time, and this knowledge is essential to helping one live meaningfully. I wanted to capture that idea in my poster with the way I inputed the image of “the grandfather”.

I decided to add in a picture of the grandfather alone, rather than a picture with him and a woman (to emulate the story). Even though the movie focuses on finding Trachimbrod and therefore the woman, the novel focuses more on the creation of Trachimbrod several hundred years before. I wanted to display the idea that even though the woman may be the last piece of remaining piece of Trachimbrod, she’s not more important than the hundreds of people who lived in the shtetl since its inception. She’s only one part of the history that shaped the story of Jonathan’s life.

There is one scene in the movie where Alex, the Ukrainian translator that Jonathan hires, walks up to a house surrounded by sunflowers. It’s a stunning visual that many assumed to be CGI. However, according to the director, the sunflower seeds were specifically planted and cultivated, and the filming schedule was based around them. They’re a symbol of light and illumination as Jonathan and Alex finally find Trachimbrod.

This was my first time using Photoshop so I came across a lot of challenges. When I tried to recreate the sunflower field (digitally this time!), I didn’t realize I’d be creating 300 layers as I individually placed and sized sunflowers onto the lower half of the poster. The sunflower field took the longest time and by the end it still looked like it lacked depth. So I started messing around with filters and settled on one called Dust and Scratches. I selected the smaller, further away sunflowers and applied the filter to 2 pixels while the middle section had the filter applied to 1 pixel. The rationale behind this was to create depth – specifically the idea that you can’t see details as well the further away the subject is.

I created a gradient underneath the sunflowers but by the end I was displeased with the colour choice so I copied the leaf from a flower in the bottom left corner and placed the duplicated layers underneath the sunflowers. That additional layer added depth to the field as well and made the grass look more realistic.