Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Digbeth project- storyboard

For the past couple of weeks, I have been hard at work creating the final storyboard for our Digbeth project. This was a big task (much bigger than I had thought it would be- my initial estimate was a couple of days to completion!), mostly due to the fact that I wanted it to be as detailed as possible. With the storyboard complete, the next stage of our project is to practice our animation technique in Adobe After Effects, in preparation for the final piece. With this in mind, I created the storyboard in such a way that the exact same assets can be used in After Effects to create both an animatic, as well as a test of the 3D capabilities of the program, since everything has been created on separate layers.

The storyboard was created in Adobe Photoshop. The opening is very much a series of separate shots- it is not until the character begins to walk that the background becomes continuous. Following the suggestion of a friend, I felt it was a great idea to create the background as one long image, and divide it up into storyboard panels afterwards. This has worked out very nicely, since it will enable us to import the continuous background into our 3D test to properly gauge the timing and spacing of our animation. This is also the reason that the storyboard is so thorough in the quantity of panels. To show the background as clearly as possible, I made the decision to move the scene along roughly half a panel's width each time.

Here is the continuous background with the moving elements, foreground and background assets combined:  

Lastly, here is a compilation of the various character images that were needed for the storyboard:

Much consideration has gone into the final storyboard, with criticisms of our draft storyboard taken on board. The animation now features far more creativity, breaking up the pace regularly with different effects. Following a concern from another group member that finishing the story with the man boarding a coach and effectively leaving Digbeth doesn't quite send the right message to the viewer, the section featuring the new Birmingham Coach Station was moved to the middle of the animation, which now ends at the Custard Factory (hopefully a far more positive ending!).

You will notice that the sky colour changes with each time period, helping to create an appropriate atmosphere for the piece. True to the pollution of the time, the industrial revolution setting is very grey, whereas the 1950s setting begins to brighten up (reflecting the general increase in cleanliness and regeneration of the area). Another touch was to link back to the beginning at the end- the piece begins and ends on a cheerful happy note, with a bright colour scheme, which should leave the viewer with the best possible impressions of Digbeth. Elements such as people in the background talking casually create a pleasant, relaxed mood and help to emphasise the underlying narrative of the animation.

There is to be no actual dialogue spoken by the characters in this piece. Instead, the narrative is told visually through a visual history of Digbeth. We have always viewed an animation to promote Digbeth to hypothetical peoperty developers as something more suited to a factual, documentary-style animation as opposed to a fictitious story. Where appropriate, text does appear to provide the viewer with brief facts, explaining key time periods, locations, or highlighting Digbeth's greatest assets. We may well include an ongoing voice over for this piece, giving further insight into the interesting history of the district.

The person walking remains the same (bar a few outfit changes along the way) throughout the animation, serving as a tool to help the viewer relate to and follow the animation. Each time period is made clear with the use of key imagery such as architecture styles and background objects applicable to the time period. The whole piece is informative, yet ultimately light hearted and fun, maintaining the viewer's interest with a dynamic changing environment, and delivering useful bite-size facts and information promoting the best Digbeth has (and has had) to offer with easy-to-read text pop ups.   

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