All of these improvements were suggested in aid of making the animation flow better, and maintaining a consistent theme throughout. Of course, the theme that I had chosen was that of a pizza restaurant, so it was necessary to keep this theme as a focus throughout. The postcards at the beginning were replaced with an Italian-themed placemat, the 'Food Network' logo and web address are smaller, the pizza box is now placed onto the table by someone instead of simply dropping down (showing consistency with the hands which take the pizza slices shortly after), and the end splash screen has been incorporated into the pizza box lid, instead of having the animation cut to a separate splash screen unrelated to the restaurant. It was also explained to me that the 'Italian Month' title should be displayed at the end as opposed to the beginning, hence the removal of the menu from the start, and inclusion of the title as a part of the final image. A further important change has been to ensure that all of the information and main actions take place within a safe area on-screen; the pizza box has been made slightly smaller and objects on the table repositioned.
Here is the improved animation:
Other improvements have been made which are more cosmetic in nature. Looking back at the previous version, I noticed that the tablecloth background image looked a little blurry, and so a few tweaks in Photoshop were made to sharpen things up and add a nice cloth-like texture, that looks much better overall. Texture is after all prominent in this piece, from the cardboard texture of the box to the paper cutout style of the hands.
Lastly, I added motion blur to the moving elements, something which I will admit I didn't realise I had not added last time. That's what a deadline does to you I suppose! I am a little disappointed that the waving flag and the menu needed to be removed, though I do still have the previous version as evidence that I have learnt the techniques used there. It has been useful returning to this piece, for I definitely feel the improvements I have made have been well worth the effort and time that it took to make them. The end result is a sharper, more polished and more professional animation that better meets the project brief.