Now I have completed my data visual, its now time to reflect and evaluate my project as a whole. This will help me to tackle future project briefs better, and gain a superior understanding of not only the technical skills, but also an improved ability to understand the targeted audience. Ive created a series of questions to ask myself, so that I can answer these in the hope that I can further improve myself as a designer.
Was the final data visual overall successful?
My aim of the animation was to present the data collected to ‘shock’ the audience, also making them gain a new perspective on the topic of alcohol abuse. After watching my animation back myself numerous times I think I have somewhat successfully achieved this. My thought processes of components for aiding the narrative of data have all accomplished of what I expected them to do. The kinetic type is clear, well structured and gives the audience examples of feelings of which they may turn to drink. This ingredient really helps connect the data visual to the audience because they can ask themselves how they are feeling at this point, which also connects the audience the the main character. As well as this, the innocence of the character which the audience are presented with helps stimulate shock when the scenarios unfold. The key component to this animation to make it successful I think was coming across the metaphoric and ironic use of the drink serendipity. Without this I think my data would have been successful, however the scenarios highlights the unpredictability of excess drinking. Furthermore, the audio track which I critically chosen has had numerous compliments in choice of use. I think the music sets up the emotional beginnings of what turns into unexpected disaster really well due to the massive change in tone.
How successful was the quantitative data presented?
Honestly, I think the facts and figures could have been thought about much more in terms of presentation, connecting to the visual scenarios which were assigned. I think the odometer does still play a key role in shocking the audience, through its speed at which it changes and the total amount it reaches in a short period of time. However, I would have liked to of experimented with the separate number totals for the diagnoses, making them appear and transition off screen in numerous ways. As well as this I do think my data at the end of the animation is not on screen enough for the audience to digest. Continuous playing about with scales and positioning had improved the time to see the information, however still lacked enough air time I feel. Nevertheless, I think I used good techniques and clever ways in which the data enter nerd and left the screen. My favourite use of incorporating data with the surroundings was the death totals and the total NHS admissions. The symbolism of the drink (deaths) being pored out of the total admissions I think really helps the audience to gain an understanding of how serious the figures were.
The main problem I faced during task two was the process of making the animation and the time in which I had to complete it. I knew from the start of planning that it was quite a risk and would be very demanding of me to complete in such a short period of time. My initial target was to start designing and animating on the 20th Nov and finish around the 20th December. However coming up against many issues which il discuss later in this evaluation forced me into finishing at later data of 27th December. This took a large amount of time out of my blogging and also my DPS time, which has forced my to complete both in quite a rushed manner in terms of presentation. Problems which I came across was animating my character, creating an odometer, recurring accidents of corrupting files, finalisation of raw data being presented with enough viewing time and rending audio problems. However, once these problems were resolved I dedicated my time as I thought best to complete the blog and DPS to which could be of a good enough standard to get a reasonable grade.
As previously mentioned I came to the design decision of using a metaphor of a ‘C-bomb’ for cancer, due to the subject being a hard thing to talk about for a lot of people. Due to the last transition ending on top of the burning building, I decided to change part of my story as it seem fitting for bomber plan to go past. This gives a clear indication of whats going on, and also keeps the audience engaged.
My first intentions of the bomb was to only effect the main character. However, I decided that it would be better to effect and whole city, as throughout this animation we have a balance of direct and indirect use of drinking and components to demonstrate the data figures.
In my story board I initially wanted my character to simply just punch the unsuspecting pedestrian, however I remember back to my initial research of alcohol related infographics that the bottle is the number one weapon used for pedestrians in the UK. I’ve chosen not to include this data, as I don’t want to home in on particular factors of Alcohol related NHS attendees I just want to express the general data. However there is no reason why not to illustrate this point and not include the data, as its quite a shocking and though provoking scene.
After entering the mind of the character for feelings which may result in alcohol abuse, I then illustrated the idea of the character looking for an answer. The idea of leaving 2 pint glasses demonstrates the limit we should stay at, rather then staring into the bottoms of multiple glasses to resolve issues.
Here I then transitioned to the menu through the eyes of the character. I wanted the video to show that the main character was in no right frame of mind to be making hasty decisions into drinking more to feel better. I think I demonstrated this well with a constant overlay of a soft black edged layer above the camera to demonstrate blurred vision. Also, the movement of the camera (vision) is very uncontrolled in terms of the character. Normally you would read a bar menu in a straight parallel line form left to right, however my character already having a few to drink before hand can’t control his movements. The camera moves from left to right but in no structured manner as the heights of the camera also change, almost creating a swaying motion. Once the character finds the drink he wants (serendipity) he 1st finds himself reading past it to revert back, again adding to the lack of control.
The menu transitions down turning it into a 3D layer, positioning the anchor point at the bottom of the menu and have it flip down on the z axis. Here we are then presented with the drink that will in turn create these ‘happy accidents’. I think finding the drink serendipity has really made my data change from facts to narrative, as the irony it carries with it is so crucial for the new perspective that the audience gain. Also, the coincidental colour the drink carries is red which you can be associate with blood, which the audience will experience later on in the animation. It almost gives the audience a hint of whats about to happen, yet also gets the audience to ask themselves the question of whats the main character doing? Why is he choosing to drink that? Why doesn’t he stop? These questions before the data even presents itself in way i think help to aid the rest of the animation.
Through out the animation I decided that I should draw each frame of the charter moving rather than use the tools in After effects to key movement. I found this process much easier than trying to accurately key positions for scale, rotation and position. However where it was possible I did utilise AE ability to move the anchor tool to rotate the centre of circles and repetitive limb movements. I wanted to use a character in my animation as hands on experiencing alcohol abuse is the best way of showing how destructive it is.
Scene- Intentional self harm
Scene- Road pedestrian traffic accidents
Mastering the walk
This was a difficult process for me as trying to understand the key points of a relatively slow paced walk was challenging. However, I got past this by tracking my own walk in the mirror and also finding this video of a slow motion walk.
This process being quite slow initially, I then began to develop an understanding of how this characters body would move. This in turn made the developing process of other scenes speed up, which needed to happen as time was soon running out to complete the DPS.
Here I thought would be a good opportunity to allow the audience to engage with the data, by having a list of emotions which could be a potential reason for people to turn to drink. I decided to use kinetic type as I think it makes the animation more engaging, allows for interaction with the music and also give the text more size and reading time.
To make the kinetic type possible I had to utilise AE 3D space, so that I could then connect all the words to a null layer and a camera. This then allowed me to key the camera to the appropriate times of the music dropping, so that the the ken tic type flows nicely.
This is the opening scene to which my character will enter and make the decision to go in. My reasoning behind the material choices is that I wanted to make the pub look simple, and the background be more complicated. Hence I used just standard fill tool for the colours of the building yet used materials like paper textures to create the background. I wanted to make the pub simple so it makes out to the main character and the audience that its a simple decision to make going into the pub. The reasoning behind the background looking complex is to resemble the complexity of the world. As previously mentioned the perspective of the building is key in this scene, as i wanted it to stand above most and look on top of the charter to show drink is in control.
Initially I wanted to use just a general stick figure for the animation, however due to time contrainst I new it would be impossible to animate due to the lack of experience and the use of large limbs. In turn, I had to design a character that has short limbs, no neck and had no extremities so that he character was easier to animate. I think this was a wise decission as I knew my time would be very limited, as producing a one minute twenty three second long animation would require a lot of work hours.
Through doodling on the back of my sketchbook, I came to this character design. My aim was to design a character that shows no gender, nor age as well as look innocent and vulnerable. The reasoning behind no gender is that even though far less women abuse drink then men, there is still a substantial number of women who abuse drink. With my character looking innocent just adds to the factor that drink is very powerful and can easily take over someone. My character in this scene was made to enter and look up at the sun setting. The reasoning for this is that the sun setting symbolises that choices become limited, and that that the pub looks like a welcoming/ only option.