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Creating Impact- From Nature To HTML

The common theme that intertwined within the products we created, was advancing technology and how to craft the product with a target audience in mind, in order to create the impact that the module revolves around. I will be discussing how I used these themes to craft my products and what I learned from our essential reading.

Our First task was branding, or more specifically, logo creation. Due to the focus of audience in this task, I thought I should have a vasis on emotional response, ather that technical quality, however I was aware that the format I was creating the logo for was to be used in a circular 800px X 800px space for Youtube and Vimeo. Because of this, I found the essential reading Ted talk by Don Norman, called ‘3 Ways Good Design Makes You Happy’ the most intriguing. Instead of discussing a theoretical background for design, there was a section that focused on the biological response to design, or the “visceral level” of processing. The Visceral level is something that is responds to feeling and emotion more than intellect, and Norman discussed how we have “co-adapted through biology to like bright colors” due to herbivorian traits of liking “bright plants” as they were usually edible (Norman, 2003). I followed this theory when designing my logo, as I decided to use bright colours as the focal point of the. ‘H’ I needed a logical way of sorting the colours, So I decided to arrange geometric shapes within the H letter, each assigned to a different colour. Due to the importance of colour, I followed a structure of colour theory by using set colour palettes that go together. According to colour matters, “extreme unity leads to under-stimulation, extreme complexity leads to over-stimulation. Harmony is a dynamic equilibrium”(Morton, 2018). Put simply, too much contrast is overpowering, so I used a range of slightly desaturated pastel colours so it’s still colourful, but not over stimulating. To craft this logo, I used illustrator, due to how easy the vector tool is to create triangular vectors over the top of a letter, to create the illusion that the letter is created by building up these coloured shapes.

Illustrator is a technology that allows you to both create your own graphics or edit pre existing ones, and it’s the minefield of editing pre existing media that brings me on to my next task: the remix task. “Culture always builds on the past.”(Gaylor, 2008) This is the first line to a manifesto created in the film, ‘RIP, a Remix Manifesto,’ that explores whether remixing and sampling is about freedom of creativity, or a breach of property through copyright laws. This debate is relevant to my remix, as I used pre existing footage from the film ‘Grown Ups’, to re edit the film into a different genre, ultimately changing the style of the film. This correlates with the music genre argument that is focused on in this documentary, as a lot of classic hip hop songs sampled jazz or R&b songs from the 1900’s, and encountered lawsuits from record companies, even when the sample would be completely unrecognizable. This is also seen in Kirby

Ferguson’s, ‘Everything is a Remix’, that shows how a modern pop culture audience is bound to use original content and remix it to something, due to the accessibility of the internet. Ultimately this centers around the Prosumer theory, “as consumers produce and circulate media, they are blurring the line between amateur and professional.”(Jenkins, 2008) This is because the internet, in conjunction with technological convergence has encouraged millenials to experiment with creating media, both original and using pre existing media, especially with royalty free music and meme culture. To make my product, I had to convert youtube clips into downloadable mp4 files, so I could edit the clips into new orders, colour grade and add horror music, in order to craft a thriller trailer from a comedy film. Technically this is also a remix of genres, as I using a combination of stereotypical components, which I why I had to use pre existing horo music, due to the connotations that surrounds it. To create the horror effect, I added a desaturated blue colour grade along with red text and focus on comedic scenes that could be misconstrued as a scary scene (eg the protagonists screaming and running away from a game). The music provided a good basis for rhythmic editing, by having shots consistently fade to 0% opacity to create a pulsing effect. Finally I uploaded this task to Youtube, due to the challenge of creating a viral video, and it’s common knowledge that youtube has a larger audience than Vimeo, at over 1 billion users, compared to Vimeo’s 240 million monthly users (Cook, 2018).

In order to create the impact I wanted for my interactive story task, I decided to animate it in after effects and then use youtube end screens for the user interactivity. To create a multi layered story, I had to plan the paths in which the audience could take, using mainmaps that showed each narrative point, and how they all interact, as some points will have multiple choices to proceed with. This follows the interactive narrative theory of using narrative vectors. “The term narrative vectors describes substructures within a narrative design that provide a specific direction. Narrative vectors work not as isolated structures, but rather in connection with the preceding and the following parts of the narrative. The purpose of such structures is to convey important aspects to the interactor, to prevent an interactor from getting lost and to authors in retaining a level of control…”(Short, 2016) In Layman's terms, Each isolated structure needs to have elements that are relevant to the previous and following nodes in the story, for continuity purposes. This meant I designed a theme in after effects using low poly models to animate so the story felt relevant, and I also ensure that the direction that the camera was animated would never contradict the previous video, to create a flowing animation. I animated the whole interactive story using keyframes, and some expressional code, which was a learning curve for me that required me to follow a tutorial in order to create a sine wave animation, which meant the trees in the forest of my fairytale could rock in the wind. This demonstrates collaboration between technologies as I had to use open source tutorials on Youtube to aid my After effects project. Many of these skills were transferable to my interactive documentary, even though I wasn’t animating it as we were using klynt, I still needed to ensure that each node in the narrative makes chronological and thematic sense.

The final task was the Klynt interactive documentary, and after being inspired by the ‘Bowling in Columbine’ documentary and recent school shootings, I thought I’d do a relevant documentary on the current gun situation in both America and the UK, to show alternative facts and approach a wider audience. After reading the ‘Impact Field Guide’ I was prepared in my planning to create audience engagement, due to the links with a social media campaign. This meant I chose the “bottom up” approach of creating change. “Instead of seeking to change structures at the elite level of policy, the fullest version of bottom up change seeks instead to work at the level of relationships between the very people and communities most affected by the issue in question.” (Docsociety, 2017) This ultimately means I was targeting my documentary, directly at my audience, instead of trying to kickstart a chain reaction that intends to get to the elites to change. Both paths in my documentary (America and UK) lead to the same final screen, which provides an external link to a twitter page that adopts the #handinyourgun, which was a campaign directed at the public to turn in illegal guns to prevent the correlating gun crime that’s associated with it. Technically, to make the documentary engaging, I used external software Photoshop, to create a multi layered menu in order to fully show where each path leads the interactor. I then export each layer as a photoshop save file and exported it into klynt so I could animate each layer, and create a system in which a hovering mouse would cause a country's flag to engulf the screen to signify which country's path you would take. This links back to Short’s narrative vector theory, as this menu was significant in providing an understanding in the purpose of the documentary, as well as being a memorable point to return to once one path was completed.

To conclude, I fell I learned beneficial skills in combining new technology and media theory, to craft impactful media products to suit their purpose for a target audience, and many of the formats I used will surely develop and become more mainstream in the rising consumer culture. This is perhaps most notable in the rising popularity of interactivity. Whilst it’s mainly popular in the gaming industry and art exhibitions today, it’s certain to develop throughout the media industry tomorrow.

REFERENCES

Brett Gaylor (2008) RIP A Remix Manifesto[film] available from

Don Norman (2003) TED 3 Ways Good Design Makes You Happy[online] available from https://www.ted.com/talks/don_norman_on_design_and_emotion/transcript

Emily Short (2016) Interactive Digital Narrative: Theory [online] available from

Henry Jenkins (2008) The Moral Economy Of Web 2.0[online] available from

http://henryjenkins.org/blog/2008/03/the_moral_economy_of_web_20_pa_1.html

J.L.Morton (2018) Basic Colour Theory[online] available from https://www.colormatters.com/color-and-design/basic-color-theory

Karla Cook (2018) Youtube vs Vimeo [online] available from https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/youtube-vs-vimeo