Arvo: Type & Motion
October 10, 2020
Design a 60-second video that highlights the unique characteristics and personality of your typeface in the context of its use and in relation to its larger type family.
Use the 50 word statement and your list of adjectives to story tell your video.
Things to consider:
- The name of the type face and the family
- The name of the designer(s), the country of origin, and date of design
- emphasize visual characteristics of the family
- Examples of various weights, slats, etc of the entire family
- Examples of the type in use, as display and in text blocks(s)
- at the video’s end, wait two seconds, then add your credits
Time frame: 2 weeks
For this video, I really want to emphasize the slab-serifs and the boldness of Arvo. This typeface takes a modern approach to its predecessors of slab-serifs used in the Industrial Revolution, so I want the overall feeling to be clean, organized and new.
What music should I choose?
When I think of Arvo, I imagine a song that is bold, with a lot of percussions, or some sort of a bass drop. The geometric and orderly personality of Arvo makes me think of clean “electronic” sounds that are crisp — but the boldness of the type needs to be emphasized by bass-heavy music.
In general, I think that the video will be more memorable and impactful with a powerful song — powerful not as in terms of volume or tone, but powerful as in strong beat and heavy bass.
I am also thinking about transitions as I am searching for music. The song needs to be interesting enough that I can incorporate different transitions to create visual intrigue. I will try to avoid repetitive songs.
Top two songs
I sat down for a few hours just to find some music that would be suitable for Arvo. There wasn’t too much cognitive load during this process because I knew immediately which songs would be effective and which wouldn’t be — it was done through intuition and feeling.
“Tell Me” by RL Grime
Listen to the song here.
“Tell Me” starts off with a great electronic sound that sets the tone of the video. This section can be used to introduce and tease the typeface Arvo. The bass-drop in the song is very bold and reflective of Arvo’s personality, and can be used to my advantage in the video to captivate the viewer. However, the build up until the bass-drop is quite long and very “rave-like.” I do feel like the sound used in the background is quite “noisy” and could take away from the visuals on the screen.
“Back to the Future” by ProbCause and Gramatik
Listen to the song here.
“Back to the Future” also starts off with a great electronic sound that sets the tone of the video. The crisp electronic sounds are representative of Arvo’s geometry and the abstract shapes used in my spread. The bass-drop is not as impactful compared to the other song, but its still there — the tone of the song changes completely which is very interesting. Overall, this song is more dynamic and varied in terms of the use of sounds, providing me with a greater canvas to work with (there are a lot of small sounds that are added to the background that provide diversity in sound and keeps the ears engaged).
I decided to go with “Back to the Future” by ProbCause and Gramatik.
I read the 50 word statement and took out the keywords and key information in order to effectively tell the story of Arvo. I wanted the viewers to understand the feeling of Arvo, rather than just reading the script from the statement.
October 11, 2020
It was very challenging to storyboard ideas. I tried to focus on the key frames but it was difficult to time the transitions to the song. I found myself spending a lot of time trying to visualize every second of the song before drawing out the storyboard. Regardless, I was able to slowly develop video in sync with the song.
As you can see above, I am using color minimally but effectively to create visual intrigue and highlight important information. One thing I am worried about is the overall pacing of the story, and the elements: The song is quite fast so I hope that I have provided enough time for the viewer to digest and understand the information.
In-Class Critique with Jaclyn
October 13, 2020
Today, I met with Jacyln to discuss my storyboard and my process. Overall, she was impressed by the sheer detail with my storyboard, where I wrote down the corresponding time to its frame. However, this labor-intensive process made sense to me — I knew that if I didn’t plan out the entire animation as a whole, I would have a hard time later on trying to fit elements and transitions in sync with the song. Although this is a type project, I realized the importance of music and its relationship to what is happening on the screen. I also approached the project in a simple yet effective manner, where I am not going too “crazy” with the movements. Because the song is so bold and fast paced, I wanted to keep the animations minimal to better communicate my message.
Here is some feedback I got:
- The storyboard is thorough and detailed — this will help later on.
- Try to use more color (spot color) or maybe even white, with the grey background — having white with a grey background can create an interesting effect.
- If you are worried about pacing, try putting the storyboard frames into AfterEffects and animate (roughly) the drawings.
As a class Vicki also suggested some important things to consider:
- Reading your script out loud at the pace you intend it to be read can be helpful to: narrow down music and sound choices, pacing your storyboards and early animations, assesing the flow and overall length of your video.
- Continue to consider lessons learned in Projects 1–3.
- How can grid (consistent margins, hang lines, baseline, alignments) bring clarity to your message and animation?
- What typographic choices (contrast, space, alignment, color) will enhance communication of your message without overcomplicating it?
- What types of movement enhances meaning and what movements complicate the message?
- How will you guide the viewer? (Where do you want their eye to enter and exit the screen? How long do words or phrases need to be present to be read at the intended pace?)
What is next?
I fully agree with what Jaclyn said about animating the storyboard. Over the next couple of days, I will animate my drawings in sync with the music in order to get a holistic understanding and view of my animation before going in to Illustrator to create vector assets. This will be a long process, but valuable in the long run: This way, I can plan out the screen time of each visual element and nail down the pacing of the story.
October 14, 2020
Upon hearing Jacyln’s feedback, I decided to mock up a 1 minute animation using the frames from my storyboard. This was a very challenging and long process, but it allowed me to visually see the pacing of the story in its relationship to music. I was also able to get a better understanding of the shortfalls of my storyboard: There are moments during the animation where the frame is held for too long, or it could use some color — although this was a challenging process, I am confident that I can create a better and more cohesive animation after doing this.
In-Class Critique with Vicki
October 15, 2020
During class, we met with Vicki for 15 minutes to discuss our process. I played the storyboard animation and talked briefly about my process such as my music choice, video script and the storyboard drawings.
Here is some feedback I got:
- The overall pacing of the story is great — enough time is provided for the viewer to understand and digest the information.
- The screen time for the “mono-linear” part can be extended a little to give more time for the viewer to understand what is going on.
- The intro can seem long, but it sets the tone for the rest of the animation — keep it or shorten it, its up to you.
What is next?
With my entire animation planned out, the rest will be a smooth sail (hopefully). I will begin creating vector assets on Illustrator to import to AfterEffects, and start animating. Although Andrew mentioned the danger of “refining” as you go, I think I will still refine from start to end in order to get a holistic view of my animation as I am progressing.
Creating the Animation
October 16, 2020
I began creating vector assets on illustrator that best represents the storyboard. The beginning of the animation starts off with an “explosion” of components within the abstracted form of Arvo. I spent a lot of time thinking about how to make the animation process more efficient before creating the vector assets (what I make on Illustrator, and the way I organize the layer would be very crucial in terms of efficiency). I decided to create different Illustrator files with different stages of the animation:
Using these assets, I was able to animate the first 15 seconds of the video.
Animating the Explosion:
I personally believe that the beginning of the animation is very important. It sets the tone for the rest of the video, and the bass drop has the potential to captivate the viewer. I went through multiple iterations of the “explosion” effect that is in sync with the bass drop.
First Iteration (simple perpendicular movement):
This iteration was a direct creation of what I had envisioned when drawing out the storyboard. However, when animated, the dramatic effect did not carry through with its simple perpendicular motion.
Second Iteration (with Easy Ease):
I added Easy Ease to make the movements more “snappy” and played around with the timing of the return state in order for a more dramatic effect.
Third Iteration (with Rotation and Easy Ease):
I added the rotation and sped up the return state which increases the effectiveness of the “explosion” effect. I also increased the distance traveled by each component when they are deconstructed.
Fourth and Final Iteration (with Rotation, Color change, and Easy Ease):
The addition of color was suggested by a few of my classmates. Because of the duration of the build up at the start of the animation, the viewers wanted more visual intrigue when the components were deconstructed. This also allows for a smoother transition to the next frame.
Here is the video I put together before the in-class critique on October 20, 2020. This is before minor refinements and potentially some changes to the animation.
October 20, 2020
During class, we presented our video in groups of four, to Vicki and Jaclyn. We were short on time but here is some feedback I got:
- Overall the video is solid
- The geometric idea of Arvo is very clear
- Maybe the beginning and the end where the shapes are deconstructed is repetitive? (I disagree — provides a start to finish)
- Viewers like the simplicity, and the geometry used throughout the video — the slab serif highlights are clear and interesting
- When type is all-caps, the tracking should be adjusted a little bit
- Offset the movement of “Os” in the part with “Anton Koovit”
- The pink over gray isn’t as readable as black over grey — something to think about
- “Vintage” part with different fonts was good — leveraging other fonts to show the difference between those and Arvo is effective
What is next?
For today, I am planning on taking a break from looking at my video — hopefully tomorrow, I can get a better understanding and opinion with fresh eyes. But regardless, the feedback was helpful and I believe that I will have some minor adjustments that I’ll have to make before the final submission on Thursday.
Iteration 2 (for Final Crit)
October 22, 2020
Below is my final video, with potential changes to come after crit.
We showcased our video to the class and to two other guest professors, Dylan Vitone and Kyuha Shim. Here is some feedback I got:
- Dylan: Fantastically paced (“drop dead good”)
- Dylan: Rational between geometric cutups
- Dylan: The electronic sound in the beginning makes it feel like the background should be dark
- Dylan: Time spent a lot in explode composition — wonders what else could’ve been done with that time
- Kyu: Background sound at the beginning creates a certain mood and builds up a lot for the explosion scene — wishes to see more drama when the letters are deconstructed.
- Play around with top and bottom margins when there is a single word on the screen (to create more interesting negative space)
- Increase the kerning for the text heavy screens
What is next?
Overall, the response to the video was good, but I saw a lot of areas where I could improve. First of all, I really needed to fix the kerning of the characters. I plan on zooming into every letter and adjusting the kerning so it looks just right (especially because the content is in all-caps). Also, I agree with what Dylan said about the background feeling like it should be black in the beginning — I actually wanted to try this out before the due date, but unfortunately didn’t have the time to — I will make sure to try “dark” mode. In general, I think it is good practice to dive back in and make adjustments.
Increasing the drama:
Just like what Kyu mentioned, I wanted to create more emphasis and drama to the section where the particles are deconstructed. Because there is a lot of build up until that scene, I wanted the viewers to be satisfied. In general, I wanted the color shift to happen when the particles are extended, instead of when they come back together.
Black to Grey to Pink
Too much shift in color, not pleasing to the eye
Black to Pink
The multiple black shapes over the pink is too jarring.
Black to Grey
Consistency is provided with a simple black to grey
Version 1: Light mode
Version 2: Dark mode
Personal Critique with Vicki:
After creating two versions of the ARVO video, I scheduled a time outside of class to meet with Vicki. I talked about my interpretation of the in class critique and what my approach was in creating these two videos. Here is some feedback I got:
- The manual kerning works, but try to adjust after increasing the overall tracking and setting the kerning as optical
- Overall video is better than before, and works — it is up to me to make these nitty-gritty detailed changes
What is next?
I’ve come this far. I’ll make those detailed changes for my own satisfaction.
Today I completed my video project, along with the C-mini course at CMU. This video project was definitely a challenge — with the short time frame, a lot of technical learning was required during the duration of this project. But just like all the projects I’ve completed in this class, the end result is always worth the work I’ve put in.
I approached this project very slowly, planning out my storyboard and animating hand-drawn frames to see and feel the entire video before jumping into any programs. I think in the long run, this was a smart way to progress through the project, because I was able to efficiently organize assets and meticulously plan out every second of my video in sync with the music.
I’m still not sure if this is true, but I feel like it is important to work with the music as you develop your storyline — I didn’t want my video to have a disconnect from the song and the visual elements on the screen. Although the core objectives of the project was readability and motion, I think its relationship to music and its harmony can make or break the animation.
In all honesty, I wasn't too proud of the state of my animation during final critique: I knew more interesting animations/transitions could’ve been done, and I thought my video was too simple. But simple doesn’t necessarily mean its bad — in my case, luckily, the nature of Arvo reflects the simple and bold layout of my animation.
If I were to do this project again, I would first start by doing some external research on what type of videos are out there in the world: “what is new, and what is trendy? Why is it trendy?” After doing research, I would be better visually equipped to incorporate motion elements to my own work, especially since the field of animation is very new to me. Also, although I have mentioned above that planning out my storyboard was helpful in the long run, there were some downsides to that as well — I was very focused on staying true to my storyboard animation: I think this inevitably hindered me from thinking outside of the box and taking risks.
In conclusion, to wrap up this mini, it was such a rewarding experience, and involved a lot of new learning. Throughout the past couple of weeks, I learned a lot about my process and areas I still have room to grow in — I need to take more risks :)