Final Project Analysis

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For our final project, we were given free reign to choose a project to, essentially, redo with something different. So I chose animation, attempting something slightly new, wanting to use After Effects and its puppet tool to create a simple animation. Something like its come out of a fighting game like some of the Street Fighter games.

I went through a few different versions of it; Both regular digital art and pixel art. The only reason I went with regular digital art was because it was taking me a while to get my head around animating pixel art with the puppet tool. It was either that or going into normal animation and drawing everything in separate frames like my original animation project. But I was determined to play with the puppet tool.

Every single part of the character was drawn with more under each other layer. The arms have every single joint drawn, same with the legs, the tail and ears are fully drawn so they can move without just clipping or disappearing into other layers. It only took a little bit longer than a normal drawing of the same character would have done without the separate layers.

The character design was based on my time playing Final Fantasy XIV. I’ve designed multiple characters in the game, so choosing one was easy, seeing as I adore the designs I can make in-game. Plus the races make it interesting to animate as well as them being my own designs. I almost wish I could create more of the animations.

The animation itself consisted of very little movements every few seconds or so, creating a smooth movement between the frames. Though I do wish I story boarded out more movements for her to make and maybe I should have worked with more traditional animation to make it look much better than it ended up looking.

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Animation Analysis (Unit 4)

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Animation was the project I was most looking forward to, having already got a background in art that I practice every day and I do have a wish to practice animation.

Though, I am definitely a amateur animator, so my final animation wasn’t exactly the best I could probably do, as it was a practice and I had limited time to finish it.

I didn’t even get to technically finish it, but i made sure the opening was complete before the project was over.

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Story boarding was the easiest part, but I made sure to give it plenty of time so that I could keep a decent narrative going, or at least the start of one that I could work on if I had the extra time to do it. Sadly I never had the time to finish it, but I did enjoy creating it and do actually like what has come out of it, especially with the added sound effects that made it feel like an ACTUAL animation, rather than just a couple of doodles put together to make a minor movement.

Even just drawing it was fun, the storyboard doodles weren’t exactly my best work (I uploaded some of my good digital art to behance with this unit to show off what some of the best work, rather than just the slightly rough animation), I enjoyed the time drawing on a tablet in the classroom to create the story boards and general animation. But it felt like the animation process was weird.

Using After Effects, Photoshop and illustrator was the biggest challenge I had, as I expected to use Flash, which is a program I do want to learn to use, as most animators that I follow use it for most animations they create.

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While I did have to get my head around the different programs, I still enjoyed it and made sure to keep trucking on whenever I got tired of drawing, determined to make something at least decent that didn’t just involve a bouncing ball. I really wanted to make something with a human being, even just the quick scene of a sigh I ended up with. Knowing that everyone else would be doing simple animations, I just wanted to do something that made me…different. Unique.

Finishing off; I enjoyed the project. I’m proud that this was the first proper animation that I made by hand. It may not be that impressive, but I’m impressed with myself and what I created. It’s simple and quick, but it’s a start, seeing as I do hope to expand on my animation skills. Maybe I’ll be a good animator one day!

Challenges faced by Entrepreneurs in the Creative Sector (Unit 2)

Creative entrepreneurship is the practice of setting up a business – or setting yourself up as self-employed – in one of the creative industries. The focus of the creative entrepreneur differs from that of the typical business entrepreneur or, indeed, the social entrepreneur in that s/he is concerned first and foremost with the creation and exploitation of creative or intellectual capital. Essentially, creative entrepreneurs are investors in talent – their own or other people’s.

Cash Flow

Cash flow is essential to small business survival, yet many entrepreneurs struggle to pay the bills (let alone themselves) while they’re waiting for checks to arrive. Part of the problem stems from delayed invoicing, which is common in the entrepreneurial world. You perform a job, send an invoice, then get paid (hopefully) 30 days later. In the meantime, you have to pay everything from your employees or contractors to your mortgage to your grocery bill. Waiting to get paid can make it difficult to get by – and when a customer doesn’t pay, you can risk everything.

Employees

Do you know who dreads job interviews the most? It’s not prospective candidates – it’s entrepreneurs. The hiring process can take several days of your time: reviewing resumes, sitting through interviews, sifting through so many unqualified candidates to find the diamonds in the rough. Then, you only hope you can offer an attractive package to get the best people on board and retain them long-term.

What to Sell

Admit that you’re weak in identifying prosperous niches, and delegate the task to someone who is strong in this area. You don’t have to hire a huge, expensive marketing firm; rather, recruit a freelance researcher who has experience in whatever type of field you’re considering entering (retail ecommerce, service industry, publishing, etc.). Have them conduct market research and create a report with suggested niches, backed by potential profit margins and a complete SWOT analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

Marketing

You don’t know the best way to market your products and services: print, online, mobile, advertising, etc. You want to maximize your return on investment with efficient, targeted marketing that gets results.

Budget

Unless you’re one of the Fortune 500 (and even if you are), every entrepreneur struggles with their budget. The key is to prioritize your marketing efforts with efficiency in mind – spend your money where it works – and reserve the rest for operating expenses and experimenting with other marketing methods.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_entrepreneurship

https://www.deluxe.com/sbrc/financial/top-10-challenges-faced-entrepreneurs-today-solved

Business Research (Unit 2)

Small businesses are the backbone of the UK economy, driving growth, opening new markets and creating jobs therefore their contribution is vital.  As seedbeds for innovation, they encourage competition and bring fresh ideas that challenge the status quo. This stimulus in turn incentivises others to adapt. Simply put, small businesses are good for UK plc (of which they represent 99.9 per cent of businesses). It goes without saying then, that they should be encouraged to flourish.

However, it is important to look at the wider landscape and see that the path ahead has its challenges, such as prohibitive regulation, red-tape and access to finance.

‘In 2014, there were an estimated 5.2 million businesses in the UK – 99.9 per cent of those being SMEs, therefore this research is a concern if organisations are to continue to grow and thrive in today’s market.’

This is where standards come to the fore, not only as a benchmark for best practice but attainment also. Standards can help push boundaries and stimulate debate on the most effective way to do things. With every ambitious business vying to ‘do things better’, standards are always evolving to fit the purpose for which they were intended.

Whatever you want to show your customers and suppliers you do, there is likely to be a standard that covers it. They are created collaboratively by experts and draw together best practice and knowledge from across industry, government, testing and certification to academia, consumer groups, trade unions and most importantly, businesses.

‘It’s vital that businesses have the necessary knowledge to be more efficient in their business to ensure customer satisfaction, improve employee engagement and to enable access to new markets,” continues Gouldstone. ‘Standards or management systems can help businesses to focus on the products and services that they deliver, their business processes and the way that they manage their organisation as a whole.

‘However, it’s not just a simple case of buying a standard – businesses should firstly understand what it is that is required for their organisation in order to improve. What are the biggest risks? What processes need to be implemented? What leadership is required? Secondly, they should ensure that employees have the necessary tools and skills to understand their part in the process – workshops, seminars and training are a key element of this. There are systems available that can help to effectively manage core areas of any business. Finally, once a standard is in place, businesses should market their achievement to potential and existing customers – this provides customers with reassurance that a company is working as efficiently and effectively as possible and are committed to quality.’

http://www.bqlive.co.uk/national/2017/10/18/news/smes-to-contribute-241bn-to-uk-economy-by-2025-28327/

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/01/creative-industries-key-to-uk-economy

http://smallbusiness.co.uk/the-importance-of-small-businesses-in-the-uk-economy-2492626/

The Challenges of working Collaboratively in Media (Unit 1)

Every issue with collaboration usually leads down to the people, rather than any technical issue.

Indecisive Decision Makers

This situation is common when there are several stakeholders involved, and not all stakeholders are on the same page. Indecisiveness may seem like a small challenge at first, but it can lead to unclear expectations and delayed deadlines – not to mention frustrated team members. 

Miscommunication

When collaborating, there is always room for misinterpretation and miscommunication. Sometimes, mistakes aren’t even discovered until it’s too late. Without a clear understanding of what’s expected from stakeholders, energy is wasted and time is ticking. This can be caused by miscommunication or simply just missing communication. 

Too Many People

Sometimes having TOO MANY opinions and skill sets can ruin things, seeing as the feedback will be far too ranged and make it harder to pin down what could actually be wrong with the project. It could also cause more arguments in the project.

Negativity

These are common phrases used by those poisonous people lurking around the office, AKA, “Negative Nancys.” There is usually at least one on every team and their pessimistic attitude spreads like wildfire. They complain about almost everything, and whenever there is a challenge or a disagreement, they will be the first ones to bring it up and the last ones to think of a solution. These individuals can bring down productivity and morale of a team, causing frustration and conflict.

https://www.wrike.com/blog/6-challenges-team-collaboration/

https://knowhownonprofit.org/organisation/collaboration/what_is_collaboration/benefits_and_risks_of_collaboration

Benefits of working Collaboratively in media (Unit 1)

The answer is fairly simple; a difference of opinion.

Being able to look further away from the product and having different people to see different issues is a blessing for any project.

Collaborating with creatives who have a similar mindset but different skills or experience can directly benefit you. A team member with more in-depth knowledge, previous experience with a specific task, another perspective on a situation requiring problem solving, or even just a new shortcut in your favorite software, can teach you new information in practice, while you and others are applying it together in real time. Imagine that you’re editing a video, and you’re facing an audio sync problem that must be solved in order to continue working. Sure you can find the answer online. But, looking up the solution in an article or video would halt your creative workflow for long minutes, possibly hours, taking you out of the “zone” of creative work. Now imagine that besides the sync problem, there are 12 different brand new issues that have cropped up in the project — the chances that you have the answer to each is quite small. A team of two would have twice the chance, and a team of 10 would have a tenfold chance to have the answer within the group — right away, right there, at no cost. Consequently, cross-sharing knowledge within such a team by each of the 10 members would benefit each member tenfold. It’s organic learning by collaboration. It’s free, immediate, and sticks better too.

It can lead to issues with a difference of opinion. One person wants the project to go one way, another wants the opposite.

But, a well-structured team is capable of achieving results that would take unreasonable amounts of time or require unfeasible resources for an individual to obtain. We don’t have to go farther than Hollywood to see the potential of individuals with various specialties (or simply various personal strengths) working together. No one in a production team is capable of producing an entire A-level feature movie alone in a year, of course, but more interestingly, such a movie would never see the light of day if professionals were simply contributing their ideas and skills without real-time communication and interaction. Imagine, if the composer submitted the score via email, the director instructed the sound designers only via written notes, the director of photography shot the scenes based on a reference picture and the animators only got a printed list of character attributes; the production would quickly fall apart. Real-time, two-way communication is essential — essential for a team to get on the same page, to creatively motivate and bounce ideas off of each other, to brainstorm while acting as a control group and focus group in one – and to learn from each other throughout the process.

Employers not only recognize, but increasingly more often expect to see collaborative work on individual portfolios in the creative industry. This is quite simply because very few work individually in production, and nobody works without having to communicate on the job. Whether you are employed by a large corporation or a small shop, you have a boss, a director or supervisor and colleagues. Running your own business? You have vendors, suppliers, and most importantly, clients to communicate with. If you have collaborative work experience, the chances are you will be taking your people management and your advanced communication skills, both written and oral, to the next job. I would go as far as saying that the chances to get hired by any company with more than 10 employees are greatly improved if you have some collaborative work experience under your belt and on your resume. Having to deal with professionals of different personalities, backgrounds, education and experience makes you a more effective professional and a better leader, indeed. Companies recognize this value.

https://cogswell.edu/blog/importance-collaboration-teamwork-creative-industry/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collaboration

Copyright Laws in Animation (Unit 4)

The idea of copyright is this…

  • An original creative work is difficult to make
  • It’s difficult to make a living from
  • Creativity is a relatively easy steal, as most time’s it’s as simple as copying it

So by giving an artist a legal protection from their work being copied, the artist now has a certain amount of time to try and make as much money as they can before it becomes legal for anyone to use/copy/distribute/perform it… because after that time limit, it enters the public domain.

The public domain is basically any art that isn’t owned. That stuff is free to use for any purpose: reimaginings, remixing or just straight up copying the whole thing. Most of it is just so old they seem like they’ve just always been there – like in the case of some books and music. Film is a different story and I’ll get to that after the bullets but here are some examples of works currently in the public domain;

  • Books: The works of Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley and all the Brothers Grimm fairy tales.
  • Music: Mozart, Brahms, Bach, Chopin, Mendelssohn (which is why nobody pays for the wedding march song) and Beethoven.
  • Film: Roger Corman’s Little Shop of Horrors and the Fleisher Superman cartoon serials. There are favorite examples like It’s a Wonderful Life which is actually partially under copyright (the script and the music) which became a Christmas classic almost exclusively because it got a lot of air time on TV since there were no rights to pay. There’s also a particular comedic irony that “Reefer Madness”lapsed into the public domain because of an “improper copyright notice.” Fun.

Public domain is public property and Copyright is private property.

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(Mimi and Eunice – “Fair Use?” by Nina Paley)

What’s the difference between “parody” and “satire”… and does it matter? First, let’s look at the definitions

  • Parodies are using a work in order to poke fun at or comment on the work itself.
  • Satires are using a work to poke fun at or comment on something else.

 

The distinction is pretty necessary because while parodies need to use more of a copyrighted work to comment on the work it’s representing, satire is more broad. In the eyes of a court, a “satirist’s ideas are capable of expression without the use of the other particular work.” So here’s the weird thing… many people are worried about using or even referencing copyrighted work in a parody, but parodies are actually more protected by fair use than broad satire is! For instance

  • Parody: You might be able to show Miley Cyrus riding the wrecking ball from Bob the Builder if you’re parodying the seriousness of her song/video with the marketing to young children.
  • Satire: You probably wouldn’t be able to use the song and imagery in a wider satirical visual statement on the music industry as a whole.

Weird Al Yankovic is known to “get permission” from the original artist before he puts out a parody song. Here’s the thing though, he doesn’t need to do that. What he does is covered under fair use by way of parody. He creates a new song which doesn’t infringe on the copyright holder’s ability to make money on the original… even though Weird Al is selling his parody. Making money on a parody you made of a copyrighted work is completely legal if your use of the original material is covered under fair use.

References;

http://animationanomaly.com/2011/07/05/animators-and-the-law-copyright/

http://www.skwigly.co.uk/copyright-law-for-animators-parody-caricature-and-pastiche/

https://fairuse.stanford.edu/overview/fair-use/cases/