Animation – Problems and Solutions

The first time I animated my storyboard, I used Adobe Flash to execute and exported it into mp4. However, even though I separated the 11 scenes into separate Flash files, problems still occurred and it could not be exported.

I’ve wasted quite a lot of time animating the scenes in Flash before problems began to rise. But after a few attempts, I’ve decided to solve this problem completely by switching to After Effects instead.

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This made things much easier for me in terms of exporting the video. Although it may be slightly more troublesome in terms of animation (I have to separate the visuals into individual layers in order to animate them), it was not as lag as Flash and it was generally easier to use.

Storyboarding

 

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This is my final story board for the animation:

Scene 1(A): Overview of city
Scene 1(B): Overview of city (raining)

Scene 2(A): Couple sleeping soundly next to each other
Scene 2(B): Couple sleeping far away from each other. Messy room.

Scene 3(A): Couple watching TV together
Scene 3(B): Couple watching TV. Sitting far away from each other.

Scene 4(A): Guy serenading girl by the window
Scene 4(B): Couple fighting by the window

Scene 5(A): Mother helping son get ready for school by the window
Scene 5(B): Mother scolding son by the window

Scene 6(A): Mother and son holding hands while waiting for the train
Scene 6(B): Mother and son waiting for the train. Standing apart.

Scene 7(A): Train scene with various strangers
Scene 7(B): Train scene with various strangers

Scene 8(A): Working adult gets out of train
Scene 8(B): Working adult gets out of train

Scene 9(A): Working adult celebrating his promotion at the office
Scene 9(B): Working adult getting scolded by his boss

Scene 10(A): 3 Main characters admiring the city
Scene 10(B): 3 Main characters standing in the rain

Scene 11(A): Back to the apartment. 3 characters enjoying themselves by the window.
Scene 11(B): Back to the apartment. 3 characters having troubles (fighting, stressing out etc)

 

Narrative

The narrative of this project started off as a story about a couple and their journey of falling in and out of love. The purpose of having this narrative is to show the contrast between the two scenes. But after our user test on 13 Jan, the feedback I received on the narrative is that the impact isn’t strong enough. So, I refined the narrative and gave it an extra element which is adding in 2 more groups of characters which showcases their lives behind the scenes.

The inspiration for this came from the realization that everyone has a story, and that every single passerby is living a life that is worth sharing. So instead of showcasing the contrast of one story, I decided to do 3 main groups of characters.

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Soundtrack: Updates

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Since the user-test session, I’ve re-recorded the soundtrack for the interactive music video and re-edited it from scratch. I had some difficulties removing the background noise from the previous recording, which is why I decided to re-record it again. This time, I removed the drums and put the emphasis on the vocals and acoustic guitar. This gave it a more bare, intimate and acoustic vibe.

User-testing analysis

After reviewing all the 7 feedback forms that I have collected, I noticed there was a pattern and similarity in the users’ reactions.

  •  Visuals: Majority of them enjoyed it and gave it a 3 or 4 out of 5 rating. It was pleasing for them in terms of color and tones.
  • Tech: The animations in both scenes did not match up and the video kept looking
  • 7/7 testers did not realize that certain pages allow them to scroll down because the indicator was not clear enough.
  • The story line is simple and majority of testers did not fully understand the narrative.
  • The dragging interaction was certainly intriguing for all 7 testers as they played around with it throughout the experience.
  • The impact of the project was not strong enough and did not leave a very lasting impression on the users.

 

Through these feedback and comments, I can conclude that there are several areas that need further improvement and minor adjustments.

  • Visuals: I will continue to refine and add more details to the entire animation.
  • Tech: The synchronization of the animations must be the same so that it can flow smoothly together.
  • Instructions: Most users did not realize how to interactive with the project at first so indication is very important.
  • Narrative: Instead of having one story throughout the whole music video, I’ll be adding scenes from a few different characters to create a greater impact.
  • Audio: The soundtrack will be re-recorded to boost the quality of the entire project.

 

User-Testing (13 Jan 2017)

We had our first user-testing on 13 Jan 2017 at Baseroom, Block J. This would be the first time I’d be testing my project since creating it, and we’re required to have at least 6 user testers. This time, we had our juniors from Level 4 come in to go through our project and provide some honest feedback so that we can further improve from here.

Before the user-testing session began, I printed out several sheets of consent forms and feedback questionnaires for my users. The consent form, introduced by our lecturer Sweii, is to help the users understand and agree with the activity that we’re doing; which is collecting feedback from them in order to assist in subsequent analysis of the user testing.

The overall session went smoothly, and I conducted 7 user-testings in total.

In the next post, I will be analyzing and making conclusions of the feedback forms that were collected in order to further improve my project.

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