Wednesday, 15 October 2008

My First E Card

I am coming quite close to finishing my first E Card and I'm quite happy with it so far. There is a few things that I would like to change so far and I am going to make as many amends as possible but I also have to consider that I need to do a few more cards yet.

All of my E Cards would be stacked under the 'Just for Fun' section and this one no exception. The theme across all of these cards is: "What would it be like if humans had never discovered..." And this card theme is "Warp Drive".

The script is about the Starship Enterprise's lack of warp drive. It starts off with a Captains Log detailing the ships current destination and mission and the Captain informing you that they have been traveling for nearly 700 years. Unfortunately, due to an internal error the ships crew compliment are all from the same bloodline... Sadly, there has been a lot of inbreeding.

Here is how the animation has progressed. In retrospect I wish I had made a time lapse of all of the things I have done. In future I am going to make it an essential part of what I do. I just need to figure out how....that way I can just post the results and a video detailing how I arrived at the finished product, much more professional and effective.

This is the final Starship I designed. You can see the original drawing above the finished image. I wanted to use the original Enterprise because of its cult status - I thought it would help people identify with what I was doing. It was nice and easy to construct, but that was the intention when Gene Roddenberry devised it. A nice 1960's UFO, with a brand new (At the time) modern Roll's Royce jet engine and then two long girders. It was supposed to show the cutting edge of modern technology but then take it one step further - into space. It worked, it looked great in the day and if you squint your eyes or you're kind of drunk it still looks just as good today.

This is me constructing the bridge of the Enterprise. I was wanted it to have the modern veneer of the Enterprise D, but have the old naff computers from the original Enterprise. I thought this would create a recognizable environment in which to set my characters. I started with the floor. I wanted to make everything parallel so that it looked more like modern architecture. Saucer section of the Enterprise is round, so I wanted to keep this theme and make the bridge quite round a spacious, unlike say the bridge of Starship Voyager, which is quite confined.

I wanted things to appear like shiny plastic and modern alloys, so I used a lot of gradient fills - something I am normally against. In the shot above I'm about an hour and half in and things were coming together.

A big jump to the final screen here, but this is the almost finished unpolished bridge. The chairs are shaded to make them appear used. All of the computers in the background are alive and computing. I'm quite pleased with it so far. I think it looks quite modern, but also quite authentic and true to the original Enterprise. It is a good solid mix and I think the environment will be appreciated and recognised by the recipient of the card.

The card starts with some interactivity. You have to click the text to begin the short film. I wanted to include some basic interactivity within my first attempt. I want to include more in my future attempts, but I didn't want to try and do too much in my first card, I just wanted to make sure I was capable of turning out a good card with good graphic design and animation: I was considering the time available and the aesthetic; the two primary factors any good animator/designer should take into account.

The envelope then turns on its side and opens in a nice fluid sweeping motion. Getting the top of the envelope to unfold on top of the card and then slide underneath the card when it moves out of the scene was the only difficult part as it involved a lot of layer switches.

The card is emblazoned with the Star Fleet Officers badge - I thought this would be a nice touch and a nice tribute to Trekkie's that might receive the card.

The card is rather bland and boring here...I'm hoping to improve that, but nothing jumped to mind as I was animating the card opening - I was once again concentrating on getting the animation correct.

The logo fades in on the card. I wanted to make the card as if somebody in the 24th century might be opening on their computers, so the graphics are minimal. I could have gone the whole hog and made it like an official message to Star Fleet like in an actual episode of Star Trek, but I wanted to keep the 'card' in peoples minds, not wanting to lose the 'Card' part of the 'E Card'. This is because a lot of the cards I looked at didn't have a very 'Cardy' feel, they were more like short animations or interactive movies and that isn't what people look for in a 'Card' in my opinion. By actually showing the opening of the card before the short animation, it feels more like the sound cards you can get, where a sound triggers as you open it. So, after the logo fades in, the card comes towards the screen and there is a flash of white. The image of the Starship Enterprise floating through space fades in and the animation begins. I am recording the Captains Log with a voice actor this weekend so I'm looking forward to bringing some sound into it because it always instantly improves any animation - it is the second most important part of any media according a recent poll in the Guardian! I will be back with more news and my first time lapse in my next blog!

No comments: