Art Direction 2
Updated: 2 days ago
To begin our brief four Art Direction 2, I broke down what is expected of us to ensure that my ideas will be created in the correct outcomes. I started by highlighting key areas that I had ideas for, starting to build up possible ideas.
When dissecting the brief, the short second video really stood out to me. As I want keep my video outcome relatively short. TikTok really stood out to me as a possible option as I was beginning to steer towards creating an outcome that communicates an idea to a younger demographic...
For our second class presentation, I started to research into areas that I am interested in. I began my focus in areas to do with Artificial Intelligence. Looking at organisations within this area. When researching, I found that there were quite a few organisations pushing ideas of what is the future of AI and WHO and HOW will we ensure that the future growth of technology will make positive change.
When looking at these activism groups, a lot of them seemed to focus on creating a better future using AI as its inevitable that the usage of technology us only to grow. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the fastest-growing and popular data-driven technologies being used all around the world.
Growing use of Artificial Intelligence
Although the use of AI remains relatively low across organizations, statistics show that an increasing number of enterprises are starting to employ it within their business operations.
In 2015, just ten percent of organizations reported that they either already used artificial intelligence technology or would be doing so in the near future.
Fast forward to 2019 and that number rose to 37 percent, which means that more than one in three organizations are either using artificial intelligence or have plans to do so (Gartner, 2019).
This represents an impressive 270 percent growth in just four years. Most of this growth came from 2018 to 2019, during which the usage of AI within organizations as much as tripled.
In fact, it’s clear that organizations are starting to pay more and more attention to the power of artificial intelligence. It’s been named the most disruptive technology by chief intelligence officers and IT leaders worldwide, surpassing data and analytics.
So... That got me thinking...
How can we make Generation Alpha Future Proof?
"by 2025, Generation Alpha will number 2 billion globally. It will be the wealthiest, most educated, and technologically literate in history."
- Robert Hannah, Chief Operating Officer at Grant Thornton U.K.
I started to brainstorm solution ideas with a focus on Generation Alpha however, I started to consider that Generation Z would be a better demographic (as they're over 10) as they will likely be more engaged and inspired the possibilities of Coding and AI in 2020.
Through looking at this info-chart, I started to consider WHAT would be the best way to reach out to an age bracket of 12-16 within Generation Z. I decided to focus on this age bracket as they will be in Secondary School, starting to select what subjects they might want to study. Where a game/video/AR app could possibly help them to engage and get inspired.
I then started to highlight areas that stood out to me as options. Incorporating a platform such as TikTok could potentially be a great option for my campaign as Gen Z makes up the largest percentage of users within the app. Therefore, it may increase the charges of engagement within the target audience.
"Gen Z – 60% of TikTok users are Gen Zers. Gen Zers are trendsetters. Next year, 74 million people in the U.S. will be part of “Gen Z”, which will make it the largest generation of all."
In continuation of my initial brainstorm, I started to elaborate on areas that stood out in combination to my further insight into TikTok.
Nodes are used for a variety of industries. From creating triggers for XR to Gaming in engines such as Unreal, to Programming AR filters. Using nodes within the campaign, will help to introduce coding on a simpler level as you're able to connect different commands. A lot of software such as Unreal Engine are moving towards using nodes to make it easier and simpler for people to create their own ideas come to life without having to learn a whole coding language.
Introducing nodes is a perfect way for my target audience as it its simpler for them to get their head around. Even showing them the way nodes look will help them feel more confident in tackling them in the future.
How will the campaign look?
To ensure the campaign is engaging to children and kids, I want to ensure that the style and brand of the campaign is consistent throughout. I started to review posters, games and comic books that are centralised around a character.
Whilst researching a range of posters targeted to my demographic, I noticed that a lot of the formats were inspired to comic book posters and front covers. Creating impactful scenes with the characters, complimentary typeface and a very consistent art style.
Questioning what makes a poster successful has really helped me to understand composition idea layouts, helping to understand how the main character should be portrayed.
What kind of character would work well to teach kids the basics of coding?
I began to look at well known characters that are very popular in film. The minions are a great example of this as they have almost cartoon-like body shapes with a bold silhouette. Other successful characters especially in Pixar and Disney, is that they have exaggerated features, helping to sculpt the characters persona and personality.
To disconnect their direct visual appearance to their silhouette, I picked some inspirational characters from games and videos, to try to understand any similarities they may have, making them successful characters.
They all had big/long heads, with unrealistic body proportions helping to keep them looking fun and related to something not too serious. If the character I create has similar proportions, Gen Z should be able to relate to a particular kind of tone similar to other characters.
Focusing on creating a character that with a bigger head, I started to move towards a spaceman character. As the big helmet could help to create a great silhouette.
Initially I really liked this drawing as the body in the suit was slightly out of proportion to their hands and feet. To help visualise this as the protagonist of the campaign, I had to give the illustrator a detailed description of what I'm looking for. This was a great experience to art direct my idea to an illustrator.
I was very pleased with this outcome, however I realised that the way I described how I would like the drawing didn't really help to show many exaggerated features.
In class a small amount of us were in, we discussed our ideas so far and I showed my illustration and many of them liked it- however a couple pointed out that they really liked one of my other iterations. This other drawing had less of a human silhouette, whilst showing more of a positive look from showing its smile. At this stage of the project I thought it was essential to stay open minded and listen to other views to help gain other perspectives.
I continued to develop this drawing on my iPad, using a similar pen tool and position from the drawing I commissioned.
It took a while to play around with the composition, however I'm happy with this silhouette's proportions as it stays ambiguous to what the character looks like underneath the 'hazmat/space suit'.
When playing around with the colours, I found that orange was a suitable colour as it stays bold and distinctive and is also similar to what astronauts would wear for a flight at NASA.
I wanted to keep my colour scheme open at this stage, as I wanted to create the campaign around the main character instead of confining their image later down the line.
After finding this picture of the hazmat, I felt that the colours in my illustration could be amplified through the tone of orange used, and darkening some of the grey, helping the character to stand out in any scene.
Adding a side companion
I went back to review what makes a successful comic book, and noticed that a lot of them had side companions. Introducing a character later down the line of the campaign may help Gen Z to stay engaged with the story. For campaign, the purpose of adding this extra is to symbolise their digital companion, similar to a computer screen to help the protagonist when needed. Therefore I decided to draw this little robot, keeping to the same illustrative style of the main character.
Using Adobe Colour CC I selected the orange I chose and found a complimentary colour to go with it. The green/turquoise works really and almost gives that authentic look that a lot of old books have when the red fades out to orange/pink and blues fade out to green tones. Although this is only a subtle inspiration, I feel that it could potentially help my poster to have a contrast from modern to old.
What should the protagonist be called?
Un-ironically, I was searching for 'futuristic' names to see if there were any that sounded unisex, and could be an easy name to remember.
Axe really stood out to me as its only three letters and could work really well within the branding in the spacey route.
Adventures with Axe Codes
For the title of campaign, I wanted to have the protagonist's name as the focus similar to some of the comic books I was looking at. I decided to title it "Adventures with Axe Codes" to keep it ambiguous and to hint that he will be going on a lot of different adventures.
When designing the poster I incorporated using the golden ratio, to make the best usage of space within the composition. I drew the poster on an iPad and then added the text over on Photoshop.
I wanted to test out how this poster can interact with the viewer. I used Adobe Aero to place AXE and the poster into AR. Using their built in features, I was able to trigger AXE to jump up and down by a tap trigger.
I presented my project so far, showing this AR video test of Axe coming out of the poster, as well as pitching this presentation attached below. I designed my presentation in a way which wouldn't reveal the characters, yet would build up a visual archive of the art direction style through the background colours, typeface and glimpses of the idea.
Overall I had some great positive feedback, saying that its an interesting topic to dive into, and a lot of people in the class were shocked at the graph. I received some design constructive feedback, mentioning that I should look into changing the main typeface as it does not represent the futuristic- coding aesthetic.
I also started to think that perhaps I should change the way people interact with my poster to link with my video.
I created a TikCode- allowing them to scan the image which will re direct the kid to their page!
I began by playing around with the typeface, I went with Carbon as it is clear and easy to read yet compliments the art style.
I also added a 'badge' for Axe that will also be used as the logo. I wanted it to stay in this illustration style to mimic what a logo would look like in Axe's world.
I had an induction on Riso printing as I wanted to have a look at how I could potentially print off my poster using a more authentic approach- similar to an old comic book.
I had to create two versions with the two different colours I used, in different monochromatic photos. I keyed out certain areas to ensure some areas stayed orange, and went over some areas both very dark to create a bold contrast.
I began with the fluro orange, and had to print off over 30 versions to ensure that the ink was even.
I feel that this was a successful outcome for the poster due to the imperfections of the print, it helps to bring a more authentic style of poster. Although I still like the digital illustration, adding this almost 'filter' to the image I feel will really help kids to pick it up and will differentiate to the digital styles they may be used to.
Using cinema 4D and Zbrush, I 3D sculpted Axe. (this took about 30 hours)
For Axe's TikTok video I wanted to shock kids with creating Axe in a similar most video game characters are made.
Using Mixamo, I was able to rig Axe to do a load of dance moves, this made me think that I should incorporate this in my video outcome. Using nodes potentially this could trigger him to dance- capturing the culture on TikTok whilst giving kids a taster into coding.
Texturing: Keeping the look of the riso printer
When drawing on Axe I began with painting the key colours on substance painter, then I started to add textures and imperfections on his suit like how the riso printer distributed ink on the poster.
(Using substance designer)
I placed the model into Adobe Aero, I came across an error where he was extremely reflective as shown below. I had to re-export him without any reflection on his texture.
I played out with the behaviour triggers worked to get a hang of it and it worked pretty well, I just found that I had to loop the trigger quite a lot.
Final environment testing:
I went around Kingston to multiple areas, trying to find the best composition to use. Within the App as shown in the screenshot below, they even use nodes similar to my design!
I over layed the node images onto the captured video on premiere pro and then uploaded the series onto TikTok. In a couple of days all the videos have around 150-200 views! I'm really happy with my outcome as I have never explored AR in these depths, and I feel that this is part of the future of teaching!
Im really glad that I decided to revise the art style through the riso printer as it helped to bring back authenticity with my digital outcome. I would really like to explore this more in the future as adding textures with 3D renders helps it to look slightly more realistic within the scene.
Keeping the user journey simple through a TikCode helps the kid to easily navigate to their page without any other clicks needed. I think the simplicity within the journey would help the kids to want to continue to watch Axe's videos and follow to see where his adventure is off to next. The power about AR is the fact that he could potentially go global through the use of the adobe aero app.