My project aim was to research ways in which branding is being used in the music industry and how bands are using new media as a way of promoting themselves.
At the beginning of the project I was really struggling to come up with an idea for my project, as over the summer I had an idea, but when the year actually started I realized that it would not have worked very well as it did not have any new media in it, and it was all print based. I realized that the project would need to incorporate something in a new media context, I came across some forms of augmented reality uses and I thought it would be something that would be interesting, but I thought it would be beyond my skill level, as I presumed a knowledge of programming would be needed. That’s when I came across the software called Aurasma, which allows augmented reality to be used and created without knowledge for coding or programming. This gave me the idea for creating an augmented reality poster, which would then allow me to incorporate my original print based idea with some new media technologies. I then decided, after discovering The Rolling Stones, augmented reality promotional campaign for their latest album “Grrr!” decided to create my own promotional item for a band. For the project to work I obviously needed a band, I had a browse online for a band that had a style I liked, I then discovered a new upcoming band called The Black Sea on Soundcloud that were happy for me to create the artwork for them.
The main problems I had over the course of the project was finding a way to connect the artwork I was trying to create to the music I was creating the artwork for. I initially thought this would have been quite easy as I listen to a lot of music. I soon realized it was much more difficult to stay away from the obvious subjects relating to the music, subjects that are widely used.
Another area I had problems with was creating artwork in a style that I wanted. I am not a very good drawer, so trying to generate my ideas, was proving difficult. At one point during the project I wanted to create a pin up girl style, which would require me to be able to draw, on not only paper, but on my computer, using photoshop or illustrator. As I already owned a graphic tablet, I thought it would have made it a lot easier for me, but I was wrong.
Ever since I started the project I knew animation would be a key aspect in my project, but I was a bit worried about this as I am not the best at using animation software. Although I have a lot of experience with flash, I did not think it would work well on this type of project. I knew that I would not manage to create any 3D animations, using 3D software, after attempting it on my 3rd year project, where I spent many hours trying to gain knowledge on it without success. That only left After Effects, which is a piece of software I have used before, but only for very basic tasks. I believed After Effects would allow me to create an animation that would look good, as it can create more detailed styles, similar to photoshop. I had problems with After Effects originally, one of which was exporting files. Many of the files I exported ended up jumping, freezing or were poor quality and large file sizes.
When I first discovered some of the augmented reality examples, I thought I would never be able to make my own version of them. Luckily, I discovered Aurasma, but it was not so easy at first. When I first started using Aurasma, I encountered a few problems, one of which was when I uploaded my video it would keep crashing and automatically deleting itself, which happened a lot at first. I was also having difficulties with the file sizes, which were limited to 100mb, but my exported files from After Effects were over 1gb. I even tried reducing the quality, but this meant the video was very poor quality and hard to see the details. When I eventually got it on the device, I encountered more problems further into the project, as I was unable to layer objects in the Aurasma software, as the company had gotten bigger and now charged for this feature, this meant I could not include music.
Solving These Problems
To overcome this problem, I firstly began studying a lot of books and websites in order to try and find some inspiration. I purchased a book called Sound and Vision, which gives an interesting insight into how designers have created artwork that shows a direct connection to the music, which helped me gain an understanding of creating this artwork. Once I had found some imagery I liked, I then used a Pinterest account to store these images and allow me to organize and reflect on them at once. This was when I discovered some pieces of artwork that I really liked and wanted to develop into my own style. The artwork I found that influenced my final piece, were created by Olly Moss, who is an illustrator that has created posters for many movies including The Lord of the Rings. To further resolve these issues I also used my sketchbook, although as I have already stated, I am not a very good drawer, but these helped my to get my ideas down on paper. I developed ideas by reviewing my sketchbook and using the imagery on my pinterest as reference to try and discover if there were any styles that I could put my own twist on by experimenting in photoshop and illustrator.
To develop my skills creating illustrations, I decided I should learn how to use my Wacom graphics tablet correctly. I studied many tutorials, one of which was working with brushes in illustrator and photoshop, which would allow me to create some drawings in the styles I found online, such as the pin up style. After I gained enough of knowledge of brushes, I then studied how to use colour with the graphics tablet. I gained a knowledge of live paint in illustrator, which gave a rather cartoon style to the artwork, which was not what I wanted. I then used photoshop, which was a lot harder than illustrator, as I had to colour it by hand rather than just clicking in blank areas of the artwork. I developed an understanding of creating a colour pallet; shading and blending colours to create a realistic look to the design, all of which became useful skills. Although I ended up not going with this style of artwork, I believe this skill benefited me throughout the project and has given me an interest in this, which I may develop at a later date.
Similar to the Illustration problems I encountered, I again developed knowledge of After Effects by reading a lot of tutorials online, and I also downloaded a tutorial from Lynda.com to help develop my knowledge of the software. The skills that I was eager to develop in After Effects were, basically how to create various animations using the effects tools, such as the light sweep tool, which I used to create a light reflection over some text in my final animation. I also learned how to animate in 3d space, something that I found very interesting. This skill was vital in the idea I had for the project, I used it to animate a light that would be continuously spinning around a lighthouse. I now feel that I have a much better understanding of After Effects, and I have become very confident in experimenting with different effects, something that I found quite scary to begin with. To overcome the problems I was having with exporting from the software, I kept experimenting with various settings, until I discovered that changing the video codec setting to ‘PHOTO – Jpeg’ and using the quicktime format, overcame all of these problems.
The problems I had with Aurasma, did not last very long, as most of the problems were because of the way I was rendering my files from After Effects. The software kept freezing as I was uploading the wrong file type, which caused the system to crash. I got over the problems with the file size by changing the render settings in After Effects, as previously stated. The final problem, which was with layering of objects, was easily solved by asking the Aurasma assistants if I could have my account upgraded for free, which they agreed to since I was a student and began using the software when it was a free service.
Overall, I feel the project as a whole has gone very well. I have developed many skills that will benefit me in the future and allow me to be more confident in my ability and myself. I also feel that during the project, I have discovered a piece of software (Aurasma) that has a lot of potential, and something that I would very much enjoy working with again.