Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Visual Storytelling: Learning Outcomes

Knowledge & Understanding 

Appraise the issues relevant to visual storytelling in various contexts.

Storytelling is effected mainly by the viewpoint that the audience takes when viewing the media in question. The issues surrounding visual storytelling in video games centre around the player's point of view and how this effects how players watch the story unfold. In first person games scenes unfold while the character is still controlled by the player, meaning the storytelling within the scene must encompass enough of the playable environment for players to realise that it is something to pay attention to. Half-Life 2 is a good example of this as the player is still able to move around while key story points happen around them, allowing them to create their own narrative within a scene while also carrying on the main story arc. 

On the flip side of this, in games where cut scenes are forced upon the player to watch, storytelling can take a cinematic twist, allowing for the player to see exactly what the game wants them to see. This effects the storytelling in a game as it detaches the player from making their own assumptions and stories within a playable environment, and instead forces one overarching story on the observer. Final Fantasy is an example of this, whereas some players may enjoy the cinematic side of the game experience, the detachment from gameplay this presents can be quite jarring. This lack of creative freedom within a game may be something that dilutes a player's experience.

Analyse industry and professional requirements.

When working within industry certain briefs will restrict the artist in question to working within a set guide of requirements. Within the term we have been visited by a number of outside studios that have talked to us about the importance of creating work that fits within the brand that they represent. This can mean that the work we are asked to produce must be relevant by age, audience and theme to the original studio's IP, meaning that, as an artist, one must work within these set parameters to best ensure creation of usable work. The importance of research and of using industry techniques such as silhouetting, thumb-nailing and stringent planning all lend to the creation of useable artwork in an industry environment. 

Demonstrate an understanding of appropriate techniques and methods.


Cognitive & Intellectual Skills 

Integrate and synthesise research into design solutions.

As I had never created storyboards or movie posters before I looked into a number of different references to draw from. I was heavily inspired by the look of both the Prometheus and Die Hard movie posters, especially the over the shoulder viewpoint of my teaser posters, drawing various elements of both into my own. For my storyboards and key scene research I looked into a number of sources ranging from How To Train Your Dragon to the recent Bioshock: Infinite. 

Evaluate and defend own work in the context of contemporary practice.

I feel the work I completed throughout this module has been incredibly helpful for my own personal development as a concept artist. Before starting this module my thought process when I approached new pieces of work was lacking the ideas of storytelling, with my scenes looking quite boring, uninteresting and with not much happening with them. I'm am not a level now to be able to achieve this completely, but this module has taught me to really start thinking about what to include in my work from now on in relation to telling a story within the pieces I create. 

I feel that my storyboards are somewhat successful at visualising a story, when looking at storyboards created by professional artists I see that my characters could be much more emotive with a wider range of movements and interesting camera shots. The advantage of creating such storyboards has been the chance to quickly sketch ideas down while trying to broadcast a certain theme through each panel created. This has been challenging but rewarding to learn about. 

After drafting and re-drafting my movie posters also I found that I really disliked the teaser posters I have created for this module as I feel the composition I chose and developed did not entirely work. I feel I should have planned these a lot more and taken more inspiration into account before jumping into a solid idea that does not necessarily look pleasing. I am however pleased with my main movie poster as I feel there is a direct inspirational link from it and to other real Hollywood movie posters in both the overall theme and storytelling that it hopefully transmits. 

Practical & Professional Skills 

Plan and implement appropriate skills in the creation of visual work.

In the creation of all my work for this module I felt that I planned, research and developed my pieces accordingly, except for my teaser posters that I feel needed more attention in the beginning stages. I created a number of draft ideas for my storyboard, key scenes and posters and received feedback on these which gave me an advantage when developing them further. 

I found through this module that the way in which I planned and created my work was not entirely working. Instead of thumb-nailing as much as possible and taking the time to really hone the right design in the early stages of work I instead decided to jump far too quickly into imagery that did not work. I have learned from this incredibly and I will make sure that my future work takes advantage of this, pinning down an idea that works early saves a lot time of time changing things later on. 

Operate ethically demonstrating critical understanding of the issues governing good practice.

I have made sure to research and create without plagiarising or stealing ideas, designs and artwork directly from a copyrighted source. This is the same for my work outside of university, meaning any work I have completed has come about from an iterative process based off my own design. This is because of the importance of originality of ideas and IP ownership. Within industry protecting and creating valuable intellectual property means that others cannot steal and use your ideas for themselves, by operating and developing your own work ethically lega action can be avoided.

Key Transferable Skills 

Demonstrate independent learning and continued personal development.

As I have mentioned above this module helped push me into thinking much more about what my artwork as a whole has been missing. With the creation of the key scenes I found a good challenge for myself to create not only environments, but scenes within them that told a viable story. This has been something I have not always tried to do in the past so having this chance to now experiment with composing believable scenes with characters has been a major jump in my work process. From this I will continue to apply what I have learnt to my future work. 

Exhibit strong communication skills.

I feel this module has been a great challenge to me to learn about how to place objects within a scene, how storyboards work, how certain camera shots lend to certain situations and the importance encapsulating one idea within one space effectively. I feel that my most successful pieces are my main movie poster, certain parts of my key scenes and my storyboards. I feel the latter communicates the story asked of us quite effectively, where my limitations with character expression lied with my drawing abilities. I also feel that my main movie poster communicates a strong theme of danger and action, and transmits a story with not much imagery. I would have liked my key scenes to a exhibit a stronger sense of communication as I feel my limitations with anatomy, foreshortening and general drawing practice stopped me from truly forming the images I had originally intended to create.