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Reuben Durrant Armstrong 2011 Sky Arts Stings Competition Self-iniated Project SNo. 95377008


The Brief

The Sky Arts competition

Sky Arts are running a competition, offering students the opportunity to design fresh idents to be broadcast on their channels Sky Arts HD 1 and 2. The brief is to design 10 seconds of 1080p HD animation revealing their logo no later than 8 seconds in. Only one ident per entrant can be submitted. The sting needs to reflect the respective channels identity subtly or literally. Below are some key quotes that I have picked out from the official brief:

“Demonstrate originality, technical ability and a high level of craftsmanship.” “...a classy, glossy, high end production that the very demanding and knowledgeable audience can feast on night after night.” “We are asking you to design a 10 second animation that reveals, creates or fills the word "Arts". The letterforms must be based on the logo that we supply in our download pack. We are looking for left field interpretations of Art as a concept.” My individual aims: As well as designing a piece I can enter to the competition, I also want this piece of work to suit my own personal brief. I want to design something that has more to it than just a random 10 second animation. I will approach the brief more like a channel branding job, so that it suits my portfolio, whilst I also want to challenge myself with techniques I haven’t used before.

©Reuben Durrant Armstrong 2011 - Ravensbourne BA(Hons) Motion Graphics

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Brand Analysis What is Sky Arts all about?

I analysed everything about the channels, looking at the respective audiences, types of shows and the key values that define the brand position. There is a clear difference between Sky Arts 1 & 2, with the first aiming for a younger audience with popular art culture and rock concerts whilst the second is home to more classical art forms such as theatre, opera, dance, jazz and orchestral performances. Both channels offer insight in a magazine-style format with interviews paired with frontline tickets to classic and contemporary events. Their key aim is stated as “providing choice”. Famous and big names are obviously important to Sky Arts as the brief mentions names from Damien Hirst to Lily Allen to Terry Pratchett. It is definitely worth taking into consideration what it means to be a Sky channel as the Sky brand is very important. Sky channels aim to be the best and tend to flaunt their quality with epic lighting and dramatic sheen. The ratings for Sky Arts have not been strong though, despite it claiming the most extensive and competent arts channels. I think it’s also worth noting that this is a student competition so they are clearly looking for something fresh and original. Although they show their current idents as examples, the brief is very open and calls for “imaginative”, “experimental” and “brand new” entries.

Value Contemporary

Festival

Sky Fresh Classic

Quality Insight

Magazine ©Reuben Durrant Armstrong 2011 - Ravensbourne BA(Hons) Motion Graphics

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Moodboard Visual inspirations

Here are a few images that I initially pulled out when brainstorming ideas.

ŠReuben Durrant Armstrong 2011 - Ravensbourne BA(Hons) Motion Graphics

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My design The paper grid.

I have designed a grid that peels off layer by layer, eventually revealing the Sky Arts logo. Inspired by moodboard images of flyposters and magazines it is concept that refers subtly to the channel’s programme content.

ŠReuben Durrant Armstrong 2011 - Ravensbourne BA(Hons) Motion Graphics

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The system How the grid works

I have designed a grid system to display content, dividing the 1920 x 1080 screen into 100 smaller 192 x 108 screens. The individual boxes peel off with a papery texture revealing the multiple layers and showing the extent of the channel. It is an unusually mathematical solution to such a creative brief but it has an adaptable ability that would serve it well as an overall channel brand. The papered peeling effect I have created immediately gives any content a collaged and layered feel, representing the ‘magazine’ and ‘festival’ tonal values of the channels.

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©Reuben Durrant Armstrong 2011 - Ravensbourne BA(Hons) Motion Graphics

0 108 216 324 432 540 648 756 864 972

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Height x width values

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Learning New Techniques After Effects techniques I discovered

I used Illustrator to initially design the grid and then After Effects to create a composition that would allow me to curate the content afterwards. Each peel in each small box within the grid was rendered out with a block green layer peeling away to reveal an alpha channel. This allowed me to key out the green, use the alpha channel as a track matte for a second layer of content, whilst keeping the peeled back folds on top.

TECHNIQUES USED: - Track mattes - Alpha channels - Keylight 1.2 - Custom output modules - Pre-comping ŠReuben Durrant Armstrong 2011 - Ravensbourne BA(Hons) Motion Graphics

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Timing

How the 10 seconds divide up. The ident I have designed is 10 seconds exactly and allows for 5 layers of content. The timing is rigged with a rigid structure to allow the content to be easily changed. Having dealt with a complex rebrand at Cartoon Network I wanted to practice industry technique and learn how I might hand over a job like this to an in-house graphics team. Layer 1 (2 secs)

Layer 2 (4 secs)

Layer 3 (4 secs)

HOLD

Layer 4 (6 secs)

BACKGROUND HOLD Layer 5 (4 secs) 0

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ŠReuben Durrant Armstrong 2011 - Ravensbourne BA(Hons) Motion Graphics

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Expansion: Content Endless possibilities

As I’ve designed for track mattes the opportunity for differing content is truly neverending. Here I’ve tried it with bespoke still-life photography (top left), timelapse clouds with album artwork (bottom left) and programme content clips (right).

©Reuben Durrant Armstrong 2011 - Ravensbourne BA(Hons) Motion Graphics

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Expansion: Channel Branding How far the idea could go...

The grid gives a flexibility which would suit a full channel brand. The paper peeling style could be extended right across the on-screen communication. I have also thought that it could also be used to differentiate the two channels, with the more classy peeling effect kept for Sky Arts 2 whilst Sky Arts 1 could have a edgier more rock n’ roll ripping effect.

DOUBLE 7:00 Richard E Grant’s Essential Classics

9:00 Swan Lake NEW 10:10 Evgeny Kissin

©Reuben Durrant Armstrong 2011 - Ravensbourne BA(Hons) Motion Graphics

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Summary To round up...

I feel I have fulfilled my original aims with this project and have created something that could grow into a full channel identity. An adaptable solution was always the key for this project, as I wanted to fulfill a range of purposes. It is a sting for the competition, a portfolio/showreel piece and an onscreen brand. With the Sky Arts competition deadline not until February 15th, I would like to continue to build upon this project even more and create some more creative content to support my idea. I feel the still-life flower photography works well for Sky Arts 2 but I would also like to create something for Sky Arts 1. I learnt a lot of new techniques on after effects which I’m sure will be very beneficial in the future. Previously I had been unsure of the difference between track mattes, alpha channels and green screen keying, but now I feel confident I can use all three to a professional standard. They all come up frequently and I am sure I will use these techniques in other projects. I practiced good labelling and pre-composition techniques, which will help me in the future if I work in big teams on After Effects projects. In evaluation, I think I slightly underestimated the scale of the project and feel I learnt a key lesson about idents. It seemed simple to me to make 10 seconds, but having divided the screen into 100 I gave myself a lot more work!

ŠReuben Durrant Armstrong 2011 - Ravensbourne BA(Hons) Motion Graphics

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Sky Arts Ident System  

Project report for a University piece and Sky Arts Stings competition

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