Food…but Fancy.

Moodboard

I really liked the way I worked during this project. What made a huge difference was using the transferring technique and working with type on transparency sheets. It was like composing on the computer, but in real life.  I learned a bunch of new tricks and techniques with this project.

For example:

Top: transfer using blending marker. Bottom: Transfer using nail polish remover plus marker on edges. Using a combination of both got me a well saturated image (polish remover) as well as with crisp details (marker)

 

I also experimented with scanning, and how different options when scanning can result in very different results. I ended using the regular 24-bit scans, because of the details and richness in colors:

24-bit color (what I used)

color smoothing

24-bit color

color smoothing

24-bit color

color smoothing

grayscale – halftone

black and white

Not only did this project help me practise working with my hands again, but my choice of topic was very fun for me. Creating a persona that I related to helped make a lot of my design choices. It also opened me up to shifting my topic, by thinking about what someone like me would be interested in seeing and doing. I tried out making jelly spheres/strawberry and banana caviar/ as a side experiment:


They were surprisingly successful, but ended up not making it into my zine. The reasoning behind this was also related to my persona. I thought about students like me, and how making simple foods for us/me is difficult or took time. That made my zine shift from an information book, to a mixture of entertaining foods, as well as the useful recipes part.

printed on transparency

transferred type

Finally, the composition of the final piece was very similar to working on inDesign. I had to test different typefaces and effects as always. What I found hard/inconvenient was having to keep on print different sizes of images, to test how it would look on the page. While working, resizing the image would be faster, easier on screen. But this way, it was better to be able to see the actual way the images would look, instead of having to test print.

This project didn’t really make me lean towards one way of working over the other. Both have their pros and cons. What I realised is that a balance of both would work for me better. Maybe collaging by hand, but resizing and composing on screen. Test prints are something that have to be done during both ways. It most likely would depend on project to project.

What was difficult was the alignment of crossovers by hand, since I really wanted to align some type across a spread. I ended up testing out registrations and stapling a certain way, to have the type be slightly off, but not so much that it’s illegible. What was also good to know—even though it was subconscious initially—was that I had kept a sense of narrative throughout the zine, despite it never being explicitly discussed (it should be obvious from the course’s name, but still).

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Pop-up book Reflection: mother turned the radio to NPR

I knew I would enjoy creating pop-up books when I saw the lightsabers pop out.

I chose the 2003 disintegration of the shuttle Columbia as the news event I wanted to work with. I remember teachers discussing it while I was in school. Finding a poem (written by a teenager that heard what happened on the radio)—and then transcriptions of actual conversations that took place between NASA and the shuttle—inspired me to design a book that presented both, to narrate the event with the technical and emotional complexity and nuances of the chaotic day retained.

The system I created was:
Rick Husband – 20cm, Communications 9cm, Cain 8cm, Kling 6cm, Technician 4cm, Ground Control 2cm—all on vertically popping, black paper — A condensed, medium, techy-looking typeface— for all the actual conversations.

The poem was in a contained black frame, always on the white spread, stuck flat — rounded, regular typeface.

 

I enjoyed making pop-ups. But the mechanics were harder and more complex than I had imagined. One of the bigger challenges was not figuring out the mechanics, but figuring out how to get the mechanics just right that it fit big enough for all the type to be legible, but small enough that it didn’t peak out of the edges of the closed book.

This was hardest on my favourite spread:

^ rotating mechanics. The paper would be too thin, or the strip would be too long, or too short. I went through way too many versions of this one. The pull strip had initially been glued too far down from the pivot/hub. This meant that:
a) The strip needed to be LONGER—so that more of the circle would be pulled out through the slit (revealing the type)
b
) the height of the overall piece needed to be TALLER.
c) This was a major problem since I could have neither of those things—the strip needed to be small enough that it fit inside the width of one page, and short since it needed to be exactly 9cm tall.

It all came down to finding a sort of equilibrium length of strip and distance from the hub (even where the slots were located in relation was very important. It’s no joke when they call it paper ‘engineering’.


Fixing the mechanics was all fine and dandy, but then I couldn’t stick it flat against the v angled pop up…the mechanics wouldn’t work. So then I had to re-adjust the distances and measurements to ensure that there was enough distance between the pop up the vertical base it was being stuck to—BUT that that distance was small enough that it also didn’t peak out the edges…

Painful balancing of lengths was another main point I learned.

Now imagine two days after finally figuring out those mechanics and getting it perfect, it starts to act wonky. The words refused to get pulled out completely. Or once the pull strip was pulled out, it wouldn’t go back into the closed position. The problem was the whit bit:


I
t might have gotten weak from all the movement, and the flap that was supposed to remain semi-folded, kept opening up. (above). I couldn’t just stick it down, because that was the area the arm moved in.


^tried to use some awkward mechanics to keep it down from the sides, extended the length of the arm. That didn’t really help much. What helped was:
Narrowing the width of the arm that fit inside the white circle, and making the circle slightly bigger (that also was a big deal). The reason the flap kept rising and messing with the overall mechanics was because the arm kept getting caught on the edges of the circle, pushing it up.

Designing the pop-ups were the major learning moments of this project (also the most time-consuming and irritating).

Next came experimenting with type size and placement.

Wanting to convey more meaning with the type, I experimented with variation on a few spreads. Here the communication is failing and finally getting lost forever:

The very final step was deciding the symbol that would be the prompt for which direction to pull the tabs in:

  

^ After experimenting to link back to the buttons and mechanisms inside the aircraft, I decided on a simple arrow. The style of the buttons was inconsistent with the overall style of the book (it was too detailed/embellished).

Overall Reflection (in short):
I learned more than I had initially planned to about pop-ups. Something I wish I had known a week earlier was transferring ink onto paper (using some kind of blender)—Maha (TA) mentioned it in class today. I would have liked to try that in comparison to simply cutting and sticking the type on. So, that was one aspect I would have experimented with more if I had the time—the appearance of the type. What if I had transferred the type multiple times, making it look faded in some areas?? Faded in areas where communication was difficult?

The guy on youtube had it easy, when he demonstrated on plain sheets. Customizing all those demonstrations to be the right size and length to fit the spread while being long enough for the type  that would go on the piece, was the hard part. I learned the importance of tests, iterations, more tests. And patience.

Title Sequence: “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” Reflection

I was excited for this project as soon as we were introduced to it, remembering how I enjoyed working on the motion type project in Sophomore year. Having recently watched Shutter Island, I knew I wanted to do something with a similar feel. I remembered how messed up watching ‘Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?’ was, just psychologically, and after seeing the title sequence for it, felt like there was another style left to be explored.

Pre-Production:
After watching many title sequences to choose one to storyboard, I decided on storyboarding the title for “Mimic”. The style reminded me of the title for “Se7en”, it gave the same mood—really disturbing in a scary way.  These were my initial inspirations, but after a couple of tests and feedback I came to the conclusion that their style was too intense for “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” Its story was intense, but not in the same way as Mimic or Se7en, where there’s a lot of gore and murder. I got heavily inspired by the title sequence for “To Kill a Mockingbird”—although its mood was also very different—it was more calming like someone is telling a story. In hindsight, Saul Bass’s work on titles for “Psycho” and “Vertigo” were also major sources of inspiration. What really sealed the mood I wanted to create was finding the music I was going to use (Enigma from The Imitation Game, by Alexandre Desplat). I also wanted to tell a story but in an unnerving way.

Storyboarding was not an entirely new concept to me, but I never did it as thoroughly as I had to do it this time. It was difficult since working like this felt restrictive. Except it wasn’t. Just having to think in a pre-planned way was difficult. Typically, the shooting happens, and it helps with the thinking. The way I went around this was by shooting short, test clips of what I could possibly do, without a planned narrative. Based on the feedback on these tests, I was able to storyboard exactly what I wanted to do. I remembered the word ‘schematics’ being discussed and used that as my starting point. What helped was to write out what the story of the movie was about in a paragraph and list key elements of the film.

Shooting:
While shooting, I quickly learned how important storyboarding was. It gave me a focus, saved me time and created a focus for discussing and getting feedback from the professors. When I had a plan in front of me, I could talk about what part of the plan was working and what part needed changing.

img_6625 img_6626

Usually, what would take me many days to get, I got over  8ish hours broken across a couple of days, because I knew what I was doing. Usually, I would try things as I go (which I still did), but this time I had more of a purpose behind what I was trying—which resulted in me getting useful footage pretty early on. And then after getting feedback and making changes to the storyboard, I could reshoot exactly what I needed even faster.

Post-Production:
I knew I wanted an old, Saul Bass kind of feel (similar to the already existing title sequence). Watching tutorials for creating that kind of look, and actually watching titles or movies with that feel also helped. By the time I got to incorporating the type in, I knew I wanted something big/bold and all-caps. But before that, I had to learn to get comfortable with what I wanted to achieve. I kept feeling like I was going overboard with the scratched or ‘old’ look. I would experiment with how it looked in colour, or at various brightnesses. After getting feedback from various people, I finally got that it only seemed cheesy because I wasn’t used to it, and I was taking it too seriously. I knew I wanted to create a Saul Bass-style look, but forgot that it seems cheesy to people my age, and thought I was doing something wrong. I ended up having to wholly accept the style to create the scratchy, dusty, dramatic video that recalled the style from the time of the movie.

title_sequence_process13  title_sequence_process16

It was the initial planning that  I mostly found difficult (and the sourcing of materials I needed)—and drafting emails that went, ‘Thank you for letting me borrow your wheelchair!’

What I know I want to improve is the incorporation of the type into the video. I got a lot of positive feedback on the shakiness of the type, yet something still felt not right. I want to experiment more with the different ways  I could incorporate the type, maybe a better tracking tool could be used, or I could experiment with different positionings. I’m comfortable with the shaking type, but I feel that the intensity needs to be taken down a bit.

Resources:
What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? Car Accident Bette Davis Joan Crawford English
https://youtu.be/xLdqnJsCijA

To Kill a Mockingbird

Various Titles (Vertigo, Psycho, Se7en, Mimic…)
http://www.artofthetitle.com/

Shutter Island Soundtrack – Symphony No.3 Passacaglia – Allegro Moderato
https://youtu.be/ebeiX7HIsw8?list=PL0DB920FEB574CC6C

Shutter Island SoundTrack-Lizard Point.flv
https://youtu.be/NsTkpW68-G0?list=PL0DB920FEB574CC6C

The Imitation Game Soundtrack – Enigma
https://youtu.be/Iy-_01O9eEU

How to Fake the Super 8 Film Look
https://youtu.be/1UKxKFmv1sY

How to Make Old Film Effect in Premiere Pro
https://youtu.be/cNfaRFcOV5c

Premiere Tutorial: Old Movie Effect in Adobe Premiere
https://youtu.be/cNfaRFcOV5c

Final Outcome:

A title sequence I made for the movie ‘What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?’. The sequence was meant to evoke the style of films from the 50s and 60s, getting inspiration from Saul Bass, Stephen Frankfurt, and the movie itself. The music used is composed by Alexandre Desplat for the movie ‘The Imitation Game’.