4-5.2.17: Compiling and editing


I spent today putting together our assets to create our first more comprehensive animation sequence. I still had to reshoot the oil jar effects and needed to meet with Helen at uni at some point to give her the high res footage but I was more concerned with getting the bulk of the animation done first as I was concerned about how it’d turn out.

(Nour, G. 2017)

I quite enjoyed compiling the footage to create our animation. It was a little difficult including the MotionBuilder particle effects in a way that blended well with the rest of the piece. My intention was to create the effect of a build up of tension and visual busyness before the action settled into a balanced “block” effect.

Lou had came up with a cool “bubble” effect yesterday that paralleled our theme of the oil/water division on MotionBuilder and I also had one that Jack had done at the beginning which I used. We had a few issues with exporting in MotionBuilder – Lou wasn’t able to export with a transparent background which meant we couldn’t use her choppy black particle on an animation with a black background, which was a shame.

(Wolstenholme, L. 2017)

Below is a graph I made inspired by the one Helen made yesterday (seen on yesterday’s post). I wanted to make a diagram more specific in terms of a singular, core idea to convey in the animation sequence. Being only 30 seconds it would be easy to go overboard and not be able to convey clearly our message/ideology of balance/meditation if we were to include every element. This helped guide the focus of the piece and make sure I didn’t go astray or too far off on a tangent in editing the animation. As can be seen, it focuses on two opposing elements – the emotional/volatile/unpredictable side and the rational/still/blocky side. The climax of the piece occurs when they meet and merge, fluctuating before they find a balance together.

(Nour, G. 2017)

I drew the rough storyboard plan below concurrently while I worked on the AE file so I could see a basic step-by-step progression of action. I didn’t like the idea of planning beforehand seeing as we had a fair amount of assets and most of what I’d be doing would be playing around with a lot of different tests.

(Nour, G. 2017)

I tried to consider the points Chris emailed about:


  • Black and white to convey two obvious opposing elements
  • Graphic style to have a bold, overwhelming effect on the viewers


  • This is a primary element of our sequence. The essence of our animation is the meeting of two forces that experience a period of unrest before settling into a balance, a stillness.

Cinematic language:

  • Tried to maintain a smooth transition between each shot of the animation and a clear flow between the two dynamics.
  • High salience that fluctuates between white/black > different strengths and influential power of either the rational/emotional mind.
  • The manipulation of footage with a focus on editing, time, and speed to communicate a sense of gravity, force, push/pull, cause/effect to parallel the merging of salt and freshwater in an estuary, and the turmoil between the emotional and rational mind (during a situation of decision).

As well as working on her test sequence, Helen wrote out the 2-3 sentence statement for Lou to say on Monday to Kevin (Lou’s a public speaker so taking the role of lead public speaker is her domain):

The Estuary is a space where dynamic forces are in play yet it is a meeting place of these elements. Our piece explores when saltwater meets with freshwater in an estuarial space. Taking into account that the National Maritime Museum is a treasure chest of oceanic backstories, this artwork explores antiquity framed in Homeric and Platonic notions of emotion and rationale and whether these states converge in an estuarial space for its viewers, in order that they may find that metaphoric and meditative stillness where freshwater meets saltwater.

That night I reshot the oil/ink/water footage from Thursday to hopefully attain better, more in focus footage. Mission accomplished! I used a macro lens this time instead which did the trick, and created a basic “recipe” of measurements based on the previous out of focus video to be able to create a similar effect of spidery tendrils, which had looked great in the Data Arena in our Friday interim tests.

(Nour, G. 2017)

(Nour, G. 2017)

This time the ink bubbled up a lot more, intruding into the oil and gradually popping and receding, which looked really cool and was an improvement on last time.


I had work today so couldn’t work on our project during the day but went into uni at night to give Helen the updated high-res footage of the ink/oil to replace the old ones (luckily in After Effects you can just “replace” the footage so you can keep working on the project with old assets until you can update them). We both stayed till about 1am fixing up last bits and pieces of our tests (Helen had been working on our first test and I’d been working on an alternate version). I spent the night fixing up last bits and pieces – fade-outs, timing with the music, exporting several versions.

Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 3.44.11 pm.png

Jack worked on sound yesterday and this afternoon he uploaded it, it sounds fantastic! Really immersive and dramatic. Lou said she’d work on/edit the 2-3 sentence concise statement that Helen had already written to deliver to Kevin Sumption tomorrow and start our 500 word rationale.

Helen’s test sequence:


(Chun, H. 2017)

My test sequence:


(Nour, G. 2017)

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