Vishka Studio http://vishka.com Engaging Digital Edutainment for Children Sun, 26 Nov 2017 09:31:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 I want to create interactive holographic LEGOs http://vishka.com/make-legos-come-alive http://vishka.com/make-legos-come-alive#respond Tue, 21 Nov 2017 11:41:43 +0000 http://vishka.com/?p=5843     I want to make LEGOs come alive But I don’t have the guts so I’m going to create something much simpler to start with. […]

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I want to make LEGOs come alive

But I don’t have the guts so I’m going to create something much simpler to start with.

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.

Walt Disney

No, I am not delirious, demented, or deranged, yet!

I fell in love with Legos as a child but there was always one aspect of these Danish toys that really bothered me: the damn things just wouldn’t move.

As a lonely deity in my small imaginary world of toys (my brothers were unborn or too small), I was frustrated by my inability to interact with my Legos and make them fly and shoot lasers.

Lego Stormtroopers in snow walking with AT-AT - I want to make LEGOs come alive

Now that’s what I’m talking about – See more on Avanaut’s site

Even now as a, ahem, young 49-year-old  father I would love to find a way of playing with them with my son the way they are depicted in TV ads: dynamic, interactive, and almost alive.

We love talking about Legos with my son, particularly the Star Wars ones, as I have always been a Star Wars fan. I am proud to say that I have managed, using every sneaky parenting maneuver I could muster, to turn him into a Star Wars aficionado. We have conversations about the next Star Wars movie coming out, which version of the empires troops we prefer (mine are the Tie Fighter pilots by far), and whether we prefer Bobba Fett to Jango Fett.

I have created a monster, but I digress.

The fact remains that an X-Wing should fly around and fire weapons and not stay in your hand like the inanimate object it is. For more than 40 years I have been waiting for toys that are interactive and engaging and which do not depend entirely on your imagination for providing action and a sense of immersion. I have been disappointed.

I have therefore decided to create those toys myself, so there!

The ultimate idea (which is still quite vague in my mind) is to create interactive toys that would allow children to create and engage with their own imaginary worlds. Imagine blending Legos, Minecraft, and Jake and Finn’s “Car Time” holographic game, stir in some AI and AR, and add a pinch of 3D printing.

Something like this but more customizable:

Rest assured, I am not a complete idiot (I think!) and I know what a humongous and difficult challenge I have set for myself. If it were so easy to create interactive toys I am sure Hasbro and other powerful toymakers would already have filled our shelves with such wonders.

The reason I’ve decided on an objective of this magnitude is that I believe goals need to be difficult to attain but also contain an element of fun. That element is what helps you avoid procrastination or, even in a worst-case scenario, completely give up on your dream.

Since this venture seems daunting and some of the technology may not even have been invented, I will take baby steps and start with something extremely simple and move to the next stage only if my experiment has been successful. I will divide my time into experiments lasting 3 months where I will need to define the outcome and the questions that need to be answered in order to consider the 3-month experiment as a success.

Before I divulge what I aim to create in my 1st experiment I would really like to tell you why I am doing this and what I believe I can gain from this experiment.


WHY:

Ultimately, I want to create a platform that would allow kids to interact with their creative ideas by providing them with tangible and intelligent tools, but for now, I just want to see whether I can create something that kids can enjoy. The answer to my why is because I want my son to be proud of me for conceiving something creative and engaging.

So, my primary goal is to “Create an experience that small kids can enjoy, and have fun doing it”.

I will have other secondary goals, some of which I have noted below:

  • I want to learn to code.
  • I believe that AI (Artificial Intelligence) and AR (Augmented Reality) will play a huge role in story-telling in the future; I want to become more familiar with these concepts.
  • I want to leave a legacy for my son; not by succeeding necessarily, but by teaching him that “You need to love to lose” (quote from Mark Spiznagel) in order to win.
  • If successful, I may turn this experiment into a full-time venture.

WHAT:

“An interactive storybook for children aged 3 to 5 years old based on The Undertals concept.”

The Undertals are peculiar, inquisitive, gluttonous and very funny creatures who come to an unknown island on a big leaf. They don’t know who they are and don’t know where they are coming from.

We had created these characters and their backstory as a pitch tool to be used in film markets. I will reuse the characters but will create a whole new storyline with a gaming approach intended to enhance the story and the element of fun.

Since we have already created the art and assets, I believe it would be much easier to start with this concept than to start with something completely new. Obviously, I will need to change a few things, such as the characters’ names, and repurpose the 3D models for game engines but I’m certain that this route will be shorter than starting from scratch.

I will delve more into the technologies and tools I will be using in later posts.


HOW:

In my spare time, for starters.

I won’t have the time to dedicate myself fully to this project due to other work commitments so I will only work on it in my spare time, for now.

I will use the free version of the Unity Engine but if I perceive that I need more functionality I may move over to the professional version.

There are tons of tutorials and videos on all aspects of the game design and development process; I will definitely use some of them.

I will do everything myself unless I sense that my ignorance or perfectionism are creating an obstacle to the project. In such a case I will outsource any of the tasks that are not too financially taxing.


WHEN:

I have already started this week and my 3-month experiment should end on Thursday, February 15th, 2018, and as stated earlier, I will work in my free time.

I still haven’t decided what I’ll do if I don’t make my deadline. I have 3 choices: launch the project as is with any shortcomings, extend the deadline, or abandon the project.

Frankly, I prefer abandoning the project to extending the deadline because I have been through the purgatory of ever-extending deadlines and one thing I know for sure is that projects that take too long will turn out to be complete crap. The crucial factor here is speed before quality in every facet of production; I will polish things later if needed. I’ll decide in the coming weeks how I will deal with a missed deadline.

Some other points to consider:

Before I set out on my venture I would like to do a quick analysis of my strengths and weaknesses as regards this project. This should allow me to decide what risks I can allow myself to make, and where I need to be more conservative and eventually get help or delegate some tasks.

Strengths:

  • I have more than 10 years of animation and media production experience
  • I am an avid learner
  • I have been reading up and watching tutorials on programming and game design for quite some time now
  • I have a solid theoretical knowledge of agile and kanban methodologies
  • I have a solid network of professionals who can help me with some difficult aspects of my project, mainly game design and programming
  • I am healthy

Weaknesses:

  • I am a perfectionist
  • I am a perfectionist (no, that is not a type, I am deliberately stating it twice; this is my Achilles heel
  • I am a professional procrastinator when faced with tasks that are too challenging
  • I have never written code before; writing C# code in Unity will probably be my most daunting task
  • I am a father and a husband; my time is limited
  • I am 49 years old, I don’t have the energy of a 20-year-old

Conclusion:

The reason I have decided to write this series is that I want to keep a journal of my progress. It would be nice to look back in case of success and see the path I had to go through. Even in case of failure, this would be a great introspection for future challenges.

Another more important reason is that I know deep down how difficult a challenge this is. I will be needing help, a lot of it. So, this is my way of asking for help from you guys. If you’re reading this and are somehow enjoying it or finding it interesting, I would love it if you could follow my articles and encourage me along the way. Anything will be appreciated, a shout-out, a high-five, a comment, critical feedback, advice, or even silent approval deep down in your heart.

I would love to hear your comments on my project below.

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Animated Video Styles and Uses http://vishka.com/animated-video-styles-and-uses http://vishka.com/animated-video-styles-and-uses#respond Tue, 12 Jul 2016 08:54:05 +0000 http://vishka.com/?p=5630   Which animated video styles and uses are best suited to my marketing? Which animation style is right for my budget and my needs? We have all seen […]

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Which animated video styles and uses are best suited to my marketing?

Which animation style is right for my budget and my needs?

We have all seen animated TV commercials, animated feature films, like Kung Fu Panda and Toy Story, and animated cartoons like Gumball and Adventure Time (don’t worry if you haven’t; you will when you have your own kids. Ye shall watch Gumball 682 times before your child is 5 years old).

We are familiar with the different styles of animation that exist but when it comes to choosing one for our business needs we are inundated with the endless choice of genres, visual styles, and techniques.

In the following paragraphs I have tried to provide you with a comprehensive list of animation styles that you could use in your marketing efforts and explained some of their uses and benefits. This list is almost exhaustive, with a huge emphasis on almost, but you should consider the fact that different people or companies my call these techniques by other names, or classify them differently. This is the list of animation styles included in this post:

A) 2D animation

B) 3D animation

C) Other

For those of you unfamiliar with the term explainer video, an explainer video (2D or 3D) is a short animated video that usually lasts between 1 to 3 minutes and which seeks to introduce a product, service, website, or concept using simple graphics and cartoon-style animations.

The terminology we have used here is what is used most frequently on the web; animation is not an exact science and we don’t have a governing body that standardizes nomenclature; let’s not forget that what we do is a mix of art, creativity, mechanics, mathematics, technology, and a few other disciplines and sciences.

Furthermore, new styles and techniques of animation are being created as we go along and it is futile to try and include every conceivable form of animated content in this article; and I don’t even believe that would be very useful to our audience.

The purpose of this list is to not only familiarize you with the existing styles of animation, but also to inform you of the possible ways of using them for your marketing, communication, or branding needs.

To facilitate things I have grouped the animation techniques into 3 distinct styles: 2D, 3D, and other.

Animated video styles:

Before we delve into the details of the different styles of animation I would like to point out that although there exists such a wide range of animation techniques, about 95% of them are based on the principle of “illusion of motion” where a sequence of images shown in rapid succession trick the mind into thinking that they are watching life unfold on screen or a piece of paper.

The definition provided by Wikipedia is very concise and complete:

“Animation is the process of making the illusion of motion and change by means of the rapid display of a sequence of static images that minimally differ from each other. The illusion—as in motion pictures in general—is thought to rely on the phi phenomenon.”

To give you an idea you can watch the cute little flip-book animation provided below:

 

Obviously, with modern software and techniques we don’t need to create every single image anymore but although the process has been simplified by software applications the foundation still remains the same.

 

1) 2D animation

a) 2D character animation

 

What it is:

2D animation is the classic style of animation which was invented decades ago and uses the technique of illustrated drawings made on paper or in software to create the illusion of life. Certain techniques such as perspective drawing and coloring are used to give the final product a more believable look and feel.

In this technique, 2D drawings and illustrations are used to create the backgrounds and the characters, while the software application helps to animate these drawings, control timing, and render the final images.

Contrary to motion graphics animation, this style takes advantage of illustrated characters to convey more emotions and a deeper feeling of affinity.

Human or humanoid characters in particular tend to create a feeling of empathy in the audience and heighten our sense of immersion in the visuals being presented.

 

What it is used for:

2D character animation can be used universally and for a plethora of purposes, from simple 2D explainer videos to full-fledged animated cartoons.

 

Who is it for?

From small businesses to medium and large businesses, 2D animations can be created using different budgets; it will depend on the graphic quality, number of characters, the music and audio, and the overall production quality you expect.

 

Feature comparison: I have created a subjective list of comparison features to help you compare the costs and usability of these videos for your requirements; please take into account that these are my personal estimates based on years of experience and not an absolute scale of measurement.

 

Costs: (Cost of producing the video)

Visual Appeal: (How visually pleasing the final product can be)

Immersion: (How much the audience will be mentally involved in the video)

Story-telling potential: (How much story-telling can be used to create a more engaging video)

 

 Examples:

 

One of the best examples of 2D animation for entertainment use is “The Simpsons” series where extremely simple graphics and drawings and crude animations have created a comic cult series just by using great story-telling and phenomenal humor:

 

Another great one is this educational video for Virgin Atlantic which, in my opinion, is one of the most creative flight safety videos ever created:

 

 

And this one was done by us, Vishka Studio, for the number one job search website in Iran, IranTalent:

 

 

b) 2D motion graphics animation

 

What it is:

This is very similar to 2D character animation with the difference that no characters are used and most of the video consists of giving life to inanimate objects and text.

Visual effects, transitions, audio, and music are used extensively to make the final product more compelling.

 

What it is used for:

Same as 2D character animation; it can be used as 2D explainer videos, product intros, or for presentations, but the cost is lower since customized character designs or animations are skipped. Generally, a lot of 2D explainer videos use this technique to speed up production times and lower costs, and may even sometimes use existing graphic templates in the process. Even if they do use characters they are frequently generic templates that are not very costly and may be used by other companies or individuals.

 

Who is it for?

Startups who need to introduce a website, product, or service.

Small businesses or medium businesses that want to launch a series of low-cost educational videos. These are also good candidates fro Instagram and Vine if they are short enough.

 

Feature comparison:

 

Costs: (Cost of producing the video)

Visual Appeal: (How visually pleasing the final product can be)

Immersion: (How much the audience will be mentally involved in the video)

Story-telling potential: (How much story-telling can be used to create a more engaging video)

 Examples:

 

 

c) 2D infographics animation

What it is:

This technique is almost the same as 2D motion graphics but the focus here is more on presenting concrete visual data than to introduce a concept or a product.
Data and graphics are intertwined here in a visually pleasing and easy to remember manner.
This product frequently wants to make a point or prove the validity of some assumption or hypothesis by presenting the audience with a series of data points, statistics, or arguments in a visual manner.

 

What it is used for:

Presenting difficult concepts that need explanation
Showing data and statistics in a visual and comprehensible manner
Proving a hypothesis or advancing an argument

This kind of explainer video is mostly used in the later stages of your sales and marketing funnel for persuading leads of your expertise but they can also be used in the awareness stage to attract potential clients through social networks.

 

Who is it for?

Infographics can be a very effective marketing and communications tool and can be used by all companies, from small startups to big corporations. They are pleasant to watch and present the viewer with engaging data and information visually and quickly. They can be used in most stages of your sales cycle to present potential customers with proof of your expertise.

 

Feature comparison:

 

Costs: (Cost of producing the video)


Visual Appeal: (How visually pleasing the final product can be)

Immersion: (How much the audience will be mentally involved in the video)

Story-telling potential: (How much story-telling can be used to create a more engaging video)

 Examples:

 

d) 2D kinetic type (typography) animation

What it is:

This is a low-cost but effective technique where only written text, using creative typography, and the camera are animated.

Because of the simplicity of this technique, the graphic design of such a project is very important and requires good knowledge of graphic design and typography.

 

Fluid camera animation, choice of fonts and animation effects, and great audio are some of the elements that can make these videos appealing.

2D kinetic type or typography animation are mostly effective when you need to communicate a long message or concept. By adding an exciting soundtrack and/or compelling narration you can captivate your audience with a low-cost video (unless you decide to go with Morgan Freeman’s voice). Furthermore, the animated text will help your audience better retain your message by giving them a visual boost.

 

What it is used for:

Presenting a text-based story that needs verbal explanation or a visual cue for better understanding. Educational videos and music videos are some of the best candidates for typographic animation.

 

Who is it for?

This technique is mostly used for lowering production costs or for producing content in a short deadline but it can be effective if the design is top notch. They are also sometimes used to display the lyrics of a song or educate your viewers. An alluring narration can occasionally create great emotion and make your message even more engaging.

 

Feature comparison:

 

Costs: (Cost of producing the video)

Visual Appeal: (How visually pleasing the final product can be)

Immersion: (How much the audience will be mentally involved in the video)

Story-telling potential: (How much story-telling can be used to create a more engaging video)

 

 Examples:

 

 

e) 2D whiteboard animation

What it is:

I’m sure most of us have seen at least one whiteboard animation on the web before where a hand holding a crayon or marker starts drawing simple black and white visuals and doodles in a simple graphic style on a white background. For a while this technique was the latest craze but it is still used broadly due to its simple technique

Although these videos seem simple to make, and the technical part of it is not that difficult, a good whiteboard animation is directly dependent on the quality of the graphics and how they are ultimately laid out and harmonized.

Famous brands such as Coca Cola and RSA have used this technique to create video that have resonated with large audiences and have been very influential, whether socially or from a marketing viewpoint.

One of the most famous ones has been adapted from a talk given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of the RSA’s Benjamin Franklin award, on changing education paradigms.

 

What it is used for:

It is usually used for concepts that can be difficult to explain or that need to be accompanied by graphics to make understanding them easier. The process of waiting for the doodles to be drawn on screen gives us ample time to include a lot of audio without boring the audience to death. The audience is hooked by the movements of the hand drawing on the whiteboard and they are excited to guess what will be drawn next while listening to the narrator.

 

Who is it for?

Startups who need to explain their product or its functions

Charities and non-profits who need to delineate their philosophy or viewpoint

Medium and large companies who want to tell a story or explain a concept.

 

Feature comparison:

 

Costs: (Cost of producing the video)

Visual Appeal: (How visually pleasing the final product can be)

Immersion: (How much the audience will be mentally involved in the video)

Story-telling potential: (How much story-telling can be used to create a more engaging video)

 

Examples:

 

 

f) 2.5D animation (hybrid 2D and 3D)

What it is:

As the title suggest this is a technique where two animation techniques, 2D and 3D, are mixed to create a hybrid solution.

Most of the time the 2D parts establish the background and environments, while the characters and foreground protagonists are created in 3D.

This technique is mostly used when the creator is attempting to obtain visually engaging imagery but does not want to get into prohibitive 3D production costs, or the producer is aspiring to create a unique or particular graphic style.

 

What it is used for:

This technique has mostly been used in entertainment but it is a good candidate for creating a visual message that can be graphically different or unique. These are good candidates for going viral and can even become cult classics if done well.

 

Who is it for?

Medium to large companies who want to cut through the clutter and get their message out using a video that is hard to ignore and visually engaging, but less costly than full 3D animation.

 

Feature comparison:

 

Costs: (Cost of producing the video)

Visual Appeal: (How visually pleasing the final product can be)

Immersion: (How much the audience will be mentally involved in the video)

Story-telling potential: (How much story-telling can be used to create a more engaging video)

 

Examples:

 

 

g) Screencast animation

What it is:

Although I wouldn’t exactly categorize this technique as animation, I decided to include it because of its wide use in promotional and educational material and particularly marketing purposes.

It may not always be used on its own but it is frequently included in explainer videos as a means to show the workings of some software application or web service, or to depict a user working on a WIP project.

Specialized screen capture software is used to capture the user’s screen while working in order to show the flow of work or certain features of the software or service.

 

What it is used for:

Mostly used by software companies or SAAS websites; it allows these companies to show the features of their products or services

 

Who is it for?

Any company who needs to visually show how their web product or application works, or what features they provide to their users.

They can also be used as a means to educate users on how to use a certain software or feature.

 

Feature comparison:

 

Costs: (Cost of producing the video)

Visual Appeal: (How visually pleasing the final product can be)

Immersion: (How much the audience will be mentally involved in the video)

Story-telling potential: (How much story-telling can be used to create a more engaging video)

 

Examples:

 

 

2) 3D animation

a) 3D full animation

What it is:

This is the ultimate animation technique because of all the potential it can provide from a graphical and story-telling perspective but there are caveats which I will explain later.

Specialized and highly intricate 3D production software is used to create 3D assets that are further shaded, lighted, animated, and rendered to create a vivid 2D movie. One of the reasons 3D production is more costly than the other techniques is because of the fact that due to its 3D nature every object, asset, prop, environment or character has to be created in the application before they can be used.

Additionally, every one of these assets need to receive materials and textures, lighting, skeletons and movement rigs (in the case of characters), and have to be laid out in the final scene where the animations are generated.

You can read some of our blog posts if you want to become more familiar with the production process of 3D animated content:

The Undertals Production Focus

The caveat I mentioned earlier is due to the fact that 3D animation has become pervasive, it has also brought forth a slew of companies that are creating low-quality but less expensive content. Although I’m not claiming that only expensive 3D animation can be compelling, I firmly believe that you should go the 3D animation route only if you can create a great end-project.

It is better to create a good 2D animation at a fraction of the cost than to create a cheap but mediocre 3D animation.

 

What it is used for:

Broadcast commercials

YouTube videos

Explainer videos

Game trailers and adverts

 

Who is it for?

Due to its high production costs full 3D animation can be prohibitive for small startups or businesses and is better suited to companies of a certain size with deeper pockets.

 

Feature comparison:

 

Costs: (Cost of producing the video)

Visual Appeal: (How visually pleasing the final product can be)

Immersion: (How much the audience will be mentally involved in the video)

Story-telling potential: (How much story-telling can be used to create a more engaging video)

 

Examples:

 

The Undertals; an action-packed 3D educational series for pre-school children (in pre-production) aimed at teaching small children about animals:

 

Paper City Adventures; a 3D educational trilogy created for Tehran Municipality Traffic and Transport Authority to educate children on traffic best practices.

 

b) 3D explainer animation

What it is:

A hybrid between full 3D character animation and 2D explainer videos, it uses 3D technology to demonstrate a concept using a simple graphic style and simple 3D assets.

The frequent use of simplified characters, low-poly assets and environments, and crude animations is a characteristic of this sort of animated content, where the emphasis is on creating low-cost CGI assets that can be used to create a visually stimulating experience.

 

What it is used for:

Explainer videos, events, corporate presentations, broadcast commercials, Instagram and Vine videos.,,,

The list goes on; the possibilities are endless.

 

Who is it for?

Small to medium companies with a marketing budget who need to create an explainer video that is more visually engaging than a 2D explainer.

Large companies and corporation who need more differentiation and strive to create visuals that will stick with their potential customers.

 

Feature comparison:

 

Costs: (Cost of producing the video)

Visual Appeal: (How visually pleasing the final product can be)

Immersion: (How much the audience will be mentally involved in the video)

Story-telling potential: (How much story-telling can be used to create a more engaging video)

 

Examples:

 

A 3D explainer video we created for Pars Online, one of the maojor internet service providers in Iran, to introduce their new Traffic Management services:

 

3) Other

a) Stop motion, Claymation

 

What it is:

Stop motion animation is created by incrementally moving an object, or part of an object, and capturing its movement by photographing it. When these images are put together and shown as a sequence they create the “illusion of motion” as we explained above.

Stop motion is one of the oldest techniques used in animation and film-making. One of the most famous precursors of this technique was Ray Harryhausen who created classics such as “Jason and the Argonauts” (one of my favorite childhood movies) and “The Golden Voyage of Sinbad”; you can have a complete overview of its history in this wikipedia article.

Creating stop motion animation is an arduous process and requires considerable time, patience, and oftentimes financial means but the results can be magical. Personally I have always been mesmerized by stop motion animations like “The Nightmare Before Christmas” by Tim Burton or “Wallace and Gromit: The Cusrse of the Were-Rabbit” and would love to see more marketing content using this technique.

Many brands have been using this technique for their Instagram and Vine videos, like GE, for instance, who has used stop-motion for 80 percent of its over 100 Vines, Home Depot, and M&Ms.

 

What it is used for:

When it comes to marketing many brands have decided to go for stop motion for short videos because they know that not everyone can afford to use this technique and because it creates a final product that is different from the slew of images you see on the web today.

 

Who is it for?

 

Companies looking for a unique approach and differentiation from existing content who have deep pockets, patience, and time.

Stop motion can be created cheaply as well, using existing everyday objects, but if the end result is not visually creative and awe-inspiring the expected ROI may be lower than expected.

 

Feature comparison:

 

Costs: (Cost of producing the video)

Visual Appeal: (How visually pleasing the final product can be)

Immersion: (How much the audience will be mentally involved in the video)

Story-telling potential: (How much story-telling can be used to create a more engaging video)

 

Examples:

 

Batman vs. Superman Stop-motion (has 35 MILLION views on Youtube!!0

 

Lego Batman game cut-scenes:

 

Conclusion:

Animation techniques are progressing and becoming more visually stimulating and cost-effective as we go along, and they are powerful weapons to use in your content marketing efforts. You can read more about how animation can help make your business thrive in this post.

The great thing about animation is that you can choose from a broad range of techniques and graphic styles to convey your message; whether it’s 2D character animation, motion graphics, or full 3D animation, you can always find a style that will be suited to your budget and to your story-telling needs.

The most important thing to consider when you decide to create an animation, as for any other media, is the importance of story-telling. The most expensive animation techniques will not save a mediocre script or story, whereas a great story can become very engaging using the simplest animation graphics.

The first step therefore will be to create a great script, whether it is going to be done by yourself or a professional scriptwriter (for your money’s sake please decide to go with the latter). The next step is to decide which animation technique will potentially have the capability of depicting your story.

The final step is to use a professional animation team to turn your idea and script into the masterpiece you are aiming for.

In a future article I will write a complete how-to on how to choose the best animation production company for your budget and your needs.

I would love to receive feedback from you if you lied reading the article. What was your biggest challenge in creating your animated marketing content? Was it choosing the right style and format? Was it finding the right production company?

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Abbass Kiarostami 1940 – 2016 http://vishka.com/kiarostami http://vishka.com/kiarostami#comments Tue, 05 Jul 2016 13:06:20 +0000 http://vishka.com/?p=5679 One of the world's most famous auteurs and directors, and a Cannes Palme d'Or winner, Iranian director Abbass Kiarostami passed away last night in a hospital in Paris after weeks of illness.

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Farewell Abbass Kiarostami

Winner of Cannes Palme d’Or in 1997

One of the world’s most famous auteurs and directors, and a Cannes Palme d’Or winner, Abbass Kiarostami passed away last night.

Kiarostami had been hospitalized in Jam Hospital in Tehran for some time and had undergone several operations, but had recently flown to Paris to undergo further treatment.

It is as yet unclear what complications caused his demise but different reports have reported that he was fighting with cancer while other reports deny this.

Early Life

He was born in Tehran and after winning a painting competition at the age of 18 decided to continue his studies at Tehran University School of Fine Arts.

He continued to work as a graphic designer in the 1960s, designing posters and creating commercials, after which he started creating credit titles for films, including “Gheysar” by Massoud Kimiai.

He was one of the precursors of the Iranian New Wave of cinema alongside others such as Dariush Mehrjui, Masoud Kimiay, Nasser Taqvai, Ebrahim Golestan, Sohrab Shahid Saless, Bahram Beizai, and Parviz Kimiavi.

He continued creating short films in the 1970s and early 1980s, after which came his string of successful feature films, including “Where Is the Friend’s Home?”, “And Life Goes On”, and “Through the Olive Trees”, or what film critics describe as the Koker trilogy, because all three films feature the village of Koker in northern Iran.

He received his first major international award for “Where is the Friend’s Home?” in 1989 at the Locarno Film Festival.

His film “Close-Up” Ranked #42 in British Film Institute’s The Top 50 Greatest Films of All Time, and received praise from directors such as Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Werner Herzog, Jean-Luc Godard, and Nanni Moretti and was released across Europe.

A work of art doesn’t exist outside the perception of the audience.

“Abbass Kiarostami”

An avid believer in the power of poetry, he made extremely sensitive films where themes of life and death, modernity and tradition, and some social conscience manifest them self.

Awards

Kiarostami won the Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) award at the Cannes Film Festival for “Taste of Cherry“, which is the story of a man determined to commit suicide, without the viewer ever finding out why he desires to do so.

He has received several international awards including the Jury Special Prize for “The Wind Will Carry Us” at the 56th Venice International Film Festival, Officier de la Légion d’honneur from Ministry of Culture and Art of France, and “Taste of Cherry” selected as the Best Foreign Film of the Year by the National Society of Film Critics, USA.

In order to be universal, you have to be rooted in your own culture.

“Abbass Kiarostami”

Jean- Luc Godard once said, “Cinema starts with DW Griffith and ends with Abbas Kiarostami.”

Family

He is survived by two sons, Ahmad and Bahman, from his marriage to Parvin Amir-Gholi, which ended in divorce in 1982.

We present our condolences to his family, the international cinematic community, and the Iranian public who will mourn the passing of such a prolific director.

I have no advice for anyone on how to live.

“Abbass Kiarostami”

Although it is natural to be saddened by the departure of such a creative visionary, personally I will try to cherish his life and memory as a human being who brought more value to the people than he had received from them. I think we should all try to emulate personalities like Kiarostami who have the courage to follow their passion and live life more fully.

He has influenced generations of film-makers, writers, and cinema lovers and I hope that we can all strive to be more than we are at present, in any field or industry that we love.

As a recent believer in the fact that it is better to try and find the right questions rather than the right answers, the following quote from Mr. Kiarostami touched me particularly:

Cinema seats make people lazy. They expect to be given all the information. But for me, question marks are the punctuation of life.

May his works live on in our memories, may we learn from his accomplishments, and may he rest in peace amid the olive trees.

 

 

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How Dropbox got 25 million views in one year using animation http://vishka.com/25-million-views-using-animation http://vishka.com/25-million-views-using-animation#comments Thu, 30 Jun 2016 10:00:54 +0000 http://vishka.com/?p=5479 In this article I intend to underline some of the benefits of using animated videos in your marketing and advertising efforts, and how beneficial these can be to your conversion results.

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How animation can help make your business thrive

Video is quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing mediums on the internet


In 2009 a startup called Dropbox decided to create a simple 2D explainer video for their website.
Dropbox paid $50,000 to make the 2:10 min short and placed it on the homepage of their site. Within a year, Dropbox conversions increased by 10%.

Dropbox doubled the number of users in 2010 to 8 million, from 4 million in 2009. In 2013, the video garnered an average of 30,000 views per day and has been viewed over 30 million times.

Dropbox video on Youtube


In 2012 Australia’s Metro Trains commissioned an animated 2D video to promote rail safety.

Accidents and deaths among young people on Melbourne’s Metro train system had been on the rise for years but the directors of Metro Trains knew that young people do not listen to public safety messages.

They needed to find a way of making train safety a concern or at least a conversation among the 13 to 25 year olds.

A song called “Dumb Ways to Die” was written and a video was created based on that song. The video and song were uploaded to YouTube and iTunes and within a week had obtained 20 million views and was covered on every news service in Australia.

“Dumb Ways to Die” video on YouTube


Today the video has more than 129 million views and rising, as well as 1,000,000+ likes, 3+ million Facebook shares, and 2,000+ blog posts.

These examples are just a few to show how potent and compelling video, and particularly animated video, can be when it comes to marketing and education.

These are, obviously, some of the most outstanding examples, but they nonetheless are a great proof of how a medium like animation, coupled with creativity and passion, can create a very appealing message.

In this article I intend to underline some of the benefits of using animated videos in your marketing and advertising efforts, and how beneficial these can be to your conversion results.


Different Ways of Using Animated Video for Your Business


Before I delve into how animated video can be beneficial for your business I would like to provide a list of ways you can use animated videos for your business. This list is not exhaustive but it gives you an idea of the range of uses these videos may have.

In the near future, I will prepare a complete article on ways of using animated video, but for the moment this list can give you an inkling of what is possible.

These are some of the ways you can use video for your business:

 

1.   Customer testimonials

2.   On-demand product demonstration videos

3.   Explainer and tutorial videos

4.   Thought leader interviews

5.   Project reviews and case studies

6.   Live and on-demand webinars

7.   Video blogs

8.   Event videos

 

This shows that you can use video for all stages of your marketing and sales funnel, whether it is in the awareness and discovery phase or the purchase phase.

Why is Animated Video Important for Your Business?

There is a wide range of reasons why animated video can help your marketing and sales processes and I’ve tried to point out some of the most essential ones in the following paragraphs.


1) Digital and easy to access

Video can be placed and seen almost anywhere; it can be embedded in your website, uploaded to “Youtube or other video channels, viewed in social channels like Instagram and Vine, or projected on a screen during an event.

It is extremely versatile and allows you to not only see the whole video, but also create shorter versions, snippets, screenshots …


2) YouTube is HUGE!!

These are some statistics about Youtube that really boggle the mind:

  • Total number of people who use YouTube – 1,300,000,000
  • 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute!
  • Almost 5 billion videos are watched on Youtube every single day.
  • The total number of hours of video watched on YouTube each month – 900 million.
  • 10,113 Youtube videos generated over 1 billion views.
  • 80% of YouTube’s views are from outside of the U.S.
  • The average number of mobile YouTube video views per day is 1,000,000,000
  • Mobile Youtube users spent 40 minutes on average session, up more than 50% year-over-year
  • More than half of YouTube views come from mobile devices.
  • YouTube’s mobile revenue is up 2x y/y.
  • The number of hours people spend watching videos (aka watch time) on YouTube is up 60% year-over-year, the fastest growth we’ve seen in 2 years.
  • You can navigate YouTube in a total of 76 different languages (covering 95% of the Internet population).

This goes to show what a powerful channel YouTube can be and how profitable it can be to leverage such a huge audience; you have 1.3 billion viewers (BILLION!!) at your disposal completely free. All you have to do is to create great content and market the hell out of it.


YouTube 2016 stats inforgraphic screenshot

Click on image to view  or download the complete infographic (source: Design Infographics)

3) Production costs have decreased considerably

In the past you needed a huge budget for animated video production, not only because production costs were high, but also because people were still not used to seeing simple animated videos. You had to create a big-budget video and broadcast it on TV because that was the way everyone did it.

Nowadays any small business has the opportunity to create and promote animated videos, using passion, a talented and creative team, and a plethora of free and accessible distribution channels.

Just by using YouTube alone you can have access to over a billion users without spending a cent. It all goes back to how interesting and engaging your content is and how you intend to promote it to your audience.


4) People spend an enormous amount of time on the internet and social networks

According to new data, the average user logs 1.72 hours per day on social platforms, which represents about 28 percent of all online activity. GlobalWebIndex polled 170,000 internet users about their internet habits, and found that average usage times for social media sites rose from 1.66 hours per day in 2013 to 1.72 hours per day last year. (source: SocialTimes).

People are spending a lot of time on the internet and on social sites and they are obtaining a good part of their knowledge, learning, and information from the web.

By clicking on the image below you can see an infographic on the continued growth of social media.

Infographic on the continued growth of social media

Courtesy of https://www.searchenginejournal.com/. Please click on image to see full infographic


5) Video is going interactive

 

Interactive video promises to be one of the most useful marketing tools of the futures. Until now, technological barriers have hampered the implementation of players and infrastructure that could allow brands to easily use such technology, but we’re slowly getting there.

Companies like Snapapp and RaptMedia are providing interactive solutions using html5 and it won’t be long before this sort of technology, like assessments, calculators, quizzes, integrated questionnaires, surveys, or data collection forms, becomes mainstream.

There is a great definition of interactive video on Snapapp’s website which points to the potential of using video as an interactive tool:

Interactive video transforms a traditional viewing experience from a monologue into a dialogue. An interactive video incorporates a wide variety of interactive elements directly into the video itself, including hot spots, questions, calculations, lead generation and more. Any video can be made interactive, customized with almost limitless interaction.

 

6) A Video Can Say a Lot in a Short Amount of Time

 

In the time it takes you to read an informative blog post (usually about 2000 to 3000 words) you can watch at least 5 to 10 animated explainer videos that last about 2 minutes each (it takes the average person between 12 to 23 minutes to read 2000 to 3000 words).

Not only is it faster to obtain information from a video but also, due to its visual nature, information obtained from a video is easier to commit to memory. I have included some statistics which show the importance of visuals when it comes to seeing, processing, or memorizing data:

 

  • Researchers found that colored visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%. (source)
  • The brain can see images that last for just 13 milliseconds.
  • Our eyes can register 36,000 visual messages per hour.
  • 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual.
  • Visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text.
  • 40 percent of nerve fibers are linked to the retina

Besides, animated explainer videos have the potential of simplifying concepts and ideas so that the viewer can better commit them to memory or learn from them.

The Power of visual content infographic

Courtesy of http://www.demandgenreport.com/. Please click on image to see full infographic.


7) Better engagement with your audience

Apart from the fact that video can say a lot in a short amount of time, we should also take into consideration the fact that video is just more engaging and fun than text.

A very important part of video which many people fail to consider is the audio. Using beautiful imagery and visuals, a great soundtrack, talented voice acting and a good script, you can create an immersive and appealing experience to convey the mood and substance of your message in a very powerful way.

This is obviously amplified in the case of animation, where loveable characters with amazing and vibrant colors interact with their surrounding world, in which the only limit is your imagination. Animation tends to take us back to our childhood memories and create a sense of familiarity and longing for simpler times.

Statistics show than an estimated 79 percent of internet traffic will be video content by 2018, which goes to demonstrate the efficiency and allure of video for marketing to the masses.


8) Measure engagement with Analytics

By far one of the most important aspects of video when it comes to marketing and growing your business is the ability to measure its engagement and interaction with its target market.

Nowadays advances in technology allow us to measure many aspects of engagement with our audience.

You can measure how many people have viewed your video, how many people have liked it, how many have shared it on the internet and social media sites, and even how far they watched your video.

In fact, you can obtain a lot of information about how your audience interacts with your content (which devices they use, where they are, etc.), as well as create Call to Actions, captions, and links to direct them to what you want them to do next.

It is always easier and safer to manage what you can measure and in this respect video analytics can be invaluable as a marketing tool.


9) It is Easily Viewable across Multiple Platforms

The ubiquity of screens of all sizes in every household, office, public space, and anywhere else you can imagine, alongside the ever-increasing presence of internet access, allows video content to be seen everywhere.

Video can be broadcast on TV, posted on Youtube, Vimeo, Wists, and other video sharing channels, viewed on Facebook, Instagram, and vine, or even shared through messaging apps such as Telegram and Whatsapp; and let’s not forget Snapchat and its increasing user base.

We are now used to viewing video on TV, mobile, tablet, laptop, or PC monitors, and with mobile internet becoming available to the masses you can watch video anytime, anywhere. In fact, studies show that families who watch TV in their living room are increasingly using their second screen (mobile or tablet) at the same time, browsing social media sites, or watching videos.

Video distribution channels are becoming more accessible and less costly as we go along and companies who leverage this escalation in choice will have better access to their audience.


10) Greater Likelihood of Going Viral

Animated videos can be unique when it comes to the imagery they display or the story they express. They can depict completely impossible and imaginary worlds and situations, or they can include characters that have never been seen before, or even imagined for that matter.

These endless possibilities give animation a special power to capture the imagination of its audience and bring out the inner child in them.

Their simplicity, colorfulness, and humor make them ideal candidates for sharing with your social network.


11) Animated Video and the Sales Funnel

Technology in general, if used correctly, is a great way of increasing our existing resources, and video can be used in a variety of ways to not only increase our lead generation results and attract new clients, but also to help inform and satisfy existing ones.

We can use animated video in all the different phases of a marketing and sales cycle; whether it is to help your audience discover their needs or to introduce your solution.

Another bonus is that they can easily be re-targeted to different channels, so that a video you have created for your website can easily be posted on Instagram or Youtube, or included in your Telegram channel.


12) Animation is FUN!

Being serious is over-rated. We live in a tumultuous and connected world; if an elephant sneezes in Timbuktu you will hear about it. All this access to news, which is mostly bad, shocking, or scary, makes us grumpy and stressful.

We need more fun, more love, and more smiles. We now have the attention span of a famished hummingbird, jumping from snippets to tweets, and from headlines to sub headlines.

Simple, colorful animated content that is droll and amusing can be a change from the seriousness surrounding us.

You can convey the most sophisticated concepts using simple, fun animations.


Stop taking yourself so seriously; have some fun!


Final Musings


The internet has completely reshaped our lives and how we do business, and things are just warming up. New interactive technologies and the rapid advances in A.I. and Virtual reality will soon create a world where most of our routine interactions are routed through the internet and our mobile devices.

As animated content becomes more accessible it will play a more important role in communicating our messages, whether they are business-related or general concepts.

Today, animated content can help you spread your message through many free channels such as Youtube, your website, and many other social networks, and allow you to create a sales pipeline that is informative, compelling, and fun.

I would love to receive your thoughts and comments on this article. Have you ever used animated content for your marketing or have you ever thought about it?

If you liked this article I would appreciate your sharing it to your friends and colleagues, or anyone whom you think would be interested. (You can use the share buttons on the left of the page or on the bottom of this article.

Thank you for reading.

You can read more about what video styles and formats you can use in your marketing in our blog post titled: “Animated Video Styles and Uses

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The Undertals Production Focus http://vishka.com/undertals-production-focus http://vishka.com/undertals-production-focus#comments Sat, 19 Feb 2011 08:20:22 +0000 http://www.vishka.com/blog/?p=859 The purpose of creating the Undertals was to have a pre-production package to present to eventual investors and producers in order to establish a co-production opportunity and produce “The Undertals” as a television series.

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Vishka Studio production focus on the “The Undertals” and 10 production tips. This article is about the making of The Undertals pre-production and we have also included some production tips which we hope will be useful to our readers.

View the trailer:

(Fig. 1: final production image of the Undertals – Click to see full images)

The purpose of creating the Undertals was to have a pre-production package to present to eventual investors and producers in order to establish a co-production opportunity and produce “The Undertals” as a television series.

  • The first thing we did was to define the scope of the task and set some objectives, some of which were the following:
  • Target Group: we decided to aim for a rather wide audience group of ages 5 to 12 while still making the series accessible to other ages.
  • Target Quality: although the objective was to create a series for broadcast it needed to be on par with or have a better visual quality than some of the works seen in the international markets.
  • Feasible Project: while aiming for a high-quality visual we also had to design and plan for a very tight production schedule and high output that could create the necessary material in a tight deadline.

Tip No. 1: The scope of your project is crucial to creating a high standard of work. Never stop planning and try to foresee and plan as many details of your project as possible. Some of the most important steps are the project scope, file-naming convention and your project directory structure. We have tried several combinations of these and we are still optimizing them for every project.

Tip No. 2: Put everything on paper. We tend to think that we will remember where we put our files and what we named the. Believe me your memory will not retain 80% of what you are doing in two weeks (and I’m being optimistic!). Write it down and if you are collaborating with a group try to create processes that would allow them to write down what they have done about the project. Word, Excel and Project or whatever software you tend to use are your friends; USE THEM.

With these goals in mind we started the task of research and look development by looking at a lot of children’s series and gauge the visuals and storylines they had. We also scoured the internet for images of environments and characters that we felt were unique and could be close to our style.

(Fig. 2: samples of images from the internet)

After that came the writing stage; we wrote extensively trying to flesh out ideas and come up with a story that would please us, writing a story, script, and synopsis as well as character and environment descriptions. With this information in hand we were ready to start production.

Tip No. 3: Even if you are working alone the writing stage should not be omitted. What is important in this process is that even if you are not a great writer just sitting down and trying to shape your story or characters will help you in finding ideas and inspiration that would not have been possible if you just started sketching or modeling. Writing will create questions in your mind and finding answers to these questions will make your project more robust.

We provided our 3D artists with detailed descriptions of our characters and environments and went through a series of sketches, probably 3 to 4 revisions for each object. Although we wanted the concept designs to be very inspiring we knew that we did not need to make them perfect since it would be easier to finalize them in 3D. Storyboards were also created in this stage since we were planning on creating a trailer for the series.

Tip No. 4: After each stage of production is completed create a preview of that stage. Benefits: you will have a making of your project, you will know exactly what assets have been created and at what stage they are, and you can show it to colleagues and friends for feedback.

(Fig. 3: intermediary sketches of characters and environments)

Before this production we had had a few problems with our production pipeline and our file and asset management, so we decided to define a clearer process and a better file and folder naming convention. We some material on the web concerning pipeline definition and file-naming conventions and although they were just a few articles, it really helped us on making some decisions.

Since we were working in Maya we needed to use the Maya project folders system as much as possible to prevent breaking links between assets and references. We also decided to use file-referencing, which we had already used extensively in Softimage successfully, but was rather new to us in Maya. The filing system we decided on finally, with great help from different forums was based on the following system:

Most of the names are self-explanatory except for Library and Build. The library is in fact a container for finished assets such as models, shading, rigs, etc which will be referenced into the different shots. The build folder contains works in progress of our assets and the Shots folder will contain all the shots in subfolders (shot001, shot002, …) each in turn containing folders for animation, effects, …. Each of these folders will in turn be a Maya project containing specific data for that process (for example “effects”).

 

The production started with the modeling process where the main emphasis was on feasibility; we needed to have believable models with minute details but we couldn’t allow the meshes to get too heavy since in a series production you don’t have the time to animate very dense meshes. We even decided to forego certain features such as displacement which we believed was not crucial to our models’ visuals in this project. The creatures and their environment were modeled in Maya and some of the details were done in ZBrush but we tried to keep these simple.

Tip No. 5: Units! If you skip this part you will regret it later. Define your units and stick to them. Deformations, hair, rigs, dynamics and clothing will all depend on this small issue and if you don’t think about it in the beginning you will suffer the consequences later when you need to resize that rig and it just breaks. Create a unit file where you create a physical ruler as well as a cube representing your unit (1x1x1 m) and place all your characters and other objects in this file to ascertain their size and compare it with the rest of the project.

(Fig. 5: preview of models)

Since the look of the Undertals was supposed to be very cartoony but fleshy all the textures were painted by hand and we decided not to use a single ready-made texture. We used Photoshop, ZBrush and BodyPaint 3D to paint our textures.

The next stage we tackled was the character and environment shading. There was an emphasis on simplicity here as well and we tried to avoid certain time and cpu-consuming such as FG, GI and sub-surface scattering but during our tests we came to the conclusion that we were losing quality by avoiding all these technologies. We finally came to the conclusion to use sub-surface scattering for the characters’ skins and FG for the environment since the increased render times were minimal after some tweaking and tests but the rise in quality was quite noticeable.

Tip No. 6: Simplify! Nowadays 3D software has become extremely sophisticated and you have a plethora of wonderful tools at your reach. DO NOT use them all. Just because GI renders are cool you should not try to use them in your project. Always try to use the simplest technology that can provide you with 95% of what you need.

We rendered our assets in several passes, using standard Maya shaders, occlusion and other standard passes and tweaked them extensively in compositing to obtain the look we were trying to obtain; about 30% of the final look was obtained in post-production.

Tip No. 7: Always use the 80/20 rule in your projects. This rule states that 80% of each task should take up 20% of the time and 20% remaining should take up the remaining 80% of your time. What this means is that you should first try and very rapidly give shape to things and keep the bulk of your allocated time for tweaking and working on small but significant details.

During all this we were also trying to improve our current production pipeline and create a more robust workflow. Another objective was to speed up our production by testing new ways of doing things. One of the issues we faced was the rigging of the characters which took about 5 to 7 days for each character and was not an optimal time for us. We tried a few plugins but none of them gave us the control we needed and most of them had small issues or large learning curves which would have been prohibitive for this project.

Tip No. 8: Referencing is your friend. By referencing your files the storage space used by your projects will decrease by an order of magnitude. Proxies and references will allow you to use the correct assets in your shots without having to manually import them into every shot. Although referencing may have a few issues, if done right it can save you a lot of valuable time.

We decided to try scripting the process and were able to speed up some of the rigging issues but we were not able to automate the whole rigging process in a way that would save us a lot of valuable time. This is still one of the sore points in our production and although the rigs we created for the characters were rather thorough, we are still working on automating the rig creation process.

We nevertheless created very sophisticated and complete rigs with squash and stretch, IK/FK switching that used soft bodies and Maya muscle, particularly for their fat bellies, to allow them to be animated easily in spite of their short stature and very short and stout limbs.

Tip No. 9: Try to automate repetitive tasks as much as possible. Your time is extremely valuable; don’t waste it by trying to rename 1505 meshes in Maya. Either learn some scripting or try to ask a friend to write you some code in exchange for a free model or a sample rig, it will be worth your time.

(Fig. 8: movie of rig in action)

We also created some turntables and test animations for the characters

(Fig. 9: images and movies of characters animated)

View of the Undertals jungle - The Undertals children's series - Vishka Studio

View of the Undertals jungle - The Undertals children's series - Vishka Studio

The crocodile is one of the many animals in this series - The Undertals children's series - Vishka StudioOne of the main parts of this whole process was the compositing process which really gave life to our renders and produced the final look of the Undertals.

(Fig. 11: images of render layers)

Color pass for the Dogholoo characters sss pass for the Dogholoo characters ambient occlusion (AO) pass for the Dogholoo characters Another Ambient Occlusion (AO) pass for the Dogholoo characters Ocean color pass for the Undertals series Island color pass for the Undertals series Island near Occlusion pass for the Undertals series Island far Occlusion pass for the Undertals series Island depth pass for the Undertals series Final rendered and composited image for the Undertals series island scene

Tip No. 10: At the end of your project create a solid archive of your project and delete your rendered passes and any other intermediary files such as incremental saves; this will save you lots of space on your computer. Create a final post-mortem document describing your project outcome, the issues you had, the plugins used and its shortcomings. Write what you will do for your next project to address these issues and read this document at the beginning of each new project.

We are currently creating a one minute trailer for The Undertals which will be ready in a few weeks and we hope to be able to present it to the CG Community in the near future. You can now see the trailer at the top of this page.

Tip No. 11:Self-improvement is vital if you want to become a professional in your field of work. 8 or 9 years ago it was very difficult to find tutorials or learning material anywhere but now the wealth of information you can find on the internet and sites such as Digital Tutors and Gnomon are staggering. Always try to learn new ways of doing things, improve on your processes and optimize your workflow constantly.

The production team consisted of:
Executive Producer and Project Manager: Reza Ghobady
Project Sponsor: Vishka Assayesh
Original Idea: Ali Chenari
Director: Ali Chenari
Character Concepts: Hamed Kamali
Environment Concepts: Kian Kiani
Modelers: Bahram Najand, Faraz Sayadi, Reza Ramezani
Textures: Bahram Najand, Faraz Sayadi
Shading: Faraz Sayadi
Rigging: Faraz Sayadi
Animation: Abed Nattaj, Alireza Shahramfar
Lighting, Rendering, Compositing: Faraz Sayadi

We loved working on this project and hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

You can see some test animations on our YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/vishkastudio as well as on our CGPortfolio page: http://rezaghobady.cgsociety.org/gallery/

Our website: http://www.vishka.com

Our blog: http://www.vishka.com/blog

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Tips on attending MIPCOM http://vishka.com/tips-on-attending-mipcom http://vishka.com/tips-on-attending-mipcom#comments Sun, 24 Oct 2010 08:02:56 +0000 http://www.vishka.com/blog/?p=849 This is part of a series about attending MIPCOM 2010, one of the worlds biggest film markets. This is an annual event that takes place in Cannes, France and is a great opportunity to meet buyers and sellers of all kinds of programming.

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I am currently attending MIPCOM 2010, one of the major film markets in the world covering a wide range of industries from animation, broadcast and feature fims, to internet, mobile content and gaming. It is a huge annual event that takes place in one of France’s most beautiful regions near the Mediterranean sea in Cannes, home to the Cannes film festival.

This is the first time that I’m attending this event and I thought it would be a good opportunity to write a series about it that could eventually help other first-timers and would recount some of my personal and business experiences during this trip. I decided to keep these posts flexible andpersonal and just write about the things that I find interesting or helpful. What you will not find here is a professional review of MIPCOM and whether you should attend it or not, because HELL YEAH YOU SHOULD! This is one of the biggest annual events catering to the content production and distribution business and attracts some important heavy weights as well as 13000 companies. This post is rather about my personal experience of the film market. I wanted to call the series ” The Trials and Tribulations of Monsieur Reza at MIPCOM” but I decided against having such a huge title and after reading it once I didn’t even find it funny anymore, so without any further ado I would like to start at the beginning of my journey, the Gare de Lyon in Paris.

This is one of the 5 or 6 principal train stations in Paris that service regional passengers and you can get there by bus, metro or taxi. I decided to take the TGV (Frances high-speed train) to avoid the hassle of taking a taxi to the airport, waiting for an hour at the airport and taking my bloody shoes off everytime I needed to pass through a checkpoint.

Tip no 1: There is a networking event and meeting event for first-timers on the day before the MIPCOM starts about 4 in the afternoon which I didn’t get to in time. Reserve your train ticket online or in one of the main train stations in Paris (if you’re leaving from Paris) and go one day earlier in order to take advantage of this event. It can be very helpful for first-timers and you can even get your badge sooner which will avoid the super long queue on the next morning.

Tip no 2: Pack Light! I didn’t take a lot of clothes except for clean socks and lots of shirts but due to the large amount of brochures that I had and a suitcase the size of a mini-van I had a pretty rough time.. Take one small case like the ones you can take into airplanes, pack in your iPad (preferable with 3G so that you can use it on the train, and not a 5 year old Dell that weighs 25 kilos and an adaptor the size of a George Foreman grill like I did), clean socks, two pairs of shoes (believe me you will walk more than Forest Gump in that place), several clean shirts (take a few summery sleeveless ones, it tends to get hot even in October) and one or two coats. Ditch the tie and wear comfortable shoes.

Tip no.3: There is a small yellow box right in front of the train before you board the train. You need to stick your ticket into it or what the French call “composter les billets”. Lots of people forget to do it and you could get a fine on the train.

Tip no.4: Depending on what time you leave pack a light lunch or dinner or snack if you don’t want to wait at the bar for an hour . A sandwich and a bottle of water will do fine although a bar of chocolate may help you later on in the day; don’t forget it’s a 5 hour ride (5h45 to be exact).

You can read the rest of my adventures and tips in my next post very soon.

Please add any tips, suggestions or experiences you may have had in MIPCOM in the comments. I am sure other people would like to learn from your experiences.

 

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Our TV Commercial for Caspian Prestige Motor Oils http://vishka.com/our-tv-commercial-for-caspian-prestige-motor-oils http://vishka.com/our-tv-commercial-for-caspian-prestige-motor-oils#comments Mon, 05 Jul 2010 09:11:32 +0000 http://www.vishka.com/blog/?p=831 This is another TV commercial we just recently finished for Caspian Prestige Motor Oils. This spot is also being aired on IRIB national TV during the […]

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This is another TV commercial we just recently finished for Caspian Prestige Motor Oils.
This spot is also being aired on IRIB national TV during the World Cup games transmission.
The spot is a 30 second commercial for PAL D1 diffusion and took approximately two months to complete.

Concepts, storyboards and story reels were done by Kian Kiani. We have included the storyreel so that you can compare it with the final product; as you can see the client changed a lot of details 😉

Caspian Prestige Motor Oils TV commercial storyboard created for Fouman Chimie groupThere was also some pre-production concepts done by Faraz Shanyar.

Caspian Prestige Motor Oils TV commercial storyboard created for Fouman Chimie group Caspian Prestige Motor Oils TV commercial environment concept design created for Fouman Chimie group

The spot was directed by Arezoo Ghandi and Faraz Sayyadi was in charge of the animation, shading, lighting, rendering and compositing.
Environment modeling and liquid simulations were all created by Reza Ramezani.

Caspian Prestige Motor Oils TV commercial environment concept design created for Fouman Chimie group Caspian Prestige Motor Oils TV commercial environment concept design created for Fouman Chimie group

Editing the spot was done by Arezoo Ghandi and Bahram Najand.
We hope you enjoy this post and would appreciate any comments you may have.

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10 Best Productivity Sites http://vishka.com/10-best-productivity-sites http://vishka.com/10-best-productivity-sites#comments Thu, 17 Jun 2010 04:09:00 +0000 http://www.vishka.com/blog/?p=792 Whether you are working as a freelance at home,  a small business or working in a large corporation, the way you handle your responsibilities and your […]

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Whether you are working as a freelance at home,  a small business or working in a large corporation, the way you handle your responsibilities and your work load has a direct effect on your personal life. Productivity is an important issue during our day to day routines, particularly in the animation and entertainment industries where processes are time-consuming and detail-oriented. Some projects may last up to 3 years and more and the amount of data generated may surpass trillions of bytes. So how can we find a way to enjoy our daily workload, plan for future projects and collaborate effectively in a stress-free manner?

The following is a list of some of the best blogs on personal and professional productivity and although each one of them is geared towards a specific nature of the subject, they all manage to give you a clear roadmap and insights into how to conduct your life with the best use of your time in order to obtain the best results.

Personally I am a firm believer in David Allen’s method called “Getting Things Done” and his book “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” but it’s just my personal choice. He has a lot of other very useful stuff he sells on his site which are all geared towards making you more productive.

I have to stress one point and that is there is no magic formula or exact recipe to becoming a productive person and don’t expect to find your way by reading these blogs or books. These sites will give you a lot of useful information, roadmaps and methodologies but in order to make best use of all this info you will need to find the methodology or procedure that suits you most and then tweak it to suit your way of life and most importantly, STICK TO IT!!

 

  1. David Allen’s GTD Times (http://www.gtdtimes.com/)

This blog is mostly geared towards David Allen’s methodology called Getting Things Done based on his world-famous book “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” and although the articles may not be that enlightening all the time they provide some great podcasts that explain their method.

  1. Freelance Folder (http://freelancefolder.com/)

Great blog for freelance writers, web developers and designers but contains a wealth of information on personal productivity

  1. Freelance Switch (http://freelanceswitch.com/)

Very similar to Freelance Folder and a great resource; part of the Envato group that brings you ThemeForest and other great sites.

  1. Life Optimizer (http://www.lifeoptimizer.org/)

Life Optimizer is about how to live life to the fullest through personal growth.

  1. Marc and Angel Hack Life (http://www.marcandangel.com/)

Lots of practical tips to lead a productive life

  1. Productive Flourishing (http://www.productiveflourishing.com/)

This site has very good articles and provides a set of free monthly planners that are very well thought out and useful.

  1. Illuminated Mind and Body (http://www.illuminatedmind.net/)
  2. Wake Up Later (http://www.wakeuplater.com/)
  3. Persuasive (http://www.persuasive.net/)
  4. Seth’s Blog (http://sethgodin.typepad.com/)

And last but not least, Seth Godin’s blog which is more geared towards marketing but does include some productivity tips from time to time and is always a great read.

Hope you enjoy this post and please include any other sites which you think should have been included in this post.

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Watch Our Latest TV Commercial During the World Cup Games! http://vishka.com/watch-our-latest-tv-commercial-during-the-world-cup-games http://vishka.com/watch-our-latest-tv-commercial-during-the-world-cup-games#comments Tue, 15 Jun 2010 18:54:00 +0000 http://www.vishka.com/blog/?p=786 We have just recently finalized a TV commercial for TarOMar flying insect killer product and it will be shown before and after every football game during […]

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We have just recently finalized a TV commercial for TarOMar flying insect killer product and it will be shown before and after every football game during the World Cup football matches on IRIBTV. The client (Fouman Chimie) wanted us to create an action-filled 30 second long commercial based on a theme they have used in the past to good effect in their marketing.

The ad will be aired for the first time on June 16th 2010 before the South Africa – Uruguay match that takes place at 23:00 local Tehran time. Hope you enjoy it.

The project had a few complex shots which included transformation of the insecticide can into the protagonist robot, shooting blue screen scenes and compositing them into the CG environment and creating a believable CG space where all the action took place.

So here is the initial storyboard as well as some color and lighting tests, done by Kian Kiani, we created for this film which is pretty close to the final result.

And here are some color keys for the room environment:

The rigging and animations were done by Saman Khorram, Bahram Najand was in charge of the layout, shading, lighting and rendering in Max 2009 using Mental Ray.  Adib Souly created the smoke, explosion and rocket effects using mostly Softimages particle and ICE system and the effects were composited in post using Fusion. Faraz Sayyadi did the compositing using Fusion and the most time-consuming shots were the radar-like user interfaces that had to be created and animated layer by layer.The final movie was re-cut and edited by Ali Chenari and Bahram Najand who also took care of the sound effects.

You can see some of the shots of the interior we created here in this post.

We would really appreciate receiving any feedback, comments or critiques on this work so please tell us what you think.

 

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Annecy International Film Festival http://vishka.com/annecy-international-film-festival http://vishka.com/annecy-international-film-festival#comments Thu, 10 Jun 2010 06:58:05 +0000 http://www.vishka.com/blog/?p=769 The Annecy International Animation Festival launched yesterday and is currently celebrating its 50th birthday!

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The Annecy International Animation Festival launched yesterday and is currently celebrating its 50th birthday! This is the world’s largest event solely dedicated to animation.The event consists of an animation competition, conferences and a film market (MIFA), in a rather friendly atmosphere where you can meet enthusiasts, professionals, major players and new talents.

You can check out the festival trailer here: Annecy Animation Festival Trailer.

 

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