About Me is a short film made in 3h30m at the Adobe Creative Jam, in London.
The event was taking place at the Fabric Nightclub. A group of six illustrators had a still image competition, while a group of six animators and motion designers had a moving image competition on a given theme, which was “Extreme Selfie”.
Material and Set-Up
It looked like a big Lan party: tables with wires everywhere. People brought their own gear: laptops, tablets, paper and pen. I brought my macbook pro, a sketchbook, my trusty old Intuos tablet and my midi keyboard.
It was a challenging environment: we were often interrupted to receive instructions from the organisation team, or to get filmed. We also had to upload screenshots on Behance, since it was all about Adobe on that evening. You can look at what I managed to post online here: behance.net/wip/534617/980763
Also, there was loud noises from the music and conferences in the background. That made it really hard to put yourself in the zone and make sound design, or even listen to your own music.
When the competition started, I had to figure out a way to come up with a complete piece in the short amount of time given. It was important for me to go through all the production stages of making an animated piece to show something that was as complete as possible. So I decided to cut on the whole creative process bit. I took the first idea that came to mind, and after 5 minutes, I jumped into Logic Pro to lay down some music with my midi keyboard. What, it’s a “jam” after all, isn’t it?
I recorded the main instrument, had an idea of the ambience, and then jumped into Photoshop to design the first two shots. While I was animating in Photoshop, I was rendering some background elements in Cinema 4D. I had the plants already designed from another project, so I made new arrangements and rendered them straight away. Then I composited and made the edit on the rough soundtrack in AfterEffects.
When I finally managed to have all the shots, I changed the colour palette with a tool I designed in After Effects (more on that someday maybe) that makes stuff look like it’s printed. It’s the technique I’m using for my grad film, and the one I used on Somewhere. I tweaked the edit, then rendered the piece in this required weird projector resolution (1024px x 576px).
Back to sound. I opened Adobe Audition, chucked the video file in, the rough music track and started making my sound design. I got all the sound effects on freesound.org. But I needed voice! Since there was no voice actors available, I ran in the basement of the Fabric. In a big dark room full of echo, I recorded my sensitive, beautiful voice with my iPhone. I ran back upstairs, transferred the audio by email, and realized that I blew in the microphone by accident so you couldn’t understand a thing of what I was saying. Take 2: went back to the basement, recorded my voice with my hand in front of my mouth and the phone at a good distance, and managed to get a clear voice. Perfect.
Back to Audition, I cleaned the audio piece, then made the final render in Premiere. I finished 15 minutes before the end. So my friend Alice Dunseath got me a beer. That was good.
In the end we had to present our piece of work on stage in front of a crowd of industry creatives. The illustrators went on stage first. Meanwhile, our job was to judge the work of their group to select the winner. Then it was our turn to go on stage and they had to judge us. Big bummer: they showed our pieces without sound! All those efforts in the bin, but more importantly: without sound, you miss the whole point. It’s just plain weird and incomprehensible.
Anyway, after that we all went up on stage again and the winners were announced. The super talented and charismatic Edward Monaghan won the illustration competition with a nicely crafted silly piece of an archer with way too much pressure on his shoulders. His presentation was ace as well, he looked so chilled out. Check out his work here, I’m a big fan: edwardcarvalhomonaghan.co.uk
And I was very honoured to win the animation competition. I got a little trophy and felt like a kid who won a ribbon at a swimming competition.
Also, check out the fantastic work of my friend Isaac Holland, who was also taking part of the competition and did a great piece: hisaacholland.tumblr.com