In late 2013 we started discussion with Gavurin, a Big Data Analytics company based in Newcastle who have developed their own state of the art analytics software. I met with Paul Miller, CEO of Gavurin, and we spoke about Gavurin's future aspirations, the story they wanted to tell and who they were trying to communicate their message to. I took my notes back to Richard and Jonny and we brainstormed ideas on how to put Big Data Analytics into a story form that would interest people and demonstrate the capabilities of Gavurin.
Developing a story based on a companies existing style and tone.
Paul mentioned the blog he writes for Gavurin so we read all his posts so we could be familiar with his style of writing. Script writing and storyboarding are intrinsically entwined, when you write a script for an explainer animation, it's important to keep in mind that the story must work well visually.
Inspired by Paul's blog and the feedback we received, we came up with the story of 'Hunky Dory Stadium' and developed it accordingly. When it came to the storyboards themselves, we knew we wanted to reference data and analytics without creating something that looked like it belonged in the Matrix movies. The animation moves swiftly between column graphs and maps so data is always there, referenced in the background, but never bogging down the animation with overly complicated graphics and information.
Creating a background using fractal noise in After Effects
We took the 'data idea' even further by creating textures and a background that resembled blocks of information. Traditionally, we've created backgrounds in Photoshop and imported them into After Effects. However this time we opted for using the 'Fractal Noise' effect to generate the desired background. Here is a brief how-to:
- Create your background solid and pick your colour. We added a subtle ramp effect first but you can choose not to, depending on your preferences.
- Choose the Fractal Noise effect from the effects panel. The effect will default to back and white clouds.
Go into your effects panel and change the settings to the following:
Fractal Type: Threads
Noise Type: Block
Contrast: We used 178 but choose what you think looks best to you.
As you can see in the picture, the blocks are beginning to appear but you still have a black and white image.
- You'll see the settings for opacity and blending mode at the bottom of the effects panel. Reduce the opacity to what looks best for you, we went for 15%. Then we changed the Blending Mode to 'Soft Light'.
By altering the values of the Fractal Noise effect, we were able to create a textured background that was subtle and yet matched the reoccurring motifs and graphics in the animation.
The finished video is an animation that captures Gavurin's philosophy and brand of business as well as the service they so excellently provide.