Blog Category: Narrative/Sound&Motion

Semester Thoughts

By Erika Goering,

I’ve been reflecting on something that was discussed earlier this semester about whether it’s more noble to focus our time and energy on making something aesthetically beautiful and refined, or making something where we essentially muck around in a fresh, steaming pile of our own newfound knowledge.

Each has their own merits. Aesthetically beautiful work has a polished feel that’s good to show off in a portfolio, and filthy experimentation leads to discovery and additional learning. Inversely, something visually pretty and refined can also be hollow and lack passion, and heavy experimental work can be unattractive and sloppy.

I’ve taken this dilemma as a challenge to get myself messy as hell, while hopefully cleaning things up aesthetically as I progress through the project. I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone conceptually, visually, and resourcefully. In fact, my comfort zone has been completely redefined. It’s much broader now. Because every single project this semester has been an opportunity for me to try something I’ve never done before. And it’s definitely paid off. I feel like I’m getting my money’s worth at KCAI. It’s double the education. Seriously.

Last year, my big mistake was doing what I thought everyone wanted to see so I could fit in. And while I got decent grades out of it, I didn’t feel like I got much else from it. I was just doing what I already knew, with a few new bits mixed in. Over the summer, something clicked. I decided that I was going to make the absolute most of the KCAI experience.

Every project so far this year has been an experiment. A discovery. An invention. I’ve been forcing myself to use methods and techniques that I’ve never even considered before. And I’ve learned so much, and grown so intimate with these tools… I even learned PHP, for crying out loud! I never thought I’d have the opportunity to really get submerged in it. But thanks to my Online Presence class, I did that. And it was mostly self-directed, too.

I’ve learned that my education is what I make of it. My time here could either be spent sitting back, making pretty work that I know how to do, or I can spend that extra time to experiment and play with the tools that I’ve been given. And that playing around has made me a better designer, a better student, and a better human being.

While my work this semester may or may not be of the utmost portfolio quality, it’s unquestionably paving the way for it in the future. And that, I take great comfort in.

  Filed under: KCAI, Narrative/Sound&Motion, Online Presence for the Artist, Typography3, VisLang
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Final Logo Build: Occupy KC

By Erika Goering,

My main idea behind doing this was to push myself to learn a few brand new things. I wanted to combine motion capture with 3D (all in just a few days!) and somehow make it all work out. I wanted to use 3D and motion capture to better convey the feel of having a crowd of people standing up for what they believe in.

My process: I basically started over, as far as the digital stuff goes. I recorded myself thrusting my fist in the air in a few different ways, then motion-captured all that stuff and made my vector fists follow those motions. THEN… (and here’s the crazy part) I made each animated fist a 3D object, placed them in my little After Effects world, and zoomed my imaginary camera through all of them.


Pretty nifty, huh?

So here’s what I learned:

  • 3D camera stuff isn’t nearly as scary as it sounds. Totally doable, once I played around with it for awhile. (The demo we had earlier helped too. I just had to refresh my memory on exactly how to set everything up.)
  • Motion capture is tough to get perfect. Despite having a demo on it earlier, I still had some trouble getting it to work out (upside-down and sideways fists kept showing up for some reason). But it obviously ended up working out just fine after some tweaking.
  • If I set “new things to learn” goals, and I actually reach them, I feel like a pimp. Hell yeah. *happy dance* I tried all the new things I wanted to try, and I feel like a better student, a better designer, and a better person for it. Yay, college!
  • Having time to play around and discover new things is just as important as having time to do the actual project. I spent a lot of time poking around in AE and it paid off. As a side thing, I discovered how the particle generator works! Hooray! I’ll be using that beautiful tool in the future, for sure. I feel like I have a deeper, more intimate understanding of After Effects now. And that’s always good.

  Filed under: KCAI, Narrative/Sound&Motion
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Final Narrative Project

By Erika Goering,

I’ll be further refining my Occupy KC logo build. I just don’t feel like I spent enough time with it. And it’ll give me an opportunity to play around with some more AE stuff that I didn’t get to experiment with before. Because this is my semester for expanding my comfort zone. So, I’m making a huge effort to expand my design toolkit and pick up techniques that I never even considered before.

While I’m revisiting an old project, I’m putting myself in a situation where I’m forcing myself to try something new. Because that’s what college is all about. Duh.

  Filed under: KCAI, Narrative/Sound&Motion
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History of Motion Graphics

By Erika Goering,

It’s longer than you think.

In a beautiful piece of motion design itself, this video gives a lot of insight on the long, rich history of motion graphics.

Honestly, when I think of motion graphics, I think of all of the contemporary work that’s all around us right now. I tend to forget about the past. But the history of motion graphics is filled with experimentation and discovery.

Motion graphics is all about finding new ways to bring visual information to life.

While it’s easy to forget about, motion graphics (like most any other art form) has its roots in analog media. From the innovators such as Georges Méliès to the cutting edge of firms like MK12, there has always been explorers treading the frontier of moving pictures and embracing an appreciation for and manipulation of the tangible media.

Digital media has paved the way for motion’s explosive growth. So many things now are animated and supplemented by movement. Digital media, as it tends to do, has made the art of movement both more convenient to do and more complex. But in our oversaturated world, it’s easy to forget its importance.

We are lucky to be design students in a time when such exponential growth is taking place. We get to literally watch it morph and change before our eyes. Definitions of “analog” and “digital” are blurred beyond recognition, and we are using every resource we can think of.

In the history of motion graphics, we are living in a very important and influential chapter, filled with innovation, experimentation, and rebellion. But we should always remember where we came from, and fully appreciate every step of the way.

  Filed under: KCAI, Narrative/Sound&Motion, Read&Respond
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Final Logo Build: Occupy KC

By Erika Goering,

Power to the people!

Concept (for those who haven’t heard):

I chose the most obscure of the Occupy KC logos, using Liberty Memorial as a metaphor for the strength of the organization. Formally, I loved how similar Liberty Memorial is to a raised “power fist,” so I played up that aspect. The glowy, energy orb stuff intensifies as the crowd grows larger and more powerful.

What I Learned:

  • I learned how to enhance a brand by adding sound and motion to its identity. That’s kind of a big one.
  • I learned how to morph stuff! That was pretty painless, actually. At least it was the way I did it. I figured out a way to put points on a layer and warp those points around. So that was cool.
  • I also learned that 5 seconds of video equals about a bajillion hours of work. But that’s what happens when you’re still figuring out how to make things move in a believable way. Oh well.
  • TIME MANAGEMENT. A constant lesson.
  • And I learned some motion tracking! YAY! Although, since that was a whole in-class demo, that’s a thing that everyone learned. So that’s a given.
  • I also learned that storyboarding is super-important. I know it probably sounds silly, but it really kept me on track.
Speaking of storyboards…

  Filed under: KCAI, Narrative/Sound&Motion
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Union Station Final Timeline

By Erika Goering,

We cleaned up our color-keying and added some music. We also adjusted the zooming to make the details more legible.

The Union Station staff seemed to like our idea a lot! So that’s something to be proud of.

  Filed under: KCAI, Narrative/Sound&Motion
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Power to the People!

By Erika Goering,


For my logo build animation, I’m doing Occupy KC. My ideas are based on the notion that we are all part of this city and it’s a part of us, and we should come together and stand up for what we believe in. My sketches all have a human element (or something representing the population) turning into the Liberty Memorial. It’s a pillar of strength, and so are we.

occupykc 1
occupykc 2
occupykc 3

  Filed under: KCAI, Narrative/Sound&Motion
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Union Station: Centennial Celebration

By Erika Goering,

I learned a lot during this project.

In addition to becoming more familiar with After Effects, I also learned some video techniques such as how to use a green screen (which, looking back, should’ve been blue), and how to pass ideas and their accompanying After Effects files to and from a partner (and fix miscommunications along the way). I learned that low-tech methods of integrating videos can still produce some fairly impressive results.

I also learned that it’s very important to know exactly what your goals/objectives are before you start venturing off into Elaborate Idea Land. We got carried away very early in the project and had to tone it back quite a bit to get back on track. We even started completely over a few times. Although we both would’ve loved to create an elaborate project using all of our multitudes of research, we’re glad we had a relatively doable amount of work in the short amount of time that we had.

We made it work, though. And, along the way, I learned a lot about teamwork and how loyal classmates can be to each other. We’re not just classmates; we’re family. We’ll suffer through long nights and broken After Effects files together. And we’ll grow closer because of our shared experiences. It’s getting sappy, I know, but it’s important for me to finally understand that, as classmates, we’re not competing with each other; we’re in this together.

  Filed under: KCAI, Narrative/Sound&Motion
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Union Station: Zooming in Forever!

By Erika Goering,

One of the things I love about interactive media is the virtually unlimited possibilities. You’re not confined to a 2D plane or a static image. There’s the potential for depth, animation, sound, and user-influenced behavior.

My partner and I have been focusing on depth and layers as our main way of categorizing information and isolating the important points from other information.

Below is an idea where the user zooms in to go deeper and see more detailed content. It literally narrows in on the events that happened during that time. The color represents the state of Union Station in each decade, where the ’80s were drab and boring, and the ’90s were a time of growth and renewed hope for Union Station. It was a fresh start. I’m still playing around with color and shapes for them and the other decades, and I’ll be introducing some texture soon, so that’ll be one of the next things I explore.

To navigate, the user would use pinch gestures to zoom in, and the content would increase in size until the text is legible and the video reaches full-screen (yay, vectors!). The user could also swipe left or right to jump between events, years, or decades, depending on how zoomed in they are.

zoomed out enough to see the adjacent decades


zoomed in to see just the ’90s.


1994′s highlights include two newspaper articles and a video.


zoomed-in video closeup


  Filed under: KCAI, Narrative/Sound&Motion
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