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Q & S: A Question and A Story

iG feedHello Everyone,
This post is for two reasons. First of all I’d like to ask what sorts of posts would help get the information to you in better ways. Across our Social media platforms we are posting about events and information constantly. If you look at our feeds (Instagram shown on the right) you can see that we try to vary content, we do want it to be something that grabs you. This information is being put up for your benefit.

So my question is, What do you want to see and how do you want it presented?

The second part of this blog is to tell you a tale, of how 3 seconds became 3 days of work.
In a bid to add a unique spin on a post and to make use of the department IPhone, I decided to create a quick stop motion clip (Stop motion is when you create an animation by taking individual photos). The clip was of UOC Careers and I coloured it in. Working on the pun of we can help you fill in those CV’s, so the title filled itself in.

Creating this was fairly simple. I’ve done stop motion in the past, and I am usually good at pacing how much I add at a time. The issues I encountered though caused me to redo the creation in a rushed way. When I first took the shots (Photos) I was very happy with what I’d done and had 108 shots. However, as I was packing away the tripod and IPhone a colleague pointed out that I had spelt Careers wrong (Curse you dyspraxia), as this was after I had taken the photos I needed to redo them all. So on a new piece of A3 paper I rewrote the lettering (and I don’t think it was as good as the first time) and began the process again. This time I only had 68 shots and a few of them were duplicates.

Upon coming to edit this I hit another set of challenges. I had to request a copy of adobe for my workstation, whilst waiting I did try to edit using the Phones IMovie. On IMovie (Which is software I was at the time unfamiliar with) I couldn’t find a way of making a clip less than 0.4secs, this meant that the animation didn’t look smooth as the speed was too slow before switching to the next image. Another issue with IMovie was that the app kept applying the “Ken Burns effect” which meant the images were difficult to align properly. So I waited until I had access to Adobe animate.

Adobe Animate is the new name for Adobe Flash and looks and works almost exactly the same. The issues I encountered here were some that others may need to be aware of. First of all the images where too big a file there resolution was high enough that it caused my system to crash when trying to import the sequence of images. I manually went through them to resave them as smaller res images. Once they were at a workable size I then made the animation. This was the easiest bit, Animate/Flash has a function where if it sees files in numerical order it will ask do you want to add the sequence, so to create it after the hassle of taking the photos the actual animation was simple. But upon trying to export the clip as a looping GIF the system would again cash 9 in 10 times. Once I had an exportable GIF I then went to build a post around it for Twitter, but the file was too big. I then had to keep changing resolutions for the export, colour ranges and dithering before twitter would accept the GIF. What it allowed me to post personally I think looks low quality but my colleagues assure me that it looks suitable and the quality adds to the retro feel, maybe I’m just picky.

If I was to do this again and to anyone else planning on embarking on this style of project. I would advise multiple things.

First of all check your spelling! Good now that one’s out of the way, trying to get access to a better system to edit on. UOC students and staff can request use of the computer labs in our Brampton road campus. Though for a project like this they could be considered overkill as these systems would easily edit and export these files but an alternative could be found. This would mean that the files wouldn’t have needed as many steps of compression which could help with the end quality. As well as ease of editing, as the system kept crashing changing one simple option turned into a 10-20min wait as I had to reboot the system. Avoiding this pitfall and this project becomes a simple and quick task that shouldn’t take much more than an hour depending on how long of set up you have with the camera and taking the photos. It took me around 50min to take all of the photos but that includes both Sets of photos.

If you are aiming to do an animation remember for every second on screen you need at least 24 frames (or photos), if you have more that’s even better. 24fps (frames per second) is the flicker fusion threshold rate, which is the speed you need to trick the eye into thinking it’s an animation not just photo after photo. Higher quality animations tend to use 30fps or above.

What do think of my little escapade? Was the Pun worth it?UOC-Careers-Fill-in-(64-D-smaller-size)

A lot of these issues are things to consider when you are filling in those CV’s or application form’s: Check your Spelling, grammar and sentence structure; Don’t just rush through it to get it done as it might not be as good as you had hoped; Think about how to use your experience to tie into what’s been asked.
I’ve just ranted about my experience in creating this little animation. But I can use this post to show you that we do try to create a variety of content, outline things to be aware of when going through job applications and give some minor advice to budding animators.

And please do give us feedback on;

What you want to see and how do you want it presented?

Business start-up workshops in North Lancashire

Sharon Jackson freelance web designer, is working with Enterprise Nation to bring their Start Up Saturday workshops to the Morecambe Bay area. Holding the workshops once a month, she hopes to help local people in their quest to start a business.

What you can learn at Start Up Saturday?

· How to uncover your BIG Idea and research the market

· 5 points to include in a business plan

· The must-do’s – register the company and protect your brand

· Straightforward finance and easy budgeting techniques

· Set-up tips on office tech, furnishings and fashion!

· All things web – building a home online

· Simple sales roadmap and cold-calling made easy

· Make some noise! Successful marketing on a budget

· 5 essential social media tools and how to make the most of them

· Teamwork – how to grow the business without outgrowing the home

· Happy Customers and Balanced Business – you can achieve it all!

Where can you book?

Currently the workshops are being held at Trust Medical offices on Marine Road, Morecambe. The next workshop is Saturday 27th October 2012 and you can book online via Eventbrite at

The cost is £35 for a 5 hour workshop jam packed with information that will get you going with your business.