thesis weeks 4 & 5

With everything going on, I just realized I haven’t updated here in a little while. Here’s what I’ve been up to —

  • Mixing the audio has been smoother than I expected. I listened to all the recordings and made notes of the phrases that sounded great from each speaker; I put them all together on a spreadsheet so I could move them around easily and form the narrative I was looking for. I had a rough draft based on the spreadsheet, but once I actually split up the clips and put them together, I naturally had to make some changes based on each clip’s intonation, to ensure the flow would be nice. I also wanted to make sure there was enough variety in the voices, and that I wasn’t featuring any one person too much or too little.
    • Left to do: finding the right jazz track to add. I used a placeholder from Audiojungle and really like it, but I’ll have to see if it loops well, since it’s shorter than the final audio (2:30ish vs 7:50min).
  • Animating the sound prototype was also easier than I expected once I found the right tutorials. The rough edges one I stumbled onto by sheer luck, and I’m very glad because I love the effect.
    • Left to do: brainstorming what typefaces and effects I want to do for the other sounds, and then executing. I like the idea of using the subway tile look, and maybe adding/removing tiles instead of a manual stretch. I’m planning on doing “Park Avenue” and “Bags/Black” since they’re the clearest snippets I have. I then have to figure out how I’m going to display these; if they’ll be a single looped GIF where the timing might clash with the sound clips, or if I’ll commit to a specific audio order and time each loop to the speaker’s pace. The former is less work, but I think I’m leaning towards the latter since I won’t have that many sounds anyway.
  • Storyboarding the story prototype was fun. I selected typefaces and a background/text color with the specific person’s voice and personality in mind. There were a couple I didn’t get to see in action yet (Ben and David, whose first audio clips come after the 1:20min mark) so I may still switch them up. I also know I want to switch Kianna’s type for a smaller point version (meaning the details aren’t as fine) so that it’s more legible overall.
    • Left to do: actually animating. I’m first going to time the keyframes so that words are coming in at the same pace. Then I’ll figure out transitions — I think a good idea is to keep them structurally similar but with varied direction (e.g. they always slide in on top of the previous speaker, but the directions switch up). Within transitions, I also have to figure out how the opacity layering is going to work; it’s hard to conceptualize since it’ll depend on who is “interrupting” who — the colors might not work well or be legible together. Once I figure out the main transitions, I’ll also want to think about making the type more fluid in key moments. I’ll have to do it very sparingly or I’ll drive myself nuts.
  • Preparing the midterm presentation + presenting made me pretty nervous given how tight it was supposed to be. I practiced many many times and think it helped me a ton. Still wish I could’ve recorded, but oh well. There was so much I had to cut, but I think the general flow was pretty good and I’ll probably be reusing many of my lines/slides in the next presentations.
  • Meeting with Kit for feedback was really helpful, particularly for the thesis book outline — I wasn’t sure what to do in between my process and conclusion, but she gave me some great ideas. Right now this is the gist of it, I think:
    • Intro
    • Lit Review
    • Primary Research (interviews, typography survey)
    • Process (developing script, new recordings, editing audio, designing animations)
    • Analysis (can be placeholder to wait for feedback @ defense)
    • Future Directions (more phonemes [entire vowel system]; seek older generations + set up website with contact information for archival purposes)
    • Conclusion

Given the structure of the tasks, I think for the rest of this week I’ll focus on the jazz track first, since the timing of it might impact my animation keyframes. I also should go back to my typography survey results to draft some deeper analysis which should inform my type selection for the sound prototypes. I can also pretty easily storyboard the full narrative video, before delving into the animation itself.