Thursday, May 29, 2014

From Stills to Motion: The Struggle of Making a Video Case Study

Creating a video of a project just from pictures can be a struggle.  But it can also be fun. Take a look at the video:

In the case of the Zynga case study, I was given a few pictures that showed a fun and bright workspace that SideMark, in partnership with NicholsBooth, had created. Zynga was a particularly special case because the client didn’t quite know what it wanted.  This left SideMark with the struggle of pinpointing an intangible feeling.
photography by Jason Madara

photography by Jason Madara

The purpose of the video was to give a visual aid to showcase what SideMark has done and can do for past and future clients.

I struggled with taking the still images and turning it into a video. But the struggle was worth it because, in the end, I added a new program – After Effects – to my skill set. After Effects was a challenging program to use. There were other programs (Adobe Flash, Adobe Premiere Pro, iMovie, etc.) available to me, but we decided, as a team, that After Effects offered the best solution. Creating this video taught me a lot and I found it really interesting watching still images come to life through motion along the way. 

Besides learning a new program, coming up with the storyline was also a struggle. I wanted the video to flow like a story but still be peppy and have pizazz, like Zynga. This pizazz was the thread that tied the entire video together. The image that really caught my eye was the panorama of the Zynga cafeteria, which is also why it is the longest segment of the video. I loved the way it really showed all angels of the cool and creative workspace, and I wanted the viewer to see it as if they were standing in the middle and looking around the room.

photography by Jason Madara

The biggest challenge with creating this video was to identify and be consistent with the style that SideMark created for Zynga and not go overboard with the funkiness. I really wanted the video to be an extension of the workspaces, without being too formal or too quirky. I made quite a few versions of the video before finally landing on the one that felt right for us as a marketing team. By the time I finished the final version, I had upwards of 10 versions of the video, from the initial version that was more of an experimentation of effects to the final one that showcased the Zynga story. The project evolved from what looked cool to what ended up becoming the best story. I learned that you can’t be too emotionally invested in any step of the evolution, because sometimes you just need to scrap your idea and start again if it isn’t quite working

The best part of creating this video was learning to do something new. I love learning new tools and discovering new ways to do something. For me, showcasing Zynga in the video was a great way to play around with creativity and to explore new tools and create something that I have never done before. Now I am a better designer, and more importantly, a more effective story teller.

About the Author:
Jennifer Herald, SideMark Graphic Designer, comes to us with an open mind and a willingness to learn. She recently graduated from San Jose State with a B.A. in Design Studies, and a minor in Advertising. Jennifer is starting her graduate studies in Advertising in Fall 2014. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Alex Grieb, SideMark's newest addition, dishes on furniture, childhood, and sports!

SideMark welcomes Alex Grieb! Alex is a furniture freshman with a wicked swing. Join us as we get to know Alex and discuss his take on furniture, Greek school, gyros, golf, Raiders, and Padres.

Monday, January 20, 2014

RFP as Narrative

Characters courtesy of Creative Commons
A new form of “request for proposals” (RFPs) has emerged where they are positioned as a narrative.  In these instances the desired response is described, primarily through text and occasionally with images to all potential “vendors”.  This is different from the historical practice of robust specifications and measured drawings.  In the past, consultants or in-house staff spent hundreds of hours creating technical documents which described the desired solution in brilliant detail.  Metal gauges, fabric durability, laminate thickness, wiring configurations, construction methods and dozens of other seemingly arcane details were identified.  Now the RFP might be as simple as “something for employees to work upon”.

Why is this? Is there a higher degree of trust in the project teams?  Or conversely is there less concern about the quality of the solution?  Are there no longer differences between products and services? For whatever reason for some, the historical practice of detailed specification to provide an “apples to apples” comparison is no longer required.  Perhaps this approach hopes to elicit more creative solutions.  With a description that is vague, the response relies on the understandings and assumptions of the service or product provider.  This can be informed, or intuitive.  Regardless of how it is created, without consistent criteria, the selection is by nature, more subjective.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Your Best Position is Your Next Position

Images courtesy of SYTYCD
The field of ergonomics, or “human factors”, is multi-disciplinary, incorporating all sorts of scientific measurements. The term anthropometry really appeals to me.  It just sounds good.  Basically it’s about fitting equipment and environment to the human body that uses it.  To do that, you have to incorporate all sorts of measurements.

Recently, the world of furniture has been taking a new look at ergonomics.  For most of the past 20 years, “ergonomic adjustment” meant setting the chair, keyboard and monitor at heights that were optimal for the individual user.  Raising or lowering the chair seat, supporting the lumbar, placing wrists at the optimal angle, locating the monitor so you are 16-24 inches away looking straight ahead or down at a 30 degree angle.  In other words, it was setting up the environment or equipment to support a particular posture or motion.  Nowadays, the benefits of movement are taking the place of optimal adjustment.  In fact, the notion of setting everything up for a single user in a single space for eternity was always a bit of a false start.  How many people actually remembered how to set all those dials, tags and levers?

Monday, September 30, 2013

Be Cooler with Kuler

Images courtesy of
Color inspiration comes to us at different times and in different ways - sunsets over the ocean, moss on a rock, a store front, or a concrete wall beside a blue mailbox. I’ve been a photographer and graphic designer for over 20 years, studying color, tone, hue, saturation and light. Each element is a vital part of everything I do. Catching the precise combination of each is what makes life a constant challenge. Cell phone cameras have opened a whole new world of possibilities and opportunities to capture the moment as you walk through your day. Kuler (a not so new app purchased by Adobe) allows us to capture and translate these colorful inspirations into our designs. The best part is that it’s FREE!

When I first used the app my mind was overwhelmed with ideas. It’s incredible to watch the program translate what you see in front of you into a usable color palette! You can pick the color point or you can let the program do its magic. If you would prefer to wait till later, no problem, just take a photo and work with it later.