Above is my final title sequence for ‘Leon’.
I have kept an up to date blog of my methods used to create my title sequence so in the name of not repeating myself I will add a bit of reason to why I made this sequence and how I found the experience.
The main concept is that the Growth of the plant resembles Leon’s own growth throughout the story, I wanted something simple and visually striking.
I think I was most interested with working on something that was simplistic because at the core of Leon there is a very simple story about love and growth and these are the themes that I wanted to explore.
Overall, I enjoyed the module and am satisfied with the end result. I think that I achieved my initial idea and stayed true to the animatic I first created.
I always knew the colours that I wanted to use, they are the colours that are used in the promotional material of the film, but not within the film itself, this interested me that there was such a specific look that was chosen that had no direct correspondence to the film.
The initial idea spawned from a storyboard image I drew and after talking with Corrie about it, it was clear that this could be a very powerful metaphor and carries a sense of sadness at the same time. I was also keen to give a classic, aged feel to the sequence to invoke a time before the film. This included at a late stage changing the placement of the title ‘Leon’ to show that the most growth of him as a character took place after Natalie Portman’s (who plays Mathilda) name is revealed, this is a possible long shot but worth mentioning. The circle is there to represent a keyhole, a gun barrel and Leon’s glasses, there a several meanings that can be derived from the film when it comes to circles and I wanted to use this as thematic point.
When considering this module, I was happy that we were exploring After Effects as I have some experience with it. I do not feel however that I have learned as much as I would have hoped, due to constant distractions and interruptions that our lecturer had to deal with. I was hoping to expand my skills with After Effects and engage with a much more demanding and challenging concept, however due to these constant struggles I felt that my final sequence suffered from the lack of guidance that I needed. I understand that this module walks hand in hand with the self taught methodology but I do not always work best this way, I am dissapointed with my own motivation throughout this module, but I believe this is a direct result of not being able to utilise Corrie’s experience and expertise.
One other issue that did arise during this project was how to create an ‘Edit decision list’, there is nothing but text titles and my dynamic link to my After Effects project within my Premiere Project, I found it very frustrating to create one of these as my work was made using still images. If this was such an important part of this project I would have expected it to be focused on and not left to be figured out by ourselves when looking back at the brief in preparation for the hand in. I myself have been juggling many different assignments and projects recently and found it frustrating to check the brief and find this particular requirement, having no recollection of it being mentioned. I can trust it was covered at the beginning of the module, but it would have helped to be shown through it towards the deadline to make sure everyone was comfortable. I abandoned this after trying to create one for my edit for a long time and only logging when text appears. I found this pointless and frustrating and a waste of my time when there are more important things pending. I will clarify the requirements before the deadline, but I am frustrated at this not being covered as I am fairly certain I did not miss a moment where it could have been. I understand that it may have been an oversight on my end, I should pay more attention to the brief and make sure I know what is expected of me before it is too late. Here is where I got to…Edit-decision-list
I took a detour and flirted for a week with the idea of creating a Saul Bass inspired title sequence, I drew several character sketches and tried to create a few animated character movements using Illustrator which I had never used before this, these can be found in a previous blog. I started to get a rough Idea of what could work and then suddenly hit a wall. Unfortunately through no lack of trying I could not find anything in relation to Saul Bass style title sequence tutorials. Corrie show me a few links that I could use but these turned out to be redundant. After a brief conversation with him he mentioned how the sequence idea I had, usually requires a crew of designers working for days. I realised that without the correct tutorials and help from someone with more experience than myself, I would be unable to achieve this.
I resorted to returning to my plant based sequence and it was then that I was re inspired to take this idea in a different direction. I focused my time and effort into perfecting this sequence and made several versions in which I tested out fonts and colours to find the most visual interesting one possible. One of the issues I faced was with the morphing of the plant, I followed a tutorial online because original I just used a cross fade between images to show the plant growing. I used the frame blending – pixel motion to create new pixels between images to allow for a smoother transition, there is still a bit of ugly warping, but once I had added a blending mode that was based on my background texture it looked less obvious. This is my biggest criticism about my final sequence, there needed to be more images taken in order to make smoother transitions between the plants growth. I am happy with the technique that I used which combined VFX and practical methods, I must add that the plant’s death was not in vain.
I will take several lessons away from this module, I need to continue self guided work when it comes to software /technical learning. There is not always enough time to achieve everything within planned lessons.
I must not always dismiss a simple idea because of that very reason, sometimes simplicity can work really well.
I have utilised a few new tools within After Effects that I will use again as well as gaining a deeper understanding of Dynamic linking, which caused me a fair few problems but along the way helped me to decipher it in more detail.