ComD Project 2: Making Abstract Concrete

How to Create the Narrative Structure?

Sep 27

For the second project, I choose one of technology terms and create a 3 minute video about explaining the definition and concept of it. I picked ‘disruptive technology (or disruptive innovation) for this project. To understand the definition of the term, I found below articles from Wikipedia.

A disruptive innovation is an innovation that creates a new market and value network and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network, displacing established market leading firms, products and alliances. The term was defined and phenomenon analyzed by Clayton M. Christensen beginning in 1995. In the early 2000s, “significant societal impact” has also been used as an aspect of disruptive innovation.

Here are a few examples of disruptive technologies:

  • The personal computer (PC) displaced the typewriter and forever changed the way we work and communicate.
  • The Windows operating system’s combination of affordability and a user-friendly interface was instrumental in the rapid development of the personal computing industry in the 1990s. Personal computing disrupted the television industry, as well as a great number of other activities.
  • Email transformed the way we communicating, largely displacing letter-writing and disrupting the postal and greeting card industries.
  • Cell phones made it possible for people to call us anywhere and disrupted the telecom industry.
  • The laptop computer and mobile computing made a mobile workforce possible and made it possible for people to connect to corporate networks and collaborate from anywhere. In many organizations, laptops replaced desktops.
  • Smartphones largely replaced cell phones and PDAs and, because of the available apps, also disrupted: pocket cameras, MP3 players, calculators and GPS devices, among many other possibilities. For some mobile users, smartphones often replace laptops. Others prefer a tablet.
  • Cloud computing has been a hugely disruptive technology in the business world, displacing many resources that would conventionally have been located in-house or provided as a traditionally hosted service.
  • Social networking has had a major impact on the way we communicate and — especially for personal use — disrupting telephone, email, instant messaging and event planning.

Reference:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disruptive_innovation

Sep 29

Meric and Allison left a comment on my first narrative. They said that I need to focus on one single example and explain how it destructed the previous market and created the new one.

During the class, I had a short pitch to Leah and explained what disruptive technology is. She told me that it might be better to introduce some example s in chronological order.

Leah made a sketch while listening to my explanation of disruptive technology

Meanwhile, we had a chance to look over Don Moyer’s napkin sketching. It was surprising that his sketches were so simple, but was so effective to deliver the story (and was also witty). Stacy asked us to make a sketch like Moyer and think about the relationship between my actors.

Oct 4

I definitely felt that I should explore more video examples and get some inspiration on it. I looked over some narrative videos on Youtube and found some nice ones.

A video that briefly explains the 100 Years of Style change in East London

This video effectively explain the evolution of fashion in century. Without any texts or voice over, it is so easy to get to know how the fashion has been changed.

I also looked over some animations of Kurzgesagt (In a nutshell), an animation studio located in Munich. I am a big fan of their videos. They are really good at explaining issues/concepts with fantastic visuals and wonderful storylines. I am planning to benchmark their way of storytelling.

Based on the feedback I got and Kurzgesagt videos, I refined my script in a dialogue-like narrative. Also, I narrowed the scope of technology and focused more on the evolution of personal devices we use everyday.

“Recall the devices you used 10 years ago and those you used today. Are these all same? I’m pretty sure they don’t.
We live in the era of inundation of technologies and they evolve quickly. Most of them just merely take a part of your daily life and help you work or do something However, some of them change our lifestyle in a way that we have never imagined before! These type of technology is called Disruptive Technology.
Disruptive technology is an innovation that creates a new market and value network and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network, displacing established market leading firms, products and alliances. The term was defined and phenomenon analyzed by Clayton M. Christensen beginning in 1995.
So, let’s go back to your personal device you used 10 years ago. How does your device has been changed over the decade? In 2006 you would have used a cellphone to call your friends and family. Cell phones made it possible for people to call us anywhere and disrupted the telecom industry. They kicked out traditional phones from our home. Text messages also enabled you to communicate with others instantly, making us to write less mails.
Then in 2007, the first iPhone was introduced and this changed our lifestyle significantly. Smartphones had a greater impact than any other personal devices after PCs because they largely replaced cellphones and PDAs and, because of the available apps, also disrupted pocket cameras, MP3 players, calculators and GPS devices. Ever since we held smartphones, we don’t have to hold any other devices to take photos, listen to musics or navigate in strange places. Meanwhile, they also contributed to create and stimulate new markets such as application stores and smartphone accessories.
And some of you might have iPads since 2010. Because of their high mobility, tablet computers disrupted ultra-thin laptop markets and they also cannibalized a part of laptop markets as well. Tablets also stimulates e-book market, making it more popular than before. And its screen size was big enough to display documents, enabling people to work in paperless environment. Tablets are more widely used in business areas and they changed workplaces in smarter ways.
The recent disruptive technology are wearable devices, specifically smart watches. Although it’s not as powerful as the last 3 devices, they slowly permeate our daily lives. While smart watches encroaches low-end digital watch industry, they also stimulate healthcare and fitness market.
…so, what comes next? There might be a lot of possibilities. The most likely disruptive technology might be Augmented Reality glasses. However, one thing is for sure. In the next 10 years, we will use a whole different kind of personal devices and they will disrupt current technologies and create new markets!

I made a sketch of my actors and the relationship among each. I arranged Disruptive personal devices over the last decade and put related markets into two areas — disrupted market and created market. Now it looks much clearer.

Oct 6

During the class I did a live sketch demo with Rossa and walked her through my narrative. She though it was nice to see the advance of technology in chronological order with the easiest examples, but she felt confused if disruptive technology is only for devices or it is a sort of movement. She also mentioned it would be better to add another types of disruptive technolgy such as self-driving cars or fin-tech.

After polishing the storyline I sketched keyframes of the video. I felt that the easiest way to explain the jargon is relating it to devices we use everyday. I also thought that it’d be better to stick to one theme rather than introducing other types of technology. Remember; Keep it simple!

Oct 10

Today we formed a group of three and gave and received feedback among group members. Some of their thoughts include…

  • The paragraph of the origin of disruptive technology and the term ‘Value network’ are too academic. I need to change the language.
  • The term itself is too market-oriented.
  • I need to reduce the number of examples of disruptive technology and focus more on cellphones and smartphones. (Are smart watches really disruptive?)
  • It might be more effective if I compare old technology and disruptive technology.

I realized that it would be better to tell stories about how cellphones and smartphones changed our life for the past decade and what kind of new markets/services are created by them.

During the class we learned how to sketch keyframes and we created our storyboard once again with 8 pieces of paper. We had to include scenes of…

  • Introduction (1 frame)
  • Definition (1 frame)
  • How does it work (4 frames)
  • Why is it important (1 frame)
  • Conclusion (1 frame)

Based on the given feedback and Stacie’s guideline I resketched 8 key frames as above. Instead of showing all 4 examples and narrating the destruction and creation of markets, I focused more on the change of our lifestyles driven by cellphones and smartphones.

Oct 13

Today I started looking around some sample visuals to get inspiration for the video. I googled the examples of electronic devices icons and referred to overall look & feel and colors. When it comes to animations and video transitions, I referred some videos of Kurzgesagt, especially their ‘Explained’ series.

After exploring some references, I made sample visuals and color swatches for each character. I will use different swatches and color themes for smoother transitions and use a lot of visual elements to make it easier to understand the concept of disruptive technology.

I also revised the script and changed the storyline as below.

Introduction
Recall the devices you used 10 years ago and those you used today. Are these all same? I’m pretty sure they don’t.
We live in the era of inundation of technologies and they evolve quickly. Most of them just merely take a part of your daily life and help you work or do something However, some of them change our lifestyle in a way that we have never imagined before! These type of technology is called Disruptive Technology.
Definition
Disruptive technology is an innovation that creates a new way of lifestyle and eventually disrupts an existing technology, displacing established market leading firms and products. Is it too broad to understand? Well then, let’s focus on how it changed our daily lives!
How it works — Cellphones
Let’s go back to your personal device you used 10 years ago. The hottest disruptive device we used in 2006 was cellphones. Cellphones made it possible for people to call us anywhere and eventually they replaced traditional phones at home. They also enabled you to communicate with others instantly with text messages, making us to write less mails and telegrams.
Cellphones also created a new way of entertainment. One good example is mobile games. Lots of game companies regarded cellphones as the new game platform and provided downloadable game titles. People didn’t have to buy CDs and portable players to enjoy game outside.
How it works — Smartphones
Let’s come back to 2016. Do we still use cellphones? Nope, because we are using even more disruptive technology in our hand. Yes, it’s smartphones!
Smartphones had a greater impact than any other personal devices because they largely replaced cellphones, pocket cameras, MP3 players, calculators and GPS devices because of the available of apps. Ever since we held smartphones, we don’t need any other devices to take photos, listen to music or navigate in strange places.
Smartphones have not only replaced our personal devices but they also have changed our everyday lives significantly. They’ve enabled us to use new types of services just with a single tap. Nowadays we don’t really have to go to a bank office to send money or call a taxi at the street.
Importance
As you can see, disruptive technology is not only innovative but also it shifts the paradigm of the way of living.
Conclusion
So what comes next? There might be a lot of possibilities. However, one thing is for sure. In the next 10 years, we will use a whole different kind of personal device that will disrupt current technologies and create new lifestyles!”

Oct 20

Today we made a group of three, checked each one’s script and visuals and gave feedback to each. The feedback I received from Hannah and Bori was

  • Might be easier and clearter to just focus on how smartphones have changed our daily lives.
  • It is hard to find the difference between disruptive technology and innovation.
  • Try to think a lot about transitions.
  • Trim some redundant lines.

Based on their advice, I revised my script once again and started recording voiceover. Kaylee was happy to help for voiceover.

Besides final script work, I also created some digital key frames of my video. In terms of visual theme, I used flat animation style and contrast the image of past and present by using different color tone.

Oct 25

Today I polished all characters and scenes shown on my video and start making the animation. I used 3 color schemes for smooth transitions; green and purple tones for general explanation parts, warm red and green tones for the past scenes and blue and gray tones for the present scenes.

Besides transition, I feel it is quite tricky to visualize the abstract terms like “lifestyle” or “innovation” or even “disruptive technology” itself. After some interations, I decided to substitute these terms as more familiar objects.

  • Lifestyle: the landscape of Pittsburgh and the devices we use
  • Innovation: I googled the word “innovative technology” and picked the most common image — a tree of technology icons
  • Disruptive technology: the combination of the lightbulb and the gear — this does not directly related to the term, but I will expose it and sync it with the voiceover so audience can relate the meaning.

…and these are the characters I made. Now it’s time to make a LOT of move.

Nov 1

Cha-ching! I did pretty much done for the last 10 days. Stacie, Jiyoung and Vikas gave me some feedback; I think I should tweak some icons and their arrangements of the first keyframe. Other than that, I’m ready to publicize it. Now I feel quite comfortable in using After Effects but to be honest, I hope that this is my last AE animation…

Conclusion

I used super concrete visuals and various color swatches to explain the term, making it like commercial animation as much as possible. This was the great challenge to me and I’m happy that I could be one step closer on creating nice animation. Personally, I think visualizing an abstract concept with simple shapes is even more difficult because that means I have to think much more on movements and transitions.

The trickiest part of making the video was unbalanced amount of information on each line. Some parts were very relaxed and didn’t contain much stories to tell, resulting awkward pauses of animation. On the other hand, some lines had too much information and transition, making related scenes move super fast in order to make syncs. Next time I should definitely consider the flow of storyline and distribute the information evenly.