A graphics package brands a video while giving it a polished look, and the advantages of investing in a package are numerous. Beyond giving a video a finished look, a graphics package saves producers and artists time when creating videos in a series. Instead of hiring a graphic designer to manipulate graphics for each episode, a well-designed package allows an editor, assistant editor, or producer to manipulate the text while branding remains the same. For The Warner Sound’s Live Room, directed by Michael Thelin of MTP, Inc., Coat of Arms designed titles and created a graphics package for future videos coming from the Live Room. Designer Bernard Ong gives us some insight into how to create a graphics package.
1. What inspired you in the design of the graphics package?
For this graphics package, I wanted to keep it simple, modern, and appeal to a younger demographic. I really like how a lot of design is getting simpler, cleaner, and some would say almost flatter, where there is less use of 3d type. I always love good applications of 3d type, but it’s nice to see designers rely on 3d a little less. I like to see designers trying to find simple solutions to design issues. With these titles, I tried to make them easy to read while keeping the attention of the viewer. To do so, I kept the text fluid by adding complex transitions and changing the color of the text and back plates constantly. While designing the titles, I remembered to consider the fact that someone who has barely used Adobe After Effects may need to use and manipulate the file as well!2. What elements did you include in the graphics package and why?
The most important element of a titles graphics package project is the type. The type has to be easy to read and absorb as we move quickly through the video. Also, the type cannot take away from the content. So, I chose Proxima Nova Bold. This type has clean, contemporary characters. It’s modern look relates well to the audience for these Live Room videos. I also used Proxima Nova Medium and Proxima Nova Light to add contrast to the type so the bold type face would have more impact on the viewer. Since it was called “The Live Room” I used a lot of squares to support the theme of a room, and I boxed in some of the type.
3. How did you set up your template for future use? Why did you set it up this way?
Since the client wanted several different color variations that they could choose from, I needed to create a template file that they would allow them to create different titles quickly and easily. I’ve worked with several editors who have limited to no experience in Adobe After Effects, so making the template as simple as possible is key.
To make it easy to crank out several color combinations, I created all the base animations in black and white, then added a tint effect over the final composition, and changed the black and white to different colors. This enabled me to create the base animation once and add color combinations with the click of a few buttons. I also embedded all the instructions in the file by using labels and layer markers to make the template even more straight forward. With this template, the client can create their own color combo with just a few clicks.
4. How did you make it backward compatible?
I created this project in After Effects 6. I quickly realized that the client needed it in After Effects 5. So, I used a script called Open Sesame, which makes AE files backwards compatible. I opened my existing project, exported a text file (.tsv), then imported the file into the older version of After Effects. For a title animation project like this, it worked out perfectly; and I was able to save out a new project in After Effects 5 quickly.5. What’s the proper way to use the template?
The graphics package project files are meant to make everyone’s lives easier. The user can simply drop their footage into the timeline, follow the instructions, and hit render. If a folder says DO NOT ENTER!!!, please keep out! And as always, first thing upon opening the project, the user should ALWAYS save a new version of the file! I can’t count on how many times I have opened a template project and have found modifications to the file. Please “Save-As” early and often.
6. Having designed templates like this in the past, what do you see as the benefits? How has it worked for you in the past?
What’s nice about creating a project template is that regardless of the musician, content, etc, the style will always remain consistent. The only animated elements that will change are the text and the colors. This is key to establishing a brand or a franchise. Once the viewer sees just a small part of a video with a branded graphics package, they will recognize it and associate the style with, in this example, The Live Room by The Warner Sound. Some might not like the idea of templates because they don’t offer much flexibility, but it is more beneficial in creating brand consistency.
Take a look, to view the graphics in motion.
Contact Coat of Arms today if you’d like to consider a graphics package for your future videos.