Looking at nice things

I recently wrote a post about how staff training days are always a good thing. Well there’s something else that is always good and that is keeping inspired. We recently took a day out to get some visual inspiration. We started with a bit of fun up the O2, then we moved on to the design museum, after a quick coffee with a client, before moving on to the Tate.

The design museum had an exhibition for Designs of the Year 2014 and was full of amazing work, covering fashion, technology and education, amongst other things. Our particular favourite was Chineasy, a series of illustrations to help you learn the Chinese language in a new way. This was the eventual runner-up to the very impressive Phonebloks

You can have a quick look at what we got up to and some of the things we saw in this video!

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/103716385″>NC Away Day v1</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/napoleon”>Napoleon Creative</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Did you know we do infographics?

We’ve been making infographics for a while now with various clients, such as Heineken, PayPal and Compeed.

With PayPal we worked to create an infographic for potential customers to highlight how PayPal’s new way of taking card payments can impact small businesses in the UK. It clearly lays out the statistics so customers can see how much they will benefit from the new scheme. This is showcased here on techplz.com

Compeed wanted to create an infographic to highlight how the use of their products would decrease discomfort in wearing heels or new shoes. We approached this one by looking at the spending habits of European women on shoes.

Compeed Infographic v9

Infographics can also be made to run alongside animation. We created an animation for Capgemini and suggested an infographic to accompany it that would show the essential steps highlighted in the animation. As the graphic elements had already been created for the animation, the client was able to create extra marketing materials at a relatively low cost.

CG Ocommerce Infographic v3

Infographics are a great piece of marketing that can convey a lot of information in a relatively small space and in a visually interesting way. If, like many business today, you’ve got a lot of information to share but you don’t know how, then get in touch and let us know show you how.

What I learnt from Matisse

A few weeks ago we had a work’s day out. We’d come to the end of a bunch of projects, and hadn’t started properly on the news ones on the slate. So we started the day by climbing over the dome (amazing view), then the Designs of the Year exhibition at the Design Museum. We ended up at the Tate, to see the Matisse Cut Outs.

What I loved about the cut outs was how raw they are. As part of the show, there’s a short clip of him at work, cutting deftly at the paper, creating shapes. And throughout the show, you could see the raw edges and slightly miss-cuts he made. Even when these were transferred to prints, all those edges were left ragged.

With the digital world we work in, everything can be perfect. Circles circular, boxes stacked neatly, everything this crisp and defined. What I’d like to do is make sure we introduce human elements to our work at NC. I’d like to see us do an animation that’s a little less perfect, a little raw at the edges, because often it’s the imperfections that help something digital feel a little bit more real.

Staff training days can only be a good thing

This week Michael, Laura and I took a break from the office and spent a day doing some training at a TV Presenter Taster Day.

Michael Learning

Now, while we may not have any immediate aspirations to be a TV presenter, it was clear from the outset that improving presentation skills would benefit us all, and with this particular course there was the added benefit of us experiencing first hand what many of our clients go through when they are stood in front of the camera.

The course was held by the good people at 01zero-one and presented by Tony Hindhaugh from The TV Training Academy

The day was split into three main sections, a piece to camera, auto-cue and co-presenting. As the day went on it was great to see the confidence of the whole group grow and give some surprisingly professional performances.

On TV Combo

Individual learning aside though, the main thing that I took away from this session was the importance of seeing your colleagues in an environment outside of their comfort zone. At work, we all know each others strengths and weaknesses, but in a different environment you discover new things about each other, some insecurities, but also lots of strengths that you never knew were there and can be brought back into the workplace. Michael was able to knock up a script in less than five minutes and then co-present with someone he had just met. It turned out to be both very funny and also flawlessly delivered!

Michael Duo 001

So, if you’re thinking about doing any training days for your staff, just go for it. You will undoubtedly discover things you never knew and be able bring all of the experiences back into the business. Let’s not forget, it’s ALOT of fun too!

Security, Software and Sustainability… How Rivo Sofware works

Rivo Software called us up having seen some of our previous work. They liked the fluidity of our animation, and wanted to work with us. However, they only saw our clip because one of our team had a shared contacted on LinkedIn. So LinkedIn really works as a way of generating new business.

So if you have a moment to watch the clip, and if you like it, share it with you connections. You never know it might win us another job! And there’s a bottle of champagne to anyone who introduces us to a new client!

What’s interesting about this clip is that we’re using more and more 3D in what looks essentially 2D. Small bits like the cylindrical bits on the spinning globe, the Rivo wave itself, are all made in 3D. They really make the animation fly.

So if you want a software solution to help you manage your safety, security and sustainability, click on the link below to find out more about Rivo Software!

And you can follow us on LinkedIn here.

Why animation is like tapas…

Using animation as a medium for telling a business story, whether that’s for a corporation or an SME, is liberating. You can pretty much create what you want, there’s no limitation on what you can create digitally. You can have a cast of thousands, or jet to the moon – whatever is going to get your point across, with few ‘real world’ constraints you’d have to confront if you tried to film the same scenes. 

However, this doesn’t mean that animation is without its complications when it comes to the financials. I’ve been trying to think of an analogy for how filming compares to animation when it comes to budget spend. And it was only after cooking a few too many dishes from this great Spanish cook book that it occurred to me that filming is like a three-course meal, whereas animation is more like tapas. Let me explain. 

On filming projects, the budget is spent on three key areas. Pre-production is the ‘starter’ a relatively small dish to ensure that your appetite is prepared for the main course. Filming is usually the most substantial part of a project, like the main course of the meal. You’ll need a lot of crew, a studio, cast, all coming together for a great couple of days’ filming. With a main course, once you’ve ordered it, you don’t usually go back for more. You just make do with what you’ve got on your plate, which in any good restaurant is ample enough. With filming, you take the footage you’ve filmed and work it as best you can. Then you have the dessert course, the post-production. While this can still clock up some hours and cost, it’s more contained, and spending easier to predict. 

With animation, it’s more like a wonderful selection of tapas. Rather than the ‘big event dish’ of the filming days, the pre-production merges into production, with each iteration of the sequence improving in quality. And as you go along, new ideas pop into your head, adding another 15 secs of animation here, a more complex movement build there. And like when you start ordering all those delicious dishes at the tapas restaurant, before you know it, crockery is scattered across the table, and the bill’s over £50 a head.

We help our clients manage their spend by starting with a storyboard, so we get the broad ideas down in still form. Next, we do a simple animatic, a dummy voice over read with simple static images We use some stock images so we can try concepts to see if they work without spending a lot of time designing artwork that might not make the final cut.

We then deliver versions of the project, using a world-class video review software. This allows all those involved to make and respond to comments, prompting discussion and moving the project forward swiftly and with a clear consensus on what changes are to be made.

We also try and be generous to our clients, and not watch the clock too closely. After all, we know how easy it is to tuck into those patatas bravas…