Composition Revisited

So as my trailer renders out, I’ve decided to discuss some more things I learned through extra study of compositing.

I’m not sure if you remember, but last trimester we had to discuss visual fundamentals pertaining to our specialisations, and for some reason I’d actually only recently remembered it, so I went back and had a read through of everything I’d learned back then.

Visual Fundamentals in Games

As it turns out, I had a pretty in-depth explanation on composition in games, and how to train the player’s eye to look at certain points on the screen. After reading this, I realised that this exact same knowledge could obviously be applied to my game trailer. DUH.

Now the initial concept for our game trailer was that it would lead directly into the title screen/main menu for the game, so everything had to line up in such a way that would be able to include menus, a title, buttons, etc. However, after some discussion with our team we realised that this approach was perhaps not the best way to go about things, and that the trailer could be a completely separate part of the game, easing the pressure on we, the animators (Brandon and I) and the programmers (The programming required to make that idea work is quite complex).

However, by the time this decision was made I’d already created an animatic based off one of our ideas. I’d used what I knew of creating a focal point using the foreground, midground and background elements to create what I thought was a fairly decent overall idea, and the team also liked it. Not only that, but Brandon and I both discussed having both a separate trailer AND an animated main menu, and decided we wanted to do both.

Looking back on this now, I’ve realised that I made some serious errors.

  • While I thought about depth, it wasn’t quite right. The foreground elements needed to frame the shot more, the midground wasn’t quite close enough, and the background was okay, but looked off due to the misplacement of the midground.
  • The main character is right in the middle of the shot. To make this more interesting, and to draw more attention to him, I should have either better executed Symmetry (planimetric shot), or I should have instead followed the Rule of Thirds and not placed him directly in the centre, with so little else emphasising him.

Once I felt I was ready enough to do so, I took my ideas to UE4 to set up some of the scenes that I thought would be most effective. And here is where I started adding cameras that would get the effect I wanted across. AND GUESS WHAT HAPPENED????
My main feature, the viking character Brandon had modelled, did NOT want to import into Unreal. It had problems with multiple roots being assigned, or if that wasn’t the case, he only had a torso, just…. ugh. It was a nightmare 😦

So, I instead tried to make a different version of my original animatic, using the altar as the main point of focus. I tried a couple of ways:

At the start I was determined to try and follow in Wes Anderson’s footsteps, and attempted to capture the scene in a perfectly symmetrical view. However, I didn’t think it was effective at all, no matter how much I tried.

UE4_3 UE4_4

It just wouldn’t work for me, maybe it’s not quirky enough XD.


So, despite my best efforts, and my lack of anything truly interesting to complete the scene (*cough* viking *cough*), I decided against my planimetric dreams. 😥
What I came up with instead is, in my opinion, better than I’d hoped for 😀


While the symmetrical image of the altar was definitely something that could be built upon, the lack of any other animation in the scene would have resulted in a wasted shot. Ideally I would have had the viking in there at some point, truly bringing the piece together in a visually effective way.

So instead I opted for the shot that you see below:

Why this one, in particular? Mostly because I felt that it was the most effective in terms of placement, not just from a composition point of view, but also from a Menu designer’s. It would be easy to follow a good rule of thirds, effectively use colour and some lighting with slight animation, to create something beautiful and useful for the game.
So I went to town, went through various lighting changes and camera positions/angles/movements to bring you the animation I did.

Hopefully you all think it’s okay, but if there are any tips you could give me that would be great! I don’t think I could ever know everything when it comes to this area of study! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s