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The Deep Web

Digitally Connected | Projects

  • Our assignment for this animation project was to create an animation about youth and media, and how we as youth perceive the Internet, media, and technology. Our only restrictions for our animation were that they had to some how relate back to our opinions on the internet and media as a whole. This left us with a wide variety of topics we could make an animation about.

    We started off the studio by thinking about the Internet and trying to get a sense of our thoughts on it. We struggled finding an animation topic at first. It was just too broad a topic for us. Some of our first ideas were about Internet shopping, how you can’t trust anything you see on the web, and how everything stays on the Internet forever. We thought those were okay ideas but we weren’t really that excited about them.

    Our coaches saw us struggling to find a good topic, and suggested we get nerdy, so that’s what we did. We started thinking and researched Internet activism, wiki leaks, and social patterns in the Internet. Somehow we stumbled upon the deep web and found the concept provocative. We decided that was going to be our topic.

    Both Nathaniel and I knew a little about the deep web, but not much. Once we decided we would make an animation about it, we figured we should actually know what it is. We did a lot of research online and with friends trying to figure out what it is, and how it works.

    Once we had a general idea about what the deep web was, we started to storyboard for the animation. Our animation starts out with an iceberg because we felt it was a good symbol contrasting the web we know with the hidden deep web which many people never see. The web, “it’s just the tip of the iceberg.” The rest of the animation is pretty self explanatory as we teach you, the viewer, about the deep web.

    We had a hard time coming up with an ending for animation. We story boarded half of the animation then decided to write the script, hoping that would help us figure out how to finish it. Nathaniel wrote the script, and then we edited it together. We wanted the script to be a spunky and light hearted. Once we had the script we finished the storyboard.

    When the storyboard was close to being finished we jumped right in on the animation. We decided we would use Photoshop for the illustrations instead of Illustrator. I was having a hard time making objects look good in illustrator, and decided to go back to what I knew and loved, Photoshop.

    We decided that we also wanted the style to be different than my usual Photoshop style. We chose a very geometric style through out the entire animation. Once I had had a head start on the illustrations, Nathaniel jumped right into animating. We used AfterEffects for  all of the animation. Both Nathaniel and I were familiar with the program, so it wasn’t as hard for us to start out. We decided to split the animation into sections so that both Nathaniel and I could animate at the same time. He did the beginning and the end scene, and I did the middle scene.

    We animated and chugged along. We both had difficult sections to animate. The two hardest sections were the web on the iceberg and the Silk Road scene. Once we finished the animation, Nathaniel recorded the voice, which always takes a few tries.

    Once we recorded the voice we thought we would just put it in the animation and we would be done. We were wrong. The voice did not line up at all how we had expected it to. The voice was twice as long as the animation that we had made. Then we started to panic. We had only two days to finish what we thought we had already done.

    Some parts were fine, but for other parts we had five seconds of visual nothing. So we had to revamp the entire video which was extremely frustrating. It probably took us 12 hours to retime the video.

    Once we finished timing the video we started to look for background music. We found a marimba duo on youtube that we really liked. The background music is actually two different parts of the video that we edited together.

    Once we had all the pieces together we rendered the video. As soon as it was rendered we found a bunch of sound mistakes. So we went back into the video and edited out the microphone clicks and made sure the music didn’t get too loud and overpower the voice.

    We also realized that the video was rendered at the wrong size. Nathaniel’s computer had different settings and the pixel ratio was off. Putting the ratio at 3:1 instead of 1:1. We had to figure that out and then render it again. Our final video was our third rendering attempt.

    Our studio was designed around a Youth and Media Conference at Harvard University.  Once we had finished our animation we presented it at the conference. The conference was filled with people from all over the world. We shared our process then showed them the video. They really liked it and had good things to say about it. In the end Nathanial and I were both really proud of our animation and the work we had put into it.