Encounters:
Creative Cardiff

June 2020
Creative Cadiff, UK


Interactive Media,
Visual Communications, Innovative


Creative and Cultural Industries

The Project

Encounters was a response to a brief by Creative Cardiff, a Cardiff University initiative to research the creative economy of the Cardiff Capital Region. The Our Creative Cardiff came about as the Covid-19 pandemic forced the creative industries alongside the rest of the country to go into lockdown.
SEE INTERACTIVE PROJECT
As it was an open brief with a set budget, Cooked Illustrations saw this as an opportunity to test out possible new avenues of storytelling, and to explore concepts we’ve been researching in the background. For a long time we’ve known that narrative experiences can have a powerful emotional effect on audiences and users. But what if we add just the tiniest bit of interactivity?

What would be the result? And how the hell could we go about breathing life and interaction to static images?
As it was an open brief with a set budget, Cooked Illustrations saw this as an opportunity to test out possible new avenues of storytelling, and to explore concepts we’ve been researching in the background. For a long time we’ve known that narrative experiences can have a powerful emotional effect on audiences and users. But what if we add just the tiniest bit of interactivity? What would be the result? And how the hell could we go about breathing life and interaction to static images?

Inspired and Connected: Themes:

The brief wanted us to explore two ideas about the city of Cardiff. Cardiff the Inspiring: where cafés are hubs of discussions, galleries inspire future artists, and even the local geography can bring about great works of art. And Cardiff the Network: a city of artists, musicians, designers, makers, actors and more; with spaces where an animator may encounter a musician, and a new animated film is thought up over tea and a Welsh cake. 
Our creative director Ian Cooke-Tapia took the lead in story design and art assets; this allowed us to perform under that adage by Scott McCloud: “write pictures, draw words”. Essentially, this allowed for the story to be directly drawn as a storyboard, testing out composition, the story flow, colour composition and all of those minute details with complex names that most people just call “looks good”. This sped up the process, something we had to keep in mind as we had less than a month to create a prototype for a product we had never attempted! 


The core theme of Encounters is the city as a place for connections we are not aware of.
Creative workers who know one another, if only by a couple of degrees of separation. People working on the same projects are closer than what they know. Various known hubs of creativity (galleries, museums, monuments, parks, and even others we wanted to include but couldn’t put in the story) can inspire people to create as they are places of unknown connectivity. Which then leads to new shows and creations that go on to inspire even more people. On an on, an endless chain of creation. But we also have an interactive element to the story, which opened up new avenues of exploration. Mainly, that we could really explore the idea of two characters who are connected without knowing one another. Two different storylines that come together at times, but where the two protagonists do not know each other at all.Mechanics as metaphor.

Take that, pretentious game critics!
As the illustrations were finished, they were sent to our partner programmer and animator, Roque Lagrotta, to inject some interactivity and superb animation. He took Ian’s individual elements, bringing them to live and ensuring that the two routes to our story could be interacted in a simple way that required no direction. While we originally wanted to be able to click on the characters rather than external arrows, the delivery methodology and time constraint meant we had to make do with what we could. Regardless, the results blew our own expectations out of the water.

A testament to the innovative capabilities Cooked Illustrations is capable of, when given the opportunity, time and resources. Now, we have an interactive piece of media to showcase and hopefully, the beginning of many more projects like this!

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