Website design and graphic designers play an integral role in film and television, whether it’s in terms of poster arts, title logos or opening credit sequences. Website design professionals and graphic experts exert a significant impact on set design elements and props also. These are the behind-the-scenes heroes that provide the infrastructure which serves to give actors their cue and allows the audience to become enveloped in stories and worlds being portrayed. These elements can range across graphics or written type, including think building signage, book covers, packaging, currency or even notes the characters are perusing.
Website design continues to influence modern cinema in diverse ways. Consider the Harry Potter film series, for example. Crafting the visual world for the series and elements of Diagon Alley at Wizarding World of Harry Potter in FL required considerable use of graphic website design skills. Movies further down the series like the Fantastic Beasts and Academy Award winning films like The Imitation Game and Sweeney Todd continue to enthral viewers courtesy the awesome graphic and special effects, deriving from website design.
- Design Pieces Making it to the Big Screen
One of the most interesting applications of design was for The Grand Budapest Hotel by Wes Anderson. Designer Annie Atkins is credited with creating some of the most awesome design pieces for not just this, but also other spellbinding movies like The Box Trolls, Bridge of Spies, and Isle of Dogs. When such new films come out, most of the plaudits go to directors, producers and lead actors. But there are so many people involved in a film and many of them are designers including those who work on designed objects, shape the aesthetics of the film and help the storytelling process move further.
Whether it’s lettering, illustrations or more, there’s serious skills involved in graphics for film-making. This includes props like telegrams, maps, books, poems, labels, passports and even fake CIA IDs. All these design decisions create a cohesive visual world, where the film’s period and place are given centre stage.
Graphics and special effects are also telling subliminal stories in their own ways. Each graphic design element is geared to make the story move forward. Aesthetics are now critical in modern cinema especially for films set in a certain historical period. For period pieces, for example, new objects need to look old! Embracing the colours of the period ensures the story is set in the right time. Authenticity is the key and graphic design easily achieves this. For example, take newspapers as a storytelling device. If the audience needs to know a battle is being fought, the newspaper headlines will suffice, rather than shelling out millions on a war scene.
- Support for Storytelling
Well executed design provides support for storytelling in subtle ways, rather than being the focus of a scene. The audience’s attention should be on the drama unfolding between characters. Relatively invisible design elements can set the stage for dramatic moments. Consider the impact of designing background graphics like street posters and shop front signs just right.
This not only gives the audience a sense of time and place, it also transports the actor into a world where the nuances of acting can come out and the authenticity of the film is well established.
Graphics can even play a role in the script. Consider the prison escape map in the movie The Grand Budapest Hotel. Additionally, the map was crafted by a character in the film. Designers got into character as well, as a result.
- The Power of a Movie Poster
Illustrations have become a key element in film posters, and even here, web design skills are utilised. Consider the poster for the film Blade Runner. It combines the noir feelings and impressive sci-fi imagery. The viewer is drawn into a new world of a futuristic city, using elements of design to create a feeling of free falling. Using lighting effects create the falling sensation. Lines of light create motion, hitting the protagonist’s face to attract viewers and bring a magical element into the poster.
The poster for Jurassic Park, the 1993 blockbuster is another fabulous piece of design. Special effects in this sci-fi movie use 3D imagery from web design. CGI or animatronic dinosaurs are the speciality of this film. Further, it’s poster makes a perfect representation of the deeper themes of the film and one of the most successful uses of meta branding elements in marketing.
Pulp Fiction, a Quentin Tarantino classic, is another cinematic marvel that captures the essence of the gritty stories found in pulp magazines. The movie poster is a throwback to pulp magazine covers, with retro fonts and a ten cent price tag. For The Usual Suspects, another movie, the design was a spot-on representation of what the film covered. Shadow and hazy details are used to create a sense of nebulousness about the movie. Taglines draw the audience into the world of the character.
Then, there’s the movie poster for Fargo, where a needlepoint was used to advertise the plot. It’s not an actual needlepoint. Yet the textural quality is so real that viewers feel they could reach out and touch the stitches. The stark disparity between the stitches and the images of the corpse on the poster define the film’s unique feel.
- Special Effects in Movies
Movies like Ghost in a Shell use anime inspired CGI. A water-filled courtyard fight scene and climactic action sequence was recreated using computer-generated environment, digital character animation, and simulations of explosions, destruction and gun-fire damage. The visual effects team provided more than 1000 shots for the movie, using advanced web design, editing and software tools.
The movie’s futuristic city was created using simulated crowds, vehicles and futuristic buildings as well. The team also made 372 holograms to fill the city. To create this photoreal volumetric displays, a custom-made rig of 80 HD cameras were utilised at 24 fps. Web editing software and tools were then used to reconstruct, process and manipulate the 3D data gathered. A special camera rig was even used when the main character explores a rival robot’s memory. More than 125 DSLRs captured the actors in the movement for digital recreation!