Motion graphics design process: How to create a moodboard

July 24, 2019 posted by



hello everyone this is Evan Abrams and in this video we're gonna be creating a mood board a mood board is kind of a collection of inspiration that generally starts most design projects and motion design is no exception while it may seem that great videos spring fully formed out of their creators mind it's usually from a pretty exhaustive pre-production process and that process typically begins with the nebulous and ethereal mood board now if this were the 1980s we would probably put up a cork board and cut some things out of magazines and start pinning them up with sticky notes and connecting them with red string it would really start to look like a conspiracy theory starting to take shape however it's 2019 and we can do better now before we begin what is a mood board what am I talking about well early in the production process in the pre pre-production maybe you only have a creative brief there's no images associated with the project yet you want to put together a mood board to kind of decide on your visual direction now there may already be some creative thoughts going into it bunch of things in word form it's useful to take those ideas and to turn them into images so that other members of the team or just yourself if it's only you working on it you really just want to put out all the images that make sense with this project you don't need to come up with everything all at once you can gradually work your way there and a mood board will help you do that a mood board could be very literal so in the case of working with a brand you'd probably throw their logo on their various associated colors fonts and imagery basically a pile of things that has to be in the project but it can be very abstract as well it could just be a collection of things that you want to evoke a feeling in the audience or a bunch of images that you want to draw inspiration from the purpose of the mood board is really just to get you started it's to figure out where are we going with this thing a lot of projects can seem very daunting and nebulous who knows what's going on and what am I going to do well you can thwart a lot of those things by going through the pre-production process and near the beginning you find the board can give you that visual direction that you want by tapping into the various resources around you now this is all pretty abstract which makes sense because the boards are fairly abstract thing so let's crack something open and actually look at one here's a very literal example let's say we were doing a piece for Alfa Romeo we were gonna make a television spot for them or some kind of campaign we might select images like these for our mood board to convey yes we will have sweeping vistas of Italian countryside we will have red cars we are gonna be using the brand's kind of tag line as our watch words the mechanics of emotion without heart we would be mere machines so these are kind of things about Alfa Romeo and when we look at this mood board we can see things that might literally appear in the final product but we could also take away more abstract approach so let's say hypothetically I was creating a motion design project around the beautiful game of chess I play a fair amount of chess cuz I'm a bit of a nerd and a cliche I suppose not to say that people who play chess are nerds but you know I I'm one of each so I'm what are you gonna do whatever I approach a project no matter what it is whether it's for me or for somebody else I try to touch on all the steps of pre-production that's brief mood boards script AV script all the way through to animatics and then we start production by taking care of a lot of these little steps a project becomes way less nebulous so here we've decided on some goals the purpose of the video the technical deliverables you'd want to know the audience you've learned all the timelines for delivery it's important even on personal projects to give yourself deadlines so you're not just sitting on stuff for a long time so this example I've given myself a little bit of directive a little bit of the angle I want to take on the game of chess and how I want to represent it in motion design we're talking about an elegant simplicity intricate interaction of elements game of perfect information that allows for unpredictable outcomes so this is kind of the big blue sky top-level thinking that might translate into a mood board something like this a little interplay of positive and negative space some impossible geometry using a lot of black and white high contrast with pops of color and we organize it all on a mood board so this is much more abstract a lot of these elements probably won't appear this way in the final piece but all of this should help evoke what the final product is gonna look like now there are some literal elements in here such as fonts and colors these are specific choices but a lot of the imagery a lot of the video we're not going to literally be doing exactly what you see here these are meant to inspire and guide the final style of the piece now when you're assembling your mood board no matter what method you use you want to pay attention to how large and where you're putting things in this mood board generally the larger and more central something is the more important it is to the overall style it it takes up more space so it has more weight so we would say looking at this mood board the central video here is probably the most influential on what we're seeing and usually that might be an image that you start with or just some little piece or maybe a sound to me it's music that really starts you off so whatever it is you want to start with that and build around it now it's also worth dropping things down that'll remind you of what is the direction we're even going in throw on some text throw on some words that are important to the brand to the project to the style in general but the mood board is also part of a process and when we look here at this and when we look at this mood board we can see you know there's a lot of high contrast but it's very dark we're seeing a lot of kind of gloomy imagery the goal of the project was to make something seem more dynamic and fun and accessible we've kind of dark knighted it here a little bit we've taken a fun thing and possibly made it terrifying for audiences but one of the things I love about milla note is the way it can really help you iterate stuff so for example this here this little bright ray of sunshine I think is worth keeping and I think these colors are also worth keeping so what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna copy those and we're gonna make a new board and I'll walk you through how to do it so to make a new board in milla nope you just drag it out drag this board icon out drop it down and give it a name so we might name this right version and milla note attempts to create an icon based on the words the you put down which I find very charming and we can start piling things in here so in the bright version I've already got some unsorted things that I can start dropping in there and to start dropping these things these wonderful much brighter much more colorful approaches to this stuff and so now I've got a bunch of cards they're still unsorted but I'm just gonna go ahead and I'm gonna paste in the stuff from that original piece the the original pieces that I liked from that first one and I'm gonna start adding to it from these new sources so here's a little image picked up from Behance I really like the way this hand looks with these little creases here I might not go exactly that far I might simplify it maybe somewhere between these two is where I want to be I found this to be very evocative I love the bold color choices I love how different they are I despise smoking but you know I think that's a pretty good looking hand this is a similar shape of hand that I really enjoy in this representation of a chessboard I think is pretty nice that came off a dribble there's another one from dribble that is a little bit you know a little bit more gradiated so you can start to bring things out and you might think well some of these don't really fit maybe they need to be smaller and off to the side because that's kind of secondary this is also gonna be smaller can can go over here the big thing the big thing that stands out to me is this piece here I think that's the most important you know this bunch can go go just over there and here we go I'm just sorry sizing and reallocating these things around and now I think we need to add some more things in here so we might have another video one thing I love about milla note is that you can just drop drop videos in you can clip them from around the internet and drop them in this here is a wonderful piece from Gunnar it's a great montage and you can even play video right here and you're in your mill a note board and you can just watch it through and see the motion get inspired by what you're seeing it's really important with the mood board to be able to assess all of these inspirational pieces almost at once that it it just hits you with some kind of a feeling you can all get kind of ethereal and abstract but the purpose is to help guide you towards a real thing that you're making so this is a good start let's add some more things I think these colors are a little bit dour I don't think they're they're a great spot so let me just cull those out and let's add some new ones I looked into some colors over here in Adobe color CC so let's see I like to this yellow so I'm gonna just double click on that copy it go back here and something fun that I love in Mill a note is that I can drag out a new note I can hit hashtag and then paste a hex value and then that just turns into a little paint chip of that value I really like that these three kind of work out as a color combination I think those are a good a nice triad of colors very primary things I think if we're trying to appeal to younger audience that's that's probably a move we want to make we should probably drop a font on here some kind of font sometimes I have a look around font squirrel and if you find any images you like around the web and you have your your milla note chrome extension you can just grab any picture you see by clicking save here and then choosing choosing the board you want to send it to and then save it then when you go back to the board it just shows up you can drag that out you make it a little bit larger if you like it also supports transparent backgrounds so I might kind of might just put that here in the middle because it is kind of a title of the piece and drag things around it there we go our now we're getting it going things are looking up now we're getting more organized I think another video would be great so for watching something on Vimeo enjoy like this Cartoon Network piece by giant ant terrific series wonderful piece amazing studio I really love the bold colors in here I love a lot of the angles and the characters and how they make use of very limited bold color palette so I would go up here to my milla note clipper and then we'll save that video boom and drop that in so now we've got another little piece of inspiration into the puzzle this could probably use a few more images so we might hit up Behance and scan around and find something that has colors or shapes or textures that we like something that evokes the style we want to try to get to might hit up dribble dribble has a lot of great things on it a lot of these things can be hard to search through though because they're not really organized by any specific stylistic keywords but once you find what you're after you can always just save it using your milla note clipper here and just like that so I think this'll actually replace that because it's nice nice and bright and now this is starting to take a little bit more shape it can take a little while to round up all the things you want to flesh out where you want the style to go however spending the time early on in the process is gonna save you a lot of question marks later on sometimes you already know the style you want to use for a piece however when it comes to commercial work and client work you often have to pitch styles so this is where organizing and making your mood board beautiful so you can pitch the idea and the concept to somebody else really helps it's not enough that just you understand the direction you're gonna take sometimes you need other people to understand it too and that's another one of the functions of a mood board I also say that what we're doing isn't meant to be lifting other people's styles we're meant to be observing the landscape figuring out what's best for the project and then applying bits that we like from here from there and then adding on and elevating bringing ourselves to the table after the mood board will generally go into some style frames or will or will see some concept art we'll build on this it's just really only meant to be a bunch of inspirational pieces to direct us to create our own original pieces from this synthesis so if you find yourself stuck or struggling with the style of your next piece I definitely recommend going back to the mood board or just making one in general if you skip to that step of the process alright that's it thank you so much for watching hopefully you've learned a lot about mood boards and how to make them and you'll be able to use them on your next project hopefully they start off a little bit better so thanks again for watching and have a great day

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