Graphic Design and Animation Graduates 2012

Online portfolio and print on demand catalogs for Graphic Design and Animation graduates from the Department of Design 2012. On this page you will find our conference presentations, and by hovering over the menu groups on the left you can read contextual documents. You are welcome to attend our Grad Show, opening on 29 November 2012 at 6pm, and daily from 30 November to 6 December 9.30am – 4pm.

Justin Barter

Downloadable Portfolio

Deconstruction of Modern Life

 ‘Pulling at the threads, so that the image may fray’

Contextually speaking my project is based around the use of glitch images and particle animation in order to facilitate opening up a dialogue around the issues of our technologically saturated modern society. The use of animation allows me to use a visual style coupled with a medium that are both entrenched in a contemporary context as well as allowing me to pull apart and distort images in a way that relates back to my target audience in a manner that they can relate to. By choosing an existing movie (Gattaca) as the basis for a title sequence I am able to capitalize on an existing narrative and contemporize it visually, using particle based animation to make images of people twitch and morph, updating visually the dialogue of the movie’s basis around genetic modification and the implications that this method of procreation may have on society as a whole.

Technological corruption is a reoccurring theme within my project becoming a metaphor for the moral corruption inherent in issues tethered to genetic modification and its relationship to the practice of eugenics. Eugenics is a theme I have explored in previous work and the choice of the movie Gattaca has allowed me to further this narrative whilst looking forward rather than dredging up historical examples. This has informed my decision to use modern animation techniques in order to lend a visual style that will place my work within a technological space and give it the reading of being processed and sterile.

Glitch art has developed alongside technology as people have taken the mistakes made by computers and other devices and given it a new reading as a fully realized design and art aesthetic. One of the most recognizable contemporary examples of this would be the images that populate the soundtrack for the movie ‘Social Network’ as designer Rob Sheridan used text editors to pull out code behind jpeg files resulting in distorted or as I like to call them decayed images which give off an over saturated ghostly feel. As Sheridan said of the creative process behind the work, “I’ve always been interested in (glitched images) as a metaphor for digital images shared on Facebook, the corruption they’re susceptible to, and the corruption portrayed in the film.”[i] This statement succinctly illustrates where my own interest in the applications of corrupted images lie, which is the metaphorical reading.

It is certainly not lost on me that in order to facilitate the making of these images I rely on technology, though the underlying reading within my work is generally directed at raising consciousness within my audience of our ever growing reliance on technology and asking questions based around how this impacts on our cultural values and the future ramifications of this impact. By glitching images I have been able to find a visual language that is identifiable to my audience, speaking in a language they understand using the genre of motion graphics in order to keep their attention. This gives my work a sense of subversion, exploring the decisions we have made as a society to readily accept technology as an inevitable part of our lives, by using a technique that displays the frailty of that technology.

Dissection of what marks us as individual and unique while still containing the same fundamental genetic building blocks is a primary motif of my project and to these ends the CD booklet that accompanies the animation contains still images that reflect the transitions, which although quickly executed within the animation itself, once relegated to a single frame composition hold a much different reading. These images carry allusions to genetic elements, as they would appear under a microscope allowing the topic of genetic manipulation to be further discussed in a different light than the animation alone. What I am attempting to illustrate through using these images in a different context is that on a metaphorical level there is an element of what it means to be human that is often overlooked, while from the viewpoint of an animator there is also parts of a finished animated work that is never fully able to be digested by an audience in the same way that the creator of the work interprets it.

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These images are tied to the use of particles within the animation. By experimenting with particle driven animation techniques I am able to create a narrative of duality, one which pulls deeper at the threads of creation stripping it back to the level of single cells, the other accessing the white noise environment of modern life which reflects back on technology and how we are using it not only for advancement but also for comfort and escape. This is where the contextual idea and the process inform each other, by re-assessing what a glitch can be, whether it is a corrupted image or a disruption of particles within animated content, it is all an evolution of my previous work and a continuation of a theme that interests me. This process spills over to my choice of typeface(s) with OCR-A becoming the basis for the letters G, T, C, A and animated as moving between these combinations to highlight both the building blocks of DNA but also as a visual reflection on the sterility of the dystopian world that Gattaca emphasizes. This is offset by the typeface ‘Ghosts Light Caps’, which is a custom made typeface for the band Nine Inch Nails and carries a certain light elegance that I am using as a reflection of the humanistic aspects of the movie, eliciting feelings of beauty and frailty.

Colour decisions for this animation is a play on the metaphor of what can be controlled versus what cannot. The calmer scenes and transitions will have colours lifted from the movie itself while the faster paced scenes and the glitches used have an element of chance which works as a reflection of how, as a species dedicated to being masters of all we survey, there is still facets of life that cannot be controlled, random flashes of the human spirit in vivid colour, symbolic of the unpredictability that is inherent in life and creation itself.

The outcomes of my semesters work is a re-brand of the movie Gattaca, this includes a modernized title sequence that will be the key generative piece for the other artifacts that the re-brand requires. All of the images for the CD booklet will be based on imagery taken from stills of the animated content. This has allowed me to assess the animation on a deeper level and has had the two-fold outcome of refinement of the animated content itself as well as helping me develop a better understanding of the narrative I am attempting to engage my audience with. The use of music within my animation has been based around my research into modern title sequences and the soundtracks that are used. By customizing the piece I have chosen I have effectively designed my title sequence to have three distinct movements, the first being introductory, the second, a calming central piece and the third a wall of white noise that will be defined stylistically as such by rapid transitions and barely readable visual content, an assault of the senses that replicates the pace of modern society and capitalizes on the aural sense of disharmony within the music before the last few quieter notes brings the animation to a close.

The reason behind having a breadth of outcomes (animation, CD booklet and cover design as well as posters) is to illustrate my strength as not only a motion graphics designer but as a print designer as well. I feel that rather than rehashing the animation I am lending a more subtle reading of it within the print based outcomes, allowing the hidden aspects to have their own setting within the context of still images and displaying my ability to comprehend the depth of my work and re-contextualize it in a different way. This has allowed me to be both explorative with my work but also to create an array of artifacts that have a sense of unity between them. I feel that the tactility of a printed CD cover and booklet will complement my animation perfectly and become a true representation of what I am able to offer as a designer as well as highlighting my desire to push the boundaries of how contemporary design can look visually.


[i] Sheridan, Rob. “Rob Sheridan.” IDN 18.3 (2011): 14-16. Print.

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