Fandom Souls is the brainchild of itmeJP. Created to explore different groups of dedicated fans to one certain topic. This time it’s the series of Soul games (Dark Souls + Bloodborne).
The entire setup is a simple idea with a high production value execution and that’s where I come in. From the start we’ve said that each episode should have it’s own theme based on the topic at hand. This time it’s the From Software games that are being talked about on the show and therefore I needed to create something dark, gritty and keeping in style with the games they produced.
The layout is the, by now, standard 4 person setup for a show. For me there’s two ways either the more spacious that allows to give a greater spectrum of visual cues or the more, as I like to call it, “story oriented” layouts. The standard version is the version that most people run with today, be it a 4 or 5 person setup, and with that comes a lot of possibilities to add a lot of design, textures, style etc to what goes around the images. It’s a great way to convey the brand of the show (if done right). On the other hand we have the “story oriented” layout, that I like to think I’ve helped make more popular but the first time I’ve seen it was the co-optional podcast but it allows for the players/guests/hosts to be in total focus.
For Fandom Souls, since it’s a lot of style we want to convey, I’ve opted for the spacious layout. It gives me a lot more to add, ad visual cues and even introduce motion graphics into the scene. Motion graphics is something we’ve done before for RollPlay and I do have a background in motion graphics and effects for movies so it’s not a big stretch for me to use that in Twitch overlay design. I would however say that in most cases the usage of motion graphics in Twitch overlays is bad and the only reason why we ended up using it for Fandom Souls is simply because it strongly shows of the game and it’s there for the “wow” factor.
I didn’t actually send any moodboard to JP since I’m so familiar with the style of Fandom. What I did do was to pull in images for inspirations and it’s really all art, concept art, screenshots and box art from the games.
Fandom and RollPlay overlays these days are all drawn by hand. However that I start with laying it all out in blocks to get a understanding of the geometry before I apply the style. Then I go in with a layer mask and a brush to get everything to feel more organic.
Everything is constructed in a 170DPI space and that makes it possible to make finer details that when everything is re-sized down it would show up a lot more clean.
Usually I’m using textures to get a better look and feel but in this case I wanted to try using nothing but my own brushes to create all of the textures and shades. By sampling colors from the inspiration images and constantly analyzing what it looks like and what it would look like in real life I could get the look that I wanted.
Everything in created step by step until I have one frame completed. When that one frame is completed I can (for the sake of speed) put all of that into a folder and copy it over to each side where it’s needed. In this case there’s four frames so I could translate it over to them all. The browse windows (the one where they can view video/websites etc) is simply and extension of elements already created, again to give it all one look and to streamline the process.
The last part is the profile card (as we’ve started to call it) in where each member of the panel are able to talk about themselves and where we can follow them online. Often this comes with a short biography that they’re suppose to write on their own. The background behind the text is mostly a texture with added shading to get the look. To get a torn edge I used a distorted brush combined with a layer mask, that way I could work non-destructive environment.
The logo always get a new treatment by me for each show. It was no difference for this one and I used a combination of textures from the background with shades and brushes to get the desired look. I even added public domain images of embers and knocking out the black color with blend modes and Blend if sliders. If you haven’t used Blend if sliders you need to start looking up that stuff since it’s one of the post powerful tools you’re going to find in Photoshop.
The animation/effect have become a thing for every Fandom episode (even some that you’ve never seen) and they, as mentioned, gives such a visual impact that works great when it’s this sort of a one off show. The animation in itself is very simple and is actually all public domain stock footage. Sometimes we want to keep it very simple and effective… well as long as it looks good as well.
I construct the entire thing in After Effects by extracting the background image I created for the overlay, with green screen spots (except for the “title” animation) and added the stock video on top of that. Then I took the green screen background and inverted it and added a levels adjustment and a black and white adjustment layer. That way I get a black and white (no shades of grey) iamge that I can use as a layer mask. To knock out the black color in the stock image, and only get the embers, I changed the blend mode of the layer and combined with the layer mask we get only the embers that don’t crosses the green screen windows. The video isn’t a looped video so I had to create that myself
itmeJP get’s the video files and a PSD file. The PSD file contains only the overlay with no background and that way JP can save out the PSD (with no background) as a transparent PNG, add that on top of the video file in X-split and then you have a completed scene.
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