I am simultaneously proud of and annoyed by the fact the seemingly everything produced for The E82 Project has been either made or remade from scratch. From UI elements to Christmas Light Arch armatures, I’ve never met a pixel I didn’t like… To Change. Even my pavilion Line-art series, which was inspired by the original 1983 Horizons Line-Art, has out grown its inception and wouldn’t suffice when it came time for its presentation a year later.
I guess what I should do its stand/sit in a circle somewhere and say “My Name is Joshua and I’m a Perfectionist”. And even though that word might be somewhat of a turn-off to some, it’s a descriptive term that is not without justification.
Projects Bring Forth Projects
Many of the things you see at E82, have been purposefully designed for multiple uses and applications beyond their initial presentation on the site. A case in point in the MET Logo, that was originally created for use in the Inside Cover Artwork of the Wonders of Life FWSS, and later became its own Desktop Background. (And Yes, I do plan on creating one for all you Cranium Commandos out there:)
Somewhere down the line, I have always thought of taking my designs into “the fourth dimension” (time) with short films and animations of various scales to expand The Project beyond that of static art, music, and history. And thanks to After Effects its looks like “E82 Films” is fastly becoming a reality.
One such animation project will bring the Vista Series to life as part of a much larger piece in the future. As such, each of the existing editions will have to be synced together to cross-dissolved seamlessly from one composition to the next. In this case the pavilion logos themselves will be only linking element of the sequence. If I use existing resources (both freeware and commercial) nether of them will produce the desired effect. As a result, I had no choice to but re-create the set for myself (from scratch).
The 6400 Philosophy
It is often noted that of the many wonders of vector art is its resolution independence. A logo, line-art or hyper-detailed “painting” can exist as a postage stamp or a 50-story billboard without any loss of quality (aka pixilation). HOWEVER, just because this can happen does not mean that it will happen. It’s very common that when used for their maximum potential many fine details breakdown at larger sizes including misalignment, sloppy curves, excessive anchor points, open paths, and unexpanded stroking.
In all humility, the process of vectorization has become one of my sharpest skills and in the past few years, I’ve taken the process and developed it into an art form all its own. Beyond the simple act of tracing, I go much deeper to analyze relationship between shapes and lines, and often reinterpret them with mathematical precision. I call it “The 6400 Philosophy”, so named for the maximum zoom percentage one can attain in Adobe Illustrator. Put simply, it combines Resolution Independence with Consistent Continuity. And it provides for the intersection of massive scale at infinite quality.
In the world of computer graphics, Vector Art is defined as a “series of mathematical equations”. Therefore, the creation of a highly robust vector shape can best be achieved by inhering to a small set of guidelines:
- Keep the number of anchor points to a minimum.
The less of number calculations a program has to make, the better your design will be displayed.
- Utilize Continuous Bézier Curves as much as possible
This technique will ensure fluid lines, and causes less errors.
- Expand All Strokes
Strokes (or outlines) are two equations inside each other, and often don’t render correctly in the final design.
- When Dealing with Geometric Forms: Use Integers.
If a square, circle, or any other mathematical shape is required do so with easily defined numbers (Ex. An oval measuring 40pt x 56pt Not 39.76pt x 56.03pt) Again, it’s easier to calculate and will look better across platforms and media.
- Always Align & Intersect
If two paths are supposed to meet, make sure that they do. (Always keep your snapping, and guides, preferences On).
Before & After
Enough Theory, Now for Practice. I don’t mean to criticize anyone’s work, but if you examine the two available assets certain inconsistencies will begin to pop-up
Imagination, Horizons & Wonders: Unsymmetrical, The Land: Path Error, Energy: Over-complicated, Epcot: X-axis too narrow ALL: Outer Rings Inconsistent with each other.
Furthermore, all of the symbols/logos have entirely way too many anchor points, which make the designs unstable for my current and future needs. But now that I’ve cruelly, picked-apart others hard work let’s see what I’ve been able to do…
As you can see, I’ve done a considerable amount in streamlining the set, without a loss of quality, but this far from the only contribution. In adhering to the Integer Concept I’ve also taken several of them and simplified their dimensions and in many cases I needed a calculator to get there…
The Future World of Color
The final element of this new set is correctly documenting each pavilions signature color, which was obtained by color-corrected scans of the 1986 WDW/EPCOT Center Pictorial Souvenir, and each color was then “modernized” by determining the closest equivalent values for both RGB and CMYK reproduction.
What's The Point?
In the end, this “Brand New” set of EPCOT Center Logos can be used for a wide variety of applications and the relationships between them can be explored in many fresh and exciting ways. And without these I wouldn’t be able to create things like this! . . .
Although crude, this animation test is one of many such elements that will soon combine to form E82’s first “Motion Picture Style” logo and although short (at this time 38 seconds) will set the benchmark (and tone) for all future E82 Films coming in the not too distant future!