Portfolio: Videos & Animations

Raymond Labban

Videos From Years Of Practice

Wake Up Call

Artist Statement

For this experiment, I decided to create a video where I showed myself performing a trick that I use to stay awake during a class lecture. Whenever I would start to drift off, I would close my eyes and imagine myself in a situation that I find terrifying in order to give myself a minor panic attack. In the video, I show myself getting bored and falling asleep. I then show myself imagining something terrifying. Finally, I show myself getting panicked and waking up.

Daydream Session

Artist Statement

For my Sensorium Project, I wanted to give viewers a visual experiential demonstration of my own personal experience with memory, perception, viewpoints, and my own visceral experiences with my highly visual and vivid mind and imagination. I felt that the best way to showcase that was by setting up a story where I visit a psychiatrist who asks me personal questions about myself. Namely about my thalassophobia, love for videogames, and my tendency to get distracted and start daydreaming. This narrative not only gives reason as to why certain things pop into my head, but it also provides context to the HUD on the left side of the video, and why there is a diagram of my facial expressions, heartrate, and brain.

The way I approached this project was by breaking the work into twelve distinct steps. The first step was to come up with the idea and creating a three-part narrative. I did this just by thinking about it for a bit. I remembered that I did similar projects where I created a videogame character montage for one video, and a montage of me being scared of sea creatures for another video. This is where the inspiration for my Sensorium Project came from. The second step was to create a video montage of GIF’s that I pulled from the internet that pertained to thalassophobia, videogames, and daydreaming. I did this by finding a bunch of GIF’s online and I compiled them all into a video I made in Adobe After Effects.

The third step was where I created the assets for the HUD on the left side of the video. This includes the heart, the head, and the brain. I created these assets in Adobe Illustrator because Illustrator stores work as vector art, which makes it easier to resize the artwork without ruining the quality. The fourth step was to put the head asset, the brain asset, and the GIF montage into an Adobe After Effects composition. From there I masked the GIF montage behind the brain-shaped hole in the head and placed the brain on top of the brain-shaped hole in the head. I then changed the opacity of the brain whenever the GIF montage would show some clips.

The fifth step was to work on the emojis. I found the emojis online, put them into Adobe Photoshop, used an ellipse as a cookie cutter to trim the edges of the emojis and make them all the same size, and gave most of them animations. I gave most of the emojis animations by putting them in a Photoshop timeline, cutting and pasting the facial features onto different layers on top of a blank emoji template, converted the features into smart objects, messed around with the features, manipulated the keyframes to my liking, and then exported them as GIF’s. I gave animations to the rest of the emojis in After effects because those animations would be more primitive. The sixth step was to take the brain composition, the photoshopped emojis and put them into another After Effects composition along with the EKG monitor, beating heart.

The seventh step was to get the timing and changing of the heartbeat, the EKG and the emojis to all be timed properly with the brain composition. The eighth step was to come up with the script for my brother to read when he acts as the psychiatrist. I did this by writing a script where he would have to say the lines perfectly timed with the emojis. Once I wrote the script, created a teleprompt in Microsoft PowerPoint that would have each line pop up for a specific amount of time, along with a gauge that when filled up would transition to the next slide with the next line.

The nineth step was to record my brother’s acting. We used a bare room in my apartment, created a recording setup where my brother would be facing past the camera and towards the teleprompt. I had him talk a certain way, dress like a psychiatrist, and gave him pictures to hold up. Once I finished recording him, I exported the footage to Adobe Premiere Pro. The tenth step was to render the HUD composition to have a transparent background and export it to Premiere Pro on top of the psychiatry footage. From there I just did a little bit of cutting and editing of the footage.

The eleventh step is where I added some music and sound effects where I manipulated the decibels. For the twelfth and final step, I exported the video to Adobe Media Encoder to compress the video into an .MP4 file.

As far as setbacks and problems, the only problems I had were trying to figure out how to give the HUD a transparent background. For the critique process, I feel like I got my message across to the viewers. They offered some interesting advice about camera angling and framing of the GIF montage. If I had to do anything differently, I would have managed my time better with finding, cropping, and animating the emojis, because that took the bulk of the time.

Train of Thought

Artist Statement

This project is a video that takes the concept “I give you my word” and uses it in an almost literal sense where I film myself solving a word search puzzle that I created with a timer, and instead of defining each word, I simply display a PNG or a GIF of what I associate the respective word with. I wanted to create a word search puzzle that had words that were either large or difficult to spell. This was to make the words more interesting and distinguishable. To give myself an easy canvas to work on the puzzle, I used the photo app my Windows computer comes with, and I used my tablet and pen to make the circling and scribbling easier and feel more natural.

I spent a lot of time looking for the PNGs and GIFs and formatting them to not only fit them in a little display in the video, but also fitting them into the words that had been circled in the puzzle. There are also sounds that accompany the GIFs that layer on top of one another as the video progresses in order to signify that the sounds I hear don't just go away, they pile on top of each other until I can't hear the earlier sounds anymore. To convey a sense of calmness building to a sense of stress and ending with a sense of relief, the video has background music to achieve those senses.

It starts with the Jeopardy music to convey a sense of calmness. Once I'm down to a couple of words left that I can't find and the sounds from the associated PNGs and GIFs start to become unbearable, the music switches to "In the Hall of the Mountain King" by Edvard Grieg. This song does two things. First, it builds the stress and anticipation for everything that's going on. Second, once the last word is found, the ending of the song signifies a sense of accomplishment and relief.

After my video screening, I received a lot of helpful feedback from my classmates. The biggest thing was to make the video canvas more interesting, because it’s previous state was too dreary and empty. Also, they commented how they didn’t like the positioning of my face cam. To remedy this, I created a canvas in Photoshop that was vibrant and made it easier for the viewers to see what was going on. I also changed the position of my face cam and gave it a fun canvas of a computer to symbolize how I completed the word search puzzle on a laptop.

Overall, I enjoyed this project. I looked at what the description of the assignment was, and I created an idea of what I imagined. It of course evolved. In the beginning, I had this idea where I write a speech of some kind containing rather large words on a piece of paper. From there, I circle all of the words that I either wasn’t sure how to spell or just straight up didn’t know how to spell. I then record myself giving the speech, and whenever a word comes out of my mouth that I didn’t know how to spell, the word will pop up on the screen. After I finish the speech, I will take those words that pop up, and I will record myself taking those words and turning them into a word search puzzle and record myself solving said puzzle. I just chipped away at the idea until it made sense to me.

Drumroll Please

Artist Statement

For my Final Video Project, I decided to revisit one of my earlier video projects, my Slow-Time Project, and revamp it in order to try and make it a more enjoyable experience. When I was working on my Slow-Time Video Project, I wanted to give viewers a visual representation of my own experience watching a YouTube Short where someone draws Spider-Man using a variation of the programing language Python.

I felt that the best way to showcase that was by showing myself writing the exact same code and use the cartoon character Patrick Star to represent the exact same emotions I was feeling while watching the original video. As Patrick Star is giving his reactions, a stick figured man is explaining everything to Patrick.

I put GIFs of Patrick Star into the video after erasing all of the backgrounds of each frame of each GIF. This easily took the longest amount of time, and definitely took the most energy out of me. Looking back, I probably bit off more than I could chew with this idea. For the stick figured man, I just drew some simple animations. I couldn’t afford to waste too much time trying to make this concept immaculate.

I think that my biggest takeaway from this experience is that I definitely overestimated the amount of work that I was putting on myself trying to bring my concept into fruition. I will admit that the video screener didn’t go the way I expected it to. The idea was to give the viewers a sense of anticipation and raise a level of excitement to see what the final image was supposed to be. I guess people didn’t much care for the idea of me showing them four minutes of me writing code and not spoiling the final result as a joke.

Suffice it to say, I didn’t manage to get everything I wanted for my project done. Fortunately, for my final project, I had the opportunity to complete my project to the degree I intended to in the first place. I was able to add music, sound effects word/thought bubbles, and just a little bit of meta dialogue at the end of the video. I showed this updated video project to my class as a video screener. The reactions were much better this time around.

From what I have heard from my fellow classmates, this updated video of mine definitely helped to broaden the scope of my theme. Especially since my original screener felt more lackluster mainly due to the fact that there was a distinct lack of anything truly significant in the video at the time to use in forming an opinion on whether or not my idea for the video project was an adequate representation for the theme of the assignment.

When it came to my first video screener for my video project, there wasn’t much content for my classmates to focus on or subtext to gravitate towards, much less an idea of what they were watching me do in the footage. All they saw was me typing code into a software program. For added context, this is what my classmates were watching during the first screening.

There of course was the Turtle-Python code — a pre-installed library of the Python programming language — being typed out at an accelerated speed up and down the left side of the document in the video. Meanwhile on the opposite half, the accelerated — almost statue-like — face-cam footage of myself typing that code whilst contained inside of a relatively small rectangular camera screen with rounded corners and poor lighting and frame quality at the bottom right of the video.

The audience had to just sit there for five whole minutes with their own thoughts and figure out how the video was making them feel. Which means that this time, my classmates were able to connect with my updated video project on a much deeper level. They were able to watch the characters in the video as a story; a narrative that the audience could sympathize with or even relate to on some level – even some witty humor.

Luckily, I was given my chance to really showcase that video project later on in the semester with the screening for the Final Video Projects with many updated features, characters, sounds, music, narrative, and content. When I first came up with my plans for revising my Slow-Time Video Project, I started looking for artist that have created forms of art that that closely equates to the vision I had for my Final Video Project.

This is because I already came up with my idea and my vision before researching if anyone has done anything like this before. Therefore, I needed to find forms of art with similar depictions to mine so that I would have an easier time explaining the artistic choices I made when creating this video. The reason for that comes from taking the art I've seen, and the artist statements I've read, and use those things as a starting template for my own artistic interpretation.

If I’m being completely honest, my entire process for coming up with ideas for art projects, not just videos, is to just take the theme of the project, and think about what it means to me. From there, I just let my imagination run wild until I strike gold. That being said, I can understand why it would be important to check if there are other artists whose imaginations are similar to mine. In my research, I have found works of art and concepts of art that closely resemble the type of creativity that I was trying to convey with my Final Video Project.

What might be the most significant form of art that resembles my vision for my Final Video Project is Steven Spielberg’s 2018 motion picture Ready Player One. The reason for this is that the movie uses a lot of pop culture references. Ready Player One utilizes fan-service to give it’s audience something to relate to; with an astonishing +100 “easter eggs” (Jorgensen). With that level of commitment of using characters from other mediums, Ready Player One had exactly the idea that I was trying to convey with my Final Video Project.

Instead of using only original characters, the audience gets to enjoy a movie with characters that they already recognize and have preconceived emotional attachments towards. Because of this, the movie doesn’t have to waste a huge amount of time on explaining the characters’ origin stories, or waste time on their character development, which means that the audience can just pick up and go with it.

Ready Player One wasn’t the only example of art that I found that closely resembles the concept that I have for my Final Video Project. As I was looking up art for my research, I came across this website, artsy.net, and I was looking at this one article called “7 Artists Influenced By Cartoons and Comics” by Jacqui Palumbo.

The article talks about a bunch of artists that take artwork from other artists and create artwork similar to theirs using characters from other mediums as an homage to those artists. Kenny Scharf is a painter and street artist based in Los Angeles. He calls his brand of art “Super Pop,” with lurid palettes and exaggerated characters.

Having to show the audience my footage for the video screener was absolutely nerve-wracking. Especially since the last one didn’t get the reaction that I was hoping. Never mind the fact that this video screener wasn’t just to redeem one of my other projects in the class; it was also, coincidently, my video screener for my final project.

What all of this meant was that I had to stand up in front of my class and tell them that the project that I wasn’t proud of or proud to show them, was now probably my best work I did in that class. Especially since I basically completely scrapped the original idea of trying to incite feelings anxiousness and anticipation from my audience and opted for a more light-hearted and humorous concept, which, truth be told, is a much closer and accurate representation of my style of art and content creativity. Now as I was standing up there, all I could think about was that I hope people get it, that they enjoy it, and they would think it was funny.

Not once did I think people were going to find it funny enough to make them laugh. Honestly, when I started to hear people laughing audibly towards the end, where most of the funny stuff was in the footage. The sheer amount of joy I felt was indescribable. Not only that, but the amount of motivation I got from my classmates’ was mind-blowing. Everything from their reactions to the video, to their responses to my questions of what they liked or didn’t like. Even hearing about how the video made them feel when they were watching it felt liberating.

All of their feedback was the inspiration I needed to take my project to a point where I leaned into the humor and took into account of how many of them want a more interesting background for the video, or how many of them were paying attention to the characters and not the code being typed or the face-cam, or even what dialogue they wanted to hear the Patrick Star character say. Working on this Final Video Project has been such an amazing experience that I will carry over with me on any future projects I will be working on whether I do it alone or as a part of a team in my newborn career as a web developer and a game developer.

Jorgensen, Tom. “Ready Player One: 138 Easter Eggs and Pop Culture References in the

Movie.” IGN, IGN, 31 Mar. 2018,https://www.ign.com/articles/2018/03/31/ready-player-


“Ready Player One.” IMDb, IMDb.com, 29 Mar. 2018, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1677720/.

Palumbo, Jacqui. “7 Artists Influenced by Cartoons and Comics.” Artsy, 8 Aug. 2019,