Visual Effects

Description and Research

The piece that I have decided to create is a TV commercial in the realistic marketing genre, I will be creating an advertisement for a product that I have fabricated myself. The product that I will be basing this project on is named Christmas in a Can. This is all the major components of a traditional Christmas dinner packed down into one small can to serve one person. I chose the realistic marketing genre route as I am interested in marketing and advertisements and how certain aspects of a commercial can draw viewers and potential customers in. The reason I have chosen the realistic commercial genre and mixed it with a Christmas theme is to gain likability for the product to ensure this is an effective realistic commercial. According to Banwari Mattel (1994), “likability for an advertisement is the most important discriminator of advertising effectiveness”. I feel like this will be a good challenge because I will be advertising a product that is not necessarily appealing and using the knowledge and skills that I learn from this module to make the product look appealing enough to buy.

  I decided to first do some research into this genre before getting started so I can gain some useful knowledge and apply this to my own work. One advertisement that inspired me for my own project was created by Crown Paints and is called “Inside This Tin”. I found this video whilst looking for tinned food advertisements and although this is clearly not a food commercial, I was intrigued by how they used placement to capture focus. The tin was kept in the center of the screen from a close up, stationary camera shot the full advertisement. Therefore making it impossible for viewers to not focus on their product or forget what was being advertised. Another feature I noticed was the lighting is always shining directly on the tin making it constantly brighter than the rest of the screen. These are techniques that have inspired me and I will try to implement and consider them when creating my storyboard.

After being inspired by the previous video, it’s safe to say Crown’s advertising worked on me and I fell into a wormhole of watched tinned paint advertisements. Whilst some of these were helpful I then realised although my product was in a tin, I was still advertising food so I decided to do some research into realistic Christmas food commercials. These were definitely very helpful as these videos are so popular that people wait each year just for particular Christmas adverts to be released so by looking at some of the techniques and skills they use, I could implement this into my own design. One that really inspired me was an M&S Christmas food advertisement from 2017. In the first frame of the video before viewers can even read the title, the advert gives you the Christmas theme straight away through the use of snow particles falling from the sky. This is something that I would like to now use in my project after some more research to see if this is a plausible idea. Approximately 23 seconds into the video there is a shot of a perfect looking traditional Christmas turkey and I realised that this is what my project would be competing with. Inspired by this shot I decided that the first frame of my commercial would be a very similar shot however I would make the turkey look very unappealing to quickly dismiss any competitors this advert would have. I also liked this idea because it allows me to explore different techniques in my advertisement. I will be able to use lighting and shots to make one product look unappealing whilst also learning how to do the opposite and use these techniques to make my own product attractive to the viewers.

Storyboard and Script

Line Number = LN

LN 1: Has your Christmas Turkey ever looked like this? A few too many sherries made you forget to take it out the oven?

LN2: Well we say no more! You’ve had a hard year, so we say this Christmas put your feet up

LN3: Who needs the pressure? You don’t remember applying for Bake Off!

LN4: Well this year you can drink Sherry and impress the in-laws… with Christmas in a Can!

LN5: All the Christmas Dinner classics in one easy heat can!

LN6: Not only is it quick and easy but it is now at the ridiculous price of just one pound!

LN7: So.. Go on..

LN8: Treat yourself to an easy Christmas
LN8: Treat yourself to Christmas in a Can!

I split my storyboard into eight equal sections, each section is split into two. The larger section is a sketch of what the commercial should look like and the smaller section contains brief but important information about each scene. The information contained for each scene shows the shot type, the expected approximate duration of the scene, what audio is used and if it uses a line from the script, what script line it is.

The first scene shows a burnt unappealing looking turkey on a plate. The lighting will be dark and slightly lighter on the turkey just enough for the viewer to see how unattractive it looks. The shot type will be TRUCK IN meaning the camera will slowly zoom in on the turkey so it is the main focus. During this scene the only audio will be script line one, which I am planning to hire a voice actor for this role.

The second scene is almost identical in terms of view however a large red stop shaped sign will slam onto the burnt turkey. The lighting will be slightly brighter to take into account the red sign. The shot type will be a slight zoom however I am hoping to be able to add a shake to the camera to make it look as though the sign slamming onto the turkey has caused the camera to move. I will add a slam sound effect into this scene as the sign hits the turkey, directly after this script line two will also be in this scene.

The third scene will consist of the turkey and the sign being pushed off the screen as the product slides on from the other direction. This will be the first glimpse of the product in the commercial. The shot type will be a TRUCK OUT shot meaning the camera will zoom out in order to be able to see the turkey sliding away on the left and the product coming in on the right. I will use a crashing audio when the turkey has left the screen to give the effect that the turkey has been thrown away and script line three will also be heard.

The next scene, scene 4, will be the first time that the product is in full view and in the center of the screen making it the main focus, it is also the first time I will use some more advanced techniques and effects so this is a very important scene. The product will be in the middle with a spotlight shining down to make it stand out even more as snowflakes fall and Christmas music plays. The shot type will be a TRUCK IN shot meaning that the camera will zoom back in onto the product. The audio will be the Christmas music and script line 4.

In the 5th scene the mood will briefly change and the spotlight will disappear and the background will change from a dark to lighter colour in accordance with my colour scheme. In order to move the can from the center of the screen to make room for another asset. I will use a sprout to come in a bounce off the can moving it slightly to the left. The shot type will be a static close up meaning the camera will stay still and zoomed in exactly as it was in the last scene. The lighting will change from a spotlight to an area light filling the full scene. The audio playing will be a bounce audio for the sprout and script line 5.

The sixth scene will show the can moving to the left and the sprout flying off screen. The camera will stay exactly as it did in the previous scene as not much will change. The audio playing in the scene will be a rattle as the can slowly moves from one place to another.

In the seventh scene the commercial will remind the viewers of the Christmas nature of the advert by bringing back the Christmas music and introducing a bauble that will fall from the top of the screen displaying the price of the product. The camera will remain the same, as will the lighting however I am hoping the bauble will make the scene lighter overall as it should reflect light onto other parts of the screen. The audio used will be a whoosh sound as the bauble falls from the top of the screen as well as script lines 6 and 7.

In the seventh scene the commercial will remind the viewers of the Christmas nature of the advert by bringing back the Christmas music and introducing a bauble that will fall from the top of the screen displaying the price of the product. The camera will remain the same, as will the lighting however I am hoping the bauble will make the scene lighter overall as it should reflect light onto other parts of the screen. The audio used will be a whoosh sound as the bauble falls from the top of the screen as well as script lines 6 and 7.

This is the colour scheme I have chosen for my project based on my story board. The red, green and blue will represent the light Christmas themed colours to be matched with my can when trying to make it look appealing. The darker colours on the other end of my colour scheme are representative of the gloomier shades at the start of the advertisement to make the turkey look unappealing. These colours have not been chosen lightly and a lot of thought goes into how each colour can reflect on the viewer especially in a commercial sense. In an experiment carried out by Marie-Christine Lichtle (2015), it was found “results clearly indicate that colour may affect emotions evoked by the ad and attitude towards it.”. For example red is often associated with a quick sale such as buy it now stickers or a sign for offers whilst also being heavily associated with Christmas. The shade of green that I have chosen is not only a Christmas themed colour but also is a shade of green that should remind the viewers of peas on a Christmas dinner and get them to start thinking subconsciously about food. Another reason that the red and green go together is that they are considered complementary colours because they are opposite each other on the colour wheel shown below.

Image taken from presentation by Hernandez, M. Referenced below.


Before this project, I had never used After Effects therefore before planning my project fully I had to do some research and follow the lab sessions in order to ensure I knew how to work my way around it. The first step that I took before following any lab sessions was downloading after effects and getting to grips with the interface. After around half an hour of working my way round I realised that the interface is very similar to software I have previously used, which made the learning curve slightly less steep. 

The first lab session I successfully followed was inserting keyframes. Although this was a basic task it allowed me to start experimenting and following more complex tutorials. After using the lab session to learn the basics of keyframes, I then did my own research and discovered how to use the keyframe assistant and how to edit keyframes once they have already been placed. This was helpful as I needed both of these skills for my first complex tutorial, learning how to create a bouncing ball as you can see in my video below.

My own experiment with the bouncing ball effect

After experimenting with more tutorials consisting of getting an object from one position to another I decided to try working with particle effects. This was a lot more complex as I wanted to create a snowy effect that could possibly come in use in the production of my project. At first I thought it would be as simply as making one snowflake drop from the top of the screen to the bottom with basic keyframes however after doing some research I realised that not only did I have to get to grips with CC Particle World in after effects but also consider the movement of my snowflakes based on how wind would affect them and what speed they would be travelling at. This made the process a lot harder but after a lot of attempts I was able to do it and this is the video of me completing the task below.

My first time experimenting with particles

How I Will Implement Learnt Tools and Techniques

After completing both my storyboard and the tutorials it was clear for me how the skills and techniques I have learnt can be applied into my final piece. The bouncing ball effect I created is very similar to the scene in my storyboard in which a sprout bounces on the screen and hits the can forcing it to one side. However when this is recreated in my final piece I will include stretching and pulling to follow the principles of design and make the sprout look more realistic. Not only can the skills I learned from the bouncing ball video be implied in almost the exact same way onto my sprout, I can also use the techniques that I learnt during this process for other contents of my production such as using keyframes and the keyframe assistant to help me to move assets across the screen. In a few of my storyboard scenes I also used snow to help the advert with the Christmas theme, the technique I learnt or creating snow particles will be very useful in this situation as I can follow the exact same directions to apply this to my final project. 

Also through the use of lab sessions and lectures I have also learned a lot about cameras and lighting, such as where to place them and the different types. This will be very useful when it comes to creating my final piece as I will need to create a camera and lighting map in order to create my project exactly as I intended. One place in particular that this research will help me, is in the scene in which a large spotlight shines onto my can making it the main focus of the screen. I will be able to easily switch from having a dark scene with a small area light to include a large spotlight to cover the can. This lighting will be crucial to how viewers perceive my advertisement as according to Torben Grodal (2007), “ the angle of light and the composition of light in the frame remain some of the most powerful tools for the creation of mood.” Also due to a lot of helpful online tutorials I now know how to include the different camera shots and movement I want in my project. At the time of creating my storyboard and plan, I did not have much knowledge of controlling a camera in after effects however I now know how to create a camera layer and get the camera to move as I would like. This will be very beneficial when making the camera shake effect that I have placed in scene 2 of my storyboard.

Production Notes

One large part of actually creating my production piece will be finding or creating assets to use. The main asset, the Christmas can, will be made by me using a 3D model of a can and a label that I will then create through photoshop. All of the 2D aspects such as the background, titles and any other text will all be created by me. I intend to also create the sprout that will bounce off the can and also the bauble displaying the price of the product. However the large burnt turkey displayed in the first few scenes of my production I will gather from the internet. The other assets that will not be created by me is the audio I intend to use. I will use royalty free Christmas music and royalty free sound effects when needed. As I do not think my Hull accent will do this advert much justice I also intend to hire a voice actor to read out my script for the commercial so that there is more of a professional feel to my project.


Crown Paints (2015) Crown Paints “Inside This Tin” TV Advert [Video]. Available Online: [Accessed 9/12/2020].

Grodel, T. (2007) Film Lighting and Mood. In Anderson, J. D. & Anderson, B. F. (eds) Moving Image Theory: Ecological Considerations. Southern Illinois: SIU Press, 153.

Hernandez, M. (2020) VFX Designing Scenes [Presentation]. [Accessed 9/12/2020].

Lichtlé, M. C. (2007) The effect of an advertisement’s colour on emotions evoked by attitude towards the ad. International Journal of Advertising, 26(1), 37-62.

Mittal, B. (1994) ‘Public assessment of TV advertising: faint praise and harsh criticism’, Journal of Advertising Research, 34(1), 35+.
M&S (2017) M&S Christmas Food TV Ad 2017 | An extraordinary Christmas [Video]. Available Online: [Accessed 9/12/2020].