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Dissecting the Creative Brief

Lesson 1 in UI and Data Design for Film

Lesson Information

Starting with a client's creative brief, Ash will demonstrate his design habits from square one. We will practice pulling ideas from the mind and implementing them into artwork. Ash will document the journey from a small thumbnail sketch all the way to a complex final piece.


1. Based on the creative brief, create 3 - 5 thumbnail sketches

2. Collect 20 - 40 reference images

3. Create a Mind Map


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Perfect content focusing on concept and core intent of a project. Loved the first lesson on referencing and mind mapping. Been stuck lately with a clutter of thoughts. Looking forward to more great lessons in the coming weeks!

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Hey Ash, this was an awesome first lesson. Mind-mapping is my new favorite thing – I go on brain tangents all the time, and having a way to get myself back to the tree after venturing out onto a distant branch is SUPER helpful!

I went a little reference-crazy, but I'll get better at narrowing things down to the essentials once I've become a bit more familiar with the process.

Doing the thumbnails was definitely the most challenging part for me. I've been trying for a long time to get better at illustration and composition, so I've worked through a few concept art and character design videos but I'm still not at the level I'm striving for – idea to paper in one shot. It's time to put in some pencil mileage.

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HI Skye!

Good to see you here on the community chat. So glad you enjoy Mind-mapping. Its a great way to see your thoughts visualized which really helps for mental clarity and focus.

Glad you went crazy looking for reference. Excited to see what you managed to gather!

Its good to know your strengths and even more your weaknesses. I will make sure I know where you are with this stuff and try to push you along to get you the results that will help you in the future. Cheers!

Could you elaborate on wildcard thing, how far we can deviate from subject ?
Is it needed to design UI for Hex too or just Hex itself ? Does UI also have to be spherical in form, or just be UI of some kind ?

oh man! thanks for the course! i love how its not about trendy tricks and making it look great in the first video... hearing your thinking process behind the images you create is invaluable. I always thought UI is just playing around until the gut says "its cool" .

Really inspiring stuff Ash! Your work gives me an amazingly high bar to strive for everyday. I'm pushing myself to the limit everyday so I can reach my dream of working in your industry. Wish me luck! Can't wait to see your methods of translating the foundation into the final product!

Great start Ash and love the intro into the “less sexier” parts of your process. :)

Q: If new words/descriptions for the brief come to my mind while looking for refs, is it worthwhile to reiterate and add to the mindmap, or just go ahead looking for refs that fall under the new words/descriptions?

Thank you so much Mike. I was a bit hesitant to start with such a micro level but this is how I work and I wanted to be as open and transparent as possible in hopes of helping you all :) Thank you for the reassurance.

So great to see similar techniques used to take notes and research references to help inspire the creative mind. I forget sometimes that "thumbnails", is part of the process, so it's great to be part of this "learndsquared" journey. To be learn or to discover new ways to get ideas out.

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Hi!maybe someone can help me out with this doubt i basically not sure if the thumbs are only for/or to givean idea of howthe hex wouldactually function, or if they are thumbnails of it in an environment ? i mean, cinematic thumbnails like it was a product/commercial shot?or in an environment?my head goes all over the place , with these doubts and one thing that led me to take this course is exactly to streamline and not lose time with stuff that is not relevant or wont be used.

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Hey guys! Great job helping one another. It makes me smile to see you all working together and deciphering things and finding your own solutions and answers together. That says a lot about how far you will go and your abilities to learn and grow as a team.

To answer from my intention of the Thumbnails is, they are designed to get your mind in a space of working fast and freely. You can do 100 thumbnails in an hour but you can only do one final image in 1-.5 of a day. What I am trying to do is get you to work abstractly and let your hand and eye connect with your imagination and allow your ideas and concepts to flow. So my advice would be to focus on just getting your ideas out. Good or bad. Let them flow and take them with you as you go. Think about compositions and also keep the keywords of the brief in your mind as you move forward. This should help you achieve what I am after with you and your growth for this course.

I hope this helps :)

Came here to re-iterate what Claudio stated! The brief calls for the UI that the cast will interact with, not the prop design. This futuristic UI is one with the environment the prop is installed in, so if it helps, imagine a dark, empty basketball court, where the UI we're designing is the only light source. That said, adding in things that people have a frame of reference for (scroll bars, rulers, etc.), can help viewers automatically come to their own conclusions as to how they might interact with the UI. That sort of grounding in real world experience is really important so that the actors can connect to it and interact appropriately during principal photography. Hope that helps!


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