January 2018 was the start of the CardinalityTV brand, my own personal brand on the internet for livestreaming, broadcasting and Esports commentary.
I designed and created all the graphics needed to get this brand off the ground and am still creating more pieces to this day as necessary.
The initial design of the CardinalityTV brand needed to satisfy a few key requirements, before I ever laid a hand on Photoshop or Illustrator. It needed to be:
- Visually striking
Thus the classic, monochrome 3 stripe logo was born after some brief iterations. The font chosen was “Market Deco” for it’s cinema-esque feel and versatile character set. This font will feature throughout the branding to serve as a consistent style and feel.
As with the nature of an entire brand, a variety of graphics and use cases presented themselves from the get go.
I created most of the initial graphics you’ve seen so far well in advance of the debut livestream in January 2018, while creating further pieces as needed, which we’ll discuss later on.
From the initial design outcrop, there would be:
- Main logo
- Offline banner
- Social media banners
- Twitch.tv channel info panels
- On-screen overlays
- Stinger transitions
- “Starting Soon” video loop
Throughout the creation of these various pieces, familiarity was achieved through consistent font choices and colour scheme.
CardinalityTV lends itself to a cinematic, vintage style heavily inspired by the bold Hollywood titling, flashing lights and red carpets (minus the colour red, of course).
The glowing, bolded text emulates the visual of a dimly lit cinema premiere title featuring a slightly off-white colour to give a more natural lighting look.
The stinger transition, used to switch scenes in OBS Studio (the open source broadcasting application) proved a new and exciting challenge as working on a transparent background was not something I had a huge amount of experience with prior.
The next step was to compress the video file to be as lightweight as possible while still retaining the transparency and the video quality. The .webm format proved vital in this step and overall was a fantastic learning experience (especially for the computer science graduate in me).
Once I became affiliated with Twitch and Amazon in February 2018, the ability for regular viewers to subscribe to the CardinalityTV channel for exclusive benefits arrived, which also necessitated the need for “sub badges” which display alongside a viewers username in the channel’s text chat.
These icons were a challenge in and of themselves due to usually being viewed in a 16×16 pixel size, leaving very little room for detail while still needing to be distinguishable and relevant.
Another aspect of my Twitch channel is the series I both created and host: CS Silver Elite; Highly Offensive. This is a CounterStrike show hosted and commentated by myself where two teams of 5 viewers pit themselves against each other in a pseudo-professional match of CounterStrike to earn the temporary title “The Silver Elite”.
The initial Silver Elite title screen features a bold font (BigNoodleTitling) sliced in half to reveal a wireframe-esque outline underneath, while sitting on top of a hazy, blurred image of one of the most iconic CounterStrike maps of all time: Mirage.
During the livestream, I use a greenscreen to isolate myself from my office. This also allows some interesting backgrounds to superimpose myself on, and also lead to the idea to have my own “Silver Elite Studio”.
To accomplish this, I took an existing image of the TBS ELEAGUE Analyst desk which would serve as my base for the Silver Elite studio, but clearly I had some elements to remove and cover.
The image then needed to be split into a foreground and a background, giving me room to insert my own camera and greenscreen in-between to simulate the effect of being at the desk (as seen in the live example below).
The front desk has it’s text removed and now features “CardinalityTV” while the three desk hosts have been cleanly removed from the scene.
Utilizing some of the features of OBS Studio, the greenscreen background is removed via the use of a chroma key and consistent lighting, allowing me to simulate my own video feed behind the desk as if I was sat in the physical studio before the viewer games begin.
As a segue between the desk segment of the show and the in-game match, I created a 1-minute intro video to the show, showcasing some of the most memorable moments so far in the series and to generate some hype and excitement for the match to come. This style of video was heavily inspired by the intro to “By The Numbers” hosted by Richard Lewis and Duncan Shields.
This video is also a great example of my ability as a video editor and motion graphic designer. The song featured: “Canon – Overwerk” was also edited by myself to increase the BPM and cut out the longer build up to fit the 60 seconds runtime of the video.
Over time, viewers began to form rough teams which were then given parody names of real-life CounterStrike teams. This lead me to creating various parody logos from existing teams, such as Virtus.Throw, Clout9, Budget FaZe and Team Dangerous.
These logos also served a purpose in the thumbnail icons for highlights of specific matches, which are archived on the CardinalityTV YouTube channel.
Another tangent to the CardinalityTV brand is the “Confessions with Cardinal” podcast, dealing with topics from Esports to travel, life and occasionally personal rants.
Wanting a different yet similar style to the CardinalityTV branding, a new animated background was created and the greenscreen was ditched for a more serious tone to the show.
This low-poly, animated background was created in After Effects and rendered with Media Encoder, maintaining the transparency of the webcam cutout, careful to make sure the low-poly background still looped seamlessly throughout the podcast.
A modified, static version of the background was also produced from After Effects to be used in Photoshop as a base for any thumbnails needed for the YouTube archive of all podcasts.
Again, the Market Deco font appears with many variations of a gradient background stylistically in tune with the other existing thumbnails to produce an eye-catching video preview.
Below, you’ll find more examples of both videos and graphics created for the CardinalityTV channel, including a 50 follower “Thank You” video, a 2018 recap and examples of other thumbnails created for different livestreams and YouTube archives.