Friday, 23 October 2009

Modelling Stage

Modelling progress of my Character designs
Body Shape
I wanted to fistly start of making armatures of the body shapes of my characters. The images below are a selection of images i took whilst in the process of roughing-out the body shape of each of my characters in clay. This was definitly the best way to start modelling, as it gave me the rough body shape, which i could easily manipulate to get a more sharp shape, closer to what my actual final model will look like. The armatures for the young boy and girl characters are similar because they have generally the same body shape, apart from the boy being slightly shorter, and having slightly wider hips, which you would generally find in a female character.

Below are the final deisgns for the heads of my characters, i decided to do these separately from my body armatures, as i thought the head was one of the most important features of my character, in showing emotion and feeling if i was going to animate them. I am fairly pleased with each of my head models, with exception to the model of the young boy. I will decide later whether i am going to adjust this model to look better, i think they eyes look a little wrong.

Character Design- Colour

Looking at colour is important. Different colours represent different moods, personalities and therefore would be very useful in portraying my characters in the best possible way.

Using Adobe Kolor, i come up with this colour chart to use as a selection for my character pallette, suitable for the colours i am going to use on each of my characters. I searched several different terms to try to get the best range of colours most suitable to each of my characters. Firstly i searched 'Hyperactive', for the young kid character,'Scottish' for my groundskeeper, as i thought that was the most important feature of his character, however i also searched 'Janitor' to get a more varied range of colours, i thought this was important to do, as i wanted to show a more broad persona, rather than just his scottishness. I also searched 'Grumpy granny' and some colours came up, however i didnt feel these were suitable for my character, so i decided to use my own colour pallete for this character. I also searched 'Gorilla' and 'Serenity' for the gorilla and calmer young girl respectivly. I wanted to use classic colours you would see on a silverback gorilla, and colours of calmness and colours which are neutral for the young girl, to emphasis her calmer personality compared to her younger brother.

I decided from here that i needed to think about application of colour onto my characters. However whilst researching i came into a huge problem, that if i was to do this project again, i would think about well in advance of getting to this stage, before finding out that there is a problem. The problem was that i could not paint onto the plasticine. With the plasticine being oil based, there is no practical way to paint the plasticine, without it cracking or smudging when i move around the character during animation. I had a thought to use acrylic paint and apply a layer so thick that it would form a thin plastic layer around my character, however when tested this just looked messy, and was very impractical in the time that it took to dry. Also, i found that with this method the paint tended to crack in the areas with the most flexibilty, for example under the arms. I i was to redo the project, i would definitly consider using different colour plasticines for each of the differnet parts of my character, however for this project, it would have proved very expensive, and impractical. Also the colour of plasticine generally comes in primary colours, which do not look very natural when trying to create a more realistic looking character with plasticine. This would have meant either buying specialised clay, or mixing the clay colours which would have looked messy, and would have been very time consuming.

Character Design- Clothing

Looking at clothing of my characters is the next important stage, i need to look at how my characters are going to be dressed, as there are going to be different types of clothing for the different characters. The young boy is going to have a different type of clothing to his grandma for obvious reasons.

I started out doing some initial research on clothing, and i thought the most obvious places to look for character clothing, would be to look at real life clothing for those similar to my characters. My research took me to places such as GAP Kids website, Marks & Spencer's website and also specialist kilt and jacket maker websites for scottish clothing particularly for groundskeeper clothing. I started to get brightly coloured T-Shirts and bottoms for the kids, and looked at different types of clothing which would be suitable for replicating in clay, this was important to consider, as not all clothing would easily be able to be replicated in clay, and i wanted to make sure my clay models looked as close to my designs as possible, but still have some life-like features in the way that they are dressed. This was a balancing task.

Below are the final clothing ideas i am going to be basing my characters clothing upon. Obviously the clothing is not going to be exactly the same once replicated in clay, as textures and colour will be very hard to produce, due to the fact that plasticine will be very hard to colour, as well as finding textures may be hard.

I have payed close attention to the colours i have chosen for the clothing, using my colour chart, also in my blog i have been able to come up with a colour palette for each of the characters i am designing, and around that i have chosen colours for their clothing. I went for very bright colours for the young boy, more neutral colours for the young girl, and tried aiming for more dull colours for the older lady, which also i think will reflect her personality, and age. I have also chosen to go for a traditional Kilt and Jackaet for the scottish groundskeeper, although not suitable for his line of work, the brief mentions how patriotic he is even whilst he is at work, and i thought making him wear traditional scottish clothing would emphasis this.

Character Design- Body Shape

Body Shape

Looking at the body shape was the next stage of the character design process. I started to look at how the body shape could influence the perception of the character, for example looking at whether i want my Janitor character a fat/thin/tall/small man and what effects that would have on the way that we see his persona within the character design.

These are the final designs for the body shape of my characters. I went through many ideas on what body shapes i wanted for my characters, which can be seen more extensively in my sketchbook. I decided upon these bodyshapes however after much consideration. After looking at the brief i had a general idea of what i wanted my characters to look like in terms of how tall/small, fat/thin they are. I visualised the gorilla as a typically brute, and lean gorilla who because is a gorilla full of pride and respect, should have a strong stature to excert his dominance among the other animals, therefore i gave him a very stong stance and a big presence. The young boy and girl, i wanted to make very similar, as they are siblings, they would be similar as it is, however, with the girl slightly older than the boy, i thought i would demonstrate this with her being slightly taller than her brother. I also thought about their body shape, and decided that it would be fairly similar, in terms of both of them slim characters, who because of thier age are still growing, and compared to my adult groundskeeper character are small. Moving on to my grandma character, i experimented a lot with the shape. I wanted to make her look frail, so i gave her a hunch-back and a stance which looked as if she was old, i also wanted to make her a very small character, just to emphasise that she is an old woman, and has shrunken in her old age. I wanted to make her slightly smaller, if not the same size as the two children characters to emphasis this. The groundskeeper character i chose was influenced somewhat by the groundskeeper Willie character from The Simpsons. I wanted to make sure he was seen as a strong and manly character, by his broad shoulders but small waiste, which would also emphasise his costume choice in the Kilt he is going to be wearing.

Final Body Shapes

Click To Expand

Character Design- Facial Design

Initial Facial Ideas See Sketchbook for more extensive facial designs and ideas.

Here are a selection of sketches that i came up with for my characters, there are more in my sketchbook, although i decided to only post some of the more developped ideas on my blog. I come up with these ideas purely frion influences i got whilst doing my research. However being self critical, i felt that not all of the designs were up to standard, and they needed somewhat refining before i got to my final sketches stage, where i had an exact idea of what i wanted my character faces to look like. I ran into a couple of problems when in this stage of development. Firstly i designed a few of the grandma's sketches without remembering to second check my brief, and i realised that in the brief it stated that she needed to be wearing a hat, being that she was scared of Cornelius stealing her hat. This was an obvious mistake that could have been avoided if i had payed more attention to the brief in the first place. I realise that this could have been a very critical mistake if i hadnt double checked the brief till the very end, as i could have persued one of my ideas with the grandma without the hat which would have been a very costly mistake if in the industry and i had spent precious time and money on a wasted development. On the other hand, i don't feel that all of my designs above have been wasted time, as i said they just need a little more refining before the finishing stage. The design of Willie Billiams is close to completion, as i like the 'cheeky' smile that he has in the design above, which i feel really exaggerates his personality as a hyperactive and excitable kid. I also like the facial expression on the old grandma character, it looks as if she is pulling a very bitter and sour character which sums up her character in the brief set out in the beginning. The groundskeeper charater is also very close to completion in my opinion, as i feel this character is also summed up in his facial pose, and looks very irritable and annoyed.

Final H
ead Sketches

The above sketches are the finished ideas for facial design for each of the 5 characters i am designing. I feel these ideas have come pretty far from the development stages of my characters previously. I have refined each of my designs so that they fit into my character brief as best as they can in my opinion, and i think they are ready to be produced as clay armatures to see how and if they work in clay, which they should do, as i have spent a lot of time to ensure i havent over-complicated my designs to be replicated in clay.

Initial Sketching stage

I decided to start sketching some of the research i had found, just to get a better grasp of how to draw certain characters, and images.
I found this was a good way forward, as i have always found that starting to sketch the research that i have found in previous projects very good in developing my own ideas, and gaining inspiration for my own characters, which i am going to base on the research that i find.
I started with sketching gorillas that i found in my research, this has helped me learn how to draw the shape and figure of gorillas, as before i wasnt too sure.