Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Working Out Characters: 04...

Below are a few of the rough, and fairly generic drawings I had put together over the last day or so:

It wasn't until yesterday afternoon, when I looked at my nocturnal animal influence map, that I noticed the image of an owl and I immediately knew it was my villain. I initially took a drawing from that photo but I then remembered this weird but absolutely amazing creature:

It's perfect! Holding its wing up like a cape makes it feel very Dracula (1931), and I love how theatrical it could be, so I went on to do some rough drawings shown below:






I'm really excited by this. He reads as such a theatrical, over the top villain, but one that's not entirely bright too. I'm unsure about whether he would turn from one form into the other or whether the squished version with his wings up would be his sidekick instead because they make quite a fun pair I think. In that case though, I don't think I could make both but we'll see how further character development goes.

I'm going to do a little more research into this world of theatrical films next, looking into recurring shapes within the costume designs. Once I've got the villain designed, I'll be able to picture those that are fighting against him a little easier. Good stuff! :D

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Working Out Characters: 03...

Following Andi's advice, I started looking into nocturnal creatures as the cleaning team will be working at night. Below are the few I selected to play with:


Here's what came out:


I was mostly looking at the fox, sloth and flying squirrels and they're all quite same-y, but I like the big head and little face of 8 so that's something I may play around with next. Anyway, back to the drawing board! :)

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Working Out Characters: 02...

Here are the rough designs I've come up with today:
Natty, Captain Prim and Spruce.
I came up with these because I chose a few animals that I know I had a connection with when I was younger: a hamster, a guinea pig and a rabbit. I liked the idea of using animals that children have as pets so I thought I then started breaking them down into shapes. Here are their simplified forms:

I then used these shapes above to draw the characters.

I then broke down some various vacuum designs into shapes and silhouettes:



Trying but struggling a little, to get a form from the shapes.

Here are some various sketchbook drawings:




There is more happening and I like certain shapes that are coming out of it, but I still haven't quite got that missing piece yet. I know I want cute and charming humanoid/animal characters, with a few edges/ridges influenced by German Expressionism. They need to be more unique than these though so onwards to more designs! :)

Friday, 25 January 2013

Working Out Characters: 01...

After my tutorial with Alan it's clear that something's missing, a certain personal touch that I haven't quite honed in on. It's important that I realise what that is soon because without it I'll end up with something that's lacking and generic. Below are my first attempts at trying to draw form from function. I took a few reference images into Photoshop to see what I could come up with:





Some work okay but they are still generic. I need to put more thought into what I want from these characters first. I know I want them to be mascots for children, that they can take to bed with them as toys or as memories that they can use to help them sleep better if they worry about bad dreams. I need tp start really breaking down their personality into shapes and see where that gets me. Onwards! :)

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Major Project Proposal Presentation...

Below is a presentation of my idea for the Major Project. It contains the proposal, premise and logline, along with some brief character biographies.

Also, apologies for the pixellation! Scribd's done something to it and I don't know how to fix it, sorry!

Monday, 21 January 2013

@Phil, My Idea So Far...

I've been looking into toy design as a career path after uni and I'd like to use this project to help me produce something character based that I can be proud to show any company. I really want this project to be even better than the last one, which I was really happy with.

With that in mind, I've decided to go for a character based project.  I will be designing and modelling a selection of characters (probably 3) from a children's TV series.  

The TV series named "Dream Defenders" (working title) is set in the Land of Nod, where our team of Dream Cleaners wait to be called in to clear out children's dreams and turn them from bad to good.

Toy wise, I can imagine these characters as dream/sleep mascots that children can take to bed with them if they worry about bad dreams. I can remember having bad dreams and wanting someone to turn up and make it all go away, so I think this is a nice way of presenting that idea.

I want the characters to be simple in shape, similar to the above picture and Hello Kitty too. Round, soft shapes that are non-threatening and pleasing to look at. All of them with the same rough build but different accessories, to represent their different personalities and roles, like The Smurfs.

It's still early days but I feel this premise is one that children can relate to, but can still be fantastical and fun. I'd also like it if they could be something not only for children but that adults would like to have on their desk too. Keeping them charming and cute, with a lot of personality is really important. My last character had these elements and it's important to me that these ones have it too.

I hope this has been succinct enough, here's a link to my previous post with more about my influences and a couple of drawings. Let me know what you think :)

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Warming Up...

It seems appropriate on such a chilly day that I should start 'warming up' my drawing skills. So, I've put a new Influence Map together with a lot of the toys and animations I'll be focussing on at the moment. Here it is below:

I then jumped in to start getting myself used to drawing again:



Below are a few of the references I've also been using, mostly animals with a tiny bit of German Expressionism in there too:
They're all a bit generic but there's something about the headband wearing bunny on the second page that I really like. Overall though, a nice welcome back to drawing again :)

Saturday, 19 January 2013

'Dream Defenders' Ideas & Research...

Now I've got a rough proposal together I thought I'd start thinking about some of the details of the story.

Where the team are based?
  • They live in the 'Land of Nod', a realm children have access to when they dream. There they wait for the alarm to go off, telling them there's a child that needs their help.
  • They live in a secret base in the real world where they track children's dreams. They have to enter the dream world by other means.
How do they enter dreams?
  • They use a trampoline that catapults them into dream world.
  • They have to use their patented B.E.D (Brilliant Entrance to Dreams) technology, which also happens to look a lot like a bed. It travels via legs OR they enter the dream world by crawling under it.
  • They create a wormhole into the world of dreams.
  • They live in a base deep in the Land of Nod where they wait to be called out into a particular child's dream. They then use a special teleport to get them there quickly but it can sometimes be unpredictable...
  • They fly from place to place in the Land of Nod using their flying machine
What do they look like?

I'm not sure yet but so far I'm thinknig that they could be a combination of different animals, each one would be different but they wouldn't necessarily be too much like one animal. This is something I'll discover more on once I start drawing out some ideas.
Winsor McCay's Little Nemo

I was pointed in the direction of Winsor McCay's Little Nemo comics due to my idea being based in dreams. I had a look into the original comics, the short animation that Winsor McCay produced in 1911 and the later feature length Animation. Below are some influential images from all three:


I enjoyed the film and the short animation is shockingly impressive for the time it was made, however there's a certain whimsical charm and innocent humour that runs through the comics that I think isn't entirely matched by the others.
I love that no matter how absurd the situation can be, there's always a logical explanation because it's a dream. One example is the bed running on its legs and it's explained away because "A bed likes to get out once in a while!" I would love to carry over as similar charm in my work, a kind of child-friendly abstract absurdity. Let's see! :P

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Onwards, onto the Major Project!

This is a very exciting time, but also a pretty uneasy time too. The Minor was a really important project for me. It allowed me to see exactly what I can achieve when I put hard work and a simple idea together and I'm really proud of how my animation turned out. My character turned out to be even more charming than I'd hoped and it's because of his adorable-ness that I now have a rough idea where I'd like to go next. The scary part is taking what I've learnt from the previous project and making something even better than before. However, as it is also an exciting time, I may have an idea that could be.

I've recently been giving more thought into what I'd like to be doing or where I'd like to be in my post-uni future.  I realised that when I think about working in the film or games industry I get really nervous, but when I think about the idea of becoming a toy designer or being part of that process, my excited to nervous ratio changes completely and I feel a lot more enthusiastic.  I want to channel this into my next project and after a talk with Alan I've come to an almost-decision. I'll put a proposal together along with some initial research today, but the general idea is that I want to design a selection of characters, or perhaps a playset (so a character or two and a bit of scenery) that is cute and suitable for children, but that adults will find equally fun.  Depending on where I go I might like to also do a small animation, one of the characters interacting or maybe a title sequence for the show they may be part of. I've got a lot of books to flip through but my very first inspiration for this came from The Octonauts books and CG cartoons and the Sanrio characters, such as Hello Kitty.

Also, after my meeting with Alan it became clear that one important aspect of this project is to keep it simple, because that's one of the reasons my Minor Project character was so successful. I need the characters to have a base in something, whether thats them all being the same but different, like The Smurfs or Poddington Peas, or whether there are a couple of hierarchical characters and then a group of soldiers that are all the same, much like a chess set. Also, they need to be connected in some way, much like the Poddington Peas and Octonauts. A couple of suggestions were trying to think of a common ground e.g. creatures from a garden or underwater, or taking a complex or sinister book such as Alice in Wonderland and reducing it right down to vinyl simplicity.

There's a lot to think about over the next day or so but what's important is that I have a direction and that I'm excited! Onwards and upwards! :D


Thursday, 10 January 2013

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Final Animation..?

I've tweaked a few more scenes, mostly just tidying up transitions with the pulling scene and changing his final position in the window scene:

I'm really happy with how the animation's been developing. Again, this might be the final piece, but we'll see if I spot more things to change later :)

Monday, 7 January 2013

Almost the Final Animation...

I believe that below is the final version of my animation:

If it is, then I'm really proud of what I've achieved. If it isn't, then I'm still proud, there are just a few changes to make :P

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Final Animation: Draft 8...

I've added a few more close ups and tweaked a few scenes, mostly the cloth scene and the pulling scene:

I like how the pace feels at the moment, I'm going to add a few more shots from different angles in the penultimate scene from behind, but other than that I think it's almost there :)

Final Animation: Draft 7...

I added a couple of close ups here. One in the climbing scene and one as he pushes the pie chart:

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Current DVD Art...

Here's how they look at the moment:



I think I should remove my name from the front cover and move it to the back, along with some contact details. However, I do like the matching renders :)