Thursday, 18 March 2010

Starting from Scratch

These past 3 weeks have pretty much been a blur, to the point that i honestly (honestly) haven't had time to write up what antics this month's group project have been up to. But thanks to my brilliant preplanning, i remembered to document every step of the way.

Brief: Choose 1 out of 3 scripts, based on:
  • Frankenstein
  • Cowboy western
  • Prison story thing
We stuck with the last script, unfortunately i havent got a copy of it to put up on here, but the basic jist was that there is a very hairy prisoner who hears a banging, he looks outside and see's a noose and thinks he's going to die. He then has a long detailed escape story involving a rusty drain pipe- that's all i can remember. However, we thought we'd put a creative twist on the story but with the same basic flow.

It goes like this..

  1. see a hairy, unkept, bearded man in a classic prison suit bored in prison
  2. he chalks off days (emphasises how long he's been there for)
  3. does various activities to show he's bored
  4. he slowly goes more mental as time passes
  5. he hears a banging
  6. someone enters and clicks the light on
  7. turns out he was a grounded kid pretending to be in prison
it sounds a bit weird writing it out like this, but the idea was to make the activities as cut-scenes so that viewers can relate to the feeling of the character going from bored to mental. The storyboard from my RVJ can be shown below, and will probably do a better job of explaining it than words can :)

Character Design
The next thing to focus on was character design, as without this, we wouldn't know how the characters would turn out (obviously), how big they were going to be, how this would affect the set, what colour palletes to stick with etc...

I first did some research for both the scraggly old man and the little boy:

This was just to get an idea of how other animators had made the children seem innocent and well, what makes them look like kids, as well as the style they were created in. The prisoner research was more for the effect of the beard (the main feature of the character) and whether to use the classic stripey jail outfit or the american orange jumpsuits.

From this, i started to do some possible sketches of character designs. However, i'm not too gifted in this area so they weren't too possible to make. I tried to stick to quite simple designs so that it could be easier to mould an armature for and it means to detail wouldn't suffer too much if we were running low on time.

Everyone participated in designing the characters, we all went away, sketched a few and came back to try and collaborate them into one super-character. During this review session, we came to the decision that since there would be no lip syncing in this animation, it would be simpler and easier for us not to have to animate a mouth. However, the emotion would be compensated with overly expressive eyes and eyebrows.

Experimenting with plastacine:
[left to right: joe's, paul's, gareth's, greg's, greg's again but with a paper beard (changes the total look of the head)]

The final decision was with joe's design, sunken in eyes, a strong brow bone and the mouth would be covered with a woolen beard for the prisoner.

armatures and final heads

unfortunately, i didn't manage to get photos of the clothes i made for the prisoner outfit as they went straight onto the model after his body was padded out with cotton wool. However, there is a lovely photo of the t-shirt i made for the boy that went insanely wrong. The sleeves were far too narrow and long and the body looked very tube like and i sewed the sleeves on the outside. Win??... i think not. Don't worry though, it was just a test, i learnt from it and made another one.

Shown below, is the prisoner's beard, which is essentially wool stuck onto a card base with all purpose glue!

The prisoner model without his hat or beard (or feet):

This picture was taken a fair bit later, but it's a picture of the character with all his parts on him, chilling in his room :)

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