Thursday, 23 February 2012

Character designs and cavemen

Last (collaboration brief) post I said I'd get some character designs done soon for the Douglas Adams competition, and here they are! I settled on the bottom left body types from my last post and improved them a bit to get a wider range of characters. There's now cavemen, ancient Chinese labourers and an emperor and some modern day folk as well.

With the characters designed we distributed characters to build for Toonboom between ourselves and I got to do the cavemen. These are my parts sheets, ready to be vectorised, split into parts, rigged and coloured in Toonboom:

And here is one of the cavemen, Dim, all rigged up (the other two cavemen are 80% rigged up) and put through some very quick joint and colour tests. I'll do more of these properly when the other characters are rigged and I've got input from everyone else.
The lovely background here were made by Chloe Brown, not me.

Colours chosen to make colouring easy. At least I'm honest.

No lines. I actually did like no lines but not with these colours.

A bit 'Flintstones'. I wanted to try a bolder colour and quite liked orange, just a shame the Flintstone's beat me to it. Black lines on the left, coloured on the right. I prefer the black lines, though a darker colour might work too. This is my favorite so far despite Fredness...

Multicolour test. Also tried out a darker skin tone for the cavemen.

Animation/ style tests for Surge

Another project I'm helping with as part of the Assistant Animator module is Zeke Ares's project, Surge.
Surge is a trailer for an imaginary stop-motion retelling of H.G.Wells's War of the Worlds and I'm helping out by animating the 2d parts, largely screaming, panicking people. Zeke wants a liney, jaggey rendering of the people and suggested charcoal as a medium.

This is a quick test I did of a few different mediums, including charcoal and some different run cycles. Please excuse the see-throughness for now, the people will be opaque in the final thing.

Unfortunately I didn't have a photo of the set when I did the animations so the perspective is off and I had to scale massively. Even so I think it's been a useful test. Come time to do the animations proper I will make them smaller (so less scaling is involved and the charcoal/pencil/etc. texture will be more obvious), darker and they will be generally better animated as I've now practiced the run cycles a little.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Character Designs for Douglas Adams competition

Last time we had a meeting for our collaboration project on the Douglas Adams competition at the Literary Platform we put together all our storyboards into an animatic (which can be seen in my previous collaboration post) and decided we'd all do some character designs for next meeting.

These are my design ideas so far (all a bit rough but they will be improved in the meeting if we see potential)...
My favourite designs on this page are the collection on the bottom left. They should be simple enough to fit our intended style and fairly easy to rig and animate, but also convey their eras and roles well. Though I did like the cavemen in centre stage I think they are too complex and 'real' looking and will clash with our intended style, the top left characters are too amorphous to fit the outfits properly (I tried it in the middle right of the page) and the top right lot are too pointy.

These characters still all need work but that's what tomorrows meeting is for. Next time I expect to have some final designs to show, and hopefully the beginnings of a rig!

Character designs for James the Elephant

One of the projects I'm helping out on for the Assistant Animator brief is James the Elephant, a project led and conceived by Nathan Greensmith and Oliver Whiteley.
Last meeting we were all asked to come up with some design ideas for their characters that could be taken on further next meeting, this is what I've roughed so far...
As stated, this is just a rough and I'll neaten up a few of these before next meeting. Even so, I quite like the simplicity and goofy-friendlyness of James's design and the fat aardvark at the bottom (cheers Hannah for that suggestion). In the story the aardvark is an insurance salesman and sits alongside a scrawny vulture so the fat and thin designs should compliment each other quite nicely. The alternative idea was to have it wear it's tie very tightly as the vulture wears his very loosely around a kink in his neck.

I still need to work on the vulture and kiwi policemen, though I do like the scruffy look vulture with a backwards helmet covering it's head. The kiwi was meant to be mean looking and I think the top right kiwi is best for this.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Very first post

Ok, very first post and there's a lot to catch up on (sorry about that). Good thing it's mostly pictures.

As part of my animation course at Staffordshire University I'm working with a small group of fellow animators (Faye WombwellBecky BurstAdam Poole and Chloe Brown) on the literary platform animation competition. We found many potential competitions on our hunt, but this brief is to animate all or part of a 1993 recording of the legendary Douglas Adams talking about the evolution of the book. We couldn't pass on that.

This is what we've done so far...
After a couple of brainstorming sessions we put together this rough storyboard. There was much debate and pencil-pinching but we've ended up with plenty of good ideas.

Having completed the rough group storyboard we each took a couple of scenes and broke them down into a more complete storyboard. This gave us a much better idea of what we were working toward and ideas were changed for the better along the way.
These are my panels:

We all sat round and each put together our storyboarded scenes on Storyboard Pro to wind up with the animatic below. A couple of timing issues were found and we've changed some of the pacing to better fit the audio but now we're pretty much set to animate. Currently we're all working on character designs   for rigging, so expect a new post on that soon. *phew*