Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Head Modelling: Nose

The completed nose for the cartoon character has now been added so it is starting to come together now :)


Monday, 29 October 2012

Character Design Influence: Slick/Modern Robots

After Justin suggested that my sidekick character linked with my hero through the slick, high tech and in a way elegant sense about her I have looked more into robots that have this modern, clean design about them to help me figure out how to apply this to my robot owl sidekick.


Thursday, 25 October 2012

Character Design: Week 3 Exercises

This week's character design lesson focused on different proportions and body shapes. It was key to remember to block out a character using shapes especially around the joints and straight lines before going into any detail. At first I didn't add a lot of these shapes but now that I know I will remember to do this first! I did add these shapes to the sketches I did after just for my own reference and practice.

For this first exercise I got Mr Incredible as the character I had to change body shape of.

I firstly drew the shape that already made him up to help me see what type of body he had. Then I attempted to make him more feminine in form (narrowing waist, smaller hands ect).

I then made him more bottom heavy and chubby rather than muscular and then a bit more regular equally proportioned throughout which I think takes away his superhero quality quite a bit.

We were then given a characteristic and asked to draw 4 different characters from this but which all had this characteristic. I got given 'clown'. I am quite pleased with a couple of the body shapes I produced especially the female but two of them are a bit similar and I didn't notice that I have done all of the clown hair the same! I think I will give this another go so that they all really scream clown to me including through their costume.


Head Modelling: Mouth

I have now added the mouth/lips and made adjustments around them to make the face look better sculpted.



Head Modelling: Eye

Now here is the modell with adjustments around the eye and cheekbone to make the eye fit into place better.

Without smooth

With smooth

Head Modelling: Dummy Eyes & Blocking

Here is the maya character blocked out without any adjustments around the eyes.

Without smooth

With smooth

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Character Design Sidekick: Owl Anatomy

After our character design class yesterday and a talk with Justin about my robot sidekick character which would be characteristic of an owl as I thought it was appropriate for his wise/smart abilities I have started looking more into owl anatomy.

This will help me further my knowledge of the form of the owl but also because we talked about the robot being slick like my heroine it will help me pick out owl features to put on the robot without it being fully owl with feathers and all.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Character Design: Rough Story Synopsis

This synopsis is still a work in progress as I'm still unsure of how some events would unfold and I have yet to decide on names for the characters so please bare with me! :)

(Insert name here) is an average human being or so it seems. But in fact she specialise sin the secret services loving her job of wrecking havoc on any villainous plan that may be about.
Hired by a secret intergalactic space program, she journeys into space after strange interference on their satellites is picked up detailing the plan of an ex intergalactic space employee to take control of the world for the benefit of his health.

We say ex employee after an unexpected mishap with his ship's airlock took place trapping him in a red taped space zone. This imprisonment has lead to a strange growth on him which is slowly eating away at him alive and which he needs a mineral deep down in the centre of the Earth to resolve it. See this is what happens when you play with serious space tech!

On assignment of this new mission (Hero's name) befriends the intergalactic program's latest state of the art robot appropriately in the form of an owl as he assists her with his wise words and smartness.
(Hero's name) takes on the role of double agent, trying to foil the villain's plan by tricking him into believing she is all about helping his cause.

However, when events suddenly turn on their head putting good and evil in a head to head battle a long forgotten gadget comes back to help save the day.

Monday, 22 October 2012

German City Ruins Concept

This is one of the concepts for my group project I have been working on. It is for the scene after the concentration camp gets bombed and the young boy ends up back on the streets of Germany which now show the full effects of the war. These ruins will change into the 1950s environment of our animation climax. Hopefully the paperman inspired, 1940s printed style is evident!


Saturday, 20 October 2012

Cartoon Characters Part 1 Modelling: Arms

The body of the character model is now finished, on to the head!

Unsmoothed Front.

Smoothed Front.
Unsmoothed Back.
Smoothed Back.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Maya Lip Sync: Touch Ups

I have adjusted some parts of my lip sync to really make it readable. The bit that was not coming across the most was the 'V' shape when he says 'give' but I think I've finally managed to get that to read a bit better. I also added some movement of the tongue for other shapes other than 'L' as it seemed too static.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Cartoon Characters Part 1 Modelling: Shoes

Here is the maya character model now with shoes!




Full model result so far.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Character Design: Week 2 Exercises

Today's character design class was a lot of fun. I learned a lot about how shapes inside characters can change how they are depicted. Also the types of colours. We got to practice with this idea of shapes changing the mood of a character.

The first exercise involved taking an existing character and changing some of their shapes to make them be portrayed differently. For example, if you got a character made of squares and circles you had to make the circles more pointed (like triangles) to make this character less friendly and more dangerous.

I got Dr Facilier from The Princess and the Frog. I started off by roughly drawing out the shapes that make him so that I knew what I had to change. He is made of squares and lots of triangles which makes him strong but villianous. I tried to make him stay strong but seem more friendly so I curved shapes to make them more circular.


I then got Homer Simpson for our next exercise which was to do with the range of very simple to realistic characters. Homer seems in the middle of this spectrum to me so I took him to the very humanised side. I also did a similar thing with Krusty the Clown. They do look quite creepy looking now!



Mudbox: Week 1

Very late upload of this, Mudbox seems to hate to work for me both at uni and at home but it's decided to finally work so fingers crossed it will work next lesson too!

This is what I created after playing around with some of the tools Simon explained and after learning the interface.




Sunday, 14 October 2012

Space Opera Genre Colours

This time colour picked from my space opera influence maps. I have noticed that there are some similar colours to the secret agent palette which could prove useful when combining the two together.


Influence Maps: Space Opera Qualities

I have done the same thing as my last influence map post but now with my space opera element. However, these are more genre/environment based rather than character based because this is likely to play a very important role in my story and design.

- Very large scale wars.
- Serious must save the world ideology.
- Humanised hero.
- Alienised sidekick.
- Contrasting colours.
- Gadgets/ weapons throw out bright colours.


Secret Agent Genre Colours

I used the eyedropper tool in Photoshop to pick out key colours that appeared most representing a secret agent and their narrative from my previous two influence maps.


Influence Maps: Secret Agent Qualities

Now that I have defined what makes a secret agent in the mass media using existing examples I am focusing on defining the key physical appearance of a secret agent. Below are two influence maps looking at 'real film' and cartoon examples. There are some noticable things that seem to apply to the majority of these spies, really making their character role obvious.

- Male secret agents in tuxedo.
- Handguns.
- Tight fitting (leather) outfits especially for women.
- Usually very attractive.
- If not very attractive, the alternate silly secret agent.
- Very acrobatic.
- Blackout sunglasses.
- Sexy disguises.
- Male secret agents with attractive female sidekick.
- Classic fedora and trench/over coat sometimes worn.

After finding these normalities I included some non-secret agents as part of my influence maps because I felt they still applied with some of their characteristics such as 'The Incredibles' Elastigirl, 'Dark Angel's Max and 'The Matrix'.



Video Influence of 'Space Opera' Examples

I have also researched into existing examples of the 'space opera' genre. I have noticed that even early versions of film/television such as the 1930s Flash Gordon still follow key themes/elements of the space opera genre without all the big and expensive modern special effects.

Flash Gordon (1936)
Planet Outlaws- Buck Rogers (1953) 


Battlestar Galactica

Star Trek

Star Wars

Mass Effect


Saturday, 13 October 2012

Influence Videos of Existing Examples of 'Secret Agent'

To help me understand the role of a secret agent more and to inspire me with my story/character ideas I have researched into existing secret agent/spy characters in the mass media.

James Bond

Classic title sequence

Classic suspense/ hero in danger scene.

Fight/Action scenes


Alex Rider/Stormbreaker



Fight Scene

Spy Kids


Fight scene

Costume change/disguise

Kim Possible

Secret Squirrel

Perry the Platypus (Phineas & Ferb)
Danger Mouse


Cartoon Characters Part 1 Modelling: Legs

I've finally completed the legs part of the character modelling and it's great to see it all together so far! Even though it took a very long time to complete I think I am understanding how it builds up to form these complex body parts with only a few tools but how to not have too much geometry at the same time.

Without smooth.

With smooth.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Making Sense of 'Space Opera' & 'Secret Agent'

Before I begin thinking up possible story scenarios and characters I thought it was best to make sure I fully understood the meanings of the qualities I had been given especially when it comes to space opera.

space opera normally involves...

-A massive adventure mainly focused on the good vs evil side of things rather than the technical things.
-Mechanics of how things work are usually glossed over.
-Not "hard sci-fi (realism isn't emphasized).
-Drama set in space.
-Setting in space is largely unimportant (more character focused).
-Can have emphasis on romance.
-Advanced technology on both sides of war.
-Setting, battles, powers, themes, characters = very large scale!
- Similar to military science fiction because of large battles with futuristic weapons.
-Futuristic melodramatic fantasy.

"Colorful, dramatic, large-scale science fiction adventure, competently and sometimes beautifully written, usually focused on a sympathetic, heroic central character and plot action, and usually set in the relatively distant future, and in space or on other worlds, characteristically optimistic in tone. It often deals with war, piracy, military virtues, and very large-scale action, large stakes." (Hartwell & Cramer: 2007)

secret agent normally involves...

-Employed in espionage by government.
-Someone who attempts to penetrate into 'enemy' territory with minimal notice.
-Spy, undercover, cloak-and-dagger man.
-A spy acting for one country/person/organization to take down/stop the acts of another.
-Someone who finds out top secret information from others.

Can mean...

-Big action scenes when discovered/in danger.
-Romantic interest
-Fancy/ high tech, big, expensive gadgets.
-Posh cars/vehicles!


Cramer, Kathryn and Hartwell, David G. (2007). The Space Opera Renaissance. Tom Doherty Associates. U.S.A

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Lip Syncing: Tongue and Blink

Today we focused on detailing the syncing more to really make it clear. After a few changes to create difference in mouth size during some sounds such as 'E' and 'A' we sorted out the tongue and blink.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Character Design: Week 1 Exercise

Yesterday's character design lesson was full of very interesting, strange and umm...ok moments when it came to the drawing exercise Justin gave us. We were given two qualities for a character to interpret and draw however we felt was right. It was at first very scary not knowing how to start but once we got going it was a lot of fun.

For the sketch below I got the qualities of: Mutant & Ninja. I didn't want to slip too near to the Mutant Ninja Turtles so firstly I wrote down things that made a ninja such as their costume and how they move. I then decided that for my character to be mutant but be an appropriate ninja they needed multiple sword baring limbs.

Also a recent trip to London Zoo came to mind where I saw a giraffe attempt to do what looked like the splits. I thought that this would be pretty cool to use as the basis of my mutant ninja character especially as giraffes move very gracefully with long stretching strides, something I picture a ninja also doing.


Character Design

Today we were briefed for our start of the character design unit. I will say that I am very scared of what is to come in regards to this having never really felt I had many strengths in character design but!... I am excited to get going because it is something I really do want to get to grips with better. :)

Something Justin kept saying today throughout the class was to play to our own strengths/interests as this will help us get to grips with the work quicker so I'm definitely going to stick to this.

For my character design project I have lucky card dipped...
Secret Agent
Space Opera
Soo we're looking at some sort of Star Wars/ Mass Effect & James Bond mash up...this is going to be interesting.

Film Review: Pleasantville (1998)

Film Review: Pleasantville (1998)

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Lip Syncing: Phonemes & Visemes

For our maya lesson today we added more movement of the jaw and mouth shapes to make the voiceover track really start to sync with the animation.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Cartoon Characters Part 1 Modelling: Shirt

Here is my first completed part of the modelling of the cartoon character. Even if it does take a long time to put together now I'm sure I will get much quicker at it soon! :)

Model without smooth

Model with smooth 

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Lip Syncing: Jaw Bounce

During our return to maya last Friday we started learning how to go about lip syncing characters. I really enjoyed doing this as I had been wondering how this could be done, it's also so simple but effective!