Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Character Design - Examples

‘A well designed character has the following characteristics:
  • It will be immediately recognizable and relatable
  • It will have a recognizable shape or silhouette
  • It will reflect the personality of the character
  • It will have the physical attributes that complement the content of the story
  •  It will be able to complete the actions that are required by the script
  •  It will be interesting to watch’

(Alexander, Schumer and Sullivan 2008 P.102)

‘In The Incredibles, Elastigirl is not just an interesting design for a superhero; she stretches because she is a mother and must always multitask. Dash is fast because he is a little boy with so much pent-up energy. Violet disappears and has a protective shield because she is in adolescence. Elastigirl is organic and loose in the joints. Dash is solid and low to the ground with strong legs. Violet is slim and has hair that perpetually hangs over her large and watchful eyes.’
(Alexander, Schumer and Sullivan 2008 P.108)

The significance about this is its application to the narrative and to the characters goal. In The Incredibles, Mr Incredible cannot be himself, a superhero, because of the past mistakes made by superheros has outlawed them from acting as such. The theme, according to Alexander, Schumer and Sullivan (2008 P.21) is ‘A Herd sticks together … Mr Incredible cannot work alone … strengths, weaknesses make us whole. Mr. Incredible must learn that he needs help to be a successful superhero.’ It is his family unit that offers security and success, learning this is his emotional arc that is required for the narrative. His family have designed traits that are specific to their role within that unit and ultimately Mr Incredibles success. Each of their roles within the narrative has informed their traits, physical topology and their gestural personality.   

The advert shows all of these qualities mentioned, whilst also conveying the initial exposition of the narrative. The design of everyday objects (car and office space for example) compared to Mr Incredible further aid the narrative by being more obstacles to overcome. Note how his house is big enough to accommodate him, thus aiding the feelings of isolation from the rest of the world. 

‘Other ways to find a unique character design is to look at the characters’ goals and the conflicts they must confront. In The Triplets of Belleville, Madame Souza’s goal is to save her kidnapped grandson, Champion, from the French Mafia. She is small and old. Many obstacles are put in her way: an ocean, lack of money, the city of Belleville, and the Mafia. You would think that this would be enough. But Sylvan Chomet designed her with one leg shorter than the other. She wears one elevated shoe. Because of this, she can move only slowly. There is, in her physical design, an impediment to her goal: to quickly rescue her grandson. It is not enough that she is small and old. We expect grandmothers to be small and old. Her foot makes her different and memorable. The first time we see her we see her foot. It creates intrigue and we want to know more about her.’
(Alexander, Schumer and Sullivan 2008 P.108)

With the second video, i think it ties in narrative arc into an end wonderfully by using her main impediment as the characteristic that helps her achieve objective, and shows how the design and narrative can aid each other. 


ALEXANDER, K., SCHUMER, G., and SULLIVAN, K. 2008. Ideas for the Animated short: finding and building stories. Oxford: Focal Press

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The next stage

For the PGD stage of the project i am going to investigate character design and how it can be used to aid longer narratives and investigate how these techniques can be applied to confusion. I also intend to investigate expression, which is an extension of character design.

The process shown on the link shows the technique of designing a character to a brief and incorporating 3D models into a 2D image. The character design choices were based on requirements of client and their narrative purpose is limited to the context. The reason i am mentioning this here is because this breakdown provides us with the key decisions made on the characters whilst providing technical insight. However, applying this to animation will require slightly more considerations, such as movement, gesture and emotion. While shape and form share similar considerations between 2D and 3D, shape and form in 2D and 3D applied with the fourth dimension, time, change. Movement should aid narrative (pretty obvious), but how they move spatially is significantly different, and thus, have to be designed to accommodate this. 

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Modelled Character

Here is the completed model from Baris's modeling tutorials. Can't wait to get him textured and rigged. Will be updating tomorrow on my meeting with Nottingham Universities Mental Health School Doctors and possibly some of the commission I have had for modeling a car design.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Artefact 08

Artefact08 from Adam Weaver on Vimeo.

This is the final Artefact of the PGC. In this i have tied all of the separate elements together in one narrative to show how they can work. This is particularly relevant for the abstract manifestations of confusion. The artefacts where i have used animals as the foundation for creating gesture do not show confusion according to the feedback. However, within this storytelling context they work. This is important because it provides something internal for the audience to understand and can act as another form of information where a character lacks a face, and therefore becomes harder to read though process.

So in this storytelling context we have:

Non-abstract gestural character performance;
Abstract non-character performance (no personality);
Abstract character performance (with personality);
There are both linear and cyclical narrative forms manifested in different elements;
The rhythm is dictated through different techniques - video reference, audio and through my own interpretation; 
As highlighted in a previous post (here) we have music (sound) guiding action, Co-ordinated Action and Sound, and Music guiding Action.