This ImagineFx article has some good creature concept design advice from Terryl Whitlatch. There’s some beautiful work on her website also:
ImagineFx March 2013 Anatomy of an Alien Race (Terryl Whitlatch)
- “A script. A story. A place. Here’s where creature design begins.”
- “Consider all the elements that make your creature tick -the ability to run vast distances, to eat what the land provides, to flee or defend oneself. Plus the ability to create objects that not only aid in all of the above but allow the recording – as in art, writing, music – of this, and the spirituality that ties all such life experiences together. We have a civilization. We have a time, a place, a history and a culture. We have the ‘why’ of the creature – what it does. This why establishes the ‘what’ of the creature – what it looks like to do what it does. For your audience to suspend their disbelief they have to accept that the anatomical design of the animal can reasonably perform what the story or screenplay asks of it.”
- form (muscle, skeleton, etc.) adapted to function.
- do gestural studies to learn about the character.
- “The more knowledgeable you are about zoology, the stronger creature designer you’ll be. So read as much about real animals as possible – this relates to the understanding of relative anatomy and behaviour, which go hand in hand.”
- Even the curvature of the spine will inform you about the creature’s ability to walk upright or on all fours. A long tail can act as a counterbalance to prevent upright creatures from falling over.
- Expression sheets show the character in typical poses or actions from the story and should demonstrate how the anatomy is affected for various movements (this was also mentioned in the Digital Tutors topology tutorial so as to know where to add resolution to the mesh for movement).