These are a few videos and articles with advice from del Toro on designing monstrous creatures. These have been sitting in my blog drafts for a few months now so it’s worth looking back on how we’ve applied these thoughts. Looking at the creatures that we’ve developed over the past few months, I think that a lot of the advice below came quite naturally to us out of the necessity of creation. With Púca, the strangeling (both skull and house form) and Tato, we seem to be getting good feedback in that people don’t instantly compare them to other monsters. With regards to the environment supporting the monster, we’ve planned in the color script for different atmospheres so hopefully we can pull it off! Maybe the one thing that we haven’t looked at more is the metaphorical meaning of our strangelings and their ability to possess objects with faces. I feel like this could come with developing the series more and making more episode ideas for our series bible.
Guillermo del Toro How To… Create a Movie Monster
- Don’t make your creature perpetually angry. Imagine them in a relaxed pose. Don’t pile on the kitchen sink of horns and teeth. Imagine the lion in repose, majestic.
- The color should say more about your character.
- How does it move?
- Never reference another movie monster when designing a movie monster.
The ghosts of “Crimson Peak”. How were they created?
“Socially, biologically and mythologically explained. Monsters were created in myths used as a way of explaining the world around us.”
Guillermo del Toro: “Monsters Are Living, Breathing Metaphors”
Guillermo del Toro’s sketchbooks – Commentary – The New Yorker
Guillermo del Toro’s 4 Steps to Creating Memorable Movie Monsters
- Draw on a multitude of sources.
- Tone and environment are as important as creature design.
- Think about all the angles.
- Convey the emotions driving the thoughts and therefore the character.
Semester 02 Weeks 01 – 02 (2018/01/29 – 2018/02/11)
Artistry and Planning
Kerry and I have been working on asset proxies, layouts and camera setups while Matthew and Sorcha have been working on animation/characters and Andrew has been working on the character rigs.
Kerry and I made a list of all the flora and other elements that will go into making our forest backgrounds interesting as well as the props for the interior of the house and other environment features unique to certain scenes such as step ruins. We are working with the aim to get the layouts blocked out with very basic proxy models so that blocked animation can begin as soon as possible. Sorcha and I planned out a maya project folder system where props, characters and layouts are within the assets folder. Props are referenced into the layout files. The layouts and characters are then referenced into the scene files within the scene folder. This way animation can be happening in the scene files and props can be worked on in their individual files while layouts are being developed or vice-versa.
For layouts, Kerry is responsible for layouts 02, 04/07 (before and after explosion) and 06 and I’m responsible for 01, 03, and 05.
Once the cameras are more in place from the animatic then we’ll be able to do another pass on the layouts so that the compositions are better. I’ve made a start on setting up the camera sequencer for the layouts I’m on but some moving cameras are better left to whoever is animating.
Layout 03 using MASH
Week 18 (2018/01/22)
Technical and Research
These are some of the videos which I found useful when researching how to use MASH for set dressing.
MASH – Placer Node
This video shows how to scatter geometry using the brush-like placer node. I found that MASH only works in cm. There is an option to set “strict no collisions” but I found that my geometry was still colliding no matter how I played around with the settings. It therefore took a lot more care in placing geometry than what is shown in the video.
Set dressing using MASH Placer Node & Arnold Procedural /Standins
This video introduces the workflow of scattering low-poly geometry with the mash placer node which are then swapped out at render time with the detailed versions. The arnold help page on An Introduction to Stand-ins shows how to export geometry as stand-ins and be re-created as bounding boxes in the viewport. So far we haven’t had the need to use this method.
Maya 2017 – Intro to Mash
This video introduces how animation from an origin mesh can then be duplicated and controlled with a time node. This node is only available with non-instanced MASH and therefore requires a low to high number of meshes workflow.
MASH – World Node Clusters
I looked into this as an alternative to using the placer node. An option in the World Node allows you to generate clusters of geometry around the first geometry ID in your network.
Research and Artistry
These are some of my summarised notes from the Schoolism course on Designing with Color and Light by Nathan Fowkes. We should try and keep these in mind when planning our color script. These were wrote with 2D concepts in mind but applies to 3D also.
- Use Photoshop layers/groups for editing depth from foreground to background – 3 to 8 layers (from my own experience of working in Photoshop)
- Consider atmospheric depth – values.
- Consider atmospheric depth – color temperature.
- Use depth of field blur
- Use repeating shapes in z-space to create depth.
- Consider the light source, where it hits local color, and where it is blocked.
- Consider shadow color. Is it affected by bounced light from sky, or bounced light from light source?
- Vary each of hue, value and saturation. Consider the key of the light (the levels distribution). Consider variety across the color script sequences and how they lead into each other.
- Does the light and color design (hsv) reflect the mood of the story?
- Use variety in color temperature harmonies to create visual interest.
- Use local colors for visual interest.
- Use optical mixing to create greys (etc.) that are more alive e.g. dots of grey-yellow beside dots of grey-magenta.
- Contrast should be reserved for the focal point. Draw the eye with sharp edges, contrast in value and light and contrast in hue temperature.
- Group your values for readability. Adjust photo textures to the same value groupings.
- Use weather to build atmosphere and mood.
- Check perspective for every part of the painting – sky, ground, characters, textures, effects etc.
I went into more detail on the course in earlier blog posts:
Schoolism Color and Light with Nathan Fowkes Week 5
Schoolism Classmate Feedback Week 05
Schoolism Week 06 Light and Atmosphere
Schoolism Week 06 Feedback: Atmosphere and Light
Schoolism Week 07 Designing with Light