Easter week 01 (March 21st)
For the start of Easter I agreed to focus on William so as to help finalise his design for use in our concepts. This was the first time during the project that the responsibility of developing the characters (on paper at least) fell my way. I found that I haven’t been practicing my figure drawing enough and I wanted to have a strong anatomical foundation from which I could develop William. Because of this, I spent some time trying to refresh/improve my abilities in constructing the male figure and proportions. I’ve been a follower of Loomis’ teachings for a while now and I like to go back to his books when I’m having problems.
Andrew Loomis (1943) Figure Drawing For All It’s Worth
I came across this huge database of character design references on Pinterest also:
Character Design References
It has a lot of useful collections for different anatomy types and demographics. This pin which I found on the male anatomy board was particularly useful as we had discussed the changes that William could go through over the 10 years (keeping them subtle):
Image by phobus-romulus on deviantArt. Found on Pinterest here: link
We were questioning the level of cartoony to realism that our designs have so far. We had agreed that we liked the character design in Le Gouffre (blogged about here: link) so I thought it would be worth while to study the proportions of the characrers’ faces in this. It might also be useful to reverse engineer a 3D model into a simplified 2D concept so as to see how our own 2D concepts will translate into 3D. This is sometimes difficult to imagine for me.
These studies might not be exact due to perspective in the screenshots. I did learn that the eyes are not as big as I expected even though they are still large and appealing. I also realised that I was constructing heads with the ears possibly in the wrong place so I need to reconsider how I go about doing this.
These pages from Loomis’ book Drawing the Head and Hands was good for remembering how the facial muscles flow for planning topology.
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).