Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Little Girl Character Design #06 - Character Sketch's #01

A few character pose sketch's produced to fully understand the character. I quite like the cookie jar one, perhaps another one to further develop with colour. Some facial expressions will be produced next, then its time to move onto the environment design.

Character Sketch's

Little Girl Character Design #05 - Concept #01

A concept painting for the little girl character. I feel the painting lost some of the cuteness that the quick sketch has, and has begun to lose focus on the design of the last character update.

Little Girl Concept
Little Girl Sketch

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Tutorial #03

Today's tutorial was very helpful in gathering an idea of the hurdles that i will need to overcome for this project. This was helpful as it gave me an idea of where to go next, and what to think about before i come to doing them, some key points were the technical aspects of the project such as; how to create the little girls hair, how to light the scene, and how to render the scene. Before i begin production it is clear that there is still plenty of work to produce, however after today's tutorial some reassurance set it, and i now feel I'm on a steady path to a successful major project. 

To finish off the pre-production stage of the project i need to produce; a finalised character with supporting art work, an accurate environment period set to the 50's which also matches the style put in place by the design of the character, and a simple design for the tentacle within the illustration - a fairly simple task as i want it to have an instantly recognisable effect on the viewer. 

Some tasks that i will need to complete in production, which were mentioned in the tutorial include:


Sub surface scattering, for a more realistic yet stylised image.

A system for creating the hair, some idea were discussed along the lines of maya hair in combination with modelled nurb surface hair, and the maya shave and haircut plugin.


Well crafted models with a high level of quality throughout.

A lighting setup, depending on how the character is textured, in combination with the hair.

Render layers/passes, i.e breaking down the scene for maximum control.

There is a lot of work to be done and a lot of production work that needs to be figured out during the r&d stage of the project. I plan on completing the pre-production stage of the project by the next tutorial, which will allow me to move into production where it will be full steam ahead,

Little Girl Character Design #04 - Near Final

As the little girl within the illustration will be wearing a night gown, which will be created using nCloth, i have decided to create a near final turn around which maps out the little girls body underneath the clothing. Its pretty close to being final, however there are a few proportion issues, and some body parts which need to be figured out. Reference images pending - as you can guess its pretty difficult to get reference for a child's body. Along side this issue, the design needs to be well balanced between style and realism. As you can see in my influence map for the little girl character, there is a certain balance between realism and style which i would like achieve in my character. This is easily achievable in the clothed character, however in the nude one all the body parts need to be mapped together in a realistic fashion, which also replicates the design of the clothed character.

On a side note from the character, i have also decided on a title and design for the project branding. The name 'Dont Go to the Toilet at Night', may seem long and a bit wordy, however it is supposed to represent a child's manner of opinion. The font itself is one from the 50's which i feel represents the perfect balance between horror and play school - aided by the off kilter, and slightly random sized letters. The added cracks in the text, and the worn out wallpaper in the background, also hopefully aid in the horror-esque sense that should apparent within the work.

Near Final Turn Around
Selected Project Brand

Friday, 24 February 2012

Project Branding #01

Recently Ive been working on some branding for the project, I'm still not sure on the name, although some experimentation within the text has been aiding in the decision. I quite like the first font as it represents the type of font used in the 50's. The second set of fonts display a more imaginative, dream type effect, where as the last set of font display a more toon like B-movie effect. I can see myself pushing forward with the first font, however a name still needs to be selected. 

'A Child's Imagination' is based on the idea of the project, which is a scenario seen through the eyes of a child. Where as 'Dont go to the Toilet at Night' is the actual scenario imagined by a child. I feel the first font has a dream like aesthetic, and the added cracks in the text add a sense of horror, along with the off kilter and sized lettering which add a child like sense.

Project Branding Ideas

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Little Girl Character Design #03 - Refined Side

I have further refined the side view of the character. I re-shaped that face to further match the front view, and adjusted the arm slightly. I still need to develop the hand and feet, however i feel the overall design of the character is working now, and will work well in its transition into 3D.

Refined Turn Around

Little Girl Character Design #02 - Developed Character

I decided to re-work the turn around for the chosen character to develop a design which would translate well in production. The basic proportions are in place, with just the hands and feet left to figure out. I also need to further develop the side view of the character as i feel it stands a bit odd. The first developed sketch was off to a good start however the face of the character appeared to be too old for the concept. The second sketch is much more appealing as it displays the correct level of cuteness at the correct age for the concept - this is due to the button nose, and the rounding of the eyes. 

Selected Character - Developed Turn Around

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Little Girl Character Design #02 - Selected Character

I have selected the below character to take forward and develop as the little girl in my illustration. Her form will be further refined, along with the design for her hair style and clothing. I decided to choose this character as i feel she represents the correct age, and has a cute factor that will work well for the illustration.

Selected Character - Initial Turn Around

Idea Synopsis

Not a synopsis in the strictest sense, however its rather necessary for the understanding of the illustration. The idea which drives this project put simply, is the idea that children are scared of the dark, and a further development of the synopsis - is the imagination of children in addition to fear.

In a few articles found on the National Sleep Foundation, and the Baby Centre, an understanding of why such fears are present have begun to develop.
Bedtime fears — of the dark, monsters under the bed, and sleeping alone — are common at this age. These are the years when your child's powers of imagination are exploding, which means that now he can imagine new and scary things to be afraid of. A good portion of his day is spent immersed in fantasy play, in the company of dragons and dinosaurs and bad guys. At bedtime it can be hard for him to shut off his imagination and go to sleep. Even familiar things that have never been scary before, like his darkened bedroom, suddenly seem frightening against the backdrop of what he's been conjuring up all day. And since your child is still learning to distinguish fantasy from reality, the possibility of an invisible creature under his bed seems quite real to him. (Trisha Thompson)
Nighttime fears and nightmares are extremely common in children, especially during the preschool years, but they can definitely occur in older children and adolescents as well. They are part of normal development, as children’s imaginations develop and children begin to understand that there are things that exist that can hurt them. There are times that fears and nightmares are the result of a frightening experience, from being scared by a large dog to being in a car accident to watching the news, but other times they seem to come out of the blue. Family conflict and parental anxiety can also play a role. Anything that makes a child more emotionally aroused is going to make his fears worse and make him feel more anxious. Children also typically have different fears at different developmental stages. Young children are often afraid of monsters and other imaginary creatures, whereas older children are more likely to fear being hurt by more realistic dangers, such as burglars or a natural disaster. (Jodi Mindell)
Children are scared of the dark around the pre-school age as there awareness of the world begins to develop , whilst the ability to determine what is reality and fantasy remains non-existent. This is an interesting idea to develop on, as a child's imagination is endless - allowing for a fantasy concept to take place. The addition of reality adds to the appeal of the concept as it relates to a very real problem facing many children in the modern world

As a child's mind develops, their ability to relate to the world does as well. Which in turn develops their understanding of various different situations that may occur to them. As the character of the little girl in my project is in a situation that would be deemed unbelievable and unrealistic in real life. The idea must therefore be seen through the eyes of a child around the pre-school age - allowing for some sense to come out of a rather wacky concept.

So in a nut shell, the idea for this project is based on that of a pre-school child's worst imagination of what may occur to them whilst daring to go the the toilet at night. A further post will display the link between the chosen environment, the character, the idea, and its minor horror implications. 

Monday, 20 February 2012

Little Girl Character Design #01 - Initial Sketch's

Here are the initial sketch's for the little girl character of the project. I have attempted to keep the sketch's very loose and all based around the same design. The main purpose of these sketch's was to figure out the proportions of the character, and an artistic style to follow. The character needs to appeal cute and innocent to capture the emotion of the illustration, which will also aid in the synopsis of the piece - the idea that children are scared of the dark. The age of the little girl is also a factor to consider in the design, as it will need to relate to the general age in which the fear of the dark, and sleeping alone begins in a childs life.

The age of the little girl is about 3-4 years old, this enables for a believable role in terms of the synopsis, and is a good age for applying the cute factor. To create the character i have been following the guidelines that the characters body is twice the size of the head, with in some cases half a size more, and the head is generally oversized slightly. The facial features of the character are exagerated, and the face of the character sits quite low on the head. 

These sketch's show a range of style, and different types of the same character. I am most pleased with the third set of drawings as they are the more resolved set, but in particular i am pleased with the middle character. After this sketch i then moved on to produce two more, which would focus on raising the age of the character by a year or so - which appeared not to work. Now the basic character sketch is in place i can further resolve the design up on answering the previous environment and setting questions posted below.

Initial Sketches - Set 01
Initial Sketches - Set 02
Initial Sketches - Set 03

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Tutorial #02

The purpose of this tutorial was to further develop and refine my idea proposed in tutorial #01. The main subjects discussed included the setting, aesthetic of the illustration, and some early character sketches were proposed.

From the influence maps posted in a previous post, its clear that there are various different directions in which i can take the project, with the most tasking decision being the overall setting for the illustration. I know that i want to set the illustration in the 50's, which i saw as a rather important piece of information, as this meant that i now had an overall aesthetic and time period to work to.

This therefore answered my question about whether the illustraton is set in the contemporary modern day, or whether it was set 60 years ago. However an interesting point was raised; the illustration can be set in the modern day but still have an overall 50's aesthetic, a good example being Pixar's Monsters Inc. The design aesthetic for Monsters Inc is very 50's inspired, however it is set entirely in the modern day. This can be seen in the introduction for the film which which reflects the concept art and aesthetic of the film, and displays an influence the work produced by Saul Bass.
Saul Bass (May 8, 1920 – April 25, 1996) was a graphic designer and filmmaker, best known for his design of film postersand motion picture title sequences.During his 40-year career Bass worked for some of Hollywood's greatest filmmakers, including Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger, Billy Wilder,Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese. Amongst his most famous title sequences are the animated paper cut-out of a heroin addict's arm for Preminger's The Man with the Golden Arm, the credits racing up and down what eventually becomes a high-angle shot of the United Nations building in Hitchcock's North by Northwest, and the disjointed text that races together and apart in Psycho.

(Psycho 1998, original can not be embedded)

The setting for the environment affects certain design elements of the character, i.e the little girls hair style, her clothing, and accessories. Therefore i knew that i needed to figure out the design of the environment before i could work on these areas of her design. However the design of her body and face would remain the same either way, so i was able to work on this without a decision. Some initial character sketches will be posted in a later post soon to come. The next stage of the project will be to make the neccassary design decisions enabling me to move forward with the project and undergo some further research in the basis of the illustration.

Friday, 17 February 2012

'The Oriental West' Stills

A few high res still images from the minor project, as you can see the night time shots have the potential to be something very special - a project definitly worth going back to.

Courtyard 01
Courtyard 02

Friday, 10 February 2012

Tutorial #01

For my first tutorial of the project i approached it with a straight sense of direction, and a clear but concise proposal which can be seen in the post below. As i have approached the project with a previous concept, the basic idea is already in place, however some work around the idea of the piece, and some further development has been needed. To aid in the visual understanding of my project i have produced some influence maps which show a direction for the idea, the character, and the environment. Some interesting points on the project premise and some further ideas were raised, all of which will be taken into account ready for the next tutorial. This first tutorial has been of great value to the project as it has enabled me to further ground my idea, and allow me to move onto the concept stage. 

As you can see the influence maps show a rather mixed message in terms of visual direction. There is still a ton of decisions to work out, such as the overall art direction, and the time period of the environment and character - all of which will be developed up on and figured out within the next few posts. On a side note, a similar concept to my idea can be seen below, a set of illustrations which display the world through a child's perspective. They all share a sense of naivety and creativity which i hope to create in my illustration.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Project Proposal

Friday, 3 February 2012

Developing Ideas

Since the briefing I'm not entirely sure which direction i should take this project.  After the briefing and some discussions, its clear that a good style and quirky idea is the way forward, however i still find that an interior environment still is something I'm quite interested in producing. Whatever idea i decide to take forward for this project, either way i will be creating an interior environment. Ive been gathering some reference material for style and art direction. The sense of realism i would like to create lies some where between Pixar's Ratatouille, the recent CGI remake of Tintin, and the image below created by Juan Siquier.

Some other visual reference includes the Defective Detective, and The Lady and the Reaper animations. Both of which have had there fair share of influence on this course so far.

I also like the colour palette and low lighting in the 3D illustration by Michal Kwolek, and Carl Fredrikson's house in Pixar's Up.

Another idea for the project, inspired by the following image Barbershop Bear, by Miguel Alba Gutierrez, is to create a still image of a classic tattoo parlour. My only reservations with this idea is that, other than the composition of the image and the set design, there is not much creative design work as it will rely heavily on real life reference, similar to the living room in my transcription project (which i feel was successful). The realism of this piece would be fairly high, so thinking back to the briefing, with the idea that technical capability is taken for granted - this idea has no firm sense of style, as it would be a recreation of a real life scene. 

However i do feel there is space for a very nice still image of an interior environment such as this one, as its period set, has a design element to it, and it not your everyday architectural image of interior housing.

This post has narrowed my project down to two very different but main ideas, both of which are the premise for a good project, but now its time to choose one.

Branding #02

Ive re-designed the blog so its up to date with my new branding, im liking how its looking so far, although some changes are needed on the ident so it now matches with the new blog.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Branding #01

Whilst in the progress of refining my idea for the project, i have been working on branding myself as a professional within the CG industry. To begin i started to re-design my logo/blog banner, theres not much variation in the design, but rather the text. Im pretty happy with my existing one so only a simple re-wording was needed. I then took it into After Effects to begin my showreel, so far i have created a simple ident.

Logo designs