Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Freelance - lgbtmentalhealth.ie - Concept & Development

The client asked for a character which would be genderless and to an extent ageless. The video is supposed to appeal to everyone in the LGBT spectrum and therefor had to be non-specific but yet relateable. I wanted to go down a similar path to the 'Dumb Ways to Die' video by using characters which would normally appear in a children's animation but had a message intended for adults. Even with a simple design I wanted to go about it the right way by starting with character thumbnails. I used a technique I saw recently on youtube where the artist was working on character thumbnails for Thorin Oakenshield, albeit a very simplified version of it. After deciding on a set of silhouettes, you copy them a number of times and force yourself to try many different variations. You then work back into them with white to establish the details.

After choosing this character I recreated it in vector format (again in Photoshop, not Illustrator) and mocked up a couple of colour and shape variants. Creating the character this way means I was almost ready to import into After Effects and start rigging, only the multiple mouths needed creating.

I created the storyboard concurrently to the character design, although the character can change, it doesn't really matter too much if the model is slightly different in the boards when you animate (unless of course there are extra limbs or something like that).

The character did in fact end up changing, sometimes you don't really see these things so it's great to have another pair of eyes, but the character was a bit like a chicken drumstick or a pigeon so it was decided to go back to the thumbnails - this is where having thumbnails and showing them to the client pays off - they can see your 'working out' and can pick another of your ideas that you may have perhaps dismissed.

And there you have it - as I mentioned in my last post - the stripes on the arms were lost in the end and the 'trousers' were changed to 'socks'. I found the short bodies somewhat limited when animating, they didn't have really any articulation in the waist. I was able to get better results with 4 pins on the character rather than 3 (which I used in the first video) but any large movements of the pins led to some pretty ugly distortions of the rectangular body. The biggest 'warp' I was able to get away with was in video 1 when the purple character gets on tip-toes and blows away the cloud.

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