Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Directed Study: Character Design for Animators (Fall 2015)

Module 15:

My first wrap up of the week. It was fun. We all presented our wonderful maquettes along with our 'How to" books. Even though we all were working together on our sculptures in some previous few days, it was so interesting to see the final outcome of all of them.

I will say I learned a lot about how Meelo works just from this assignment. I am so glad to finally be able to really 'see' how he looks in a three-quarter view since I have always had trouble with that. Also, understanding how to draw his structure really helped me understand how far an artist should go in order to understand what has to be accomplished in order to, well, understand yourself and your drawing. Drawing Meelo over an over and over again gave me the understanding of Meelo as a character and as a 'real' individual.

Module 14:

Last model day! What a fun goonies inspired day. I was able to feel more comfortable with exploring the characters the models were portraying. I basically turned them into animals, which I felt right at home doing. What was really interesting is they fit. I actually made characters, stuck with them, and was able to reproduce their likeness and character throughout the models' sessions. Really proud of that.

Module 13:

Meelo maquette is finished! I have yet to take a picture, but I will post it sometime. Otherwise, still working on the 'How to' for Meelo. Kind of time consuming but need to get it done.

Module 12:

Nothing to update. Horrible ear ache and still working on my "How to Draw Meelo." But my maquette of him is coming along very nicely! I am happy with him but he still needs a good amount of work.

Module 11:

I won't post much here today since I am very busy putting together a "How to Draw Meelo" book for the class. But there will be pictures to come! Especially of my maquette of Meelo! I have to take pictures as I go along the process. And, I will say, thus far, it is not good. I am hoping I get better as I go along. It is a big sculpture too. Though working bigger can be easier, it takes a bit more time and materials, and super sculpy isn't cheap. But I feel that learning how to make a maquette correctly is EXTREMELY important. I am very surprised that, even in the on-site charter design class for children's book, it is not an assignment because I feel it is an important skills to know how to do right. I mean, children book illustrators are involved in the character development world just as much as an animator.

I will add that this class is getting overwhelming. My "How to" book won't be the best thing as I am trying to fit everything on top of working and thesis. Not that a good amount of work is a bad thing, I juts feel that it is too much, for any class. Cannot wait for a day where I can just relax from this crazy semester!

Module 10:

So after some more sketching and exploration, I was able to create a great caricature of me! On top of that, I really enjoy my companions! They are super fun and really work together well. AS you may have read before, I didn't want to post my previous versions of me as both male and female. They were just awful, just.......just no. But this week we had to take some animals from the sf zoo trip and combine them to make another character to relate to our previous team. I stuck with Claude, the albino alligator, but I changed both me and Claude to be viking warriors! For my other companion I put together a gorilla, a peccary pig, and giraffe (the feet).

Module 9:

San Francisco Zoo! What a fun trip. It was needed to get out of the city, especially seeing a wonderful view of the Pacific Ocean. But I will say, I wasn't all there yet again. I was so encompassed by just observing the animals they had, some of which I have never seen before or even knew they existed. One animal though that I was in awe of was the Gorilla. The zoo had a few, and each was part of a rescue/conservation effort, and they looked quite content. But thier alpha male, he was just beautiful. I couldn't get over how powerful he seemed, even how he was 'posing.' Very beautiful. Yet, I felt sad that they were in this small-ish area, but happy that they are safe. Such beautiful creatures. I had fun drawing them, among the others I had fun drawing.

Module 8:

Another class day, but at least midterms are over. This extra work that I have been doing is becoming too much, and lots of busy work. I am sure once I am done with this semester I will feel much more accomplished after all this busy work is done, but busy work stinks some times! Our homework was deemed as 'less work' this week. I laughed inside, my professor is funny. She still gave us a good amount to do. Including starting a 5 point turn around. Yet, it is all in preparation for our maquette which I am super excited to start! I will finally be able to understand the process of making one but also get a better understanding of Meelo and how he moves, sits and how his angles look.

 Maquette idea for Meelo (lazy lump of fat! HeeHee)

What is helping is the idea of sketching him out A LOT. I have to do 25 thumbs of him. Not rendered but simple, which is helping me understand his shape. I have never done this before and I know now that doing around 25 thumbs of a character involving their expressions, particular movements, and their emotional reactions to certain situations is super important in the developmental process.

Above is a break down of his proportions. I haven't done this yet and I finally feel I will be able to draw him consistently now. Before this, I found that I either made his head to big compared to his body, or tail too short, or his ears too small. But this is pretty much where he should be in terms of proportions. Looking at this now though, I made his knees just a bit shorter than they should! They should just go over where his arms are placed. Good thing it is an erasable colored pencil!

As for the thumbs: 

Module 7:

Today was our first field trip for the class. We went to the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park to draw some animals. Super fun as always to go there, but not so fun with back pain I have been so blessed with this week. Because of that, everything I did I feel is really, for lack of a better word, shameful. My concentration was not in it today since this has been the worst day with the back pain thus far. Yet I did what I could. I went on the 'scavenger hunt' for the particular animals she wanted us to draw, and just explore to facility. Personally, I did more exploring than drawing. I was here a couple of weeks ago so I have already drawn a good deal. Not that I didn't want to draw, I WANTED to badly to draw, but I was so tired and in pain. I feel that you can still do some work when you are tired, but being in pain, that is a huge block for your concentration.

Like I said, I won't post here. Even the homework, since what I produced thus far (later this week) it is really bad. So very bad. Just one of those weeks I guess.

Module 6:

Finally! Animals!!! I know, I shouldn't be so excited, but I am. Not that I am horrible at humans, I just enjoy animals more. She gave us an assignment that had less work than normal, or for me it was since animals are my specialty. What was fun though, to kick start the class into drawing animals, during class we were told to take our models and turn them into Anthropomorphic beings! Of course, there was always a subject to follow, so we had to focus on the idea of turning our models into Little John and Robin Hood from the Disney animated version. It was fun and a nice change. I feel that I am freer with the idea that animals are involved. I get to tight with humans, since I am not good with accuracy and total likeness. With animals, all you need, mostly, is the general understanding of the creature and you are good (unless you are drawing an animal portrait)

Module 5:

RRRRrrrRRRrRRRrRRRRRrrrrrrrrr Matty! Ye be a PIRRrrrRrrRRAT!?!?!

I couldn't resist. I am sure you can tell, this week was all about pirates! I really enjoyed our Master studies this week since they were from Peter Pan, one of my most favorite movies of all time. But it was so interesting for me, to draw the characters. AS I was talking to my professor, we got to talking about how this class is all about getting us to understand how important it is to draw and observe, and draw some more. For example, if you like a character in one show because their shape is interesting, draw it. If you enjoy how a child character moves, draw him/her. Drawing your interests gets you to understand how to expand on those ideas and bring forward more ideas. Yes, this class requires a lot of drawing, it almost seems too much, but I know that after it is done, I feel that I will have gained that most important habit: draw it, just draw it!

Module 4:

Ratatouille!!! What a wonderful movie. As we watched it in class during our lunch break, we were all amazed at how FAR Pixar has come in terms of animation quality! I mean, the movie was well done, don't get me wrong, but now we are so spoiled with "How to Train Your Dragon 2," where the detail is crazy good. But no matter, still good :)

So a Ratatouille inspired character! We had to also do a Simpsons inspired version of our character as well, which was challenging but interesting. They may seem simple in design, but the slightest difference in eye shape, placement, lip shape, spacing, body shape etc can give you an awful design! But I enjoyed it and learn a lot from this one. On top of that we had to focus on designing a character not based on our own ethnicity or home country. So, me and my love for American Indians and their cultures, I chose to do an Inuit inspired male character from Northwest Canada. O yes, and we cannot forget the companion! I chose the arctic white rabbit, not the main source of food for the Inuit, but they still hunt them for an appetizer.

Module 3:

You know what is unfortunate: The fact that this homework didn't work for me this module! And the thing that bothers me the most is that the assignment is viking based! aka How to Train Your Dragon. We had to create a human character and their dragon. Of all the subjects I felt like I failed in, I had to fail in one of my most favorite subjects to work with: viking women and dragons. I feel that my ideas need development and more explorative sketching. I said that to my professor and she told me,

"Some day we are diamonds, and some days we are stones."

She went on to say that my master copy was great! Which I agreed with, but I am a better copier sometimes than a creator. But this whole animation thing is new to me, so it will get better right?!

I appreciate her thoughts on my work though. I was telling her how I wish I just grasped the How to Train Your Dragon style. She went on to say that it happens. Sometimes, you see a model, you love how they are, and then you start drawing, and nothing is working. It just happens, you move on, you keep drawing. Maybe that is why artists tend to manage their lives a bit better (most of the time), because we face so many problems to solve everyday, that if we fail, we move on quicker. We know that there is something better that we are getting closer to, so we move on.

Just rambling here so I present my characters:

Module 2:

After going over my previous homework with me, my professor, Sarah, suggested that I try and explore more options with shapes when I am drawing my thumbnails for my characters, especially sine I am using this class as a directed study! She was super excited on my previous homework and surprised when I told her that I have never done this kind of drawing before. I assured her that I wasn't used to the animators way of development. It is all very gesture, fast, and to the point. Which can either  lead one to be messy or improve in one's accuracy (as you, my readers, have seen me say many a times thus far!). This week we had to do a super hero! After getting come inspiration form our two assigned artists, I went into "The Incredibles" for my style of choice. I enjoyed it. I felt that I got this character on the first try, but I did go into more exploration to be sure.

I call him Atmos-Fear! He controls the air! I see him as a vigilantly if he were a character in the storyline.

Module 1:

Well I can tell you right now this class is another on that will bring me out of my comfort zone. Not in a stressful way, but in a more productive and beneficial way. I always feel that, when I draw any characters, I can't seem to figure out how they move in space. Consistency is  problem for me. A big problem. I mean, no I am not horrible at it, but there are mistakes I make in character design drawings that I don't want to see me doing anymore, aka inconsistency. I need to get better at that. Also, I am still in the newly wed phase of the whole character design world. Meaning, I am new to it. I am not use to creating a character multiple times in different positions, emotions, movements etc. I need to understand structure and movement, and at the same time, pushing those gestures and shapes I can use to push characters further.
All in all though, I am taking this class to brush up my ideas for Meelo. I need to understand him more. He IS my character. Not an animal for a fable, not Black Beauty, my own. I have trouble putting him into certain emotions and movements that I need to understand. IN this class I will be doing a maquette! Totally excited for that! And because this assignment is based off of a character you design, I am using it to push Meelo a bit. He is there, I have his shape down to where he should be, but his shape in space, how he moves, still working on that.

As for homework, I am surprised at the amount. It is a good chunk of work, but not too little, not too much. And I found this first one to be interesting. WE had to practice some drawings of Ariel from The Little Mermaid as well as make up our own character that would work with the world.
To push me out of the normal, beautiful mermaid idea, I went and made a villain! I call her Ulga, Ursula's bestie! I kept to a more curvy form rather than a skinny Ariel mermaid since I need to explore more options when it comes to ALL types of characters in a given story. I loved how she came out! I am surprised that I got her so close too. As in relatable to the Disney style and the movie itself. She really does look like she could be in the story!

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