Friday, 22 October 2010

Research: Character Design Influence Maps by Ruben

As the new assigned Art director alongside my colleague Chris, I decided to take the characters already designed for our project, and bring them together to the Art style we are going for. In the pitch, the feedback related to the characters was that they despite being good designs, they were belonging to a completely different world, a more cartoony and stylised world.
So in order to move this project forward quicker, me and Chris and the rest of the group are working together to create characters that will fit with our animation style.
The first step is to come up with some influence maps that can be used not only by me, but also by any other group member, to base their sketches on it. For the purpose, to bring the style of the characters create closer to the same style.
Although this job was done a few weeks, ago, due to the circumstances it is needed to redo all the influence maps and forget the old ones as they belong to a different world.

 The Scientist- Influence Map

Working closely with the director, me as the Art director, am trying to portray his idea of the scientist to perfectly fit in our animation. After his description of scientist, I restarted the researching british scientist looks. the description he gave me of a scientist can easily be associated with the term "boffins", which consist in scientists, medical doctors, engineers and other people based in the scientific research area. This term is often associated to a certain type of character, a clever and nerdy person, become a quite introverted person. Litterally, what we are looking for.

General- Influence Map

Another issue, was our general character, where we went for a more American approach of Army, in order to Anglicize the general we have to bear in mind the idea that British Army is completely different from the American. British Army is often known as a more sophisticated body of attack and defense. Therefore, our "destructive" look General was a bit misplaced. To understand this sophistication, I gather some different pictures from real-life generals and some actors playing General in British films and TV Series. Clearly the difference is visible between concepts.

Scientist's Assistant- Influence Map

Our Scientist's Assistant and the main woman in our animation, was again misinterpreted, the idea of a bombshell character was something we aimed for but in the end it would not fit in the animation. To create a truthful British assistant, we have to understand how they often appeared either in TV Series or Films. On one hand, American main actresses were filled with glamour and sex-appeal, British Actresses were more modest, using this modest beauty in their favour. The modest type of women starred in these films, brought cuteness to the film, but also they were associated to British culture of that time.

Names such as Barbara Wright, Janet Munro, Liz Shaw, Sara Kingdom, Victoria Waterfield and Susan Foreman, among many others, are names worth looking for.

Generic Woman- Influence Map

Finally, another character misinterpreted, was a generic female character, although not as important as the main characters, it is a extra character which will be need in our animation world. So a faithful understanding of women in 1950's Britain is crucial, looking at their look, we have an idea how a extra actor would look when featured in a 1950 film.

Hopefully, this post will be useful for all our members who will be designing their own ideas of the character over the weekend, and first thing monday a meeting to choose the definite type of character.

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