7 Sep 2011

Recent Work

Here's some  design work Ive involved myself in which was for a chance to work for an indie iOS game studio.  We each  had to design and animate a character performing a movement that would be present in the game.

As I do, I overlook the possibility that as an indie company they probably want 'cutting edge' animation graphics rather than a 'classic' design although there was a mention of being quite Disney-Esq with the design process. Despite this it seems that cut-out animation and texturing won the battle here which I didnt even consider as it is something I dont and havnt really been properly introduced to as an animator. When its done properly it looks amazing (The girl who actually won the job is a perfet example how to do it right!:)) but I also feel it plagues the animation industry like... a plague! Its everywhere and this is partly why I havnt tried harder to adopt this method of animating because, lets face it and I think some may agree; it saps the life out of the character's performance and corrodes the soul of the animator in the process (when its not done to a high standard).

However, its always handy to learn new things so I must try to go with whats popular now and again (Urgh I just told myself to conform, now I feel dirty) to increase chances of employment. Im always hoping someone will like my 'cartoony' sometimes retarded looking characters next to something that is getting to be a little over-done but never-mind..I'll have my day!

Pencil designs:



 Them's some daft lookin' bears son! I had ALOT of fun drawing these guys and to be fair all I thought about all week was,'how can I make this guy look even more dumb?' It really was a labour of love (something I do more often than Id care to mention) and I really thought that from these designs that I would at least come 2nd in the design side of things. But! It wasnt to be but it did indeed 'flex my design muscle' and feel this was a great mini-project of 243MB to kick start what I will soon be working on; my mini-short film :P

Some Inked and Developed designs:

Being a natural queen of indecisiveness (sometimes not all) I decided to choose two characters to develop. This guy:

 And this was my real choice:


These guys came in a hot third place (the 1st and 2nd designs)

 If theres one thing I love and thats goofy characters with over-bites and a vacant expression of stupidity on their happy happy faces. I love playing with body-shapes and generally creating wacky designs. I thought they worked pretty well in colour too.

The Animation:

 It really was a joy to animate and stretch that design and create some interesting movements and character performance. Im in the process of adding this guy to my showreel along with a few other updaterees so watch this space and watch for him when you see the updated version. Hope you enjoy and feedback is always welcome:) 

1 comment:

  1. I think the fundamental issue with character animation at the moment is that, generally speaking, the type of visuals companies are after really fall more under the category of Motion Graphics. Knock wood the day of full character animation will have its day again soon (fashions and styles being as cyclical as they are) but until then it may be worth having a look at some Pictoplasma or OneDotZero motion graphics anthologies and getting some ideas for characters-in-motion rather than characters living/breathing/emoting etc. It's not ideal, but I'm sure you'll find that it's a lot easier to adapt to that type of thing with a fuller knowledge of animation than if it were the other way around. It's frustrating because the 'less is more' attitude completely goes against the grain of a traditional animator.
    As far as the proposed animation example goes I think it's superb and it'll definitely look great on the reel. The only thing I'd suggest is possibly go with more of a settle after the throw instead of the bounce, but then it's hard to tell without the background element. Also see what you think of the throw if you remove the one frame before the ball leaves the hand (the first one where you see motion lines), it may give the action a bit more oomph? Obviously you can always experiment with adding/dropping frames to see what looks best.
    I'm really impressed, it puts me in mind of the sprite animation for 90s games like Day of the Tentacle and Earthworm Jim (here's a little doc: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaiZva_-X9M ). I remember being so excited that cartoons and video games had a future together. Then polygonal graphics came in and kind of put the kibosh on that. Hopefully for a mobile platform they might still.
    Good job! :D