Sunday 14 August 2016

YPGTTO: Character Development

First off, a quick apology for the lack of content updates this last week or so. I've just not had enough hours in the day in to get anything done. I'll be rectifying that this coming week. As a talking point, I want to get back to the character sketches that are still at the heart of our animation. I think this is perhaps a creative challenge that needs some thought and so the results so far haven't been spectacular. These quick sketch pages show a few starting points, potential roads to explore or perhaps just highlighting things we definitely do not want to see.  Some are formed purely from musical notation (i.e. number 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 13) whilst others (such as  1, 11 and 15) are more characterful with musical notations as decorative elements.

I think the mid century references from UPA and the like are a great reminder of what we can do. A reminder of just how relaxed these characters could be, with simple blocked backgrounds and a pen outline. But as of yet, nothing is quite hitting the nail on the head. The balance between abstract and overt is perhaps the aspect I'm struggling with most. 

Ok, so enough of me whining about why I can't get this thing right. I'm off to look at some references and gee up some inspiration.

I'll be developing the environment more this week so look out for that in the next few days.


  1. Oh Jordan, so many appealing iterations here - I just love No 1 - and I see no reason why No 1 shouldn't morph into No 13, for example, when he's in 'flight mode'. What I love about No 1 is the change in thickness of line and the off-registration. Also, I know we're trying to keep things simple, but if we create a sort of 'cast of alternate' characters with which we can populate the bigger scenes, I don't see why more of these critters shouldn't be brought forward as cast-members, particularly if they're kept as loose as some of these. I think No 1 has that 'reduction' about it - it looks inevitable to me - bird-like, but not a bird and if we can maya-it so that it remains as a 'loose' collection of parts held together by 'animation-ness', that would be so exciting.

    @ Ethan - if you're reading this, I got your email (which I'm replying to after this) but short version is, in response to your suggestion that you start looking at character construction and animation methods, let's start with bringing No 1 to life, so we can get a sense of how it might function as an 'object'.

    @ Jordan - thanks so much for chipping away at this, but I do think you're nailing this, and I also think you should relax a bit more about what this UPA thing gives us - also, let's keep things instinctive and relaxed: I'd like to see us taking a few of these early characters into 3D, and let the translation process do some of the further refinement. For example, looking at the b/w sheet, if you were to create a cast of simple characters from those, and think about how a dash of colour here, and an animated but flat expression there would create bustle and variety, I think it's got oodles of what we want/need for this strange 'animation-for-animation's sake' world of ours. Let's not pipeline it to death too much - let's understand these simple, reduced chaps in 3D. I'm very charmed by these sheets, Jordan - you should be too :D

    1. Thank you Phil, it's a welcome pick me up. I've been trying to dabble in this project in spare time but struggled to gain momentum, but now that we have a clearer idea of direction, I should start gaining traction.

      I'll crack on. I've already got a big page of doodles that I think are now much more on tone. And after seeing JWV's latest post I'm full of life. What beautiful drawings. Will update tonight.