Thursday, 7 May 2015

Character Theme Line Up - Sci-fi

I was excited to do this assignment due to having had an idea for it even before first year started. It's a story idea I had since my Sheridan animation portfolio with my character Al, Spacemonkey Extraordinaire. But I told myself I wouldn't redraw Al until I'm in my fourth year. So I had a replacement for the protagonist with another character that I had in mind. 

The entire assignment required us to pick a genre from what was listed and create a line-up of 4 characters from assigned roles. 

There were descriptions on each page about each character and their place in the story but it's an idea that I hold very close and won't be publishing it right now for everyone to see at the moment, I will eventually reveal it in its whole glory as I elaborate on it more. I even have concept art for stuff outside of this assignment. 

Unfortunately I had to get rid of the descriptions in case someone steals the idea but I'll write down a much more brief description of who and what they are below each image. There's also a title for the idea but I got rid of that as well partly due to the whole stealing thing and I want a more robust logo.

So here's my line up for my sci-fi idea!

Bolik is a cosmonaut who finds himself crash-landed on an alien planet and needs to find a way to get back home.

Mags is a mechanic who has a very relaxed personality and prefers to not take things seriously. Bolik comes across Mags in his attempt to fix his ship. Mags and Bolik then discover themselves in an inescapable predicament.

Scraps is Mags' wise-cracking robot assistant and functions as toolbox, lantern, radio, projector and more!

Surge is the CEO of Surge Tech, a consumer electronics company that specializes in more than just business.


I already had an idea for the protagonist and their close friend but I didn't have an idea for comic relief and villain, so for this assignment I analyzed science fiction films, books, tv and video games and wrote down in categories recognizable characters that fell under which role. Some categories had similarities such as the comic relief tends to be a robot (C3PO, M-O, Bender, Wheatley, Claptrap, etc.) so I designed the comic relief as a robot. The villain was up in the air as they could be robotic (AUTO, HAL, GLaDOS, Dr. Nefarious), human/similar to the protagonist (Andrew Ryan, Zachary Comstock [moreso], Charles Muntz, Darth Vader) or something much more monstrous (Aku, Atlas [ADAM infused], Protopet). So making a villain evolved from an idea that I suddenly had and was inspired by Gleeman Vox and Percival Tachyon from the Ratchet and Clank series. 

I wanted to focus on working on this assignment so I put a lot of other things on the wayside. So I'll post my rough work and development as a separate post here.

Character Theme Line Up Concept Work

Concept Work

For this assignment I had A LOT of concept work:

A LOT. So for the sake of being concise here are just a few.


First page for Bolik designs. After I drew that portrait of him I was set on his personality.

Still wish I developed him a tad more. He could use a lot more work as I didn't spend as much time developing his design compared to Scraps and Surge. He also had some digital explorations which I forgot to take off the school server. I picked a doberman mostly because they have such a great silhouette and they're one of my favourite dogs, so I just wanted him to look cool haha.


First complete drawing of Mags with some rough designs. Pretty much stayed the same in the final. For Mags' design I looked at the Greaser Girl look as well as mechanic female pin up looks. Although my references may suggest it, I didn't want Mags to be sexy, I just referenced the looks of those styles. Her design is more relaxed as her personality is and I wanted a character that was bottom heavy like Aladdin and Korra. Her personality is somewhat based off someone in my year and I even imagine Mags speaking exactly the same way that person does.

Mags' rectangular head is based off a toolbox and her colours are mostly blues because when I think of a mechanic I think of cold metal tools with hints of brown to suggest mess. 

This page is where I thought of a line up composition.

The idea that I had for her was that she had this glove tool that projected holograms of tools that can scale. The glove also had multiple functions such as a flashlight, soldering iron, torch and more but due to my skill level I knew I wouldn't be able to draw that idea effectively. Through the loss of one feature I gained another: the character of Scraps replaced that glove tool! And it ended it up being for the better.

Digital concepts, notes and final poses. I actually took the name Mags from LittleBigPlanet which had a character named Mags...who was a mechanic. I realized just now that they both have blonde hair.


First page for Scraps. He also didn't have a name until I was compiling the drawings together to hand in. He was "The Multipurpose Assistance Tool Bot" or "Toolbox Bot" for a while. I wanted the robot character to be leg-less, function serving design and emoted without eyes . I tried out on the bottom right adding pupils but it looked weird and didn't really have a function with two pupils and it looked more like a screen. It wasn't until I was posing did I see the necessity for some form of emoting with eyes. I settled with one pupil instead. The top left was the original silhouette I wanted but I decided to sketch some more. The bottom right is a drawing I drew after I made the following page:

I remember hearing an artist from Insomniac Games saying they drew in pen/marker/ink so that they can draw an idea immediately and not waste time refining a rough drawing by erasing. I went with that approach and made as many silhouettes as possible following the criteria I needed which was:

-Round body
-1 big eye
-1 small status light
-Rubber hose arms

Below some of the drawings I wrote in red what I was mostly (but not only) referred to in that specific design. It helped a lot and it felt more like free drawing and allowed me to be loose.

As a robot that had multiple functions, I wanted Scraps' design to be a mix of a bunch of machines and appliances. He is a mix of a lunchbox, tv, fridge, lantern, toolbox, and a few more.
As the comic relief I designed Scraps to be more rounded with a big emphasis on his eye and have rubber hose arms that dangled at the side. To add to the rubber hose inspired design, I also gave him glove like hands akin to old Max Fleischer and Mickey Mouse cartoons. I also can't deny that Wheatley from Portal 2 did have a big influence on Scraps. I wanted his colours to be cold and I came across concept art of Mr. Incredible's car and took the colours from that. I also wanted him blue to have a connection with Mags.


Surge was based around the whole idea of "short circuit" and "short temper". I wanted to play around with the idea of that small character with big personality trope. From the beginning I wanted his head to resemble a lightbulb due to story reasons and have a body shape like a NOT or Inverter logic gate.

I always wanted his neck to be tightly constrained by his collar. 

Here's digital explorations. The top row of Surge designs was when I still wanted him to be the same aliens species as Mags but that changed when I drew the second drawing on the bottom row and loved the shape more. His colours were taken from Calvin Candie from Django Unchained because I watched it a few days before I did his design.

Original character line up shape comparison. The majority of it remained the same which was cool to see afterwards.


Overall I heavily enjoyed this assignment and I'm still continuing to refine the character designs of each character. As this is an idea that I've had for years and only now have finally created finalized art for it, I'm going to continue working on it throughout the summer and develop more artwork for the story. So stay tuned for that! I will eventually reveal the basic plot in due time, I can't say when but I will. I just want to work on this much more. I hope you enjoyed the work I put into this as much as I did!

Character Sequence - Surge and the Button

We had to use a character we already designed and create a sequence of poses of that character interacting with an object with a reaction. I used Surge from my sci-fi character line-up

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Beak Sync Animation - Super Scary Hat

I was originally going to animate Mac a character I made last year. But drawing feather fingers were proving to be difficult for me. I settled with a penguin (named Pod) after imagining the character talking to fancily dressed penguins about his silly hat. Parts of Mac is still in his design though.

The voice clip is from Team Fortress 2 of the character Scout.

This animation was something I was very comfortable in doing. I decided to go for a little more broad and cartoony approach to the acting and animation with a little bit more squash/stretch. The previous two audio sync animations were more on the "realistic" side to the animation, so I wanted to do less of that. I could have pushed it more but I'm satisfied with how it turned out. I was a lot more loose in animating this one and it turned out pretty fun to do! And I was so worried about animating a beak but it wasn't as bad as I thought. 

Final Digital Painting

For our final digital painting we could have painted anything we wanted in any style. I took a previous composition that we used for a layout assignment and created this using the pen tool. I like how it turned out! I might give this way of digital painting a go more often as it's more design-oriented.

Muzzle Sync Animation - In A Box

Probably one of the best animations I've done. It's not as rough, clean enough to clean up, I like the poses, the acting, mouth sync and more. Obviously there are still flaws to it that even I'd like to fix, but I like it a lot.

The dialogue is from Bioshock of the character Peach Wilkins.


This animation is the one that made me understand how to properly animate to dialogue, which was essentially holding a pose and gesturing it to feel alive. That seemed like the hardest part but thinking about how the character would normally act beyond this sequence helped. With the dialogue having a stutter, I figured he was the twitchy type constantly moving a little erratically.
The stutter I had a feeling I would have fun with but was actually difficult. I attempted the animation staggering technique which is animating forward and then mixing up the frames, that didn't get the result I wanted which was an offset slight back and forth movement of the head and arm. I did straightforward instead and managed to get what I wanted.


Some character design sketches. First thing I thought of when I listened to the voice was a sleazy rat, so I went with it. 

These are thumbnails I did on photoshop of the key poses. 

3D Animation

I noticed I didn't upload any 3D animations we did last semester. So here's 2 that I like lol. I haven't touched 3D animation since last semester but I'll be practicing it this summer and hopefully getting better! This summer is portfolio, portfolio, portfolio.

Quadruped walk:

I like the beginning and walk but the settling at the end could use more work.


This rig was pretty difficult to work with. I might go back and fix this one and make it better.


Overall I like 3D animation and playing around in it is so much fun. Pretty different in approach to 2D and I'm still trying to figure out a good workflow to it. I enjoy the puppeteering aspect of it and working in a 3D environment is enjoyable. The most difficult part is making sure everything is moving constantly even just by a tiny bit and keeping track of what you're moving. There's probably an easy way to keep track but I'll figure that out soon as I keep toying with 3D. I really want to get better at it!