Saturday, 31 October 2009

Videos used for development - Research into dynamic character design and movement

Hey guys! Sorry about the long absence. Have been busy doing some stuff, as you do.

I wanted to take a moment to upload some vid clips that have inspired me, in terms of working out Wilhemina's character.

Old Birds is a storyboarded short by Brandokay that shows the struggle between two elderly ladies. I really like the look of the old women in this. They also show a quality that I want Wilhemina to have - youthful vigor

BANZAI - Old Lady Wheelchair Chicken Challenge isn't animated, but this youtube clip gave me the idea of giving Minnie "limited" mobility. When watching this, I really enjoyed seeing how these lovely ladies are having an epic battle, even though they are rather unthreatening. In a way, I am aiming to do the opposite with Minnie. I want her to look like a softy, but actually be quite formidable.

Two Soups is another film clip, this time of a skit acted out by the incredibly talented Julie Walters. The way she acts and walks in this is very amusing and unique. It has made me realise that I need to think hard about how Minnie needs to walk. I'm not sure whether that is the kind of walking style I want Minnie to have, especially since her legs are rather short.

Pixar's Up is a film I saw recently. Cor, what a beautiful film. Not only that, but Carl Fredricksen was basically Minnie in male form. He is an old man trying to go on an adventure despite his frailness. That's exactly what I want Minnie to be like. That film was a real eye-opener for me.

Sword In The Stone's Mad Madam Mim is such a genius character. I bought the DVD of that film recently and was in awe of the strength of her character, and how it come across using expressive animation. She's a good example of a character you love to hate.

Penguin's Christmas Mission
by Dreamworks is a short sequal to the film Madagascar. It stars penguins that come to blows with a vicious granny. The grandma in this clip is a little too extreme for my liking, but I would like Minnie to be a more diluted version of her. I also really like her walk cycle. That shuffle is just brilliant. Another point of reference for my own character, methinks.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Drawing... May Contain Colours and Traces of Nuts

Yep. I'm still drawing away. I'm getting pretty close to doing my final character sheet now. I've know what Wilhemina is gonna look like now, and I've got a rough idea of which colours I want her to have. I used to give me a hand. I mainly played with pinks, greys and purples, but I also tried some green, navy and brown tinges. Here are the results I got when I searched for "old lady" on the site:

I'll scan and upload my colour study I did on A3 paper. I also had a quick look at a colour wheel, to see which colour should be contrasted with pinky purple colours. I think Zoo keepers generally wear uniform with green colours, so I was interested to see if that would match with Minnie's colours.

As you can see, pinky purple lies directly opposite a lovely earthy green. I'll see what Tom says, but that looks like a promising colour combination.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009


These are the kinda old ladies that I want to base Wilhemina on. These pictures were found on Google images and Deviantart, I have no knowledge of who took these photos or who these women are. They are merely to give me an idea of what kinda face shape and features I aim to have when doing my own sketches.

Firstly, let me apologize for the quality of this picture. Photobooth likes to make books look super shiny. Urgh I look awful haha!

Anyway, this is a page from a fantastic art book featuring developmental art for the very popular Studio Gibli film, "Spirited Away". I am not a big Anime fanatic, but I couldn't resist using the character Yubaba as some kind of reference for this project.

She is a very interesting character in the film. She is a magical sorceress who turns the heroine Chihiro into one of her slaves and commands her to work in her bath house. She is very unpleasant and calculating, and has a rather grotesque appearance.

Her first distinguishing feature is her head, which is about the size of her entire body. All her facial features are incredibly exaggerated, and a great amount of detail into all the wrinkles and sags of her excess skin has been focused on when animating her. Because of this, Yubaba is an incredibly expressive and potentially frightening character. She is seen wearing a midnight blue gown during a lot of the film, which denotes nobility and mystery. She also wears a lot of jewels and rings, which suggests that she is rather wealthy and greedy.

In terms of relating her looks to my own development for my character, I think it has made me realise that I am incapable of putting that amount of detail into my own character, since we have the limitation of making our characters look like they're made of plasticine/clay. It is possible to make my character look really wrinkly, but when looking at Aardman films such as Wallace and Gromit (as researched by Tom in a previous post) you hardly ever see really wrinkly characters. This is possibly because its just too difficult to retain that detail when creating claymations.

Is it just me, or has my nose doubled in size in the 2nd photo....?

So yeah, you might not be able to see clearly from the above photograph, but this is a page dedicated to the Character Mabel who features briefly in the Pixar film "Ratatouille". These illustrations are also taken from an art book.

In the film, dear old Mabel wakes up and accidently unearths a hoard of rats in the ceiling of her kitchen. She is repulsed by her newly-discovered housemates and takes extreme measures to get the vermin out of the house. Since most of the film is dedicated to Reimi the mouse, we see from his point of view the fear he has for this dangerous human being, and how she has driven him and his family from their "home".

Our first impression of Mabel is that of a sweet old lady who wouldnt hurt a fly. She has big glasses that make her eyes look a lot bigger, a pointed beak-like nose and, to contrast this, a very small mouth. she has very short limbs and is the same can be said about her height. She is wearing a nightdress, hairnet, and a pair of big fluffy slippers, all of which are shades of light pink. This gives the viewers the opinion that she isn't very strong and would be rather limited when trying to herd a load of wild mice out of her house unaided.

However, our preconceptions couldnt be more wrong. She whips out her shotgun and attempts to shoot the poor things. She seems to have a whole arsenal for such an occasion, even trying to gas the critters out!

I think this is a fantastic example of what I want to base my Grandma on! I want her to look elderly and fragile, but actually have the vivacity and energy to exceed expectations.

Hope this gives an insight to the route I'm going down with this character. I'll be doing some more etching and sketching based on this research. I also plan to look at some of the Wallace and Gromit elderly lady characters soon. So until my next post, ta for now!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Wihemina Sketches 1

Hello hello hello

Here are the sketches I promised you. I've been working with different shapes and sizes here, and I intend to experiment a bit more in order to get the right look for our diva!

The style of claymation

Since the style of the characters of the film must be tailored to look like they were done in "claymation", Here are 2 images showing both a real claymation piece, and also a piece made to mimic the style on the computer.

Wallace and Gromit

Flushed Away

When Aardman created Flushed Away, they tried to retain the claymation look, but in my honest opinion they should've gone further with adding more textures to the characters. The end result paled in comparison to their claymation efforts, aside from featuring their trademark character style. When we create our models we'll ensure the organic claymation look remains, made possible with the textures on the characters showing fingerprints.

Wee Eck McGlone

Ah wow, first proper post eh?! Good to finally post here with something meaningful and useful instead of my rather pathetic welcome post! I've decided the best course of action is to outline who exactly Wee Eck McGlone is, and what he actually does at the London Zoo!

Information Given To Us In The Character Brief
Name: Wee Eck McGlone
“London Zoo’s long suffer head keeper sixty, bald, curmudgeonly, Scottish, fiercely patriotic and obsessive about sweeping up dung”.

My Adaptation Of The Character (Liable to change)
Name: Wee Eck McGlone
Age: 61
Occupation: Zoo Keeper
Personality: Kind, shy, caring, intricate, and will stop at nothing to get the job done!

Bio: A sixty one year old Scottish Zoo Keeper, who will stop at nothing to keep the place clean and the animals in check! Likes to clean all around the zoo, but most notably likes to ensure the place is dung free! He is fiercly patriotic and wears a Scottish tartan whilst on duty. He is mostly bald, but what hair he does have left is slowly fading away. He still retains his moustache.

With this in mind it gives me a good idea of how the character should look, and act. Sketches soon to follow.

To further help the development of the character, I've taken images from throughout the internet displaying the certain character likenesses I'd like to portray in him.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Further thoughts about Wilhemina Biliams

Hey hey! I'm back again! Just thought I'd take a break from making a mixed cd of wonderfully odd songs I deem to be good, and have a good old natter on here.

I've been thinking a bit more about how the old Granny woman should act and what she should look like, and I have come to realize that was is needed is a written profile of the old biddy. So I shall take this opportunity to throw all my thoughts on to this post for your enjoyment.

Information Given To Us In The Character Brief
Name: Wilhemina Biliams
“Willie and Pocahontas’s grandmother, she thinks everything smells bad and is worried that a chimp or one of those nasty bonobos might escape and “Poo in her hat.””

My Adaptation Of The Character (Liable to change)
Name: Wilhemina "Minnie" Biliams
Age: 70
Occupation: Being elderly, babysitting grandchildren
Personality: Bad-tempered, crotchety, impulsive, daring, "mutton-dressed-as-lamb", vain

Bio: Minnie is an elderly lady who spends her retirement taking her hyperactive grandchildren on outings when she could be sitting in her cosy armchair watching "The Jeremy Kyle Show" and "Pimp My Ride". She gets very irritable when she has to look after children. She secretly wishes she was young again, and so spends most of her life complaining about the youth. She is very frail and is incapable of walking around for extended periods of time without moaning about her weak ankles. Minnie is easily distinguished by her hat, which she never ever takes off.

(An additional possibility...)
Minnie's daughter and her husband (Willie and Pocahontas' parents) bought Minnie a mobility buggy/zimmerframe/walkingstick-umbrella for her 70th Birthday. She is very proud of it, and ensures that she terrorizes the general public when out and about with her new "weapon".

I'm worried that including a buggy would be too much to add to the overall design of the character, so I'm a little sceptical about this idea atm. However, I like the idea of Minnie's character being weak physically, but her stubborn determination and bitterness of being old gets her through life. I think that it would be quite funny if she was a rebellious teenager trapped in an old woman's body. The buggy would be a way of her getting freedom from her boring pensioner's life. She would be rather dangerous when driving the buggy around aswell. It would be her way of getting back at people who think that she is old and crusty haha!

I dunno, this is still the early development, but I'm quite happy with the path this project is going down.

Hopefully Tom will be able to get some thoughts about his character Wee Eck McGlone up on here too, and then we can decide if these characters would bond well together. We were saying that there is certainly potential for love interest with these two characters, so it is very important that these lovebirds compliment and contrast eachother well.

Okay thats it from me for now. I'll be scanning some doodles very soon, so stay tuned!

Friday, 16 October 2009

WELL Well well well wellity woo wooo woo

Hello there everybody! Wow I have no idea what to put here. I've never really done a blogging type thing before, so forgive me for being a blog n00b.

I'm Emma Wyton aka Emu, and I am an animation 2nd year student at Ravensbourne College. My compadre Tom Ritchie and I will be teaming up to complete an awesome sauce character design project. I will be designing an old grandma character and Tom will be designing a Scottish zoo keeper. We'll be updating you all with the latest info about how we are progressing, so make sure you come visit us every now and then.

I have already started researching and doing a few doodles. I will try and get round to uploading some scans of those this weekend, then you can comment on them and let me know what you think.

So adios for now!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Welcome to ze Blog!

To welcome you, here's an inspiring piece of animation.

Which actually has no connection to our project whatsoever.