Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Character Design Tutorial: Shapes & Proportions

In todays character workshop we learnt about shapes and proportions used to construct characters. The three essential shapes to be used in character design are squares, circles and triangles. Each of these also represents a particular stereotype within characters too:

Square - Heroic and strong
Circle - Innocent and cute
Triangle - Villainous and evil

We also learnt that combinations of these shapes can represent something entirely different. Take for instance the square and triangle. These two could represent a dangerous hero (like batman) or a strong villain.

Following on from this we dove straight into another drawing task in which we were given iconic characters and asked to take a different shape and apply it to that character. I got Malificent, who is composed of triangles, and applied a circles to her.

I had a little trouble to begin with as I was over using the circle which made Malificent a little odd. Justin then showed be that by rounding off the spikes on her design a little we still had Malificent's figure but a little more softer.

This made Malificent look more 'elegant' in a flowing curved dress as though she were attending a royal ball.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Character Design: Gadget Research

As secret agents, my characters must have an array of gadgets at their disposal to help make a difficult task something a little easier. I mean the gadgets make a secret agent, it's a part of the job. Below I have assembled a list of gadgets my secret agent characters could use:

Grappling Hook:

Spy Cam:

GPS Tracking Device:

Communications Device:

Night-vision Goggles:

Lock Pick:

Laser Technology:

Sim Card Spy:

Listening Device:

Hacking Device:

Ideally I would like the gadgets to be concealed within the agents as they are part cyborg. 

Character Design: Cyborg Research

"What is a cyborg? One of the most famous essays on cyborgs is Donna Haraway's "Cyborg Manifesto," in which she defines cyborgs as creatures that are a combination of oragnism and technology. ... Thus the cyborg is a strong figure, and it is one that has penentrated many a science fiction story..."
- Battlestar Galactica and Philosophy, Josef Steiff, 2008

A cyborg is a being of biological and artificial make up. When the concept first originated, it was considered that a cyborg was something with enhanced capabilities above what was consisered normal, however in recent years the term has come to represent an individual that uses technology the achieve a desired enhancement.

But WHY become a cyborg?

Several reasons have been developed over the reason why an individual would become a cyborg, their choice or not:

- First and foremost is for enhancement. Most individuals become cyborgs to enhance themselves physically and even mentally allowing them to overcome obstacles and tasks they would not normally be able to complete.


- Second is to replace limbs. These are usually lost during accidents and are typically replaced to re-enable an individuals use of the limbs specific function, i.e a leg for walking.


-  The third reason is to save a life. The individuals that are cyberised have likely suffered injuries that would prove to be fatal and usually the vast majority of their being is synthetic or mechanical to replace what was lost.

Darth Vader Wallpaper 25.jpg

Character Design: Secret Agent Research

"A secret agent is a spy - someone paid to get secrets. Modern-day spies who work for governments are called "intelligence officers" but the practice of spying is as old as civilization itself"
                                                                                                              - Secret Agents, Gary Jeffrey, 2008

A secret agent is generally someone who is employed to acquire information, whether it be military, political or otherwise. In this modern day and age secret agents tend to be referred to as spies but this is not always the case. They can also be agents working for a secret service. Whether spy or agent  both operate within the same areas of work, including surveillance, espionage and intelligence.

The US government defines espionage as:

"The act of obtaining, delivering, transmitting, communicating, or receiving information about the national defence with an intent, or reason to believe that the information may be used to the injury of the US or to the advantage of any foreign nation."    

In affect a secret agent is a peace keeper working in the shadows to prevent awful incidents from occurring.

A few key words associated with secret agents:

Director - Case officer
Secrets - Assets
Refuge - Safe House

And now for some notable secret agents...

James Bond

James Bond

James Bond

Kim Possible

Perry the Platypus

Secret Squirrel 

Friday, 23 September 2011

Character Design: 80's Cartoons Research

A collection of 80's cartoon influences:

G.I Joe (1983 - 1986):

Bravestarr (1987 - 1989):

Silverhawks (1986):

SilverHawks tv show photo

Spiral Zone (1987):

Defenders of the Earth (1986):

Inspector Gadget (1983 - 1986):

Thundercats (1985 - 1989):

M.A.S.K. (1985 - 1987):

Transformers (1984 - 1987):

1980's Transformers Cartoon

Dragonball Z (1989 - 2003):

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987 - 1996):

He-Man (1983):

Bionic Six (1987 - 1989):


Research: Ghosts and Ghost Stories

As we are looking at having a paranormal feature within the story of our trailer I thought it would be ideal to have a look at some of the characteristics that go into ghost stories and the roles of ghosts in those stories.

Ghost generally tend to have several roles in a ghost story depending on what the story is about. These roles can include:

- the ghost acting as a sentinel/prophet of events to come
- the ghost acting out of aggression in need for revenge
- the ghost with unfinished business
- the ghost out to cause trouble and mayhem
- the ghost acting as a guardian

M.R. James

M.R. James, the author of Some Remarks on Ghost Stories notes five keys features present within typical English ghost stories. These are:

- Pretense of the truth
- "A pleasing terror"
- No gratuitous bloodshed or sex
- No "explanation of the machinery"
- Setting: "those of the writer's (and reader's) own day