After gathering as much inspiration as I could and with the group being on the same page, I made an attempt at some concept art, just like the rest of the group were doing. The majority of pieces that I made were produced by using digital software, mainly because I felt most comfortable using this medium, however I have been branching out a little more with my sketchbook to push myself out of my comfort zone.
The character design was a long process of various different approaches, using trial and error to pick out what look best suited the short, as well as show the design was a combined effort with different influences. We even made further revisions to the design after following through with the story boarding process. As a team we had sat together around the one tablet and started to draw out how we thought characters like the mama bird should look. Following this we deconstructed our own designs, picked out our favourite elements, and then combined it into our idealistic finalised design.
(Bradley’s beautiful goose is on the left, Charlotte had drawn the mother bird in red, Alistair had drawn both birds on the right and I had drawn the mother bird design at the bottom with and without colour.)
Upon listening to some advice given to us during one of our lectures, one of the easiest objects to animate was a bean shape, in my design of the baby bird, I wanted to twist this idea into something simplistic yet successful. Whilst also giving me a chance to understand the basics of modelling and rigging without going past my limitations. Below is on of my first designs for the baby bird, I hope I could reflect the sort of gentle and innocent attitude of the character within my painting. I also wanted to give the baby bird in my design, large eyes that are slightly off set, just to give that essence of the character being a little derpy but adorable. Referencing actual babies, the bird’s wings are small, not developed enough to carry the weight of it’s big body, I thought these features would make the bird even cuter. However this would limit how the character would move in the animation, thankfully in the story the baby birds don’t make much movement besides bobbing up and down.
I decided to go into further detail about the shape of the baby birds in my sketchbook, making quick sketches of how the character should look, also exploring different variations and types of birds. However I seemed quite settled on maybe the species of the bluebird, just because their colours are so distinctive, familiar and easily recognisable by audiences. I also referenced the dynamic shape of a Choccobo from the video game franchise, Final Fantasy to understand other methods of using shape in character design.
Before we developed our environment using Maya, we all made multiple concepts of how the final outcome should look, before I dived into the painting like I usually would, I decided upon a different method. I colour coded different thumbnails of the initial paintings so we as a group could decide on what colour best suits the theme of our animation, considering this was a very collaborative task. Like the examples I had referenced earlier, I wanted to create an environment that accentuated the blue of the bird, rather than overwhelm the audience. So I chose a few select colours and focused on specific colours within each thumb nail.
Once we had figured out colour schemes for the environment, it was time to move onto specifics such as features within our jungle type scene. I felt inspired by the previous designs I had looked at such as the backgrounds in the stop motion series Charlie Chalk (1987) or the concept art I had saved on my Pinterest board. I experimented with unusual colour palettes to try and emphasise the playfulness in my drawings, distorting trees without making them appear too unusual. Alistair came up with the really great idea of incorporating the national symbol for adoption (the adoption triad) into our concepts and designs. So I attempted to make a design for the bird’s family tree reflecting the same principles as the original logo, working on the implicit meanings behind the initial story lines rather than just the explicit.
- Adoption, Lifetime. “Symbol Of Adoption”. Blog.lifetimeadoption.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 31 May 2017.