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Thread: Character Design Help
July 14th, 2010 #1
Character Design Help
I'm working on a flash based animation with this character seem below. I can not get this design down. I can't seem to get the design down. I feel like these are too simple and need something to make then pop.
Whichever of these work best will decide whether i build a character in symbols or draw it frame by frame. I just need to advice, which one is the best and does it need more???
The colored character is what I'm leaning on.
Hide this ad by registering as a memberJuly 16th, 2010 #2
I like the stylized one in the left corner of the bottom picture the best.
July 18th, 2010 #3
July 21st, 2010 #4
So here is what i'm going with. This character is a redesign of a concept I have been drawing since middle school so you can imagine how terribly put together the character was. The opinions on this site are all I really have to rely on. People you know tend to be too kind, i need brutal honesty.
July 30th, 2010 #5
It's not a bad design, but when you're going this simple it's important that the basic shapes be consistent, especially in terms of proportion and volume.
In terms of the overall design, I think he reads well, though his silhouette isn't particularly interesting. I found him to be more cute when he had the stubbier proportions (probably because it made him more child-like, which creates an automatic association in pretty much everyone). I'd lose the little line along the front or build it out into a proper shape and color it yellow like the gloves and boots. His feet shape is unclear, and seems to switch between a flattened cone and a flaring of the leg cylinder. Pick one, and be consistent about it!
His hands switch between mittens and fingers here, and while you don't HAVE to pick one, you should at least determine internally when you choose one or the other. If you do keep the mitten shape, then keep the finger shapes as simple as possible (no knuckles) so that they don't stand out too crazy when they suddenly show up.
His eye design is pretty unclear. If it's meant to be two lines that define the upper and lower eyelids with a straight delineation to connect them, then be consistent about it! In some of these shots the lower eye line is missing. In any case, I think those lines could stand to be bolder, easily twice the weight they are now. Having the eyes float on the surface of the helmet isn't terrible design, but it's odd when the eyes are open-sided. That works on a face, because the eyes are a physical part of the face itself, but on the helmet that impression is a little distracting.
I'm not sure about the shape of his rocket pack. In some drawings it comes to a point, in some drawings it flattens out, and in all of them it looks as if you're drawing the contour but not sketching out the basic shape, and this leads to inconsistencies in volume and shape.
If the character's head is basically a circle, watch out for letting that shape become lopsided. For instance, in your hero shot there it looks like the upper left side is pushing in, lending the whole shape a skew. With a helmet this is particularly important, since it's a "hard" shape that shouldn't shift around, or it has no sense of firmness.
I like the little robot design. He's awesome. Cute, simple, expressive. With some good actions and timing, he'll steal the show.
You really need to practice rough drawing and consistent, basic shapes. I know that sounds brutal and boring, and I'm hammering on the word "consistent", but believe me it's going to make a HUGE difference when it comes time to draw keys and tweens. If you have ANY inconsistencies in volume and shape in your keys, it's going to bleed into every other frame and create awful wobbles and blends that will distract from the action being performed.
If you're drawing digitally, don't be afraid to make a circle using a shape tool and drop it onto a low Opacity Layer behind him, as a guide shape. By the same token, when drawing the basic shape by hand don't hesitate to go around more than once to make sure that the shape is full and even... your rough sketch layer is not to be seen in the final, so be as rough and messy as you need to be in order to get it right. If you're working on paper, red pencil will allow you the same freedom... be as messy as you need to be, and strip out the red when you scan the frames. When I draw a circle I usually go around a half-dozen times very quickly, so that when I draw the clean lines I can work out the median between the scribble lines for a better shape.
You don't have to use perfect shapes, but you gotta be consistent in there somewhere, or figure out a way to make the inconsistencies work for you. If you can't make them perfect, the next option might be to exaggerate the shapes so that they don't need to be.
If I were prescribing an assignment, I'd have you draw this character several dozen times (more than 50. Don't even make a face, you're going to draw this character a LOT more than that so you'd better like it) over a short period in a single sketchbook, without repeating a single pose or angle twice. This would force you not only to work out the model's consistencies, but encourage you to work out different, difficult angles. I'm concerned that I don't see one single high or low angle on this design. How does he look if he's standing above the camera, looking down his chest at us? What if he's standing on the ground below us, looking up? It's almost certain that these questions will come up in the process of animating, so they should be tackled now rather than when you're drowning in frames.
Last edited by Inkthinker; July 30th, 2010 at 06:34 AM.
August 2nd, 2010 #6
the world would be a better place if everyone left crits this informative.
i took a lot of this into consideration. the drawing above me trying to work this charcter out design wise on paper where i'm comfortable before going digital ( in flash). i'm not making him out of symbols, but instead out of editable shaped on different layers, it's allow you to edit the shape without affecting every frame before it. so in flash this character will be more consistent because he'll be made from those basic shape tools.
I do need him to be simple because I have a couple lengthy toons sketched out to help me learn as much as I can before classes start up. I'm going to be posting some test animations in this thread starting this week, tomorrow morning i'll put up the flash bases design of him for you to check out.
the fingers are gone and he has mitten hands and the eyes are reduces to simple black ovals which i think will work better, screw it/ it'll post him now. . . let me know what you think
August 2nd, 2010 #7
sorry about that left leg. that's already fixed
August 3rd, 2010 #8
simple walk cycle i cooked up just to see how the character held up. I know what i don't like but want some opinions before I go further.
Last edited by trevissg; August 3rd, 2010 at 12:01 AM. Reason: my video did not play when I linked it directly into the thread
August 3rd, 2010 #9
Better! You're taking some advantage of a digital palette's ability to produce simple shapes. There's not much more I could suggest for your design, except to suggest that you continue to study the designs of shows that use a similar style, both for ideas that you can incorporate into your own style and to maintain an idea of what the market currently has in production.
With the walk cycle, I would strongly suggest checking out Richard Williams's book The Animator's Survival Kit. Read it, live it, love it. With digital animation there's no excuse for slacking on framerates either, so his work is more relevant than ever (he's a little intense for fully-hand drawn unless you're seeking the best quality).
The cycle is adequate, but the timing is too even. This is giving it a very mechanical feel. You can alleviate this somewhat by grouping the tweens so that there's ease in and out at the points of contact. Check out how Williams places his keys to get a better idea of a more natural walk... it's more complicated than I can explain easily with words alone.
August 3rd, 2010 #10
I actually do have the book. I tried to short cut it and left out about 6 in tweens to see what I could get. I did kinda fashion the walk after his though, but slacked on the work.
I'm going to add the robot's cycle today after I fix this, then do a couple action animations. I want to nail this character because my junior year starts with a five month long project and I don't want to run into problems not understanding my characters or the technology I'm using to move them.
I have been watching a lot of "adventure time". I don't think it's digitial but my character has a very simular shape the the main character Finn.
August 3rd, 2010 #11
Adventure Time is good stuff. Try and watch it frame-by-frame if you can, and pay especial attention to how extreme they push their keys. My personal rule is that when I think I've pushed a keyframe too far, that's usually just about right.
Though I don't go in thinking "let's push this too far!". I think "let's push this exactly far enough, oops, that's too much... no, that's probably just about right". It's sort of a constant sense of stepping JUST over the edge of the cliff and finding out there's another ledge to catch you... this time.
August 5th, 2010 #12
OKAY. I have the profile walk cycle looking pretty good. Frontal, not so much but I know what needs to be fixed. Just looking for some info from those who have taken the time (inkthinker) to help me out with this.
also, what service can I use to imbed the swf file directly into this thread. the quicktime files I load into photo bucket are terrible.
if this is broken click below
Last edited by trevissg; August 5th, 2010 at 11:39 PM. Reason: added code to get my video to play directly in thread.