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  1. #1
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    character concept

    This is a rough draft for my character design class, so far the teacher and students like it but I'm wanting this to be something I could put into a portfolio.

    I'm looking for consistency problems here and which emotions look most powerful (I'm only going to use a few). Also anatomy problems are probably an issue as well, I already see a problem with that right arm already.

    I quickly colored him to show what the layout will be, he's not supposed to be flashy or exciting. He's a hobo
    The cutlass clashes with his hobo-y design, but it's key component to the storyboard I laid out for this character.

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    Might just be me, but drawing over the shoulder with a long blade ain't the quickest or most comfortable method in the world...

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    I think you're confusing exciting with interesting. Right now the design doesn't really give us a lot of information, and it's visually boring. How do we know he's a hobo except that you just told us? what kind of use will this character design be intended for?

    It's hard to pick out a strong emotion when you're using only facial features - many of which need work in terms of form and anatomy. The chin actually arcs downward when the mouth is open, and the eyes are floating over the features. Even in simplified animation there is still an underlying structure that you have to maintain.

    It might be good to start with who the character is, what environment they are supposed to exist in - then work on interesting silhouettes. Not necessarily overly complex, but interesting. And interest comes from contrast.

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    Well, the most powerful emotions to me are those that are convincingly drawn. The ones that should technically be most powerful (rage) is actually probably the least powerful because the execution is lacking and they don't look realistic (and not realistic in the photorealism sense, but realistic in the sense that the character looks like he's doing hammy acting instead of actually feeling the emotion).

    Also I agree with rabbit_run's point on the hobo thing. Especially if he's supposed to be an actual hobo and not just a 20-year old hippie who sleeps at his friends constantly. If we're supposed to believe that he roams the streets, you could have him wear additional coats (because at some point it's probably gonna be cold, except in California or something) or bags, at least as a side scribbles next to the turn around.

    And yeah you mentioned that the colours are fast, but when you re-do them, put some thinking on making the colours less dead and pale.

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    Thanks guys,

    The cutlass placed on the back is to shows that he is involved with diplomats. Its used as a tool more then for attacking, plus this character runs and climbs far to much for it to be located at the hip.
    I have a whole story n environment for him to exist in I've worked on it for many many years but this illustration portrays how he looks in the very beginning. I could add in the other outfits he acquires and an illustration of him dwelling on the street to show a little more developement. Throughout the story he kind of earns the confident pose that you suggested.

    Sadly I can't change the pose right right or I'll fail the assignment, I'm just looking for consistency errors in the turnaround since some people asked to make it 3d model-able. I probably should have mentioned that earlier. All the assignment asks for is emotions and a turnaround with displays of the props.

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    I just drew slightly different poses as I was exploring possibilities. A true model sheet for CG should have the character in a 't' pose. (I still prefer the old disney model sheets though, with the character in acting poses instead of a turn around. but meh.)

    What is the turn around for? game design? animation? comics? If it's going to be modeled in CG, are you going to have cloth and hair, or will it just be polys? Before this critique can go any further, that information needs to be present.

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    It's not a true turnaround anyhow, since you're not maintaining your volumes from one angle to the next. For instance, his head size changed between full-on and profile, etc.

    To do it properly, it's easiest to break the character down to simpler shapes and draw horizontal lines from the main points of interest. Top of head, bottom of chin, bottom of cranium, shoulders, elbows, etc., and use that as a guide for the other angles. After you've done that, you can overlay details like faces and such secure that everything is solid. It's a heck of a lot less work than guessing it out, although it's not as much fun.

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    Believe it or not this is just how my teacher wanted me to do this.
    I asked if he wanted it in a "t" pose but he said that he would rather it be both modelable and for animation at the same time. He wasnted the students to think less about making it for 3d modeling but based more towards the concept of the character.

    As much as I would like to say that I agree with you guys there really isn't much I can actually change with this. This is hard character to convey, he's much much more simpler then the others but he was chosen for this assignment.

    Honestly I don't know what I wanted to model this for, I had a lot of people telling me several different things with this character. One person wanted to model it, one wanted to make it look more visually appealing but still a simple pose to be modeled, and the teacher wanted it to be made for animation, but he knows I'm the only student who wants to do concept art so he wanted to be open to that as well.
    I ran this by everyone and they found this fitting to their standards but I'm confused as to what this reference is conveying to them.

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    Does your instructor have any relevant experience in the field? It seems like you're being asked to complete an assignment that conflicts with how the (animation) industry usually operates.

    I'm still missing some information from you in order to properly critique the design, but I'll give it a shot anyway.

    From an animate standpoint the design is still boring.

    Let's take a look at this quote: "his is hard character to convey, he's much much more simpler then the others but he was chosen for this assignment"

    He's not a hard character to convey. You aren't conveying him. There's a difference. Start a list and write out what makes you think about hobo. (I'm not concerned about the cutlass at this moment.) If it's concept for animation, exaggerate the things that make you think hobo. Ratty clothes (which might mean asymetrical clothing) - or clothes that might be too large or small (Charlie Chaplin!) there are a lot of ways that you can convey your character idea visually.

    My concerns regarding the animation is if you aren't using cloth simulation, the ripped jeans where the knees show through won't work. (And traditionally that would be a nightmare to animate, and serves no purpose.) Also rigging an ankle area which is very thick will be problematic. Also, the clothes are drawn as if they aren't resting over another surface with its own form and shape.

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    Among other things, this would be a holy nightmare to animate traditionally, and I say that as someone who's studying traditional animation. For one thing, he's WAY too complex. This would be a fine level of detail for a comic book, but even on a feature film budget this level of detail rarely if ever gets animated. Aside from that, it's not obvious how he'd break down into simpler shapes. The essence of traditional animation is moving volumes, but if you can't isolate the volumes where are you? Concept art, well maybe. But animation ready, not by a mile.

    I'm going to chime in as well about appeal. To be frank, there isn't much. He's an ordinary looking guy with average features and build. Totally average, just mussed up a little. The single thing that makes him stand out is the sword. It's also the only thing that makes his silhouette interesting, and in animation (no matter what sort), silhouette is key. If you don't have that, then you don't have a good animation character.

    But I think the most inexplicable part of your post is this:

    As much as I would like to say that I agree with you guys there really isn't much I can actually change with this
    You're the freakin' artist! You can do whatever you want with him, so long as you stick to the concept. It's your job to change him so he communicates what you want him to communicate, so get to it!

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    I agree with the other two animators here, it's not a particularly interesting character per say. I give you props for doing the turn-around (which is more than a lot of kids in my class do, sheesh) and trying to give a bit more info on what he might use to defend himself and different expressions, but right now all seems lacking.

    I know he's meant to be a hobo, but right now he just looks like a stylish hipster. The expressions also dont look very different from each other, in fact I see that in most of them the hair is the only thing that changes.

    Here's what I would suggest, if you can/got enough time: Re-do the turn-around on a separate paper. You can take it a step further and do a 5-point turnaround, thats up to you. Add a few of the suggestions that have already been said here, the ones that really push the character to stand on its own. On a separate paper, draw the character in action. Jumping, kicking, slashing, crouching, etc. Whatever it is that he does. Add a few key expressions (just the face, dont bother with details like hair-wind or whatever, just define the face to where you feel comfortable enough with it) important accessories, etc. This will definitely help you when you get to the animating stage.

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  14. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shia-Luciel View Post
    As much as I would like to say that I agree with you guys there really isn't much I can actually change with this.
    Then I do wonder what's the point of posting this here. Okay okay, you do mention that you're looking for consistency problems and opinions, (though I think you might've gotten those from other people in your class too) but the title says "concept" and when the concept is faulty yet you can't change anything, it's bit useless to critique.
    Yeaaah sorry for harping about that, but I think you could take the crits and re-do this whole thing (outside your class) to see what comes of it and if you learn something. Just because your teacher says you can't change the pose it doesn't mean you shouldn't do it

    This is hard character to convey
    Is he hard to convey because you already have personal attachment to this character (e.g. is he a previously existing character that you know way too much of and also don't want to change visually) or for some other reason?

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  15. #13
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    what I meant by how there isn't much else I can do with him, is because the deadline to turn him in is tomorrow morning. I really wanted some more time to redo this after suggestions from you guys but times running low for me.

    However, I really did want a portfolio piece but I only had this weekend to do it. I guess that how deadlines really are but I'm still not prepared for that, there are some obvious basics that I need to go over before doing this again.
    Perhaps I should just put this aside and work on a better ref for him using the suggestions that you guys offered.

    -and yes this is an old character, I wanted to redo the cliches I gave him as a Jr high anime arteest girl (cause that's when I made him). I'm trying hard to get away from that bishonen look but it keeps coming back. He's supposed to be young and a main character hero sort of guy but I don't want him to show up in somebodies yaoi, ya know what I mean?

    After I finish this later today I'm going to to see what I can do to make him a bit more exciting. I'll keep this thread open for that.

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  16. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shia-Luciel View Post
    After I finish this later today I'm going to to see what I can do to make him a bit more exciting. I'll keep this thread open for that.
    That would be an excellent idea. It'd be really good for you to work this up to a full-fledged portfolio piece, once you get a bit of time free. In the meantime, maybe put some thought into the concepts (hobo, his background, etc.) and assemble reference in your spare time, to make use of later on.

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