Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Heroes and Villains part 2

The other two images from the assignment. I'm much happier with these two than I was with the first characters. First lady is an "unlikely villain" and the second is a female hero that is supposed to have what Ryan Woodward calls "sex appeal." Personally, I don't like the term because it encourages students to focus on the wrong aspects of what makes a female character attractive. I just like to say that she's pretty.

EDIT: Just to clarify, I'm not saying that Ryan is encouraging the wrong approach to making tasteful female character designs---I'm saying I don't like the term "sex appeal" because taken by itself, could give the wrong impression. Hope I didn't give anyone the wrong impression with that---if so, I'm sorry.

Any critiques are welcome!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Heroes and Villains

Another character design assignment on heroes and villains. I've got two more on the way that I'll post tomorrow.

This first fellow was for the "unlikely hero" part of the assignment, and who would make a more unlikely hero than a cartographer? I was probably thinking about Wally from the Monkey Island series.

A stereotypical villain. And yes, this was a half-hearted effort at imitating Joe Olson's style.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Lady Ghoulsmire

Another one for the Avalanche blog.
Don't you hate it when you know something is wrong with an image, but just can't quite figure out what you're screwing up? I don't know, maybe it's that old middle-of-the-month artist slump.

Here's a close-up, in case anyone's interested.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

RANT of the week: Caricature

Okay, I've got to get something out of my system. Throughout my classes today, I noticed many other people working on this caricature assignment. Some of them were either taking the assignment lightly or complaining about its relevance to character design. I'm not a great caricature artist, but I believe strongly in its value to character designers. So this post is for all those in my class who don't believe caricature is important:

In my opinion, caricature is the ultimate design exercise. Think about how these elements are used by the very best caricature artists:

That list sounds familiar, hopefully! Caricature isn't just about distortion, recognition, and good rendering.
Good caricature is really about finding just the right design element(s) that simultaneously give a character both recognition and appeal. This same principle applies to object and environment design. Usually in entertainment, audiences have only a split second to register what they are seeing, so recognition is essential. But recognition isn't enough by itself, since audiences lose interest quickly if what they see isn't appealing.
Sebastian Kruger isn't a great caricature artist just because he renders details so well. I think his caricatures would be just as effective even without his insane painting ability, because he efficiently uses basic design elements (such as shape and line) so that they simultaneously bring recognition and appeal to his characters.

For examples of how the principles of caricature result in good character design, look at the work of Stephen Silver, David Colman, Shane Prigmore. I could provide a much longer list, but I think I've gone on for long enough now.

EDIT- A couple more thoughts I had this morning:
The very best live-action film designs also use a type of low-level caricature in their costume designs and makeup to make them easily readable and more appealing. The Pirates of the Caribbean movies are a good example of this.
There are a lot of bad caricatures out there---I'm sure you see them all the time. These caricatures are usually recognizable, and the people who draw them can feel proud for getting that part right. However, a drawing a million such caricatures won't make those people into good character designers because they aren't using the principles of design correctly, and their focus is usually only on recognition and not appeal. What I'm trying to get at is if caricature is exercise for designers, then the principles of design are the weights. If you're serious about design, you can't treat caricature just as a way to get cheap laughs.

Caricature assignment

This week's assignment was to do caricatures. Since this is the second time I've taken the character design class, the teacher let me choose my own subjects.
I'm a big fan of BYU football, and so I thought it would be fun to try the head coach, Bronco Mendenhall. Unfortunately, there's not a ton of photo reference available of him on the web, so I'm not sure how close I came to his likeness.

I also like the BBC series "Jeeves and Wooster" with Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. I don't think my likeness of Bertie Wooster is all that great, but I'm pretty happy with Jeeves. Also, I think I'm in love with Painter's "Dry Ink" brush.

I'm also working on Miranda Otto (I also like the Lord of the Rings movies), but I'm probably not going to finish her until just before the assignment is due.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Arena Lighting and Surfaces

Well, I finally finished it. Like the kitchen, I feel like there's lots of things I could fix if I spent another 20 hours on it, but I feel like it's just not worth the effort. Hopefully it gets the necessary information across anyway.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006