Monday, 27 October 2014

Narrative: Quick Orthographics of Characters

Here are some quick orthographic sketches of the characters. I may have to come back to refine them for proportion and detail but this should give us something to work with when thinking about modelling our characters :)

Narrative: Porcupine Character

Here we wanted to design an old porcupine character with african cave painting influence. Therefore I gave him some glasses on the end of his nose and his spikes sagging downwards to help reinforce the old personality of the character. He is also squinting as he cant see very well anymore. 

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Narrative: Porcupine character sketch

Narrative: Porcupine intial sketches

My initial designs for the porcupine, I want to keep our tony style but incorporate the African influences from cave paitings. I decided to give him a pair of glasses as he struggles to see as he is an old character. For the spikes I have decided to keep them simple with just lines to represent them, after discussing with the team I will paint a character from these sketches.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Character: Game Refining

Using my three words; Light and Dark, Collecting and Oceanic I have decided upon a tablet game that the every day user will play.

This game will be a hybrid of two types of tablet games that being: strategy game and an adventure maze game. There are two states to this game, one where you have to build and manage your underwater dungeon and one where the game itself takes control of the dungeon and you are now a prisoner within your own dungeon and trying to escape!

The main theme for the design and logic behind the game will be ancient Celtic influences. I can use the designs within their stones and carvings to create underwater architecture and use their myths for more of a mystical element to it too.

Main character:
-Underworld God, a creator, witch? Magical?
-God's Son, he isn't as strong as the other gods with magic
-Ancient Celtic time
-The main character will be a casted away from the other gods for betraying them. Therefore the reason for building the dungeon is to produce enough evil to overcome the other dungeons that belong to the other gods, but when you breach out Into unknown lands and expand too much you can interfere with the other gods! If encountered by another god the character will punished and cursed into your own dungeon that you have to try get to the heart of it to teleport out of the hell that you have created.

Other gods (Characters):
- The main character was a part of a cult with the other gods that were trying to keep peace with each of the underwater Kingdoms, but he thought that his land was better than the other and wanted to cause destruction.
- Gods from other underwater Kingdoms

- Aquatic creatures
- Mystical
- Mutations
- Golems

- Magic Passage ways
- Magic locks
- Traps

When you are in the strategy mode of the game each room with different creatures with have a life source that will give energy to the monsters and the traps to stop intruders from coming into your dungeon.

When you have encountered another god and have been cursed you will go into the survival maze mode and to escape you will need to harness these life sources from your dungeon and collect them. Each different life source will give you either a good or bad effect. The bad effect may be good at the time and what is needed but you will be at risk from failing from escaping or even dying because of it. Players will have to learn what each life source does and use them to their advantage.

EG. Different Life Sources:
- Teleport

At the beginning of the escape mode, you will start off a little creature that can only move and jump and the around environment - pretty useless to escape your dungeon. But as you progress through the dungeon that you have made each life source will be able to harnessed and you can evolve your character to overcome obstacles in your way.

An interesting idea I had was the creatures that you create for your dungeon have their own mind, with each have their own personality. One trait will be some of them can tunnel out and create more rooms for themselves and expand the dungeon by themselves. Therefore they can be destructive to your own dungeon but also find mysterious rooms that you wouldn't of found by yourself. Although not all the creatures will have that ability to do so. Some may have enchantments to help protect the dungeon.

On the other hand because of these creatures in your dungeon (the ones that can create their own rooms etc) the maze that you thought you knew you was in may be completely different from when you were controlling it. When you are cursed into your dungeon by another god the computer will take over from your dungeon and will be upgrading it with more traps and monsters to get past to punish you for your bad doings.

Because this is a game on a tablet it will be updating all the time, you will have to manage your dungeon and keep control of the creatures created. When you are in the survival mode and trying to get out of the dungeon there will be safe zones where you can stay but the maze will still update whilst you are away.

Going back to my three words:
Oceanic - Environment, under the water.
Light and Dark - bad and good life sources to collect.
Collectables - Collecting resources to build your dungeon, collecting the life sources to escape dungeons.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Narrative: Hyena Character Concept

Here is my initial painting for the character that I have derived from my sketches in my sketchbook, I want to try and combine my toony style and the African cave painting style. For the animation we may use a line drawing for our character and be keeping the shader transparent but for now I wanted to paint the character as if it were textured. I want to get across the crazy personality and the viscous side of him.

These may need a few tweaks to get that right but these are my initial paintings :)

Narrative: Updated Storyboard

Here is our final storyboard, at a later date I will recreate this within Photoshop but now  our group has the narrative figured out we can go onto more character designs and environment designs.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Maya Modelling: Nose and Eyes

Character: Silhouettes and Character

For todays lesson we were taught about the use of silhouettes in character design and we were all given a separate type of character to work with, the one I was given was "pirates." At first I thought of the typical pirate with long swords and captain hats, but then I thought more about space pirates and Alien like characters, much like Treasure Planet. These were the silhouettes that I had came up with. I tried to sketch some villains, heroes and sidekicks just using silhouettes.

Narrative: First Character Designs


After researching and using my influence maps I have done some quick character designs. I was looking for a crazy hyena and in contrast an old slow porcupine.

I was thinking for design the hyena will be more triangular and the porcupine circular and using his spikes for an old hair style maybe?

Narrative: First Storyboard Ideas

Monday, 13 October 2014

Narrative: Style and Character Developement

We have been discussing our art direction for our animation and we have decided to look at art works from Africa as this is the location of our safari. Following from this we will see how this will effect our style decisions when designing our environments, I think we want to incorporate similar designs from African art for our environments but incorporating our own designs for characters and mixing the two together. 

When looking at these influence maps, the characters and cave art work seem to use simple shapes for their designs and I want to use this when designing our own characters. Also in the paintings they are mostly abstract work and suggestive painterly strokes for their environments which would be inspirational when designing the environments for our animated short. 

After discussing with Alan we have decided to look into the personality of our characters before designing to help us to understand our own characters. 

The Porcupine: 
- Old character
- Easily distracted
- Has no idea what is going on around him, in his own little world.
- Slow
- No drive

The Hyena:
- Crazy
- Energentic
- Clumsy
- Adventurous
- Clever but not clever at the same time. 

Here is an influence map when looking at personality and characters and how an old character would look like and the opposite a crazy character in contrast. 

 From all these influence maps that I have gathered I am going to take these and start to create some character and environment designs, whilst carrying on with story boarding for our narrative.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Maya Lip Syncing: Eyes, Eyebrows & Toungue

Mental Ray Lighting Techniques - Linear Work Flow

Today we were assigned to start to understand the making of a linear and more realistic render which is commonly used within special effects, but also to improve the quality of our animations when it comes to it. I had learnt how to apply a gamma correction node and to work in 32 bit rather than 8 bit.

This is the process that is involved. 
Original Image - Non Linear


Gamma Corrected
Final Gathering

Raw Image

Final EXR Render

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Character: Character Design Briefing and Initial Ideas


On the briefing I was given three deferent words to use for either my environment, mechanism and character, we could use them however we want to come up with our ideas.
Oceanic (submerged, Depth)

Light (visibility, Darkness)

Collective (Crowded, Cluttered)

After getting these three words my initial thought was to have the light and darkness as a key concept to my game, similar to limbo and Allen Wake where he uses light to dispel the darkness away (Evil silhouetted characters). With this key concept being done before on console I thought of using similar mechanics but for a different audience, that being the every day user on their phone or tablet. 

In this assignment we were tasked to come up with a game design with 2 characters minimum and environment designs to go along side it, this will be in the format of a kick starter campaign. 

Idea 1

-Tablet Game. Your character has an ability to change from a light and dark character. Each character can see different things within the world, the light character can see the world for what it is but you use the dark side of your character (almost like a shadow state) to reveal what has died or been there before. You can use the dark side of you to pass through walls and unlock secret rooms. This game would be about collecting artifacts under water where you go searching shipwrecks to find artifacts that you are collecting for points within the game, you can use these points to upgrade your character or unlock special abilities.

Idea 2

- Another idea was a sandbox game on console. You create your character in the fantasy world Atlantis inspired, and you have to go around collecting objects and materials to rebuild your home town and then to develop into bigger things, the only problem is when the darkness appears the buildings are lost and you have to rebuild what was lost to the darkness, but you can build defenses to protect yourself.

Idea 3

- This is idea is a table top game. Collecting miniatures where both armies are oceanic based from different dimensions in the underwater world. You can either side with the dark side or the light side in which your army will fight for, each of the armies have different abilities.

Idea 4

- This will be a tablet game. Your character is stuck underwater in a shipwreck or in a mystical reef platform. You have little light in this game, so it would be very atmospheric as you use your light to see the path and get out away from being submerged before you run out of oxygen under the water.
- Idea of trying to reach the top surface in time
-Mechanics uses similar to flappy bird.

Idea 5

- Tablet based game.
- A platform based game that has similar mechanics to doodle jump.
- Jumping up the platforms before the darkness get you?

Idea 6

- Tablet based game.
- You choose your type of character (Oceanic monster design), and you have to go out and collect your family of similar characters to your own before the timer runs out and bring them back to your home base.
- Main Mechanic being light being a safe zone and darkness being unsafe and dangerous.

Idea 7

- Tablet Based game.
- Using silhouettes on painted backgrounds of oceanic scenes.
- Under sea monster designs as the bad guys.
- The idea of the game is to get through the level undetected by the monsters that lurk in the shadows. You are a character that is an underwater archeologist and goes in search for the lost gem of the southern seas (I'll think of something better later on) from an underwater world.
- This is a stealth based game that you use your silhouette cloak to form shapes so the monsters wont detect you as, eg. Plants, rocks, fish. and you use this mechanic to get through the levels to progress further.
- The creatures will have lights on them to detect you with and it will warn you whether you have been detected or not.

Visual examples:

Character: Combining Games Lesson 1

In this exercise we were given two games to merge together to create a new game with a new set of rules.  We had to consider what the target audience was and what style it would be in etc.
The two games that I was given was:
Sonic the Hedgehog
& Grand Theft Auto

Sonic the hedgehog:
-Racing game, Speed mechanics
-Collecting and bonus missions
-For children and a younger audience
-Fantasy worlds

Grand theft auto:
-Exploration and Sandbox design
-Open world, making your own character and personalizing it to your own taste.
-Realistic World
-Aimed for Adults and Teenagers

I had an idea of using the style of sonic the hedgehog but combining it with the world of Grand Theft Auto, therefore still aiming it the older audience but with a cartoony style of sonic the hedgehog. There would be an underground league of sonic heroes that emerge to cause destruction. The idea of the game is to get your wanted level up as high as possible but then speeding away from the police trying to escape the authorities, whilst dodging road blocks and helicopters etc. The idea of the game would to see how much of a wanted level you could get and get away with it. The two examples were single player games on a console so I decided to stick to this with my version of the game.

So this game would consist of:
-Dark characters
-Cartoony style
-Violence and mayhem
-Sandbox, but racing to escape.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Narrative: Refining the narratives

We have two main ideas, one including a Porcupine and a Hyaena and one including a Rhino and a Hyaena. We have looked into slapstick comedy and we will be incorporating this type of humour to our animation. Both of these are based in a safari with long grass and a few tress around: Similar to these references: 

Idea 1 Porcupine & Hyaena

The camera will be focused on a porcupine, following a trail of seeds that he would usually eat on a day to day basis, but then gets distracted from the trail to see the holy fruit that he would really love. What he does not know is that he is being hunted by a hyaena at the same time, (the trail of seeds could lead the hyaena's mouth perhaps?) and he is spots a golden/holy fruit and is distracted from the trail and goes for the fruit. On his way he trips or stubbles on some pollen and sneezes to release his spikes into the hyaena and stops him from being hunted and he gets the fruit in the end, showing a little of what he fancy's does him good. 

-This idea of the porcupine sneezes to repel his enemy I really like but I'm still unsure how to incorporate it into a narrative with slapstick and still keeping the comedy values. 

Idea 2 - Rhino & Hyaena

A cub Hyaena finds itself lost within the African safari but stubbles across a herd of rhinos. He decides to creep up and he sees a swinging tale that he would like to play with (like a cat playing with a ball of wool) but he never seems to quite reach it. Once he finally gets the tail by a little bit the rhino decides that he needs a rest from eating a sits down for a bit, consequently squashing the hyaena. He then see's a treat or a piece of fruit that he fancies that makes he get up and it reveals the squashes cub and a floating hair from the rhino's tail that lands on top of the hyaena. This shows that when you get too much of what you fancy you end up with something that is not good. 

Following from this we will draw up some storyboards and see if these ideas can work. 

Narrative: Influence Maps and Style

As a group we are starting to finalise what characters and animals we want to use for our animation. So far we have shrunk it down to three to four potential characters, those being - a Hyaena, a Rhino and/or a Porcupine. 

We have two main narrative ideas behind these characters. The Hyaena is going to be the trickster the joker and funny character that always gets himself in trouble, therefore we thought of using a child hyaena to represent his silly nature. 

Another character is the Porcupine who I think should be this oblivious animal that does not really know what is going on around him during the animation and is reaching for this end goal whilst being stalked by the hyaena without even realising that the hyaena was 
ever there!

And finally the other potential character that we can work on with another narrative is the Rhino, we are thinking of once again an oblivious fattened Rhino to contrast in the silly nature of the Hyaena, who ends up sitting on him for whatever reason that the hyaena was trying to play around with him. 

As for style of the animation  I very much like the deer and the hunter style of art and wish to pursue down that road with this animation in mind. I also like BirdBox productions and the style of animations they produce. But we can also incorporate what creature comforts do, they go out and ask people questions completely irrelevant to the animation but they get the answers they want, this could work for our animation too. Whilst the character design from Aaron Blaise is inspirational. 

Archetypes - Lion King

Hero - 
 Simba - The main character throughout the film
 or Mufasa - Saves Simba from the wildebeest. 

Mentor -
Rafiki - he acts like a mentor getting Simba to remember who he was in his past life and convinces him to go back to take his place in pride rock.

Herald - 
Zazu the in between character, always looking out for Simba and the others.

Shadow - 
 Scar - The lion that wanted Mufasa and Simba dead to rule pride rock.

The Threshold Guardian - 
The Hyena's in Scars army that are trying to stop Simba from returning and regaining his place back. 

The Trickster - 
The three hyena's (Ed and the two others), never taking anything seriously and fooling around.

The Shapeshifter -  
Nala because she was seen as a friend at the beginning and then half way through is seen as a hunter towards Timon and Pumba and more of a predator, but then returns to being a friend towards Simba and ultimately staying with him.

Allies -
Timon and Pumba, The Lionesses and Lions.

The Hero's Journey: Shrek


Ordinary World
- The Swamp and his home.

The Refusal
-Throws away the notice of fairy creatures wanted, and the creatures invade his swamp.

Call to Adventure
- Fairy tale creatures invade the swamp and is given a quest.

Crossing the threshold
-leaving his home town (Swamp) and going towards the tower to rescue the princess.

Meeting the Mentor
- Donkey

Tests, Allies and Enemies
-Allies - Donkey, Enemies - Lord Farqud, Tests- Crossing the lava river and rescuing the princess, Fighting the merry men, defeating robin hood.

Approach (Major Challenge)
- Getting the princess to accept what he really is inside (an ogre).

The Ordeal (Death and Rebirth)
- Throughout the film we were under the impression that Fiona was a human but we find out that she is half ogre and was cursed from a witch so her portrayal of a human was reborn as something different (a half ogre).

Refusal to the call
­- He stops the wedding from happening between Fiona and Lord Farqud.

The Reward
-Getting Fiona.

The Road Back
-After 'freeing' Fiona from her curse, Shrek takes her back to swamp and celebrates them getting together and finding love.

The Resurrection
-When Lord Farqud was eaten by the dragon at the end of the film to finish off the enemies of Shrek.

The Elixir
- Shrek returns home to his swamp and ends up being the master of two worlds that we were lead to believe could not happen that being, Shrek is an Ogre but also had found true love that he was seeking.