Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Character Facial Expression Sheet

Environment Designs 1

Here are some of the thumbnails I have drawn for the first scene of our animation. The bottom row are some ideas for the monastery, I personally prefer the last image, and the top row are examples of medieval buildings that could be used to build the background of the scene.

As our animation is going to be staged like a pop-up theatre, all of the environments will be made up of image planes positioned at varying depths in the scene, for example in scene one the monastery will be in the foreground.

Here are the designs I created in photoshop for the straw, wood and stone walls included in our animation. 

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Poetry Ideas: 2


There once was a gre-ate Viking , who came in by sea
He raided our vial-ages  and challenged our decree
King Alfred, sentenced- him to death as our hearts pound
All across the land mon-astries burnt down to the ground
Their once was a gre-ate Viking, who came in by sea.

As he passed the vill-agers they drew their pitchforks
So he took their pi-itchforks and bent them into sporks!
Englishmen stumbled and crumbled and ran like crazy
Push them down, for the golden crown in his laughing frenzy
He took their pi-itchforks and bent them into sporks.

So they decided to imitate the gre-ate Viking
But a fool brought a cuppa out and ruined the whole thing!
The Englishmen once again staggers through daggers
And runs for Kings Alfreds’ mig-hi-ty soldiers
A fool brought a cuppa out and ruined the whole thing

So soldiers built walls to stop the gre-ate Viking army
The Viking huffed, and puffed and blew the walls down
(note this is where he cracks head on wall) (repeat as last line/ cut music) I said blew the walls down!
The soldiers retreated from their beloved town
There once was a gre-ate Viking, who came in by sea.

Then the soldiers dugout an impassable moat
He built a see-saw from a debris jigsaw and hit it to-stay-afloat
The soldiers ran for King Al-fred’s professional help
The Viking um- enjoyed watching the Englishmen yelp?
The Viking built a see-saw from a debris jigsaw.

So then- ahh. They built a mighty castle so no-body could break in
but the Viking sent a dragon and in a pile of ash it cave in.

The uh Englishmen tried to plough him in a steam train
But it rebounded off the Viking and nothing was gained

The Englishmen shot the Viking with the nearest tanks they could grab
but the shells got caught in-be-tween the Vikings abs
AND THEN… and then
And then they dropped a nu-clear warhead onto the gre-ate Viking
And when the dust clouds fell they could only hear the Viking sing

There once was a gre-ate Viking who came in by sea
The King used all measures but had to write a treaty
The Englishmen faught as hard as they could but had no choice but to flee
They couldn’t hope to stop the Viking so mighty
There once was a gre-ate Viking who came in by sea.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Character Poses

These are some of my sketches of the character in different poses. I drew these to help finalise the character and imagine how he would move and look in 3D.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Concept Art: Viking

Here is a quick demonstration of concept art for the viking character we have produced.

Narrative: Interim Pitch

Prop Development

Now that the character is nearing the end of its design process, it became important to begin developing his main props. Considering our character is a Viking, the most obvious prop will be his weapon. Drawing on previous research for influence, I begun to develop a series of sketches experimenting with shape and style to gain an idea of the final object in which would suit the Viking's character. While sketching, I decided it would be best to create some general ideas in the ideas of broadswords, hammers, and the most obvious, the iconic Viking axe. 

 Figure 1. Axes

Figure 2. Broadswords 

Figure 3. Hammers

It became apparent to me that when designing these weapons, incorporating subtle detail into our character's prop design could be a nice contrast with his simplified forms. Using simple shapes to begin the construction of each thumbnail sketch, the driving concept was to create imaginative weapons that fit the Viking visual style and also would suggest the strength and size of our character. From Figure 1, I like the simple design of sketch 2, but I also like the design of 4 with the subtle details connecting the axe head to the shaft. The most appealing sword from Figure 2 personally is design 3 due to its relatively historic accuracy regarding shape, and that fact that the broadness reflect our character additionally. However with the designs in Figure 3, I had the idea that the hammer could serve as a secondary weapon that could be a prop that is holstered on our characters belt. With this in mind, the simplicity of concept 6 appeals greatly, but in terms of using a hammer as our character main weapon, ideas 1 and 5 fit the bill nicely. 

Colour Scheme Experiments

With the basic forms and costume of our character coming to life, its time to start thinking about colour, and how we want our character to be presented. Knowing that the Vikings were Scandinavian from our research, I knew that using a colder colour scheme would be beneficial for out characters attire. I collected multiple tetrad palettes to begin piecing together the best combinations of colour for our Viking. 

Figure 1.                                               Figure 2.                                             Figure 3.

Figure 4.                                               Figure 5.

From these collections, I used the colour swatches as the base coats for the clothing, altering the saturation and brightness as I went along to make the colourings colder and less vibrant. Figure 1 perhaps seems to be the best fit for our character, using the right blend of the collected colour palette.

Initial Storyboard

In preparation for the pitch, Shan and I have put together a storyboard to visualise our ideas.

Character Head Orthographic Sheet

After a discussion with my group mates we felt it was time to combine our sketches into one solid orthographic to then take on to be modelled. I'm happy with this final outcome so far and I think once we get some colours on top of the concept it will be looking complete.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Concept Design: Markings

Carrying on from the initial costume developments, the arm which will be left bare became an asset which I felt needed to be characterised in a way which could fit with our viking and the style we are using. Considering both our research and our stylistic approach, it became clear that war markings would provide a more detailed appearance even in simplistic forms. I developed a series of basic designs, using rougher edges without being too tidy to give the concepts that hand-painted feel.

From these concepts it became apparent that possibly mixing designs 1 and 3 together could provide the perfect fit for our characters personalised markings. By incorporating the mid section of design 3 into the first seems like a strong composition, however doing so would mean moving the lower band further down the forearm. This will be a concept which will be played around during the development of our character over the next week.

Concept Design: The Head

After a discussion with Alan last week we were advised to make our character more simplistic. Alan asked us to create more block like character so simplify our design in hope that the details may come through and help us make group decisions in its simplicity. You would have already seen Jakes  blocked out body shapes go online earlier this week, it was my mission to block out the face. To do this I started by looking at silhouettes of different facial shapes before choosing my favorite to work with and design further details on. 

Fig.1 Silhouettes

In (fig.2) I've played about with the facial hair to see what outcomes seem to give a better feel to the character, as well as blocking out two of Jakes final designs for the face. My hope is that we can begin to get a definitive answer and angle to our work so we can start to move out of the design stage and bring this character to life in 3D. 

Fig. 2

Poetry Ideas

Here are few initial ideas I've popped together regarding a poem for our group project. The poem wasn't used to simulate what the viewer is already seeing but to interact as another character with the protagonist (the viking). As the Viking smashes through the typical made-in-Britain defenses the bard/ voice over progresses through a series of ideas, each more ridiculous than the one beforehand in conflict with the Viking. With this being said I wanted the voice of the poem to be received with an ignorance toward the Vikings strength and an adamant character in his attitude that his ideas ultimately will prevail.

A quick note on language, you would have seen a post went up earlier last week with a range of British words and phrases, we are really trying to generate comedy through the stereotypes of each character and so we aim for the bard to adopt these stereotypical English characteristics.

Poem Ideas for the Viking Animatic

Here here ladies and gents
introducing a performance from King Alfred himself
regarding the dangers of Vikings to your health.

Step one to defeating a Viking
Gather the lads, pick up ya pitchforks
Take the geezer outside and fight him
Why wait when you can DIY?

Hmmmm (pause) perhaps a series of walls
Will stop the bugger in his tracks
Surely he will stumble and fall
I said, surely he will stumble and fall… (Sigh).

Okay, well in any case you could build a moat
Bobs your uncle, cheerio old chap
The drawbridge is up and you can’t stay afloat
Not with that weight anyway (sniggers).

AHA! Just imitate their grotesque manors
their belches, burps and farts
you’ll have to hide the cuppas away chaps
Oh and grow some hair and bigger parts

For heaven’s sake, why let’s stay in the castle?
We will celebrate, crack open the wine
The Vikings will be knocked off their trolley
as we laugh in our jolly good time

Bloody hell, tits up we signed a treaty
It’s not like he was a soft guy anyway
(Long pause)
(Cat Meows)

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Initial Character Sketches #6.

These are a few initial sketches experimenting with stylising our character while developing his face. Each design had started with simple forms before I begun developing details and combining more shapes to make the original design more complex. Within each design I wanted to include an over exaggeration on specific parts of each character, having a blend between realistic qualities and a toon style. Some were developed using soft edges where as other used sharp lines to define the face before adding in other facial characteristics.

Figure 1.

From these designs above, sketches 4,6 & 7 stand out to me most. Character 4 has simplistic facial shapes, and can be broken down into even simpler forms when transitioning to 3D. Sketch 6 has an appeal due to his baldness (giving an emphasis on his facial hair) and also because of his nose shape, though my personal favourite is design 7 due to his face shape and his facial structure. I also believe if his forms were simplified further, his hairstyle could also provide for an interesting development when bringing our character to life.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Character Costume Development

With my duties of character design after finalising the body shape, we decided that costume would come under the same design area as props. I knew that I wanted our character to have layers of clothing much like the Vikings had back in history, so the idea of designing simple shapes for items and then essentially playing dress up on our characters silhouette became appealing. I decided that the Viking needed the obvious clothing elements of a shirt, trousers and shoes, but also wanted needed to include some sort of belt for his props and weapons, as well as owning large furs that would act as a coat. I developed only a few designs for each item as the mix and match process would allow for many different outcomes already, however the shoe and trousers shapes/designs were kept to a minimal due to the attention being focused on the characters upper body.

Figure 1.

After compiling these designs I begun to piece together the Viking attire into full costumes, trying not to repeat my developments too often so that each concept appeared fresh and different. I enjoyed this process and chose the 6 strongest designs which had the most appeal and contrast to our character. I tried to keep these costumes as simple as possible in regard to shape and style so that when it comes to developing our character and his attire in 3D, the transition wouldn't be too challenging or difficult, yet still allow our style to successfully push through.

Figure 2.

Personally, design 1 and 5 are my favourites as I feel as if the simplicity is attracting and the naked arm in both could also allow for markings or scars to be present to give our viking personal visual attributes. The idea of having a naked arm is also a logical design choice as our character would need unrestricted movement in that specific area due to his warrior nature allowing him to attack efficiently. The opposite concept would also be relevant to his other arm which would effectively be his 'shield-arm', so this could be an aspect that draws upon the idea of over protection. Opinions would be appreciated on these designs, however if there is an idea regarding a different 'mash-up' of clothing that could present a more interesting choice of costume feel free to piece it together and comment!

Friday, 18 October 2013

Developed Body Shapes

After a group meeting, we discussed that it was time for us to knuckle down and share out the design responsibilities in an organised manner. It was decided that we would split the character design into two categories; face and hair, and body and props. After deciding on an initial body structure, it was advised to simplify our initial body build down into simple shapes so that it would be easier to breakup the design when re-drawing our character in other poses, as well imagining our character in 3D. Below are the interpretations of the original body build #1. on our previous design sheet (Found Here).

Figure 1

When creating these frameworks, it became apparent that there were two ways of developing this character. Both designs are developed using circles and squares, however one provides a friendlier aura where as the other suggests a more aggressive tone. Personally, build 1 (Left) feels like correct development, being able to give our character a friendly appearance which can relate to the characteristics (Found Here) that we intentionally want to develop within his character.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Language Research: List of British Words and Phrases

Ace - If something is ace it is awesome. I used to hear it a lot in Liverpool. Kids thought all cool stuff was ace, or brill.

Arse - This is a word that doesn't seem to exist in America. It basically means the same as ass, but is much ruder. It is used in phrases like "pain in the arse" (a nuisance) or I "can't be arsed" (I can't be bothered) or you might hear something was "a half arsed attempt" meaning that it was not done properly.

Bladdered - This rather ugly expression is another way of saying you are drunk. The link is fairly apparent I feel!

Bloody - One of the most useful swear words in English. Mostly used as an exclamation of surprise i.e. "bloody hell" or "bloody nora". Something may be "bloody marvellous" or "bloody awful". It is also used to emphasise almost anything, "you're bloody mad", "not bloody likely" and can also be used in the middle of other words to emphasise them. E.g. "Abso-bloody-lutely"! Americans should avoid saying "bloody" as they sound silly.

Bob's your uncle - This is a well used phrase. It is added to the end of sentences a bit like and that's it! For example if you are telling someone how to make that fabulous banoffee pie you just served them, you would tell them to boil the condensed milk for three hours, spread it onto a basic cheesecake base, slice bananas on top, add some whipped double cream, another layer of banana and Bob's your uncle! 

Bodge - We bodge things all the time here. I'm sure you do too! To do a bodge job means to do a quick and dirty. Make it look good for the next day or two and if it falls down after that - hey well we only bodged it! Applies to building, DIY, programming and most other things.

Bollocks - This is a great English word with many excellent uses. Technically speaking it means testicles but is typically used to describe something that is no good (that's bollocks) or that someone is talking rubbish (he's talking bollocks). Surprisingly it is also used in a positive manner to describe something that is the best, in which case you would describe it as being "the dog's bollocks". Englishmen who live in America take great delight in ordering specialised registration plates for their cars using the letters B.O.L.L.O.X. Good eh?

Botch - There are two expressions here - to botch something up or to do a botch job. They both mean that the work done was not of a high standard or was a clumsy patch. My Dad used to always tell me that workmen had botched it up and that he should have done the work properly himself.

Bugger - This is another fairly unique word with no real American equivalent. Like bloody it has many uses apart from the obvious dictionary one pertaining to rather unusual sexual habits. My father was always shouting "bugger" when he was working in the garage or garden. Usually when he hit his thumb or dropped a nail or lost something. Today we might use the sh** or the f*** words but bugger is still as common. The fuller version of this would be "bugger it". It can also be used to tell someone to get lost (bugger off), or to admit defeat (we're buggered) or if you were tired or exhausted you would be buggered. You can also call someone a bugger. When I won £10 on the lottery my mate called me a "lucky bugger".

Cheeky - "Eee you cheeky monkey" was what my mother said to me all the time when I was a kid. Cheeky means you are flippant, have too much lip or are a bit of a smart arse! Generally you are considered to be a bit cheeky if you have an answer for everything and always have the last word. My licence plate on my MX5 (Miata in American) was CHEEKY, which most Texans thought was something to do with bottoms - wrong!!

Cheerio - Not a breakfast cereal. Just a friendly way of saying goodbye. Or in the north "tara" which is pronounced sort of like "churar".

Cheers - This word is obviously used when drinking with friends. However, it also has other colloquial meanings. For example when saying goodbye you could say "cheers", or "cheers then". It also means thank you. Americans could use it in English pubs, but should avoid the other situations as it sounds wrong with an American accent. Sorry!

Cheesed off - This is a polite way of saying you are pissed off with something.

Chuffed - You would be chuffed to bits if you were really pleased about something.

Cock up - A cock up means you have made a mistake. It has nothing to do with parts of the male body.

Codswallop - Another one I heard a lot as a kid - usually when I was making up excuses for how the window got broken or why my dinner was found behind the sofa. My Dad would tell me I was talking a load of codswallop. American kids might be talking baloney under the same circumstances.

Cor - You'll often hear a Brit say "cor"! It is another one of those expressions of surprise that we seem to have so many of. It will sometimes be lengthened to "cor blimey" or "cor love a duck", depending on where you are. "Cor blimey" is a variation of "Gawd Blimey" or "Gor Blimey". They are all a corruption of the oath "God Blind Me".

Daft - My Dad used to call me a daft 'apeth which is short for a daft half penny (in old money). It basically means stupid.

Dear - If something is dear it means it is expensive. I thought Texan insurance was dear.

DIY - This is short for do it yourself and applies not just to the DIY stores but also to anything that you need to do yourself. For example, if we get really bad service in a restaurant (oh, you noticed!) then we might ask the waiter if it is a DIY restaurant - just to wind them up.

Dog's bollocks - You would say that something really fantastic was the dog's bollocks. Comes from the fact that a dog's bollocks are so fantastic that he can't stop licking them! Nice huh? Often shortened to just "The dog's".

Donkey's years - Someone said to me the other day that they hadn't seen me for donkey's years. It means they hadn't seen me for ages.

Flog - To Flog something is to sell it. It also means to beat something with a whip, but when your wife tells you she flogged the old TV it is more likely she has sold it than beaten it (hopefully!).

Fluke - If something great happened to you by chance that would be a fluke. When I was a kid my Mum lost her engagement ring on the beach and only realised half way home. We went back to the spot and she found it in the sand. That was a fluke.

Give us a bell - This simply means call me. You often hear people use the word "us" to mean "me".

Gobsmacked - Amazed. Your gob is your mouth and if you smack your gob, it would be out of amazement.

Grub - Food. Similar to nosh. I remember my Dad calling "grub's up", when dinner was ready as a kid. A grub is also an insect larva. Not usually eaten in England. Actually is available in some Australian restaurants!

Gutted - If someone is really upset by something they might say that they were gutted. Like when you are told that you have just failed your driving test!

Hunky-dory - My English dictionary tells me that hunky-dory means excellent. We would generally use it to mean that everything is cool and groovy, on plan, no worries and generally going well.

Jolly - You hear people use this in all sorts of ways, but basically it means very. So "jolly good" would mean very good. A common exception is where you hear people say "I should jolly well think so!" which is more to emphasise the point.

Knackered - The morning after twenty pints and the curry, you'd probably feel knackered. Another way to describe it is to say you feel shagged. Basically worn out, good for nothing, tired out, knackered.

Knock up - This means to wake someone up. Although it seems to have an altogether different meaning in the USA! At one time, in England, a chap was employed to go round the streets to wake the workers up in time to get to work. He knew where everyone lived and tapped on the bedroom windows with a long stick, and was known as a "knocker up". He also turned off the gas street lights on his rounds. Another meaning of this phrase, that is more common these days, is to make something out of odds and ends. For example my Dad knocked up a tree house for us from some planks of wood he had in the garage, or you might knock up a meal from whatever you have hanging around in the fridge.

Knuckle sandwich - If somebody offers you a knuckle sandwich you'd be best to decline the offer and leave at the next convenient moment. It isn't some British culinary delight - they're about to thump you in the face.

Naff - If something is naff, it is basically uncool. Anoraks are naff, salad cream is also naff. You could also use it to tell someone to naff off, which is a politer way of telling them to f*** off!

Nice one! - If someone does something particularly impressive you might say "nice one"! to them. It is close the Texan good job that you hear all the time.

Not my cup of tea - This is a common saying that means something is not to your liking. For example if someone asked you if you would like to go to an all night rave, they would know exactly what you meant if you told them it was not exactly your cup of tea!

Off your trolley - If someone tells you that you're off your trolley, it means you have gone raving bonkers, crazy, mad!

Pardon me - This is very amusing for Brits in America. Most kids are taught to say "pardon me" if they fart in public or at the table etc. In America it has other meanings which take us Brits a while to figure out. I thought I was surrounded by people with flatulence problems!

Pear shaped - If something has gone pear shaped it means it has become a disaster. It might be preparing a dinner party or arranging a meeting, any of these things can go completely pear shaped.

Piece of cake - I remember saying it's a piece of cake in front of one of my American friends, who then started looking around for the cake! It means it's a cinch!

Piss up - A piss up is a drinking session. A visit to the pub. There is an English expression to describe someone as disorganised which says that he/she could not organise a piss up in a brewery!

Prat - Yet another mildly insulting name for someone. In fact, this one is a bit ruder than pillock so you probably wouldn't say it in front of Grandma.

Pukka - This term has been revived recently by one of our popular young TV chefs. It means super or smashing, which of course is how he describes all his food.

Smashing - If something is smashing, it means it is terrific.

Sod's law - This is another name for Murphy's law - whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.

Splash out - If you splash out on something - it means you throw your senses out the window, get out your credit card and spend far too much money. You might splash out on a new car or even on a good meal.

Taking the mickey - See taking the piss. Variations include "taking the mick" and "taking the Michael".

All text assembled from

Sound Design

So that we can begin writing our ballad, I have started looking at possible music choices for our animation. As a group we agreed that the music needs to fit with the time period we were given. At the moment we are using number 1 to help us write the ballad. Some of the tracks are long enough that they could potentially run throughout our animation, but the shorter tracks, such as 7, could be used as an intro or with other pieces.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Initial Character Sketches #5: Hair Styles

After designing a few facial styles I decided to take my favorite one and develop hair on top of it.

Initial Character Sketches #4.

After receiving feedback from my group and other course-mates it was quite clear that people would prefer to see at the earlier stages aggressive facial expressions rather than neutral facial expressions. I also got out with the rounded faces and in with the sharper cheekbones (as you can see from the two portrait sketches). I particularly wanted to over exaggerate the nose of the character, this is  a stylized ugly and angry viking character, we also agreed as a group that we wanted, if possible, to allow the eyebrows to dictate the facial expressions going on the stereotypes our animation aims to be driven upon. One thing which has reached my ears and did get through to me, as I wondered from person to person asking what they thought so far of our characters was that it was easy to decipher that the character was a strong male, but not easy to tell he was a Viking. Even though our group has talked about perhaps trying to move away from the generic, I personally feel that now receiving that feedback we should start to introduce helmets, or at least longer hair seeing as we are potentially relying on the generic to an extent for the audience to categorize our character and relate to the animation. Anyway, enough insight to what is going on behind the scenes, here are the updates sketches.

Figure. 1                                                                    Figure. 2

Figure. 3