Character Design – 01

When we first got this project, I decided immediately that I wanted to do something relating to nature. I have always loved looking at the different colour and shapes of plants and flowers so I was interested in going down that line. From A Level work, I remembered that there was some flowers that looked like little people which I used to love painting. There are probably many flowers that resemble humans or animals but the one that stood out the most to me was the Orchid and its different forms. It’s hard to imagine so I’ll leave some examples below! Naked Man Orchid, Angel Orchid & Monkey Orchid.

Since I wanted to do something small and petite and the first character that I thought of for inspiration was Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy. I was thinking more along the lines of baby Groot from the end of the first film and then he was also in the GoTG2. I was intrigued from his small form and characteristics such as the vines that he is able to grow on cue. I realise that he is supposed to be a tree, however, if I was to redesign him I would make him more flower like and more colourful – just my preference!

I liked him so I started to sketch out a few different designs for my own character. I wanted it to have vines like Groot’s body but with a flower at the top of its head to make it more colourful and more to my style.

FullSizeRender 14
Character Design Sketches/Paintings

Next was coming up with a name for my character. If I could’ve called it Groot I would because it’s cute…although I didn’t. Gerbera belongs to the daisy family and the name is as simple as that. The colours I chose because they contrast and stand out. I wanted to keep it natural looking so went for a green body and red because its the opposite of green and the colours compliment each other.

I also had a look at some facial expressions with the eyes and mouth. I love Groot’s big eyes and simple mouth so thats what I went for.


Naked Man OrchidAngel OrchidMonkey OrchidFlower Name/MeaningBaby Groot Images


Animatics: 1st, 2nd and Final!

So we had a few changes within our story throughout and there was a lot of indecisiveness. We first decided that we wanted one apple to drop in front of the worms face and then Darcy gave us the idea that the apple core could hit the tree and then multiple apples drop. We eventually settled on this idea as it seemed more natural but also gave a bit of exaggeration and excitement in the end of the storyline.

Before this happened, Jess had created an animatic which we took criticism from and changed up slightly. We had to change up the background, use more tone, reassess the timing of the frames and also create a scene from birds eye view so that we could easily tell the story in a way that became understandable to the audience. E.g. direction of worm movement and apple core being kicked.

Jess’ animatic:

After this I decided to create one based on the criticism we had been given from the class: My second animatic attempt

In this animatic, the camera was lost within the shots. There was too many up close shots and again it was hard to tell what was going on in the clip. We also got advice to change some of our sounds as they were already quite popular such as the sound for when the worm is trying to make it to the apple core. So we changed those slightly as you can see in the final animatic:

I tried to keep it as simple as possible compared to the second one as there was a lot of detail which resulted in the incapacity of trying to differentiate each object in the picture.

Mike helped us with the shots of where the camera should be to help the visual story read clearer. He gave us the most important shots and we added a couple of our own demonstrating the key details of the story.

This was a real help with the final animatic as it finally gave us the best perception of how we wanted each frame/scene to look in the final animation.

30 Sec Animation: Pitch and Concepts

So we started by coming up with a few ideas that we could talk about to get feedback off each idea and see which would be best… to realise it was actually a presentation/pitch. We had the idea of a worm trying to get to a rotten apple core, it being kicked away and a fresh apple landing right infant of him. We liked the idea of a worm because we knew this would be easy to create in MAYA, a long with an apple, tree, grass and a foot. We tried to keep it as simple as possible. We were told that we had to give a visual display of our story or feedback on whether to continue was almost impossible.

So in the week following, we created concept sketches and models and also did some research. We originally used the Disney Pixar short ‘The Early Hatchling Gets The Worm‘. We used this and then found a couple of others after thinking of the story that we thought would be great to use for reference of how to make the worm move in MAYA: Robby and A Worm’s Tale. Both of these have different stories but also both show different movements that may be helpful to look at when trying to add movement to our worm.

FullSizeRender 9
Concepts of Main Scenes. In order: top left, bottom left, top right, bottom right

Just created these quickly with watercolours and watercolour pencils to demonstrate the main scenes and characters in the story. Other group members did some concepts as well.

I also went onto MAYA and tried to model a rotten apple core.

I tried to add some shading on different faces but just ended up looking square. So I need to look at how to blend the darker shades into the lighter. I also need to make it look a bit more rotting by making the shape a little less even and crisp looking. Arnold also wouldn’t let me render view, so I need to figure that one out!


Floating City Concept

Our idea was to have an entry/walkway into the city through an archway. The city has been destroyed meaning that the walk way would show rubble and different artefacts and objects covered in ash and ruined from the eruption. We have planned the concept of the city to be showing the day that vesuvius erupted, not long after the city was covered in ash and destroyed. After a short journey through the city that shows different objects that relate to Pompeii, the volcano (Vesuvius) will slowly appear. The camera will then approach Vesuvius and make it’s way round the circumference whilst presenting the statistics.

We agree the camera should start low to the ground to emphasise Vesuvius’ size before making it’s way up to the top. We also want to try and create the effect of dustiness around the ground and ash in the air as if it’s just after the eruption. Smoke coming from the top of the volcano would make this look even more realistic along with the textures that will be used. These will be mainly to do with dirt, gravel and old brick but these can be researched further later.


Above are some storyboards that I created based on how we want the floating city to look. Not overly detailed but we hope to have something similar in 3D created in MAYA.

Artefact: Brain

Starting with a brain-shaped newspaper ball (below) we covered it bit by bit in segments of clay and joined these as we went along. This method turned out to give us problems as joining the segments together left lumps and bumps across the surface and we also had to worry about it cracking once it dried. The second layer, we decided to just use one massive rolled out piece of clay and then trim off what we didn’t need. This worked well and smoothed out the surface. Luckily, we didn’t have to worry too much about the uneven surface as we were adding another chunky, textured layer which would cover this, as long as the initial shape was correct.

Newspaper Base

Once the second layer was down, we started rolling out sausage-like shapes in the clay. We thought this was the best way to create the realistic muscly shape of the brain’s outer surface. So we applied these to the second layer by grazing the surface of each piece in hope that it wouldn’t fall off once dry. We applied and smoothed over until it was how we wanted it to look. We also created a slit down the middle of the brain to make each side, left and right, appear almost separated like a normal brain.

Day One Brain Model

This was the final outcome from day one. We had previously wanted the brain to look as though it was exploding so we added this in. We though the best thing to use to create the most realistic skin was chewing gum, this was added the following day after the brain was left to sit overnight and dry out a little.

Brain Model With Gum

We still need to paint the brain to make it more realistic, this is what it looks like so far.

Artefact: Planning

So to create our artefact, we needed to use a reference. We looked at the brain and explosions to understand the idea of the shape we were trying to create. Firstly, we looked at the brain and the different segments so when modelling this we would understand how the different shapes came together.


Brain Reference

We figured out that the brain was somewhat similar on each half (left and right) but not identical. We tried to recreate this a realistic as possible because we wanted our brain to be as real looking as possible. Leanna created an intreating model in Z-Brush which we also used as reference whilst creating this and Yazz modelled miniature sculptures from polymer clay and plasticine before we started the actual artefact.

We also looked at an explosion reference:


Explosion Reference

We wanted the brain to eventually be able to sit on top of the explosion, like a stand, once they were both complete so we agreed that this type of explosion worked best.

Artefact Sketch

This was a quick sketch of mine to demonstrate an idea of how the final artefact would look.

We had planned to have 3 layer of clay put over a newspaper base. This is a sketch demonstrating the different layers. The first and second layer would be put in place to give the most solid support for the 3rd textured layer. It would also hold everything together and make it easier to add the muscle shapes.

Layer Planning Sketch



Artefact Idea???

Last week our schematic/artefact group (Leanna, Yazz, James and I) had came up with a pretty awesome idea for the artefact to suit our assigned movie; Apocalypse Now.

We had different ideas to start with and we basically mashed them all together. The idea of a bomb shell, helicopter, ruined brain etc. Lots of different ones. We thought most of these were pretty unoriginal and basic objects taken straight from the film. We talked more about it and thought of the idea of having a brain that had ben destroyed due to psychotic emotions, which were heavily involved in the film. Possibly made out of clay and filled with different items, colourful and dull to make it look both realistic and unrealistic. Possibly displayed on a bed of wooden planks or hanging if it wasn’t too heavy since it was made of clay?

The most important thing now is to do some research into this and mental illnesses and which part of the brain they effect so we know better. Also to sketch up some concepts and make a list of materials that are a possibility of using so that we can start to plan quickly and get making!