Thursday, October 24, 2013

Style Sheet/Notes

Hello design team and story team!

Great concepts everyone, I feel like we're on the right track. I know we probably all want to start modelling ASAP. I think the best way to go about this is to start concept-ing stylistically. What we have now is great, but it's not as geometric as we initially agreed upon. I've gathered some references for what I think would work with our film.

I've also compiled some notes for consideration based off of the book, The Noble Approach that we should keep in mind when designing props/assets/environments.

This is just a quick run down of the more important elements of my notes. If you want all of the notes, I'll be happy to give them to you just send me a note or something.


  • Audience should feel comfortable with your designs and know what they stand for.
  • "In Illustration, an artist can be more subtle, because the viewer has the opportunity to spend more time with the art. In animation, design it is is a rare luxury to spend more than a few seconds with an image. The focus has to read quickly and clearly. Movement and colour all help with this focus, but everything begins with value."
  • Design supports but does not intrude
  • Simplicity is key to design
  • Design supports character and story
  • Design to the strength of the medium
  • Always be specific
  • Capture the feeling of a place instead of look
  • Animation: "a distillation of the truth, with all irrelevant parts removed; a kind of visual reduction sauce. It's the strength of animation as a medium..."
  • "When turning natural things into designs, pick the most outstanding characteristic of what it is you are designing"
    • ex: when designing a chair for PePe Le Pew cartoon, Maurice notes "swooping back, curved legs, high arched back"
  • Experiment with size relationships, shape, pattern
  • Once a general approach for pattern and shape language have been found, narrow rough sketches to ones that will work best
  • "Values: valuable" -> "colour: icing on the cake"
  • "Don't be afraid to be ridiculous with your shapes and forms. If it makes you laugh, it will probably make the audience laugh too"

I am heavily leaning towards a style similar to
  • Emperor's New Groove
  • Bastion
  • The Croods
  • Wakfu
  • Madagascar
This is just style though. We should explore simplifications of this style given our time constraints and limitations. I think simplifications to the level of Journey or even External World - David O'Reilly would be something worth while to explore.

We should start working with shading and values to really elaborate on the 3D-ness of the design. This is just so we can really start to flesh out what the film may look like and if the designs work. Colour is not so important right now, but if that's your thing, feel free to explore.

  • Really try to elaborate on the 3D-ness in your drawings
  • Think of the overall shape of the design before details
  • Start with values before colour
  • Again, thing about the overall shape
  • Don't forget about gesture 
  • Keep in mind the rhythm of silhouette of your design. 
    • Where do you want the audience's eyes to rest, or be drawn to? - that area is usually where it should contain the most detail and rhythm
    • Silhouette first, detail/stylization later

    • Steps
    • Swirls
    • Squares, Rectangles, Triangles
    • Geometric
    • Angles, Lines, 
    • Aztec
    • Mesopotamian
    • Ruins
    • Early early civilization. 
      • Pre-Roman Empire, Post-Austrolopithecus
    • What's weird? What is unique?
  • Reference real life!
    • Do research from real pictures, or places you've been. Draw from your experiences/memory

That being said.....
There's not much the design team can do other than do concept art with style until we all know the story.

Design Team:
We need specific pieces of concept art/thumbnails that can give us a visual on the type of world we want to create. I want to ask you guys to come up with some concept art for MONDAY OCTOBER 28 that will show and elaborate these things:

Design these with style in mind and stage the character(s) if you can
  1. What the world looks like outside of the island
  2. What the world looks like from the island looking in toward the island
  3. What the world looks like from inside the tree

Fruit needs to work with the environment. There needs to be an element of consistency between the fruit and the tree so we know that the fruit is from the tree. Fruit/tree concepts should be done together.
  1. Come up with an idea for a fruit that you can justify 100%. Always ask why you are designing this particular thing the way you are. The reason must support the story.

Who is this Badger/Loris? Who do YOU think this Badger/Loris is based off of our story? Reference Alison's story notes!
  1. Beginning of the story, what does the badger look/feel like?
  2. Contrast this to the end of the story (where he's still a badger), what does the badger look/feel like then?
  3. Poses with expression, mood. A feeling that will be conveyed in our film. Explore the limitations of the Badger's/Loris's body (reach, bend, exaggeration)
  4. 3/4 views of the design
  5. Thumbnails/Silhouettes/Shapes!!

Please also feel free to post on the blog as you go!

Most importantly, have fun with this (!!!) and don't forget to put a bit of your vision into what you draw. :)


Next steps:
I'll be getting in contact with Brandon while/as soon as they are done working on the rough boards. Once we know what's happening with the story I'll talk to Alison about co-coordinating meetings (group and design) to make sure everyone is on the same page.

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