Friday, 21 February 2014

RUST ~Final Major Project~ Character #03 Concept Development

Initial design work for my third and final character, the 'eccentric mad scientist'  ''an old series data processing droid, he has modified himself over the centuries to become super intelligent past his factory standard parameters. Due to this he has become a self-taught inventor of numerous devices, and loves meddling in the construction of his fellow robots''. Having a clear intention of how i wanted his body to be like (wheelchair bound, attached to heavy machinery where he has modified himself), again i put my design focus to testing out how various faces would look like, wanting to really show off the crazy/eccentric character. 
I decided on bypassing the designs that focused on an extension on the head, as even though they gave a great impression of a 'genius scientist' sort of character I found that the sort of 'manic old man' seemed to give him greater character and definitely portrayed his eccentric nature. I wanted the type of non-symmetrical design to be most apparent in this character in particular, as he is obsessed with bettering himself and other through modifications and tinkering and I wanted this to be obvious to look at him. Areas such as having one eye larger with added magnifier to examine things, and even added a whole extension to his body full of added memory units and other devices to improve his mental capacity... which he utilises to invent newer, and crazier inventions. 
I liked aspects of both initial designs, so decided on combining elements from both, so the second design has the extra arm implemented into his body extension. Though I am happy with the overall design of the third character there are still areas i will tweak once I reach the modelling stage with him, such as scale on the wheels and machinery attached to the back of him; I think by enlarging it, it will show off just how much he has modified himself, by making his actual body appear diminutive in size. 
Also, as with all of these droids, their age is apparent by their original paintwork having peeled and rusted over, more so with those like this guy who is constantly messing with his design. because of this, I decided to make the pipes and tubes visible throughout his body glow with an unknown liquid, possibly coolant maybe something of his own design to greatly improve his abilities? either way, the glow of it acts as a point of interest against the more realistic browns and discoloured metal of his actual body. Other ares like this such as the lights on him and his glowing eyes, act as areas to break up the colour scheme. 

RUST ~Final Major Project~ Character #02 Concept Development

Idea's developed for my second 'Gentle Giant 'character. ''Ancient war droid. In opposition to his dominating appearance, is actually extremely sensitive and lacks confidence in most situations. Due to his intimidating appearance giving him a lack of a proper 'face', this has led to a complex in which he combats by creating various masks for himself''. Following on from my previous workflow of sketches for the first character, I have also created an initial idea from the things I'd like to see in the 'gentle giant' character design, and then looking at different styles of head and face, or for this particular character different styles of masks he could wear to cover his actual face.
I really like the idea of the masks that this character creates, of them being really crudely made, maybe even out of something flimsy like cardboard then with a face drawn on with crayon to show the innocent and contrasting nature of this old war droid. The mask itself is something I really want to develop further as I cant come to a final conclusion with his basic one, though there are a few ideas here that I do like. 
The overall design of this character I'm really happy with though, I think the hulking size and mis-matched symmetry really fits his origins as an old war droid, battered and cobbled together from ancient wars he once fought in. I really like the tattered sort of 'loin cloth', gives him a sort of barbarian look and maybe hints to his old design (or maybe was added himself? and extra layer to his timid nature perhaps). 
Also, with the colour scheme I thought crimson or red adds that danger aspect that would be used as the base colour of war robot units, as a visual signifier to the robots purpose as a killing machine. I chose a sort of washed-out gold as the secondary colour, to add and extra layer to this droids past: maybe the addition of gold was a clue to his rank? maybe a commander or part of a royal guard maybe? 
Working out what sort of masks is my next port of call with this character, to see what would fit him best. Also experimenting with various surface detail, and artwork mockups with him in is another thing i need to do. 

RUST ~Final Major Project~ Character #01 Concept Development

Idea's developed for my main protagonist, the ''old caretaker droid and the main protagonist, an unlikely hero who fancies himself as somewhat of a detective, and naturally inquisitive about the world beyond''. The first full body sketch I did was taking several elements I liked from my initial thumbnails and research to get a general idea... though I think the sort of body structure looks pretty cool, I'm not too happy with the head so I took the time to sketch out various different types to fit his character, and give him a strong personality. 
I really liked the styles of head that depicted the eyes as just lights, as I think with eyelids to cover them, would give this character a strong personality and be able to translate his emotion with just the positioning of the lids (a very simple yet effective method used a lot in animation). I also liked the idea of his default expression being one of a face scrunched up in concentration as if to look off into the distance (daydreaming maybe), with his eyelids subtly on show and his over extended under-bite style jaw on a slant as if hes really pondering something. I think this gives him the inquisitive look i wanted, though at the same time I also want to make his self proclaimed 'detective' attitude shine through also, so was considering looks that may show this off to its fullest. A neat idea that i liked, was to dress him in makeshift detective gear, e.g. like the hat and raincoat worn by New York detectives in old black and white cop movies. The downside to this design choice though, is that it seems a less subtle way of showing off his personality, and at the same time covers the intricate detail of his body work. I need to consider how I can show off this aspect to his character in a more subtle way, and is something I will experiment with even into the modelling stage, so that i have a decision by the time I am ready to texture. 
When developing the digital version to a final design, i considered the silhouette at all times, making sure the original pose i had sketched showed off the detail in this characters body, with all his plates hanging off and cables all loose. Recreating him in Photoshop allows me more freedom to add details to him, such as colour schemes and attire/prop choices, as well as surface detail like paint marks, damage and maybe things such as code numbers and warning markings? These are areas in which I am definitely going to play around with, all little ares in which i think will help make his character and design much more stronger. 

As well as this, I want to create artwork of each character in situation, which I think will give them a better sense of their personality, and their identity within this world I have created for them. 

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

RUST ~Final Major Project~ Research and Daily Sketches

PACIFIC RIM (2013) ~Guillermo Del Torro

Watched this movie as was recommended to me by a friend in my list of sources of references and inspiration for my project, and its a good insight into a more recent movie that utilizes robotics as a major movie focus. The movie is essentially a big monster movie, that sees a world where alien monsters have broke through into our world to destroy it, and mankind's only chance of survival and combating them are the huge mechs (or 'Jaegers') that humans pilot to fight against them and even the playing field. It's pretty much just a brainless action movie, with predictable plot lines and generic characters, but its the large scale on screen characters that shine: the designs of the monsters and the mechs are fantastically detailed and a lot of time and attention has been put into bringing them to life on screen. The mechs themselves all have distinct design traits that reflect the nationality of the people piloting them (american: standard heroic design. Russian: heavy/stoic build, nuclear powered, etc), as well as all being designed to be as believable as possible (with small detail paid attention to pistons, pivots, joints and vents). The film was very obvious in its homage to Japanese Anime cinema, and i think has done a good job in portraying the mechs and monsters in a western style, especially making the scale of the mechs seem believable within the world that movie depicts.... even if there are some slight discrepancies with this, such as several choppers carrying each mech which is supposed to weigh around 2500 tons.

The level of detail spent on each mech's design is an area im definitely taking note of and studying, as an area that ill focus on in my own robot designs. Though armored, the fact that my designs will be robots that have been left neglected, i want areas of their internal structure to be exposed to reveal the mechanisms and wires underneath that make each part work. One of the benefits of making robot characters instead of organic ones is the lack of stretching of texture surface i have to worry about, though regardless of this fact i still need to make sure all the joints and limbs work realistically enough to be believable. 

Final Thumbnails
These are the final set of thumbnails i have created before now choosing my favourites to develop into the final three characters. I have some clear favourites, but what i will most likely do is narrow it down, and any aspects i like from others i will merge them into my final designs so i get the best possible outcome for each character. 

Sunday, 16 February 2014

RUST ~Final Major Project~ Further Research & Inspiration

Ratchet and Clank Series
(Playstation 2, 3 & PSP)

The Ratchet and Clank games have always been a source of influence and inspiration in my projects that have allowed me to approach from a more stylized perspective, as the depiction of characters and sci fi worlds in this series are incredibly imagineered and original. The robot pirates in 'Tools of Destruction' were definitely an influence in the decision to make the focus of my project around rusty robot characters, as they posses incredible silhouettes that give each design a great attitude. 
It's these sort of dynamic and interesting shapes and recognizable poses that i have concentrated in my own thumbnails and designs, as its one of the most important aspects of character design. Not only in terms of design, but also I wanted to aim to create final characters in real time engines that also possess the same standard and quality shown in this game series, though weather I am having the realistic but stylized look seen in these games or a more cartoon/cel-shaded surface quality to my final model surface materials, I have yet to decide. It is one of those areas I want to make sure I get right, as I want to have my characters possess quite a lot of detail, regardless of how stylized I make them, and I don't want to lose any sort of that detail or detract from it with my choice of shader's or materials. 


Primordia is a point and click puzzle game that was recommended to me after I presented my final ideas for characters to the rest of the class for feedback, as it's characters focus around old steam-punk like designs that inhabit a world of the same style. After researching the game through game play videos and a lot of the character artwork, I found that Primordia is an old school point and click adventure with gorgeously hand painted in game artwork, that depicts a ramshackle world inhabited by robots that look both parts organic and machinery. I love how everything in this game just fits together so well, a consistency that is shared between both the world and the robots that inhabit it, which shows their connection and history with the surroundings they have lived in and built. 
Also, the fact that the robots themselves are made up of organic shapes and smooth lines, gives them unique characteristics that make them more human like than the average robot design. The steam punk elements come through in their choice of wearing attire and intricate design work on their body surfaces, which all contribute in making a very original and somehow, believable world.

Construction Cancellation Order -Short Anime Movie 
(Katsuhira Otomo)

An anime short movie, recommended to me by a friend a while back, for its similarities to its theme of 'abandoned robots' that it shares with my FMP. It was created by the same person responsible for cult classic Anime movie 'Akira' and shares the same attention to detail and style seen in that: The story follows the inspection of a production plant that is being run by robots in the middle of a swamp, and has fallen under disrepair under the failings and unfailing dedication of the supervising robot worker to the task he has been assigned (to the extent that the whole thing is being run into the ground as a result). The whole setup and vibe has a very 'Twilight Zone' feel to it, and keeps you engaged to see what happens until the end. 
I found it a very haunting and interesting comparison to my own approach of what would happen when robots are left to their own devices: where as i have taken the approach that they would develop into personalities of their own, as seen here without human intervention they carry out their programmed tasks to a scary degree, disregarding the safety and well being of the entire facility in order to make sure their orders are carried out to the letter. 
I liked the simplicity and practicality of the worker robot designs, looking like an extension of the facility itself... which they kind of are, all being linked to some distant super computer by extension cables. It's these cables that they drag along behind them, their colour changing eyes when they sense hostility and their jerking and foot dragging movements that really give them that creepy and dangerous feel, that humans should really not venture into this abandoned project. 
The whole movie is clearly an observation on how far we are willing to go with relying on technology, and the dangers of doing so... which is perhaps a more serious aspect compared to my projects themes, but still definitely # a very interesting take on a similar subject.