Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ask "Stretch"! - September

Happy September everybody! Here in the western hemisphere we are just getting started into autumn, even though it still feels like summer. It's time for another session of "Ask Stretch"! Let's have a look at some questions that you, the audience, have sent in:

1. What is your process for drawing out a 5 point character design turnaround? Do you start out with the front view, then back view, then three quarter view, etc…?

Answer: For those whom may be wondering; a 5 point character design turnaround is a critical piece in designing for animation. You could call it a map showing the animation team on any given production how your character looks from all angles so they can animate properly. The "5 Point" is talking about the different poses one sees the character in: front, 3/4 front, profile, 3/4 back and back. I always start my turnarounds at the front position which shows a lot of detail and has little to no perspective to worry about. It's a good planning pose to start from. When I have a finished front pose, then I move on to designing the 3/4 front, profile, 3/4 back and back. The character, when you're done, should be proportionately correct from all angles and the details read seamlessly from pose to pose. If anything is off, the animation will look wrong and time will be lost while fixing the problem. It is crucial to use a ruler to draw horizontal reference lines, be precise and take your time. 

2. I notice sometimes you start out the character design process with the head design first. If so, how do you approach designing the character body or does the body just fall into place? 

Answer:  Actually, it's rare for me to begin a character concept any way else other than starting with the head. Sometimes I can see the whole character in my mind clearly and other times I need to work the character out piece by piece and try different approaches before I find "the one". When it comes to the body, I like to begin with the torso; defining the shape of the ribcage and the pelvis. After that, I'll design the arms, legs, tails and whatever else is left. The body design often needs some tweaks and experimentation in order to find the most appealing look. I'll try different shapes and shift masses around. Sometimes the body does fall right into place and other times it takes a few attempts before the final concept is found. There have been cases of a concept going through over 20 design attempts before the right one finally comes.

And that's all for this edition of "Ask Stretch". Got a question about the creative process, the industry or just being an artist in general? Shoot me a message! Until then, see you all next month : ) 

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