This character design unit looked very fun!! It would also allow me to take what I had been carrying out in the first unit. Developing a character and understanding the character. Henning came in at the beginning of the unit giving us advice on how he carries out modelling and designing a character. His advice was to understand the character, the language, the feeling you want from the character. These pieces of advice will be used to inform the rest of this designing unit!
Getting reference and understanding context
Gaining Reference and context!
After initially creating moodboards and synopsis i head to the study zone where I looked at different books about movie industry at this time as well as fashion in this decade. This would all help me build on my character, what was beautiful then? What did they wear?
I learnt ultimately that the 1920s was time about defiance. After the world war one people expressed themselves. Woman going against traditional beauty, hiding there figures in loose fitting clothes, cutting there hair to seem more boyish. Cinema was taking off and it was a very exciting time. This for me was so interesting to learn and how would it feel to growing up in the 1900s and living in the 20s!
Henning emphasised the importance of understanding where the character lives and the environmental context. I looked through the below book and scanned in several pages which I found beautiful and a good starting point to my designs.
Brigitte Helm in Metropolis
One of my inspirations is Helm in Metropolis and the pure beauty of how she moves and expresses herself. Furthermore her features were the considered ideal of beauty in 1927 when the film was released. The 1920s Ideal of beauty was complete opposite of today, with thin long eyebrows, thin lips, little to no curves, short hair and long defined noses. I love Helm’s ability to change from a innocent character to a dark menacing one! I will be using Helm as a reference point when designing my character.
(Below the amazing dance scene in Metropolis which is just stunning to watch!)
Another film which I used as a reference point was Salome, I found it whilst researching for this project and fell in love with the piece. It is really beautifully filmed but it is again good to identify character poses and how women were using there bodies at the time my character lived.
I used this book, Fashion sourcebook to give me some more information of the time and culture. It helped me come up with appropriate clothes for Viola. It was very resourceful and full with fashion photography and illustrations demonstrating what it would be like to shop in the 1920s.
Designing a character
Below you can see pages from my sketchbook. I don’t need to annotate each page but you can see how I worked through designing the character. I began using all my references and then identified the things which worked and the things that just didn’t.
Used this page to try out some expressive moves. Working with flow lines to begin with.
Using my reference boards and research I began to create some inked designs for the head. It was really fun to play around with the elaborate hairs that they had at the time.
Final Character Design
Sculpting with Clay
I decided I would like to try modelling my character or at least the head in clay. I think doing this process will allow me to see what marks I need to create so that every brush stroks in zBrush is there for a reason as Henning advised. Working with clay is still the same as working in zBrush this. By this I mean you have to work from the foundations to the skin. I think physically holding clay and moulding it will inform my sculpting stage in zBrush.
“At Pixar there are two full-time sculptors who make clay maquettes of our main characters, taking two-dimensional designs into three dimensions. Both are incredibly talented. They explore the characters and their facial expressions before these are built on the computer.” Jonathan Hoffman
In the thread above a modeller discusses the potential of using clay to model and then 3D scan into zBrush.
Above you can see my progress of making my sculpted character. It was tricker than what I thought! It took me some time and I still think I could improve it. But it is my first time sculpting a face.The experience was very useful when I come to sculpt my character in zBrush. It let me figure out how I want to define the structure. How the side profile should look in accordance to the structure of the face. How I want the neck to swoon into the chest. How tall the hair will appear on the face. Sure you can get this from drawings as well but having something I can physically hold allows me to see what I want to emphasise or shrink. For instance I think I want to make the bottom of the nose smaller and the cupids bow more pronounced. The lips were super hard to do, I see why it took 7 years for Leonardo Da Vinci to perfect Mona Lisa smile.
Modelling in Zbrush
Creating the clothes
Henning said that the clothes in Zbrush and creating realistic looking cloth can be tricky!