Thursday, 11 October 2012

Character and Environment Concepts

Having finalised the script and storyboard as much as we can at this stage (before a pre-viz) we began to look at refining our two characters and the setting.


As concept artist I was challenged to create two boys that had the same features and shape but differ in personality. The reason we decided to have the boys look identical is an extension of the Prince and the Pauper, the story that inspired our narrative. It works best for our story as the idea is that the boys are exactly the same except that one embodies religion and the other science. They are parallels of the same person. This helps us show metaphorically through our narrative that the two opposites, Religion and Science, leave massive imprints behind them (in history) and combined together they form a functioning world.

Getting a Face

We knew that we wanted a cartoonish style. In a studio discussion we decided which level of cartoon we wanted. This is a scale ranging from ‘Phineas and Ferb’ to ‘Polar Express’. We settled on somewhere in the middle.

I drew up some faces and tried variations to give the studio a variety of options. We agreed that number 1 with eye shape b would work best for our characters as it is sweet and would make them both instantly appealing.

Getting the Shape

Using the basic face shape I experimented with different body shapes. We wanted out boys to be young teenagers so their beliefs aren't attributed to naivety. I began with a long body with exaggerated features then tried different variant on this. To make sure there was a variety of a choice for the studio to pick from I created a shorter character option too. We decided that shape 1 worked the best with the action genre of our story. It would show the movement of the boys clearly with exaggeration on the feet that will leave an imprint behind.

Getting the Costumes

After a trip to the library to find costumer books on renaissance fashion we walked away with a lot to sift through. We looked at religious figures like the pope to see the style of dress they wore and at the ‘current’ fashion of the era. We wanted to represent the differences of the boys visually through their clothing. The trick was to make it so the audience, assuming they don’t have a prior understanding of renaissance fashion, could read the beliefs of the characters through appearance. We found that clocks and loose, draped fabric with simple patterns was often worn by the religious figures. Tight, shapely and elaborate clothing was worn by young fashionably men. Fashion works in representing science as fashion is all about the new, the re-design and what’s next.

Here are the most influential images from our book research.

I quickly sketched out some rough ideas for each characters costume.

Then combined the whole lot together; face, body and costume. The next stage is to colour the two in to match their art style (da Vinci – Simon, Michelangelo – Carl) and create the image planes so we can begin to model the characters.

Environment Concept

The style of our environment will be a cartoonistic style that works best with our characters. Not overly detailed but not abstract. The textures will be fairly basic but still reflect the real life object it represents. The following concept art looks at the colour palette and the hot and hazy effect we want in the first scene when they characters find themselves stranded. 

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