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Weekly Update #5-6: Mongols and Monsters

After suffering some illness there was a bit of a drawback on some of my work. I quickly recovered however, and now with the Computer Animation course's final project pitching session coming up soon I decided it was time to really begin fleshing out the production itself. I'd sketched a male character for the series, but I'd hoped to create a female character for the short film. With my production partner Hollie we set out to create a series of references in the real world which we could draw from:
Quite quickly though, as you can see, we found ourselves revolving around more African and Mongolian Motifs. The problem with this however, was although we loved these inspirations, our world in which the short is set is specifically 'fantasy', which is naturally very western in its style. And so I began trying to incorporate certain elements from all these styles into something more tangible.
It began quite roughly, it felt like it was all over the place. But I had a feeling for what I was aiming for. As the sketches progressed though I felt like I was focusing more on what I had wanted at the start. The three images at the bottom felt like they were right about on the mark. But I was worried that just spending a night working on some of these might give me tunnel vision, and I didn't want to commit to a design I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to work with. And so I let my head rest before resuming with new designs.
Soon after working on these I began to realise a problem with the earlier designs. I wanted the character to be illustrative, as if she was made for 2D animation, and I didn't feel like I was pulling her design around enough. So I began making her curvier, adding thicker forearms and thinner wrists for example. Design (10) really seemed to represent what I was aiming for, some Mongolian motifs atop a more fantasy-esque design, and so I began to work up the sketch to see what my team thought of it.
I really loved the design, I felt like it had everything I wanted. But the cloth covering her head was going to be a large problem if it came to animation. Skinning would cause some problems, and with our tight time limit and unknown limit on man power it was decided to try and cut down on problems like that.
More reference for the hair was taken from black women in particular for most of these hairstyles, and they looked good, but I was afraid that I was losing what I had captured in the original sketch. Again the main problem here was simply the fact that it wasn't being illustrative enough. It felt too safe, and so after designing more hairstyles I began looking at traditional designs made for animation, and after piecing some bits together, enhancing others, and simply erasing others I created these:
These again, felt much like what I'd aimed for, but in a different way now. This was the illustration I'd wanted, but not quite the reference I'd aimed for. For now this is the design we're currently going ahead with:
I will continue to work on more Mongolian aspects of her design, but with pitching so soon I think it's time to begin worrying about storyboarding and trying to work out how to render the work in the way we're looking for.
Oh, I also spent this week we-doing my online portfolio too. The link can be found here: So please feel free to check it out!

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