Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Creating Space for Space Creatures

Creating Space for Space Creatures

With a fresh week ahead, today Frasier taught Jason and myself about animation, in particular "Character Sheets".

As a example from Gelatin Guy (http://closetcentral.tripod.com) a character sheet of his model "Anna" is shown below.

Anna's body characteristics

Anna's face characteristics

The purpose of the Character Sheet is not only to get a grasp of the character's personality traits but also to see what space it requires to make its moves. Of utmost importance is that the characters fit in with the story, not the otherway around. Every trick in the book that makes a character express what the story is all about is allowed, better recommended!

Our two characters in SPACEPORT are an Engineer and a Customer Service Agent. Both characters are non-stereotypes. The Engineer is portrait as an African woman with a 'motherly' stance. Her role is to take care of all Water, Air, and Power onboard the Space Station.

Floorplan of Engineering Room

Next is a picture drawn by Frasier after a detailed drawing by Jason of the Engineer. Frasier stresses to look for volume and motion of the character before worrying about skintone, clothes, or accessories.

Engineer standing

Engineer bending

From the different moves the Engineer is able to make, limited by her body seizure, we then know what room she will need in the Game environment.

A few tips by Frasier:

Allow your character to move, draw for extreme positions, decided on from the main activities of the character in the story/gameplay.

Use a low polygon (=few lines) model at the start of your testing. Use a blue pencil while trying, use a black pencil for the chosen lines.

Try to go from the volume with bones (like a stick figure) to details like clothing, not the other way around.

A female charcter has her feet pointing forward (e.g. cat walk). A male character has his feet pointing side ways (e.g. cowboy).

Use the example of a grain sack to get a good feel of (animated) movement. See Aladdin's Magic Carpet

Aladdin's Magic Carpet

A carpet can be your basic model for movement and posture. Keep things simple at first.

No comments: