Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Guys and Girls on Shelves

This web log entry discusses the solution I have found for re-using 'stick figures' in my storyboarding projects.

If one wants to use something over and over again without re-creating, establishing a library is a good idea.

For comparison, to learn about 'anthropology' one can simply go to the library, get the book (or a few books) and use them as 'references'. The same approach works for me with the exception that I will source 'stick figures' rather than books.

Stick figures as explained in a previous web log entry 'represent' (human) beings in drawing, for example in storyboards for movie productions. The stick figure can be male or female (or a hybrid). As soon as I 'stick' (pun intended) such a sketchy drawing in my library I can re-use it over and over again. That speeds up the process of drawing, and I can concentrate on the narrative (i.e. the story) rather than the technology (i.e. drawing).

Here is an example of a stick figure's parts (skull, chest, hips).

Stick figure from three angles: side, 3/4, front

I see the advantage of shelving the head, upper-body and lower-body for each angle separately in my library so I can move them around individually, to arrange more different poses.

Below is an example of how a stick figure underlays a more detailed sketch.

Dean Yeagle's sketch of girl 'Mandy' follows the general shape of the side view of my stick figure. Although to accentuate the female body he has decreased the chest, increased the breasts and the head. Also, whereas her body is 'drawn' from the side, her head is actually facing 3/4 aside (i.e. profile). Had I used the 3/4 head of my stick figure, the 'match' would have been even closer.

Excerpt from an interview with animator Dean Yeagle:

How important is color to you when designing characters?
"Not important at all in the beginning stages. First the line, always. Color adds mood or indicates a character's state of mind or general health perhaps, and is therefore a very important component eventually, but first of all is the character, expressed in line. The ultimate color may be in the back of my mind as I design, but usually that comes later. In designing backgrounds, however, the color may well be the first thought and the determining factor in the end result."

Rather than using one (big) library where I could store all re-usable items (such as stick figures) to make a specific storyboard, I have decided to store the stick figures in a 'shared' library. This way I can develop different storyboards, whilst sourcing from a single, specific library of stick figures. I need only to keep my stick figure library updated and well-organized to have all using storyboards benefit from it.

Shared libraries, rather than one massive single storyboard-tied-in library.

...more following

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