Sunday, July 19, 2009

New Lofax Designs

I was driving home yesterday and Mogwai was playing in my car. Little known fact, but whenever I do work on Lofax I listen to Mogwai because it kept me in the mood to write something really bleak and depressing :D. So I guess after a year and a half of refining this story I sort of developed a Pavlovian response to hearing them play (even though I guess it would be kind of backwards, response and stimulus-wise) And I started drawing more stuff for the main character. I've never been satisfied with his design because the boney cheeks and big jowels just never worked in connecting with the body. The character was always just too cartoony for his own good, and I couldn't keep the piece looking serious. So now I think I've reached a better middle ground for him. He still retains his shape, but he looks much more humanoid.

After I got the face working a little better, I started thinking about the story more and more. And while I think I got closer in the flash short, I still don't think I hit the mark on the aesthetic that I'm looking for with this piece. It's going to take a huge mix of harsh light colors and camera trickery to make this kind of story work. I really want a handi-cam feel to the camera movement as well (like any recent Michael Mann film). It's hardly ever done in animations and I think it would help make the audience feel like they're a part of the movie. But it's really hard to do camera movements in stop motion and Flash, and the kind of money you would need to build such grand sets and motion rigs would be far beyond what I could do with a small group of people.

Then yesterday I had an idea. I was watching The Pearce Sisters and I was marveling at how appealing the characters were, a lot because of the design but mostly because you knew you were looking at animation that was noticeably different, but you couldn't tell how. For those of you who don't know, the animators modeled and animated all the scenes in CG and then rotoscoped every frame. Like I said, what's so great about this method is that while it's dissonant, it remains very appealing and captures the audience's eye. I think I could rework this method of coloring into making a very smooth yet dissonant feel for Lofax and achieve that aesthetic effect I'm looking for. I would have to recruit some 3D work (because I hate rigging), but I think this story could be done in the future by a relatively small production team.

This will of course be a very long road until Lofax comes into fruition. And I don't plan on dumping The Last Mariachi or McDonough by any means. I just know that there will be a lot more that has to go into pre-production for this story than any of my other ones.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mariachi Lineup (Revised)

I'm much happier with this guy. I think the father and son dynamic will work great for this story. I always love going to to find names for characters. Time to put some clothes on these fellas.


I really don't know about this 4th guy (the second to the left). His face and body just don't really fit right with the rest of the character. Doesn't really stand out either. I think I may take the head of the third guy and put him on a younger, taller body, then take an older version of the face and make a father and son out of that. I could also shrink the nose of the fat one.... I just don't know yet.

4th Character Draft

I've never created four main characters that were based around each other before. The most I've done is three. It's been a bit of a challenge, because I want this guy to be thinner and weaker (and somewhat effeminate) but I don't want him to rival the main character. My thinking is this guy is the son of the shorter, older looking guy. I may make the other guy older as well. I have other sketches of him with a thick Old Snake mustache which looks pretty cool. I'll get a lineup up later today. Comments would be appreciated.

Monday, July 6, 2009

More Naked People

I know this is getting weird, but I gotta say, this has been so helpful for me to get the forms down correctly. McDonough was nothing without his clothing, and I really wanted to break away from that. It's also been a challenge trying to create and shape four different main characters around each other. Here are two of the guys in Blanco's mariachi band. I'm still trying to figure out what shape the third guy will be.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Here's a rendered clothing pass I made today. I have the other positions blocked out. Just need to ink them.

"McDonough" final film stills.

Hi all! I'm sorry I won't be able to show you this online for the next year or so. I'm almost done with revising "McDonough" with the help of my editors and background artists and will be submitting it to festivals very soon. Most festivals require no more than 10% of the film online to be eligible, so I'm afraid it you'll have to wait a while for this one. I am more than willing to show you some stills though! I also have a ton of pre-production and production photos that I'll be uploading soon as well.

Monday, June 29, 2009

New Character Stuff

Way too long since my last post. This last six months have been devoted to finishing McDonough, I've had no time to draw or animate anything else. I just graduated from SCAD and now am looking for work. So for now, I'll be constantly updating my portfolio for Siggraph. Here's a character design I've been working on for a possible new story "The Last Mariachi"

Of course he won't be in his underwear for the final story, but I started thinking it would be good to provide a figure study in the full character sheets of my characters from now on. This helps me better understand hands and feet, which is sort of a new style I'm trying out. I've been taking influence from J. Otto Siebold's work and have wanted to do nubby fingers and a wide, flat crotch for a while now. I know that sounds odd to say, but it's been on my mind. Also I've been trying to define how the neck attaches to the head. I've been doing large-jowled heads for a while now and I've never really had a good idea for how to connect the torso to the head without giving the guy a fat neck. I know it doesn't have to be perfect, but it looked odd when sculpted. So I've been needing to abstract my bodies more to accommodate.