In our latest work session, we decided we needed to hash out some of the fundamental elements of our project so as to be ready for the next phase – animating. As part of our research we had all come across the Share Aware campaign by the NSPCC. It explains the potential risks posed to children who venture online and offers advice and resources for anyone effected. The campaign includes illustration and educational videos designed for children, with a child featured as the main character and a narrator. The simplistic art style appealed to us and was something we hoped to emulate.
With this in mind we began the process of creating and refining design ideas. We knew a couple of key requirements we would adhere to based on our research thus far.
- The character featured in our animation would be a girl – In my research I found studies by the NSPCC that suggested girls are, on average, twice as likely to be the victims of cyber bullying than boys. While this in no way demeans the experience of boys who suffer cyber bullying, in our 60 second short we have only planned to feature one character as our main focus and it seems only appropriate to use someone of the group most at risk.
- The style would need to be simple – We had already agreed we liked the Share Aware campaign’s, style. It’s merits are numerous but it also can be broken down into relatively few component parts, making the animation process a simpler one. We have limited time to create our short video so reducing its complexity will help us create a more refined finished product.
Sifting through ideas
I decided the easiest way to come up with a unique style that we could all agree on would be to turn it in to a kind of pick & mix. I drew numerous types of facial shapes and features and then people could pick the ones they liked and we could mold all the prefered elements into a finished character.
These are all quite rough designs simply good enough to convey general shape and style. The finished work will be far more refined and less scrappy. As with the top left image, we were freewheeling ideas throughout the process. At the same time we came up with a number of other aspects of the animation.
The ink passing the through the paper of my sketchbook was unfortunate but again, this will all be recreated digitally. From all the sketching and discussions, this was our final product, essentially. I’m very happy with what we created, it fits several key requirements. It’s a very simple design, the round face and small features and rosy pink cheeks suggest a child, adults tend to have more structured and defined faces. And the lines are clean and filled with block colours.
I really enjoy the process of character creation. The process of refinement is very satisfying. I will feel happy to go into the animation stage of this project knowing that our character, the main focus of the whole thing, was poured over and is the best combination of elements that we could make her. The key to a project like this is that everyone has a part in each step and each decision. Having defined our character, we will now need to fill her universe with objects and surroundings. Knowing we have a solid basis for a style will make it easier for us to work separately on each element while maintaining a uniform style of design.