Tuesday, March 18, 2008

character designs 1

it was an interesting challenge for me, and for ghostbot, to design characters that were based on real people, but completely stylized and cartoony. there were four main characters that fell into this group, as well as dozens of other characters that weren’t based on real people, but had to fit the style of the video. we did a fair amount of back-and-forthing to get the characters to work. they had to feel connected to my drawing style, but also work for ghostbot.
my character, pete, took a bit of tweaking to get right. we wanted a strong graphic design to all the characters, and i liked the sort of squiggly flow of the arms and legs. so our first step was to get rid of any harsh angles: elbows, knees, etc. then we worked on getting a simple shape for the hair, rather than a bunch of scratchy, messy lines (which is what my hair really is). it’s always a delicate balance between reworking a drawing enough to get it tight and graphic, but also remembering to retain the charm and spontaneity of the original sketch. the cats at ghostbot have perfected that balance.
here’s the final pete design:

the co-star of the piece, and the second “character” to be fleshed out, was my car. the car was meant to be a makeshift version of KITT, from knight rider. the idea was that my character, who is obsessively trying to follow his hero’s footsteps, has transformed his beat-up gremlin into a crime-fighting super-car. he achieved this by taping some red flashlights to the hood. and probably adding a blinking red readout on the dashboard. oh, and he also installed the world’s longest sun visor.
in ghostbot’s version of the animatic, the car was dark green. but in the character design phase, they thought it would make more sense if the car wasn’t painted. but was instead a beige, primer color. ultimately, we went back to the green, feeling that it was closer to the black transam my character would be emulating.


next: background designs

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