Centerline Style into Modern Graphic Style
As discussed last time [No. 64, My Process of Character Design, Part One], after some preliminary sketching of characters I decided to go with a much more graphic style than my usual, somewhat Disney-like style. I had already done one round of rough designs of characters that might be seen at an airport boarding gate, waiting in various ways for their flights, so I set about to modify them all into the more graphic style.
One issue to be considered is that of how this style may affect the animation. Are there things I can do in centerline style that I can't do in using the more flattened, graphic style I have now adopted?
The answer is, yes; certainly. For example, the kind of slow rotation of shapes one might do in centerline would not be convincing in the graphic style because the latter is not based in solid geometry. Is this a particular problem? Probably not, because while the graphic style might have limitations in that way, it also opens up opportunities of its own. The graphic style is not expected to be convincing in the same way that centerline is, and it therefore can be manipulated and animated in surprising ways that can be valid and delightful in their own right.
|The Grand Vizier Zig Zag with King Nod.|
For a good example of this contrast, look at any of the scenes from The Thief and the Cobbler where the highly graphic Zig Zag engages with the king or his daughter, who are both more traditional centerline designs. Richard Williams contrived to make them work well together.
|The Thief tangled up with Tack the Cobbler.|
The cobbler, Tack, and the Thief were both clever hybrids of the two kinds of design. (It should be remembered that Williams was a brilliant and accomplished designer before he ever took up animation.)
Now let's take a look at my own characters and how they have gone modern.
|Woman solving sudoku.|
|Man waiting unhappily.|
|Man using laptop computer.|
|Man sleeping in his seat.|
|Young woman on her mobile phone.|
|Older couple waiting patiently together.|
|Boy playing video game.|
And now, what about my two main characters? Don't they have to be changed too? You bet they do. Here is how that looks:
|The two main characters for the film.|