God help the outcasts

Blog update! I’ve updated the pages to the right with permanent links to my internship portfolio and my old Ringling admissions portfolio. It’s that time of year again for the Ringling prospectives, so I’m thinking I’ll update the portfolio in the next few days with some explanation on my choices, and tips for planning your own portfolio. :)

Also, I wanna give a quick shot-out to my homey (and roommate) Yezi who’s also got some concept art up, as well as photos of our annual Mandatory Fun Time outings!

The senior class load is a little lighter than previous years, with only nine required credits. To stay full-time, I needed another class. Rather than taking another liberal arts course (my last degree was in liberal arts, I have a ton of those credits), I decided I wanted a class that would benefit my spring portfolio and my future career. So I got with one of the CA teachers and constructed an Independent Study course in story and visual development.

The class is organized into three-week-long story development assignments. I’m onto my second assignment – all about vespas and motorcycles. I noticed as I was gathering reference photos, and in discussing the idea with my teacher on Tuesday, just how into it I was. I was coming up with really strong ideas for all the characters – including the vehicles, who are characters as well. I was getting a sense of their personalities and their motivations without much effort. I was eager to start exploring their designs, to come up with ways to show character through the design, to tie everything together in one cohesive visual style. I was so excited about getting started.

Not so with my first assignment. That story had been a struggle. The concept was a criminal who enters a church for the first time. There was only one character, and he was bland, without much appeal, IMO. Even when I sat down and tried to devise an interesting design, I just couldn’t come up with anything unique.

Designing the church was even worse. I’ve never been very good with environments, or how to make them interesting. My teacher and I agreed that my final image just didn’t carry the story as well as my exploratory sketches did.

Well, I knew exactly why the second assignment seemed more appealing. It was all about the characters. It was totally a character piece, driven by interaction, by relationships. That was the whole story; and that’s what I like to focus on in my work. But hey, the first story had a character too, so why wasn’t I as excited about him as I am about vespas and motorcyles?

And that’s when it hit me. Because the criminal story wasn’t just about the criminal. There was another character I completely left out.

The church.

Okay, so I’ve heard this idea before. Environments and props need to show personality in their designs, too. I always think about it when I’m designing, but sometimes it takes a while for a concept to really sink in. This was totally an environment piece – but the environment was a character. Much like Notre Dame served as a character in Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame. And it’s the idea of what this church is, and what it is to the criminal, that I wasn’t pushing in my final piece.

I’ll need to revisit the piece later before I call the assignment complete. I’ve got some new reference pieces that I think will help me capture the moment. But for now, it’s on to vespas and motorcycles.

I don’t understand fishing metaphors!

Thanks for the encouragement guys. :) Much to my own shock, I am back at Ringling! Yeah, I could’ve posted to let everyone know sooner, but I thought I’d wait until I had something to show.

Thesis time has begun. The first three weeks of the semester were devoted to character modeling.

Here is the baker.

Photoshop makes my baker look like poo.

And here is the little visitor who disrupts his work.

This is why you should keep your windows shut at night.

Still making minor adjustments to each, but they’re coming along. Soon I will post the kitchen! (Which also needs a bit more work, ha ha…)

Thesis is keeping me busy – there never seems to be time for a break! But I do manage to take one now and then.

Friday I went to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Sony Pictures Animation was wrapping up this movie while I was there this summer. I caught some clips during dailies and I’ve been anxious to see the film in its entirety. Let me say, it does not disappoint! Cloudy is a never-ending barrage of gags, but somehow you never get tired of laughing. If you haven’t seen it yet, then go! And take your kids – if you don’t have kids, take someone else’s!

And now it’s back to work. Blendshapes and layout due in four weeks. So much to do!