Monday, 7 January 2013

Learning Outcomes: Knowledge & Understanding

"Appraise the issues relevant to character design in various contexts"


By immediately looking at the Friday the 13th horror film franchise antagonist Jason Voorhees from a character design point of view, instantly you find a character that needs to portray the image and psychotic nature of a mass murderer while being constrained within an essentially mute individual. The iconic design of Jason stems from the character's notable hockey mask that is worn throughout many of the films in the series, among other things. The former immediately creates a stoic and emotionless personality without any need for dialogue to be uttered. In addition to this the mask acts as a barrier between the character and the audience which stops the viewer personally connecting with the true intentions and emotions that facial expressions, such as sadness, could convey. This makes the character of Jason Voorhees very simple but effective in how there is a sense of a cold, robotic nature conveyed from the use of the hockey mask, creating a personality that is void of human emotion (perfect for a serial killer) behind it.


It is these choices and visual references that build and make a character design such as Jason Voorhees realistic and believable. By looking at pose, posture, facial expression, attitude, costume choice and prop use, a character can be built in a variety of different ways. Jason's towering stature is immediately a much more intimidating body shape to be faced with when combined with a bloodied machete and clothes. When this is then compared to the characters around him, who are usually much smaller, teenage victims who are powerless against him, his character is amplified incredibly into a horrifying killing machine. 

It is by using and balancing these various factors that we can make a character design that can fit specific audience criteria or brief. Designing a character for a horror film is very different to designing a character for a children's TV animation, meaning that the right set of visual references and body language must then fit the surrounding area the character exists in. The viewer must be able to read and decipher character design in the same way as we read other human or animal behaviour in real-life, meaning that designing a character with the right set of attributes is the key to creating a successful piece that the audience can connect with. 

The most important aspects of design to look into for the environment settings of the Alien Prison brief were the visual clues and props that lent towards the overall image of a prison. Within the designs for the Alien Prison interiors and exteriors I had to make sure the visual references I drew from hinted at the themes and ideas I wanted to convey, e.g. isolation, desolation. This was the same for designing the Alien Prisoners themselves. At the very basic level of design, I had to make sure that these characters had evidence of somewhat unusual anatomy while using visual clues, like shackles and chains, to hint at the idea of imprisonment.

"Make informed choices relating to the creation of artwork designed to meet professional requirements"

I feel that this is demonstrated in the pieces shown below and the work I also submitted within my ICA work for this module. 



 

"Demonstrate an understanding of techniques and methods appropriate to the chosen area of design"

Throughout this module I feel I demonstrated my skills with a number of different techniques that could be used to create and design artwork. My main focus was the use of digital media, primarily with the use of Adobe Photoshop and Google Sketchup in conjunction with a drawing tablet. I began by creating a number of silhouettes to start the Head Warden design process. I used silhouetting as it allows for interesting and striking poses to be developed quickly. From this I was able to see the most visually pleasing and effective design that could then be taken forward and continued with in Photoshop. Throughout the design pipeline I created a number of iterative steps with both my environmental and character design ideas, picking and choosing the most effective based off feedback from the class and my own ideas. The use of Google Sketchup came into play with the creation of certain environmental concept art pieces, allowing me to lay down the basic construction of buildings and areas which would then be painted over in Photoshop. This allowed a lot of time to be saved in the creative process and gave me freedom in finding the right perspective and composition that was right for the piece I was working on. 

I feel I have demonstrated the mentioned techniques and methods in the pieces below and the work I also submitted within my ICA work for this module. 



Silhouette examples.


Piece based off Google Sketchup model.

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