Character Sculpt: Rake

The Rake character sculpt was very enjoyable to do because of it’s completely different form, and the fine details that I was able to put in. I used a lot of skeletal reference pictures, and really loved applying all of the muscular and bone detail. The face was also fun to sculpt, and doing this has helped me to realise my love of creature/monster making. I do think I’ll be focusing on creature sculpting and creating mythical creatures in future projects.

rake-comp-pics

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Character Sculpt: Rei

This is the sculpt I created for Rei. As well as being a character sculpt, it will also be cast to create the plaster moulds to make the silicone puppet. This sculpt took me around 20 hours to complete, as it was the first character sculpt I’ve made in about a year. I’m looking to definitively improve on my sculpting time during the process of creating the character sculpts.

I have experimented with the clothing design again during the creation of the physical sculpt, so it is different to the final character design, but I wanted to do more exploration using a different medium. I do prefer the original drawn design, and will aim to change it when I’m making the puppet itself.

rei comp pics

Environment Design: Surreal Room

The surreal room is so named because it features a huge shift in temporal  setting, and also defies natural laws. The furniture pieces stacked in the centre of the room are, again, all of the furniture pieces from the other sets. There are doors everywhere, which is symbolic of the fact that in the entire narrative, the main characters’ only use of doors are subsequently led by them disappearing. Now, in this room, there are many doors and possibilities of entry and exit, but there is an overbearing sense that none of these doors would actually lead anywhere.

furniture stack design

furniture stack design 2

Environment Design: Attic

The Attic is the second environment featured in the narrative. It is filled with the furniture from the living room set, but aged, broken or dusty to show that there has been a wide passage of time between the characters transition between the sets. This temporal shift leaves the viewer with uncertainty as to the timeline, but also allows for many interpretations as to the reasoning behind the shift.

The attic space also hosts mannequins and dolls, both of which move and come to life as the main character moves through the set. These automaton explore the respective uncanny concept, and also set the scene for the introduction of the Baby Doll character.

attic design 2

attic design

Environment Designs: Living Room

The living room is the first environment in the narrative. It has a Victorian/baroque design, containing expensive furniture pieces and accessories. I chose a Victorian furniture theme because of it’s link to Alice in Wonderland, which has a lot of elements in common with my own narrative design because of it’s own relationship with surrealism and the uncanny. As well as this, I chose the fine detailed furniture pieces to provide opportunity for me to experiment with making props as part of my production exploration, especially as I didn’t manage to do much of this in the previous Process module.

living room design 2

living room design

Outcomes in Context

I need to outline the context of my FMP outcomes to clarify the direction that I’m pursuing.

My main outcome is a stop motion animation, with supporting material that will add to my professional portfolio. The models and set pieces created will add to my portfolio, and the animation will be an excellent show piece to help me when I apply for a place in the stop motion industry after Uni has finished. At this stage, I’m also using my FMP to comprehensively explore the production process to further influence my decision on which elements of the stop motion process I am most interested in/suited for.

Initial Character Designs: Baby

This supporting character has changed a lot. Initially it was supposed to be a fetus, and I explored the designs of this for a while, but I eventually concluded that the form would either be too far from humanoid to evoke the proper viewer response, or it would be too developed and would, again, not evoke the right response. This character is meant to evoke pity, but the initial designs would either be of disgust or horror, so I had to rework the design.

fetus designs

The part of the narrative that this character is in has a lot of supporting doll characters, so it felt much more fitting that the baby should actually be a baby doll. I created some designs that were heavily inspired by the living dolls in ‘Alice: Madness Returns’. This doll is made to look like an organic being trapped inside a porcelain vessel. The main focus of the design was on the face, specifically creating something that was creepy but still not so much so that it was horrific. The narrative itself would play a large part in evoking the correct emotional response to the situation, but the design needed to reflect it too.

doll designs

Initial Character Designs: Jorogumo

The Jorogumo is a Japanese mythical creature, and the closest existing creature to my initial design of the character. As a half spider, half human hybrid, the main concern was what the spider legs would look like. I explored several styles, inspired by both real spiders and fantasy art. I want this character to appear both creepy and appealing at the same time. Although I explored the use of a female form too, I am sticking to using a male upper body. I want the male body to be muscular, which decreases the need to explore the form of the torso, but I wanted to add spider-like features to his face. I decided to just include extra eyes, and cover the mouth. I’ll explain this design choice more in a later post along with a fully completed character design.

jorogumo designs 2jorogumo designs 3 jorogumo designs 1

Initial Character Designs: The Rake

The Rake has been designed many times, and because it is an existing ‘legend’ I felt it was only fitting to try to maintain much of the original CreepyPasta design as possible, whilst also injecting my own style into it. The initial blind designs were almost frog-like, and I have quickly learnt that using reference images is a given for me. But exploring the form helped me to visualise the kind of aesthetic I’m going for with this particular character. Something thin, grotesque and hyper realistic. I thought a lot of Gollum from ‘Lord of the Rings’ when doing these blind designs.

rake designs 1

Delving back into the CreepyPasta legend and exploring existing fan-art of The Rake, I then created more designs and explored the form of the creature. I have focused specifically on the facial features, hands and feet of it, as these are always the most difficult features for me to design. I used skulls and claws as reference images, and when I come to do the full body design I am using an anorexic female body as a hyper realistic base for the overall form.

rake designs 2 rake designs 3

Further Character Designs: Rei

I did more designs for Rei, exploring a more feminine ‘lolita’ style. This inspired style came about to explore how the character design would look if it fit into the timeline of the environment, which is Victorian.

I’m not as fond of these styles. They are too feminine and I feel like they get rid of her independent, masculine qualities that were achieved through the post apocalyptic clothing designs.

21 character design

I have also created her face design. I was inspired by the art dolls that I have been researching, and I feel like this style is much more ‘me’ than anything else I’ve done before. I enjoy using a hyper realistic aesthetic, as this will allow me to apply a lot of fine detail to the model. I also had a play around with one of the clothing designs to try to add a little more masculine/post apocalyptic style to it, and also to see the face design applied to the full character.

22 character development

Initial Character Designs: Rei

Now that the narrative design has been decided I’m working on character designs. I’m saving the theoretical explanation of each character design for a later post, so for now I’ll just go through the design stages and show my preliminaries. The final designs haven’t been fully worked out yet, so again, they’ll come when I go through the character design theories, when the finals have been thoroughly thought over and explained.

Here are the first designs of Rei; the ‘main’ character.

clothing designs 1 clothing designs 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had to decide on a clothing theme for Rei, and was unsure whether or not to make the designs modern, traditional or old. I decided to use modern designs, and developed a design style inspired by post apocalyptic fashion ideas. Using layers of clothing with flexible, fitted shirts and loose, flexible pants gives her design a much more masculine appeal whilst maintaining a ‘strong woman’ essence to her design. I want her to have long boots that compliment the overall theme and also add a stylistic element to the design.

body art designsjewellery designs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I want to include tattoos in Rei’s design. This is for both adding a unique aesthetic to her design, and to offer an opportunity to imply some ‘hidden themes’ using subtle imagery. I tried to use designs that compliment and reflect the nature of the narrative, specifically time and the paranormal.

Her necklace was designed, again, to allow an opportunity for a subtle hidden message, using the gemstone Turquoise, which opens the third eye and releases psychic energy.

rei designs

These designs are a culmination of the preliminary design ideas, combining the body art, necklace, and post apocalyptic fashion designs. Again, these are just preliminary, but I am very fond of these designs. I have chosen to give her pink hair and a curvy figure, to represent femininity. These qualities, combined with the more masculine, loose clothing style is the ideal combination for her and her role in the narrative.

 

 

Narrative Design

This narrative has been designed to incorporate all of the uncanny elements, using the previous ‘uncanny concepts’ that I was working through. the narrative is split into scenes, each of which focus’ on at least one of Freuds Uncanny concepts. The scenes are split to allow for some creative license with the order, which can be switched around and experimented with, however, the first and final scenes are made to stay where they are because they create a narrative loop. This loop is to reinforce the ‘Unintended Repetition’ concept.

narrative design

I have also started to storyboard, to get an idea of the length and flow of the animation. I’m also, at this point, starting to reflect on my creative processes. The start of sketching for the storyboards marks the start of the physical work. I’m very aware of how long it takes me to do sketch work, particularly storyboards, as  get too bogged down in the illustrative details rather than using the medium to explore the narrative flow, as it should be. I’m going to start doing more sketch work, and focus on limiting my time spent on each drawing. I have already started this practice with my ‘A-Z Concepts’, from the first module, although because those were meant to be illustrative they had to have adequate time assigned to each of them; so the circumstance is a little different.

27 storyboarding

 

Narrative Concepts and Ideas

Intellectual Uncertainty

Now knowing what is real, moving or alive.

The entire narrative should be fitting of this concept as it fits with all other elements and relates to all of the other concepts.

Helplessness

Can’t get out or escape. A sense of inevitability.

Character can’t escape a loop (time/space?). Doors lost or boarded up. Certain situations arise with only one possible solution or outcome with no way around or out of it.

Unintended Repetition

Loops that can’t be escaped. Perhaps not obvious until the end. The same character over and over again.

One character appearing everywhere, multiple versions of the same character. Repetitive situations or maybe a full narrative loop.

The Omnipotence of Thoughts

Belief that dreams or wishes come true. The use of thoughts or rituals to try to change something that would not, realistically, have any influence over the desired outcome.

Voodoo, magic or the use of dark symbolism associated with witchcraft. 

Animism/Automata

Living dolls and robots.

Mannequins coming alive, perhaps subtle. Living dolls, baby dolls or part human/part doll hybrids. Parts of the building or wall decorations coming alive.

Paranormal/Magic

Ghosts, Poltergeists and CreepyPasta monsters. Objects, doors and characters disappearing into thin air.

A CreepyPasta monster character, the Rake? Disappearing doors.

Castration Complex

Eyes being lost, gauged out or blind characters.

Version of the main character without eyes. Eyes being sliced open/gauged to progress. Also related to helplessness. 

Blurred Boundaries

Life and Death. Animate and Inanimate. Light and Dark.

Mannequins, decorations and skeletons all displaying these properties. Sometimes things appear beautiful and then turn dark. Perhaps different scenes have contrasts.

Marina Bychkova Inspiration

Following on from my research into art dolls I discovered an amazing artist who creates art dolls with both aesthetic and conceptual beauty. Marina Bychkovas dolls are not only exquisitely detailed and hyper-realistic, but each of them has a conceptual identity, telling a complex visually emotional story. Her creations touch upon subjects such as racism, teen pregnancy, tattoo discrimination, religious prejudice, and cancer survival, to mention only a few. The use of each dolls aesthetics as it’s own silent narrative is very appealing, and speaks to how a static object can be used to tell a complex story in it’s own right.

marina bychkova

Quays ‘Through the Weeping Glass’ Inspiration

As a follower of the Brothers Quay I have done extensive research into their works and influence within surrealism and the uncanny. It was a given that I would include one of their films as inspiration, but ‘Through the weeping Glass’ fit the bill perfectly. As I have already established a preference for the ‘old and forgotten’ aesthetic, their piece created for the Mutter Museum documents the collection of medical books, instruments and anomalies on display, some dating back over hundreds of years. The film relates most to the Castration Complex concept, although not, in this case, entirely to do with the loss of the eyes. The film showcases instruments intended to remove and dis-form the human body in countless unbelievable and disturbing ways.

quays

Alice Madness Returns Inspiration

As a huge fan of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland I am also a huge fan of alternate renditions of the story, and ‘Alice: Madness Returns’ is one of my absolute favourites. Aside from being personally drawn to the game, it embodies a lot of uncanny concepts.

The story of Alice to begin with is rife with psychoanalytical content, but it is taken a step further in Madness. The aesthetics are dark and Victorian, and the narrative explores the blurred boundaries between real and imaginary, life and death, sane and insane. There is a disturbing set of repetitive characters and imagery throughout, including an animistic set of child/doll hybrids, and all throughout the game you experience an overwhelming sense of helplessness to the inevitable yet unpredictable misery and unfortunate circumstances you experience.

alice madness returns