Wednesday, 5 March 2014
Sunday, 2 March 2014
Another step I have taken in the early development process is to potentially cast my character as if he were to star as a physical representation in film. I decided this was relevant to my design process as it would provide me with some direction towards my characters facial appearance through a process of finding the right mix of features and attributes among actors who I think share qualities with descriptions of Logen.
I have chosen these actors based on different facts. For example, some share strong features that I imagine my rendition of Ninefingers possessing, whereas others possess elements such as facial shapes or age definitions which are aspects that feature in the descriptions of my character within the novel. I have also taken age into consideration so that the actors are mainly around the age of of character.
Saturday, 1 March 2014
After all my research, I finally came to a decision as to which character I will focus on developing over the course of this project. I chose to take a logical route with this choice, deciding that the character with the darkest background involving the maturer themes would essentially provide a 'better' project for me from the outset. Logen Ninefingers is going to be the primary focus for my adaptation.
With this decision made, it was obvious to me that I needed a place to store all my source material in one place for easy reference. I have taken the time to organise my extracts into the characteristics and qualities of Logen into different sections, some being supported by useful extracts and quotes. I started with collecting extracts which describe Logen's character rather than his physical characteristics.
- Possesses a psychotic Second Identity (His Berserker State).
- Cunning Tactician.
- Seeks Redemption.
- Hopeful to Become a Better Man.
- Has Rare Ability to Converse with Primal Spirits.
- However, He is only Human.
"I've fought in three campaigns," he begun. "In seven pitched battles. In countless raids, skirmishes and desperate defenses, and bloody actions of every kind. I've fought in the driving snow, the blasting wind, the middle of the night. I've been fighting all my life, one enemy or another, one friend or another. I've known little else. I've seen men killed for a word, for a look, for nothing at all. A woman tried to stab me once for killing her husband, and I threw her down a well. And that's far from the worst of it. Life used to be cheap as dirt to me."
"I've fought ten single combats and I won them all, but I fought on the wrong side and for all the wrong reasons. I've been ruthless, and brutal, and a coward. I've stabbed men in the back, burned them, drowned them, crushed them with rocks, killed them asleep, unarmed, or running away. I've run away myself more than once. I've pissed myself with fear. I've begged for my life. I've been wounded, often, and badly, and screamed and cried like a baby whose mother took her tit away. I've no doubt the world would be a better place if I'd been killed years ago, but I haven't been, and I don't know why.”
"He looked down at his hands pink and clean on the stone. "There are few men with more blood on their hands than me. None that I know of. The Bloody-Nine they call me, my enemies, and there's a lot of 'em. Always more enemies and fewer friends. Blood gets you nothing but more blood. It follows me now, always, like my shadow, and like my shadow I can never be free of it. I should never be free of it. I've earned it. I've deserved it. I've sought it out. Such is my punishment."
These extracts here, sum up Logen's inner thoughts as a character quite nicely. In these passages he clarifies the stories about his past and allows the reader to understand him on a deeper level. These qualities are aspects which I want to try to express within my designs as I feel they would give the development of my character a greater depth with more accuracy to the written character from my source. Once this was understood I moved onto his physical appearance which was a little different as the novel doesn't provide hefty chunks of description at a time. Instead the novel drops small description among events happening with in the novel, for example "...chained his thick wrists" or "Water fell from his long scruffy hair...". I noted down the most defining characteristics which allow other characters to Identify Logen in the novel and distinguish him from the other characters.
- A Broad Northman.
- Large & Physically Imposing.
- Long Haired.
- Missing Left Ring Finger.
- Heavily Scarred.
- Distinguishing Wound through His Stomach.
- Fierce Former Champion.
- Skilled Warrior.
One extract that I find is vivid and useful is how Logen's scarred appearance is described. His face is detailed as an 'old used up shield, with scars going over scars".
With these listed, I moved my attention to his props and his effects. Again, descriptive passages are limited in larger chunks and are more common in the way in which Logen's physical appearance is described. He is described with few items as he is a believer in functional wear and items.
Clothing, Props and Weapons
- Ragged Boots.
- Manageable Battered Pack.
- Meagre Gear.
- Practical Clothing.
- Simple & Effective Weapons.
- Dressed with Dirty, Ragged, Mismatched Fur & Leather.
His most defining characterful possession is his coat which is outlined well early on. This an aspect I feel should be included within the presentation of my character as this is something which is personal to Logen, and an item which he has history with. The description can be read below;
"His coat was there too, wedged under a log battered and scarred from ten years of weather and war, torn and stitched back together, missing half a sleeve."
Something else I found interesting for development is the contents of his pack which could be an element to draw focus on also. He prefers to travel light but also doesn't own much, but what he does own he packs inside his "manageable, battered pack".
"His pack contained a length of rope, his old clay pipe, some strips of dried meat, needle and twine, a dented flask, with some liquor still sloshing inside."
From here, It's time to start visualising my character and sketching out each early designs and ideas relating to basic shapes and appearance. I want to develop the props alongside the character so that I can resolve all my designs around the same time and progress at a faster rate.
Friday, 28 February 2014
Now I have a more logical route into my style, It was time to re-evaluate my visual influence looking into sources which relate to graphic novels. I begun by looking into already existing transitions from graphic art into 3D as a way to gauge how my intended project might look and play out. This started with visually researching into characters which have been adapted from the mature material from graphic novels.
Being a comic and graphic novel fan myself, the three most prominent characters which came to mind that have undergone the 2D to 3D transformation are; Bigby Wolf from Bill Willingham's Fables series, Eric Powell's The Goon, and the world's greatest detective Batman himself. Each have come from different mature contexts using qualities which reflect the graphic novel conventions. It is also apparent in the media in which they are presented. Below, for example, are a collection of renders and stills from each of the character's 3D worlds which shows how the conventions of graphic novels are present within each image. Layout and framing in each is recognisably reflective of their adapted source material, and colour and body language is also a quality that reflects the mature atmosphere and moods.
It is also noted that each has another quality on top of the adapted style they possess, which comes in the form of other influences. For example, The Wolf Among Us (Left Panel Above) has a film noir feel which further affects its darker tones but doesn't lead its visual style away from its graphic nature. The two go hand-in-hand effectively and contrast well with the themes of the source material. This is something which I want to draw emphasis on in my project, and find a slight hint of another genre to bring into my style to allow me to create something effective and unique.
After discussion surrounding my context and style, It became apparent that tonality and mood would need to be a driving source for my adaptation which would act as a pathway to derive my style from. Since I have already begun making decisions regarding my audience, It makes sense to research into formats which are suitable tonally and could reflect the themes within my novel in their best light.
Upon investigation, It became clear that taking a graphic approach to my design work would be the most successful route to move along, which lead to a deeper look into graphic novels and their styles. This would also play into my own strengths of graphical understanding.
From here, I decided that exploration into the conventions of graphic novels was relevant to my subject matter, and therefore begun to pinpoint the relevant information that I could use in context to my design work. This first lead to answering a query which is frequently asked;
What is the difference between a comic book and a graphic novel?
This Venn Diagram organises the differences between the two sources of media, with the intersection providing the similarities. Interestingly enough, my source material reflected the qualities of graphic novels nicely, allowing me to justify my design choice regarding style. It was now important for me to look into the conventions of this graphic style and refine my collected information down to the most applicable qualities to my project.
What are the conventions of a graphic novel?
The resulting information divides the typical conventions of graphic novels into three sections; Written, Technical and Symbolic codes. Written codes emphasises the way into text is displayed within a publication, Technical code focuses on the way the way the images reads in regards to the script, and symbolic code reflects the choice of design within the panels regarding elements such as colour and character. This development has allowed me to understand that a larger knowledge of the technical and symbolic conventions will play a big part in my train of thought.
A collection of visual influence will follow this post shortly, as will a decision on my character. Both of this will relate to my newly found direction, and should fit within the codes and conventions from my research.
One of the key features of the book is the creative way in which it is written. Being an epic world with sophisticated multi-narratives, Abercrombie has developed his novel in a way which see's chapters essentially become episodes that solely focus on the individual journey of a specific character. These 'episodes' all happen simultaneously regarding the grand scheme of the novel, but also provide smaller narratives within them. This trait has given me a basis to act upon regarding the format in which my fictional animated series would be produced.
With this concept in mind, it was suggested to look into ways which could provide me with a unique way to present my character. A concept which was suggested for consideration was the opening sequence to the 1966 children's television show, Camberwick Green. Each week the show opened up with a shot a music box which would rotate and open up to reveal and introduce the central character of that week's episode. An introduction to one of the episodes can be seen below;
With further exploration and research, this could be a defining concept in my project in terms of presentation, however I would need to further explore the themes of my novel and its many narratives to ensure that this idea fits within the context of my source material. Moving on from this acknowledgement, I defined each character as simple as possible and broke down their narratives into their primitive themes. Each character has a different path they follow within the novel, but these journeys are usually supported with two recurring themes throughout.
Having identified the themes, the relation these have towards the characters themselves is extremely important. I plan on using these topics to flesh out my chosen character to hopefully draw upon their inner qualities which I hope will be useful when reflecting their personality within my designs.
Monday, 24 February 2014
While progressing with my research and reading, I have taken some time to fully decide on the purpose and audience for my project. I have decided that the character I will create would be designed and developed to be suitable for animation and animated film, which I imagine to be reflective of the mature nature of novel I am deriving my project from.
With this in mind, further research had to be undertaken to correctly attain information regarding film and animation classifications and age ratings. Understanding that 'The Blade Itself' is an adult novel with vivid violence and descriptive gore, I already knew that I wanted my project to stay true to these qualities in some respects, perhaps watering them down a little to fit with a slightly younger audience to allow a stylised approach to design. This meant the audience for my intended work would definitely be aimed at people 12 and above. To recognise which attributes classify the difference between a certificate 12 for a production and an 15, I have used the BBFC rating system to grasp the difference between the ratings in regards to the characteristics which are present within the novel.
A certificate 15 rating is fairly straight forward and easy to understand. It is based upon values which include;
- Strong Violence.
- Frequent Strong Language.
- Strong Verbal Reference to Sex.
- Discriminatory Language or Behaviour.
However, a certificate rating of 12 is more restricting and detailed in regards to the themes in which they may involve. These include;
- Moderate Violence - No emphasis on blood or injury, but gory moments may be permitted.
- Moderate Language - Strong language may be passed depending on their context.
- Discreet Sexual Reference
- Moderate Horror - Moderately physical and psychological threat is permitted
- Moderate Imitable Behaviour - Dangerous behaviour is allowed but shouldn't be emphasised.
- Discriminatory Language of Behaviour should not be permitted.
In regard to this information, I could gauge the audience in which would be best suited for my character adaptation and the fictional movie it would be placed within. A stand out animated movie which shares similar themes and genres as my novel is the 2007 fantasy adaptation Beowulf which was given a rating for audiences of 12+. This is a suitable comparison in terms of appropriateness for my project.
Visual influence was now going to be a bigger task than it was originally was, as finding a style that is suitable for my intended audience is key in projects development. I already know that I want my characters to be stylised for animation rather going for a realistic approach, so I have begun to draw visual influence from a few of my favourite illustrators who's work is exampled below. Each artists webpages are linked under their respective images.
I want to focus on involving interesting shape and simplicity within my designs to make my character appealing and unique, and I also plan on incorporating animalistic qualities that match the description of my chosen character to give their design more depth. I also want these conventions to be carried over in the design of their props and costumes to fully accentuate their character. Descriptive extracts followed by character analysis will be uploaded soon once I have further understood the context and themes of my novel.