Thursday, 30 October 2014

Alberstine Character Development

After developing a rough silhouette for my character, I begun creating some rough sketches of some poses which I felt would help to understand my Alberstine and how he would present himself. I knew that as a character, Alberstine is essentially a conman who has a flair for dramatic performance, so considering characterful poses to present this wasn't too much of a strain. For him to be successful, I really need to reflect his showmanship and his efforts as a salesman, but for now these poses have helped understand his anatomy and given me a better idea of how to dramatise my developed drawings.

When I was sketching the previous ideas, I was also thinking about his facial structure. I have known since the beginning that Alberstine would have defined cheek bones to go with a shaped jaw so these are elements which I wanted to keep the same in each design. Originally I wanted to give my character a large nose however upon development I begun to sway more towards having a smaller, more refined shape. This also helped to implement the charm Alberstine possesses. 

From my designs, I plan to take the third design from the top row into further refinement, editing the design of the top hat and experimenting the the shape of his eyes as they will provide him with the dramatic expression he needs. I am currently working on the same process for both assistants (Des and Honest) which is proving to be a slightly more difficult task, but their early development stages will be posted soon.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Initial Character Silhouettes

The early stages of my design processes have been underway over the past few days, beginning with some interesting silhouette ideas for each of my 3 characters. Starting with Alberstine, I wanted to develop and build my characters from distinctive shapes. I began by blocking in the rough shape I had envisioned since the beginning of Alberstine's  creation and went on to chisel out and define a more successful form. From my character profile, I knew that my character was going to be a villain with an archetype similar to the thief, so the slender shapes were immediately attractive for my designs. I also wanted to exhibit power into the characters design seeing as he would have control over his assistants and would be the centre of attention for a crowd. To do so, strong shoulders and upright posture was the way forward.

The next two characters were developed as a comedy duo who would mainly be used as background characters and be treated as props by Alberstine. Before discussing their initial development I want to discuss a little more about the characters as a whole. The two were previously homeless and joined Alberstine's cause together in hope that their situation would change. Des is short and grumpy and hates his job where as Honest is a simpleton who is happy to be working. Unfortunately for Des, he is the test dummy for much of Alberstines work and Honest acts as Alberstines puppet. 

I knew Des was going to short and rotund and be the complete physical opposite to his partner, Honest. I followed the same process of creation as I did when developing Alberstine and begun with a blocked out figure as a starting point. I wanted to stylise his design by having short legs an barely any neck, but through my past experiences of developing shorter, fatter characters certain precautions have been taken to avoid the issues that I have previous I've dealt with. The idea for the pair is to have matching outfits, and for a more comedic appraoch, having both of their outfits either too small or too large for them.

And finally moving onto Honest. He is a character who enjoys working and having something to do with his day. He is a simpleton who has the inability to lie, having an honest nature. He is skinny but not too tall, and is friendly. He doesn't necessarily have a grasp on reality or understand his actions, but that doesn't stop him from having fun. 

To get this across into his design, I decided that perhaps soft shapes and curves was something I wanted to incorporate into his overall form taking influence from clowns and baggy trousers. It also occured to me that flipping Alberstine's stature vertically would be a good starting point to build off of. The sleak end became Honest's neck and the broader end formed something resembling baggy trousers which immediately became appealing. I stuck with this idea throughout and followed the same process as before, eventually coming to a design I was happy to take forward.

The end statures on each sheet are the ones I plan to take forward into further development and refinement. The next step I plan on taking is create some more unique shapes for their heads and provide some more information about their characters in some quick posture sketches.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Character Profiling

After a few days of carefully planning out my character, I have finally come to a point where I am happy with the way his profile currently sits. I have broken the profile down into his early life, his personality and traits, and his physical description.

Early Life
John was born unplanned into a working class family who gained a secret wealth over the years through thieving items from the factories they were employed in. His parents would sell on most of the goods for a profit but the ones they could not pass on would end up stored away for future use. 

When he was of age, John begun working in a major production factory cleaning machines in poor conditions with bad treatment. This is where he first witnessed the power business owners had over the lower classes who they employed. This caused a stir in John's determination and sparked a desire to grow to be respected and wealthy and to be seen as a figure of power. He soon stumbled upon his parent’s scheme where he saw the potential to grow something small into something greater. Years later, his father fell ill with influenza which was contracted by his mother shortly after. He segregated himself from his family as to stay away from the disease as the likelihood of death became apparent. John waited for his parents to pass and soon after gained access to their secret fortune and begun to set himself on a new path towards success. 

Over the coming months, he attempted to kick-start small business ventures to work towards his goal of becoming a respected businessman but unfortunately each resulted in failure due to his incapability and uncoordinated methods, being shunned by the upper classes who simply saw him as filth who was below them. The events which occurred motivated John to continue to find new ways to reach his goal. In the end, the idea of success came down to a key decision in John's mind as he realised that legitimately earning money and respect were a way off due to his heritage and existing reputation. It became clear that both of his objectives were not achievable together and that one would have to be sacrificed for another. John had to decide whether he wanted to be well respected or to be wealthy. He came to the conclusion that with wealth came power, and with power respect could be bought, therefore making his decision.. Realising that he was alone and that nobody cared to help him achieve his personal goals honestly, he became content with devoting his life towards selfish gain with little worry about morality.

John begun to study the methods of many salesmen in an attempt to learn the ways of triumphant business but quickly found out that deception and trickery was the secret behind success. He picked up the tricks of the trade and planned his own business concept before putting it in action. Beginning with the renovation of a carriage he had stolen, John invested his parents’ money on creating a show and developing the separate persona of Dr Alabaster Alberstine to aid in the success of his new found business. He spent a lot of time creating his own items combining wild ideas the inspiration of the new age technologies to create the left over items from his parents stash to create unique and striking products. With another theft of horses, and the employment of two cheap desperate homeless men, John set off for new lands to begin his new life as the mysterious and intriguing Dr Alabaster Alberstine.

Alberstine is a scheming salesman who is deceiving and dishonest. He is entirely self-centered and has no regard for others unless they are giving him what he wants. Alberstine is an extremely charismatic showman who is charming, suave and smooth talking and can captivate the attention of audiences within a matter of moments. He is remorseless and has a complete lack of morals. He is also slightly sadistic as he enjoys seeing both his assistants’ misfortunes. Deep down Alberstine is still uncoordinated, unlucky, and ill tempered.

Physical Description
Alberstine bears a mysterious but elegant appearance. He is a tall, lean man who sports a thin moustache and dresses in unique finery. He has hazel eyes, a pointed face, defined cheek bones, and an eerie but charming smile. He has long bony fingers, long thin legs, and has a good posture. Alberstine wears a top hat with a band of purple fabric wrapped around the crown, with a crow’s feather tucked inside. Under his hat, Alberstine has black hair which is combed over to the right and wears a black tailcoat lined with dark maroon fabric over a silvery vest and white shirt. Around his neck he wears a patterned maroon ascot and he keeps his pocket watch chain on show. His trousers are tight and fitted and he displays slightly off colour white spat boots on his feet. He handles an elegant dark cane headed with a crafted silver crow which he uses as a tool during his performances. He has been known to be one of the most flamboyant salesmen due to his decorative carriage and impressive style.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Final Idea Re-Evaluation

After discussion surrounding my idea, it became apparent that the world I was creating was going to be too complex for a short animation. It was going to be too difficult to give my audiences an understanding of my world and the reasons why its history is the way it. This revelation saw me re-exploring my already existing research and ideas in search for a more refined and condensed concept. The new idea that was born from this process still lies within the original boundaries of advertising and propaganda, and will still exist at some time between 1850-1950.

My new idea proposes the creation of a 1-2 minute animated short about a travelling caravan salesman who, with the help of his two assistants, advertises his latest most ridiculous products in true salesman fashion. The animation would focus on the idea of false advertising and would present a contrast between the propaganda sold by the salesman and the reality of the effect the product has. This would mean the full production pipeline for three characters, an environment and multiple props. Additionally, I will be drawing on specific elements from certain art movements to make my designs unique and appealing.

I have additionally constructed a brief character profile around the salesman character who will be the centre focus of my animation. This will be expanded upon in another post where I will unearth his background, personality traits and appearance.

- Name: John Edwards
- Alias: Dr. Alabaster Alberstine
- Gender: Male
- Age: Mid 30's
- Ethnicity: White English
- Archetype: Villain (Thief)
- Occupation: Travelling Salesman
Objectives: To be wealthy and be seen as an upper-class citizen and a successful businessman, wants to be     respected
- Fears: Failure, The truth of being revealed as fraudulent, being a nobody again

I created the character on paper with a few other existing examples in mind. I knew my character was going to charming and mysterious, but there was also going to be something rather eerie and disgusting about him. The Duke from Moulin Rouge has this uncomfortable aura, and Michael Sheen has something charming but eerie about some of his character portrayals. Other influences include Mr Nick from The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Dr. Facilier from The Princess Frog, Nigel West Dickens from Red Dead Redemption. From here it is my intention to develop a fully realised profile for the salesman character so that I can begin exploring less generic ideas when it comes to writing my script. I will be using language from old posters, video ads as reference and will also be looking into the way carnies introduce shows and bring in a crowd.