Thursday, January 12, 2006

Design Basics!

Hey Folks! I got a request to talk a little about design. Now, for sure i am not an expert on design but it is something i so completely wish i was more interested in when i was a kid. It wasn't until CalArts that i feel in love with design and saw how completely important it is to know what makes for a good design. Hand drawn or CG!
This first page here is just the very basic principle i'm sure you all know and that's finding your basic shape. Animation at it's best is about simplicity and finding the essence of something. Here Milt Kahl's Little John from Robin Hood is basically a rounded out triangle. That's his shape, when he walks on screen that's what you and i read and say "oh, it's Little John". This is why when your designing charactes it's important to keep their shapes distinct and personal unto them.
The other thing here is also the basic concept of keeping your purportions interesting. I used to think that meant totally caricaturing something to a point where it wasn't believedable. Like haing a huge huge guy with itty bitty legs. But remember these designs have to run and walk and jump, and act! So your design HAS to be functional. That's why the Cartoon Network stuff works well for what it is, is because it isn't being fully animated. Those charcaters can't turn. But these characters HAVE to turn. So remember to keep your purportion interesting. Even is boring!
Ahh, Hirschfield! who doesn't love this guy!? Another basic thing is straights and curves. The whole idea is finding a balance and a way for them to support each other. Some might find it ironic that i am using Hirschfield for the example of STRAIGHTS since he is known for his curvy streamline, but really look at it. He has IMPLIED straights, not literal ones. You can see this more clearly in the drawing at the very bottom. But in this drawings with the man holding the staff there is a balance of straights and curves in his design and gesture. The back, although it has a curve to it, is the straight that strengthens the curve of the chest in front. Makes the pose feel stronger. Incidentally, for gestures and balance, always have head somewhere over the main "supporting weight foot". If you don't the character will look like he's falling over.
And here's our examply of implied straights. Not to much to say really besides, DANG THAT CAT COULD DRAW!
I just wanted to say THANKS to the Spline Doctors for plugging my blog! It was awful nice of'em and they didn't have to do it but i appreciate it. Doing these tutorials has been fun and i hope everyones enjoying them. I am going to get more back into animation with the next few tutorials, but in the mean time i m gonna finish this script and try and finish a piece of animation. Willermess out!

11 comments:

Jason C said...

Man... Just stumbled across your blog.. This is some great stuff you have here.. I'm very glad I checked it out.. Amazing work... Keep it up!!

Gulzar said...

Simply great...thanks for taking time out to posts stuff like these...they indeed help a lot...
thank you...

regards
Gulzar

Matt Williames said...

Hey, my pleasure guys!

Matt Williames said...

Jason, where do you supervise animation?

Jason C said...

Hey Matt.. I'm an animation supervisor at a little studio called Trapeze Aniamtion here in canada.. We're mostly know for a series of shorts we did called Doodlez.. It's an all Flash house.. But I still get to draw..

Man .. reading through all your posts.. you've worked with some really great animators.. Goldberg.. Tony DeRosa.. nice.... i'm jealous ;)..

Josh Bowman said...

Hi Matt, found your blog through SplineDoctors. Your tutorials are GREAT! Thanks for doing them for everyone.

Bobby P said...

Didnt you mention before you worked with James Baxter as well? Thats awesome man.

Matt Williames said...

nope, i haven't worked with James, yet! He's kinda a hero of mine. I know he is for a lot of people, he just understands that 101 dalmations style of animation. the nine old men stuff, he just blows my mind.

Jimmy Trujillo said...

I recently took a character designing class for cartoons in school and it's amazing how you never really understand what you think you understand, until you actually are forced to sit down and do it in a pressure situation. I feel in love with the design process of a charater too. It's amazing how much story is just in the lines of a drawing. Great post, you have some excellent brain farts here :o) keep em' coming dawg.

Heath said...

Matt! This is a really good post! I really enjoy your perspective on drawing. I've actually learned some new things today!

Really nice monkeys too!! ...now, I want to draw monkeys.

Matt Williames said...

Heya Heath! It's so cool we found eachother again dude! looking forward to seeing more of your artwork!
and Jimmy, thanks for stopping by dude. Where did you say you go to school? Character Design is a sort of limited area for most artists, especially me. I really only do MY style. but the guys that amaze me can flip and flop back and forth like Joe Mosier, or Shannon Tindle.