008: New Semester, New Project

It’s tough breaking out of a marketable-final-product mentality, but this really is a time for experimentation and learning. Bouncing ideas back and forth with my sister helped me narrow down my focus to incorporate both 2D and 3D elements into a bigger exploration of fictional characters, with some game design goals on the horizon as I move towards thesis.

Welcome to Thorn Village, a small place with lots of heart.

I’d like to focus on feelings of comfort and belonging with this semester’s project. In comparison to last semester, the character set I’m developing is of a more minimal, “doodley” style. Variations on shape, soft curves, and muted colors help distinguish some of these early designs from one another while retaining a sense of unity.

Thorn Village – Condensed Character Studies – 2019

I’m compiling the documentation of concepts, designs, tests, and explorations in a pale pink binder for critiques and personal reference. (Though my home printer gave me some trouble with the first round of pages, so I might opt for a digital PDF booklet and have it available for download.)

“Flamehead” – Early & Simple 3D Character – 2019

The collective “Thorn Village” project has three components:

  • Short traditional “flipbook”-syle animations, compiled into a single digital reel
  • 2-color silkscreen animation cells
  • 3D-printed & painted character figurines

I’m using RoughAnimator on my iPad Pro for frame-by-frame planning, drawing fluid and screen filler for hand-drawing each frame onto the screen mesh (as an initial test; I may switch to photo emulsion and transparencies if this method is too inconsistent), and pulling prints of the cells to scan/photograph and sequence into mini-GIFs. So far I’m aiming for one simple test and three to four proper vignettes.

For 3D models, I’ve been test-modeling in Blender (above) and Sculptris. I definitely prefer the latter for achieving softer, more organic forms, and might move to ZBrush once I get a better handle on “digital sculpting”. I invested in a M3D Micro+ printer and white ABS filament for this project, especially in the early test-print phases. I’ll be sure to take advantage of the FabLab’s 3D printers once I have more satisfactory designs and want higher print quality.

That’s all for now. Have a lovely week ahead; I look forward to sharing more progress!

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