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My first sketches for the character from term 1:

With character design I started knowing I needed something simple, to not take up too much time of production, but also effective in establishing the story, personality and empathic to the viewer.

As a lot of the environments this character would be in would be blocky boxes, with hard pointed edges and aggressive shapes, I wanted the character to contrast this to show how truly out of their depth they were.

I also wanted it to come across how rundown this character seemed before even starting this huge project of uncluttering. For this room of boxes to get to the point it has, the owner of this room must have had a rough few years, probably working full time, suffering from depression and/or lack of motivation to partake in the 'self-care' act of sorting this mass of boxes that have just been getting larger and larger, harder and harder to deal with.

To show this in the character they will take on a very slumped posture, the kind you would get if were working over a computer all day and then went home only hunch over your phone, do tired to do anything else. The posture will give an added storytelling element to the film, as the character gets closer and closer to the end of the huge task their posture will rise, as if a weight is lifted from the shoulders! I also intend to show this with eye bags lifting about expression changing.

I played with a few different styles

Character Construction Sheets

Designinig construction sheets was very helpful in getting the form of my character more consistent. I had attempted a series of key pose practices using a reference I recorded for the memory scene. I think will be entirely 2D animated so I thought it was a good one to start working with as I complete the 3D models for the rest of it.

Here is my first go key posing without the construction sheet.

Now that I have these sheets to use as reference I will be able to main the same volumes and styles on my next pass of the scene. The turn arounds will help me see the ways the character's face looks from all angles. Although my character will be in 3D for some of the shoot when they are aged up, I still needed to do a construction sheet and turn around to help when I add the 2D parts and toon-shade rendering.

References and tutorials


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Over the Christmas break, I was able to use my family home as a reference for my subject matter. As so much of this project is from personal experience, this was an important chance to delve into where the idea came from and review where I was in keeping with the initial journey and whether I had gone too far.

At the start of this term, I am doing another pass of the storyboard I had finished at the end of the last term. Upon reflecting on the first pass of my storyboard I don't feel like it quite gets across my initial ideas and I have always viewed it as a first draft. So now is the time to refine it so I can identify how best to proceed when it comes to learning what I specifically need for each scene.

My ideas and notes for the final storyboard:
  • must better show the idea of a mental block in motivation

  • could this be done with a personification of motivation?

  • Manifestation creatures that I explored in my undergrad?

  • Objects that trigger the character?

  • How to show memories, and what are the memories to display?

  • Dust particles, how can they be used to show memories and emotions?

  • Use of different colours and shapes

  • Adding a Character?

  • Many personal situations much like this have been helped with the idea of another person joining the fight however animating another character would be too time-consuming

  • How can I display this in a different way? The idea of another presence supporting the character?

  • The character could be inspired by an object - subject that connects to another character, perhaps a photo - then that presence is seeming with the character, supporting them for the rest of the fight against the boxes

  • The idea of growing up.

  • The character has a memory of an object that they find, the object however is completely different in the characters memories to what it looks like when they find it.

  • Growing up and seeing the same treasured object as a whole new person - not worse, just different.

Notes from 1:1 with Susan:

  • Refining the storyboard

  • take out first shots - context can be introduced as the story goes

  • Start - the shot of the door opening

  • Keeping refining story to a more cohesive short

  • Boxes falling out of other boxes - things get too overwhelming as more is unpacked

  • Watch the Little Matchgirl

Animated Shorts for reference

  • The Little Matchgirl (2006),

  • Desperation for a better life

  • Seeing dreams or memories in the warmth of her matches

  • Strong contrasting tones with the "real world" blues and greys and the "dream world" warm oranges and gold.

  • Sonata - Gobelins, FX Exercise

  • Showing inspiration with fire

  • Mum's Sweater - Gobelins

  • Exploring grief

The Irony

At so many points in the process of putting this project together, I have become quite overwhelmed by the sheer amount of ideas and things I will need to do to pull off these ideas. I feel like at each point I am facing the same struggle as the character in my story, overwhelmed by choice and work, unpacking and organising so many different ideas and thoughts. The very same mental block that I want to illustrate in this short is weighing on me as I try to untangle my own personal experiences into a clear and structured narrative that can connect with others.

Whenever I see this comparison it helps me see that this turmoil, overwhelm and despair at times, must be worth completing as that is overall the point of this short story. What started as an attempt to show the process of unpacking one's life has become something a lot more reoccurring than I first thought.

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Within this module from my first term I wanted to bridge my knowledge from 2D animation to 3D animation and how they are being combined in current media. This module ended with each student producing a Research Poster to display their findings.

Mine, which focused on case studies of recent realises, Spiderman: Into the Spider-verse (2018), Klaus (2019) and Arcane (2021-?), can be read here:

The Exhibition

Our research posters were able to be exhibited in the Bradshaw Gallery and I put myself forward to curate this, with the help of a few others we were able to put up all 12 posters in a lovely uniform way as pictured! I really enjoyed being part of a in person exhibition again, something I haven't experienced since the final exhibition for my Fine Art undergrad! This will be up from Dec 17th to Jan 20th in the Bradshaw Gallery.

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