Monday, August 24, 2009

Peng Lai

So i have been working more and more on finishi9ng the game for Jake's awesome Fantasy RPG challenge, since there is only seven days left.
As of now i have the basic rules and the resolution aspects of the system complete. Now i have to work on the hard stuff (in my opinion), the dreadful background on which the game is played. As i had stated in my previous post about the game, the game is about a group of people from all walks of life who were born at a pinnacle time and were in turn blessed to be chosen by the heavens to bring about a new age of man. However, change never comes with out a fight. There are too many people who profit from the world being as it is.
Now a few of the aspects I have to think through in the creation of this mythic world will help the players make the connect with the game. So to start i had to figure out what the land or world was going to look like. So i drew out a large island on a piece of paper and then started to work stuff into the world. I decided that there were going to be eight kingdoms and a set of mountian in the center of the island that have myths and legends behind them. Later i gave the world a name- in which gave the game its name. The name for the land mass came about during my research into Chinese mythology. As i had stated before, the game is a mix of several stories: The Twelve Kingdoms and The mysterious Play are the main two. Both of these have very strong Chinese elements to them. So when i was doing reseach I came upon the name "Peng Lai", which is the name of an island in Chinese mythology. It fit what i was going for in the game so i took that as being the name of this land.
Once i had this all done, it was all pretty much down hill from here. I just had to watch my footing so that i wouldn't trip up somewhere and fall down my proverbial hill. So i had to figure out what was going on in the world that needed to be changed by the player characters. So first i wanted to show that there was corruption in the world, no one likes corruption, and since this was a mythical world I wanted to show it using magically. This was inspired by Twelve Kingdoms to tell the truth. So there are Yaomo that appear in the world, which are pretty much demons, when ever there is corruption of the state/kingdom. So now i have a defined enemy, so to speak, for the players to deal with. Now i have to write out the current situations for each kingdoms, some being in better shape than others. This will help me figure out what characters in the world would be more willing for there to be change in the world than others. This is pretty much were i am at. I'll try to post once more efore i turn this in at the end of the month.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Dragonwake Project

A friend of mine asked if i would draw some characters for a websites logo. he at first thought that i would be too busy, but since i am taking an advanced Character design class at school i could do this for him without it getting in the way of my studies (as long as i schedule my homework time).
The character were to be a group of fantasy style cartoon adventurers and a dragon. There is more to the final drawing than this, but i rather keep some of what i am doing for this back for now. So anyway, i started working out the shape language of the characters to see what would work best for what each character represented. What does a cleric look like, are the short and round, some what golly fellows? Or are they thin wisps of a man stooped from years of hand writing text in thick tomes? a golly fellow would consist of more rounded shapes, while a bend scribe would be made of square and triangle shapes. And i thought this through for each character and played with their designs.
I also had to think about what style of "Cartoony" i want to do this in. There are several ways you could classify "Cartoony" This could be iconic (power puff girls), simplistic (the Jetsons), or broad (bugs bunny).
So heres what i came up with:

The first one is the one i like the mostand i think is heading in the direction i want for this project. The second image is of some of the exploration of character i went through.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Fred Gardner: Layout artist

So this past Friday my teacher the very kool and talented Cris Sasaki had his past co-worker and friend Fred Gardner come in to speak to His (my) Advanced Character Design class at the AI.
Fred is currently working on a Tom and Jerry cartoon that will be coming out for the new Sherlock Holmes movie that has Tom and Jerry living in Mr. Holmes' house. Fred is the led Layout artist on the project and for those of you who don't know, a layout artist creates all the backgrounds for a cartoon. And some would say, "hey, thats easy", but there is a lot more to creating Tom and Jerry backgrounds than i would have thought. For instance, the WB wants the style of this Tom and Jerry cartoon to be more in the style of the Tom and Jerry cartoons made during the 1940's when it was produced by MGM. At the same time Fred uses photos take at the Muesum Sherlock Holmes house in england as a reference when designing the layouts for the cartoon. And if you have never seen the Sherlock Holmes meusum you should check it out; but in this case i will say that it is full of stuff. All kinds of crazy stuff that would make a steampunk pee his/her pants. But that doesn't work for a Tom and Jerry cartoon. The next time you watch a Tom and Jerry cartoon, check out the background at some point. Theres is very little in those backgrounds- no matter who is animating that cartoon. So Fred had to not only make this look ike sherlock Holmes apartment, but also keep the backgrounds becoming overloaded with too much visual information.
He was showing us he's process with a few of the backgrounds and it just amazing to see how someone like him thinks. And how he works out this problems that i spoke about. Unfortinately, i don't have a photos of the project he is working on to show or i would. There just awesome. And there all designed on sheets of paper that measure something like: 4ft x 1ft in length- mostly for pan shots designed to follow Tom and Jerry back and forth across the screen during a chase scene.
he had also showed us some of his past works like some of the backgrounds he did for movies like the Iron Giant and back grounds for the animated Hercules TV show.. Which apparently, was created at the same time as the movie- which seems a bit weird to me.
He also gave us a lot of great advice: such as if you are ever offered a job doing anything- just say yes and figure out how to do it later. So if you are offered a job to animate something and have no animation experience- take the job anyway and figure out how to animate later.

Coraline: Answers found

I was speaking with a great Layout artist: Fred Gardner, the other day and i had brought up my views of the Coraline movie. I had told him that i felt that there was some kind of disconnection in the movie that held me back from getting involved with it. He said that the problem that i encountered and was having a hard time putting my fingure on was the fact that the movie was to slow at the beginning. Basically, Laika took to long to get the audience involved with the character- to make that emotional connection that usually takes place so that the audience can forget that they are watching a movie and become wrapped up in whats happening to the main character. Laika took to long in get to that wonderful moment and thusly it never happened for me. The end result being that i was more distracted by the stop motion animation than by the emotional content of the story or the story itself.