Inspiration for all from a great illustrator, a true master of the art. Russell Patterson.
Character Design Syllabus - ANIMA-340-01 (1443) Fall 2012
09/04/2012-12/13/2012 Studio Tuesday, Thursday 12:00PM - 03:00PM, Founder’s Hall, Room 306
This class covers the craft of character design for a broad range of animated media. Our aim is the creation of animation‐friendly 2D and 3D characters for the screen, emphasizing the look and appeal of a character, personality, psychology, context within an environment and within a cast of supporting characters. Exploration of the various forms of drawing related to the field of animation. Emphasis will be put on volume, mass, weight, movement/gesture, conveying attitude, dramatic expression, action poses, acting, anatomy, consistent perspective and economy of line.
This is a three hour class, meeting twice a week.
The content of the course will aim to sharpen the student’s working knowledge of the craft of characterization, developing personality in a character, creating a balanced cast of characters, developing overall “look and feel, and how best to present their work. During class time students will be exposed to design history, learn the professional method, and sharpen their critical thinking about the work of design for animation. Lectures on various design topics will be followed by student assignment and practice, with guidance by the teacher.
After completing this course, students will be able to:
1. create appealing characters with a distinctive personality;
2. create a range of characters that work together as a “cast”.
3. Create character design pieces suitable for student projects and portfolio presentations.
Student Learning Objectives
SLO 1: Acquire a basic knowledge, theories, and concepts about art; develop a foundation of art skills and a high level of craftsmanship; communicate ideas and concepts through writing, speaking and art making; acquire a competency with the tools and technologies associated with the visual arts.
SLO 2: Apply processes of generating and solving problems in art; analyze, interpret and question traditional methodologies and preconceived notions of art and art making.
· Practice creative development process of design for characters that can later be animated in 2D traditional, 2D Digital Flash, or 3D Computer Animation.
· Apply drawing knowledge learned previously: 3-D structure, volume, weight, perspective, action, attitude.
· Produce original Character design work that demonstrate successful integration of principles of animation, technology & student’s own personal aesthetic in conceptually rich & skillfully executed work.
· Critically analyze peers work in critiques. Analyze own development and comfortably receive criticism and feedback. Apply problem-solving skills and make revisions to improve work.
SLO 3: Develop appreciation and tolerance of diverse perspectives dealing with art, culture, teaching/learning. See the power and effectiveness of works beyond Manga or Pre Disney, from all around the globe.
· Become aware of and learn to critically analyze Character Design from both History and the current Animation field of 3D CG and 2D Features and Games.
Day 1 Class Overview – 1st Topic: Heads
Day 2 Heads Continued
Day 3 Features: Eyes, ears, nose
Day 4 Features: Mouths
Day 5 The Body
Day 6 Body Continued
Day 7 2D shape design – Illusions of Dimension
Day 8 2D shape graphic design
Day 9 Personality design (Emotion & Sensation)
Day 10 Expression
Day 11 Reference and how to use it
Day 12 Reference Continued
Day 13 Costume and period design
Day 14 2D Costume design
Day 15 Caricature
Day 16 Caricature Continued
Day 17 Volumetric Design
Day 18 Volume & Animateability
Day 19 Body Language
Day 20 Body Language : Making Characters Interact
Day 21 Model sheets: preparation
Day 22 2D character turn‐ around
Day 23 Versatility
Day 24 Versatility Continued
Day 25 3D Design: technical considerations
Day 26 3D technical design I
Day 27 Refinement
Day 28 FINAL Project: Assignment/Explanation
Day 29 Character Bible
Day 30 Character bible Continued
Day 31 FINAL Project Presentations
Day 32 Guest Lecture & Student Pitches
Attendance-Attendance will be recorded at each class meeting. Instruction will not be repeated for the benefit of students who have missed class. The design of this course is centered around guided practice - supervised project development (see evaluation). Attendance is a requirement to succeed.
Recommended Internet Resources
Animation World Network: http://www.awn.com/
Animation Nation: http://www.animationnation.com/
Cartoon Brew: http://www.cartoonbrew.com/
AWN Student Corner: http://studentcorner.awn.com/
Character Design | Artist Interviews: characterdesign.blogspot.com/
Reading- The development of a personal library of texts and manuals is considered to be a professional career development expense. The following text books are strongly recommended to enrich your projects and achieve the most for your time here:
Cartoon Animation by Preston Blair
“Cartooning The Head And Figure”- Jack Hamm
Reading Assignments- The (handouts) are required reading assignments and will be discussed in class in order to assist the student in developing understanding of the techniques and processes required to accomplish the art work.
Typical Class Assignments- Write a short character profile and concept sketch, write a full character description and story, or write a critique of a commercial animation.
Typical Outside Assignment- Draw character and layout sketches, participate in a sketch-crawl, or visit a zoo to draw and observe animals.
Evaluation - The design of this course requires that the student will devote additional hours of effort outside the class, in addition to the hours of lecture, production team- work, and lab hours in class. The student is advised to carefully consider this in determining whether they have will be able to devote the time necessary in order to meet the requirements of this course. Planning is paramount! Just as you will discover in the workplace, if you cannot manage your time and production you will not be successful. Grading in this course is based upon your COMPLETED WORK.
1. Midterm and final projects: 50%
2. Attendance and class participation: 25%
3. Exercises and assignments: 25%
The course is graded according to the following system:
A+; A (Excellent); A-; B+; B (Good); B-; C+; C (Satisfactory); C-(Substandard, must repeat the course. You will still receive studio elective credit); D+; D (Unsatisfactory, must repeat course. You will still receive 3 units of studio credit but must take course again) F (Failing not credit received).
Code of Ethics and Plagiarism
The School expects you to critically scrutinize your course materials and creative work to be sure you have transformed and uniquely personalized your artwork and or any written information. CCA considers plagiarism unacceptable and knowingly using another’s work as your own may lead to a judicial process within the school that could possibly result in suspension or dismissal from the college.
• Disabilities and Special Accommodation For questions with disability issues please contact George Sedano, Director of Disability Services at 510.594.3775 or email@example.com
If you are an animation major, you must achieve better than a C-in order to pass.
• Graphite pencils
• Ink pens
• Sketchbook or journal
• Markers (optional)
Some in-class work may require paper cutting, modeling clay or puppet -making, in order that students grasp the given design concepts while not limited by lack of drawing experience. For these projects the instructor will provide some materials. On some drawing assignments the instructor might provide a template or guide to follow.
Animation Student resources list
Animals Real and Imagined#B1AF1 by T. Whitlatch
Drawing the Head and Hands by Andrew Loomis
Animated Performance: Bringing imaginary animal, human and fantasy characters to life (Required Reading Range)
Paperback: 232 pages
Publisher: Ava Publishing (September 15, 2010)
Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 1 x 11.7 inches
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: 3DTotal Publishing (January 31, 2012)
Richard Williams (Author)
Paperback: 392 pages
Publisher: Faber & Faber; Second Edition edition (December 8, 2009)
Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1 x 11 inches
Dream Worlds- Production #B1B05 by Hans Bacher
Hardcover: 216 pages
Publisher: Focal Press; 1 edition (December 19, 2007)
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.8 x 11 inches
Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
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