Character Design | Week 3: What in the world!

For this week's lecture, we explored the importance of a character's internal thoughts in influencing their external world.
This can be down to a number of things:
1- Often the protagonists are in the scenario they're in, because of their personal outlook. For example a persisting attitude has them gravitating to that relatable thing, and triggering the 'inciting incident'.
This can lead to a differentiation between the 'personal world' and the 'inherited world', which may contrast in visuals, substantially.
2- The way in which their actions on the world indicate their inner personalities. Can be a way for director's to indicate a character's flaws, wants, needs and personality, without stating it frankly.
If the narrator is retelling the events through their own eyes, the visual environment may be influenced by more internal mental states ('The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari' is a notable example).
In which case, there may be multiple outlooks: opposing characters shown visually through the environment the two opposites reside.
An extreme of a character influencing the environment would be Francis ('The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari', 1920), whose mental state distorts his visual perception. 
'Back to the Future's' opening sequence see's Marty recklessly trying out Doc's machine to amplify his guitar. His actions mess up the environment, showing his influence of decisions on the world around him. 
The methodology is to start with 'real' referencing, and stylise that referencing with your 'own look'. The likes of which go hand in hand with the 'internal logic' of that world.
What exactly are you trying to say with the designs?
Environment is a good way of capturing the essence of what's going on- and can be dictated by plot and 'look' of characters.
We'd also discussed 'layout' as a means of storytelling as well. This included the following:

'Rule of Thirds' and 'Golden Ratio'
Photographers and film makers rely on both when composing their shots. Ansel Adam's 'Grand Canyon' is a notable example. 
A guide to align a subject in a visually appealing manner.
Compositionally, balance allows an image to appear "pleasing and harmonious" or "uncomfortable and unresolved", depending on the context, as a way of enforcing the existing story.
It can also make fast action sequences easier to read for audiences, if it's easier to 'read' quickly.
Having a foreground, midground and background helps suggest fictional space on a 2D place. It can be used narratively, as a means of indicating the importance and dynamics between characters and locations.
This can be indicated with depth, and comparison between something we're having pre-existing knowledge of (i.e. an average sized human), and something fictional (i.e. the death star).
Feng Zhu's concept work often features human-sized characters, helping us to compare scale to other elements of the image.
Leading Lines
An image can hold the potential for movement/narrative, if indicating potential movement with lines. Often these lines can lead the viewers eyes according to where the author wishes them to look... and compose an image in a visually appealing way.
 Absences and Concealment
The decision to not include a character, or driving plot point can enforce the 'feeling' of the image, and create a level of ambiguity that can be appealing for viewers. Additionally, the background itself can act as a 'character' in it's own right, giving information about someone/something in their absence.
'Portal 2's' collection of in game posters helped build into the story, and indicate the general attitude of 'Aperture Science', in the absence of it's employers and employees. 
Create a selection of thumbnails using the following words: '1930's Chicago', 'Utopian', 'Shopping Mall'.

My work began with a range of influence maps of shop fronts, and potential angles, to help establish the kind of 'Utopia' one might imagine at this time.
I'd considered a small shop, that reclines and twists unexpectedly to allow one to get lost in their own individual section, but in the end settled with the large-scale luxury stores, wherein the service provided appeals to anyone, and the shop fronts are jammed pack with lightened goods.

Influence [1]
There's a kind of elegance and 'art deco' ornamentation to buildings around this time... so I researched art deco, and the charcoal renderings of 'Chicago' as captured by Hugh Ferriss's 'Metropolis of Tomorrow' (1929) as visual reference:

Influence [2]
This place would be a lavishly presented space, where shop workers would swoop over to customers and fulfil their needs with startling efficiency. 
Reflecting on it now, gold seems to be a recurring element of this style of architecture... however at the time I'd worked with the black and white extremes of white and black (chiaroscuro), as a revealment of richness/splendour in and amongst the city.

Influence [3]
My Concepts:

The idea was to juxtapose the 'utopian' shop with the dullness and inadequacy of the building around it. There was also some thought to the setting of the scene, and who'd be approaching this opulent building.
I'd thought about having a novice shop assistant in the foreground, on their first day of the job. The juxtaposition between their 'old world' against the 'new' (background). I'd liked the idea of a flat space of sorts, wherein they're on level with women in sweeping dresses, approaching from alterative directions but on level with the worker. That idea of utopia- and this being a place for all to take in the visual wealth of the shop. This idea of just seeing  the masses of goods, that no-one would physically be able to obtain, so must look at and experience there.

Alternatively, as suggested by Justin, perhaps someone whose homeless, looking on at this extreme opposite world. Something that's unobtainable, and otherworldly:

Justin's Work

I'd had some issues trying to make this space seem inviting, instead of intimidating (with the scale and all), and we'd ended the session reconsidering the shop (singular), as a spread of shops... with the potential for lots of different spaces (i.e. luxurious tropics, with birds and animals to cloth shopping etc.- see No.4 of Justin's work).

The plan now is to apply all this to the main project: of 'Saul Bass, 1950's-1960's Chicago, Secret Agent, Gadgets'- and how to give colour, also, to my character, using his environment.


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