Maya Character Workshop #05 - Controls

With the rig bound to the character, we continue to add controls to the character to prep the model for animating. Its quite a tricky process to get to grips with, parenting and grouping controls all over the place. Although, I'm sure this will become more familiar in time.

Maya Character Workshop #04 - Skinning

With the rig in place, next we moved on to skinning the character to the rig using the component editor method with a smooth bind.

Car Modelling - Mustang 08

Adding front details to the car.

End of Unit 2 - The Making of Renatus

Unit 2 Character Design project has come to a close. I can present to you the character design bible for Renatus.

Renatus Character Design Bible

Its been a fun project in developing a range of character archetypes, yet it has also been an enlightening one with much constructive criticism and feedback to take on board. It seems my arrow strayed from its mark, as my hero and villain appeared somewhat lacking, where my sidekick character was well received.

In hindsight, perhaps this is due to the fact that I may have stayed within the confines of the theme soldier/cyborgs too much, which in itself is a very generic topic. With the hero, I focused on the details of his technology while giving him a straightforward silhouette as a soldier for the audience to be able to relate to his humanity. Consequently, this may have led to his somewhat lacking overall design. Where, with the villain, I moved away from the typical villain that overwhelms himself with power and technology, to a sly, cunning manipulative villain as a female to contrast the male dominated genre of soldiers. Admittedly, I may not have captured this quite so well in my final design, where the action poses begin to capture a glimpse of this. My sidekick became successful as it strayed from the generic forms that I conceived in my hero and villain, as a small quirky robot.

Additionally, I focused on using paper rather than digital mediums as not only was this stated at the beginning of the project, but I also wanted to focus on the basics of character design.

Essentially, I guess I made some poor design choices along the way that have had a significant impact on the outcome of my designs. Its something I will definitely take on board which will serve to refine my creative designs. In the mean time, its onwards and upwards for the Retro-Fest project that is still hot in production.

Character Development - Colour

Colour versions of the final character designs.

Character Silhouette

Silhouette of each character - Servo, Hero and the Empress.

This was the initial silhouette at the earlier stages of the character design process.

Character Development - Empress

More developments to the Empress' design, which has been the most challenging for me throughout the project. Hopefully, I've managed to capture the sense of power and awe of a villain with an intriguing design. The Empress wields cybernetic implants which enhances her perceptual abilities to an almost supernatural level, where she is also able to generate energy surges through her hands for an electric/shock type of attack. Her technology is powered by a more rudimentary form of the energy core that pumps raw energy throughout her body.

Final design

The last two sketches help capture her in action, with the first showing her seated on a throne-like chair while she is connected to further cybernetic systems through her crown headpiece.

The later captures her intimidating presence towering over Hero and Servo in a sort of poster format for the cartoon show.

Character Development - Servo

Made some refinements to the overall design of Servo (sidekick), hopefully I've managed to capture his quirky personality with his relatively simple design. With a mechanical limb with a variety of tools housed within himself, Servo is more than useful to Hero in his battle against the Empress' forces.

Character Development - Hero

Some additional refinements to Hero with a closer look at his mounted weapon as well as a turnaround sheet. I've also sketched out some poses with Hero in action, with one or two also featuring his trusty sidekick Servo.

Character Design Development #2

Some developments with the character design project. Refer to character profiles/narrative and previous character designs.


Following my previous designs of Hero, the main emphasis was to keep his cybernetic parts visible rather than hidden, as this is his defining characteristic. As such, two main designs have developed including a casual appearance with a simple tank top and trousers, to a battle attire where Hero would suit up for battle with a chest and back armour piece. I've also designed the expression sheet for Hero displaying his range of emotions. However, I made the mistake of covering a broad range of emotions rather than the particular ones he would express, so the bottom row of expressions are 'extreme' exceptions.


Sidekick - 'Servo'

I decided to use a spherical form for the sidekick to contrast the two humanoid characters. As such, it is necessary to capture some extra details that would help add to his round silhouette.
The centre/energy core of Servo will act as his 'eye', twitching and refocusing similarly to a camera lens for added expression and personality. The exterior panels will also animate to further emphasise his expression. Another concept I'm beginning to explore includes a small mechanical limb that retracts from the bottom, allowing Servo to interact with the environment in assisting Hero.


Villain - 'Empress'

Defining the villain as a cold, calculating and regal Empress, I've tried to capture this in her design with her cybernetic implants. I've struggled with this character so far, with the designs being too busy and quite simply not intriguing enough to capture the power and awe of a villain. Needless to say, the character needs some work, where Justin has further suggested going back to the basic shape of the character to capture the weight and intent, while also considering some of the lore and meaning behind her character to better influence the design as a whole. Hopefully, I will be able to achieve this.


Character Design Workshop #09

In our last character workshop, we took a brief look into environments and how their similarly reflect and share the same principles as a character design. The Lord of the Rings becomes a great example of this, with the dwarven culture and architecture running through their designs; from the strong square columns and grand architecture, to the functional and robust weapons and armour of the character of Gimli with his helm and axe. Notice that the intricate inscriptions are also consistent in both character and environment to further establish a coherent world between the two.

With this in mind, we were given a random environment to design with a specific flavour. The theme I was given was a tricky one, a Primitive Starship. The main idea I had in mind was to avoid elegant shapes by using square and irregular forms.

Justin further suggested adapting a pre-existing form of technology to imply the primitive nature of the starship, such as modern day shuttles requiring huge rocket engines to launch into space. This is something I will definitely keep in mind when faced with future design challenges.

Maya Character Workshop #03 - Rig

With the UVs laid out, we now move on to establishing the rig for the character. Hopefully, I have positioned the joints accurately enough.