Developing Characters

General Moho topics.

Moderators: Fahim, Distinct Sun, Víctor Paredes, erey, Belgarath, slowtiger

banjar
Posts: 67
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:09 pm
Location: Sunnyvale, California

Post by banjar » Wed Jan 21, 2009 5:21 am

chucky wrote:Banjar, I'm not having a go at you but, it looks like you've missed the vital ingredient here, there's more to character than a vocal gymnastics and the situations they are placed into.
Character as you know from the people you know around you comes from the choices we make.
Like this one..... I don't have to embark on any bruising lecture about character, it's just I'm a little feisty and full of myself. I will however apologise for any discomfort accrued during the process.:P

Game development is COMPLETELY different.
Game characters are constructed necessarily without much character at all.... game characters are the empty vessel that we insert our own character and make our own decisions. That's why often they are purely an assemblage of interesting design elements.

With cartoon characters it's different, they have to entertain ( make interesting decisions)
otherwise we'd sit around and watch people walking aimlessly around like some noob playing GTA.

We don't have to agree with the choices a character makes to enjoy watching them, in fact some of the most fun characters to observe in animation, live action or real life have to be watched through a gap between ones fingers. You know what I mean :wink:
Nah, you can't fool me. You're picking on me because I don't know what I'm talking about. Why else would you not agree?

I was using games as an example only. Of course, I know the subject is cartoons! You think I'm igerant or something? Character is built in many ways. If I tried to count all of the many ways character is built in cartoons, why I'd run out of fingers and thumbs.
User avatar
chucky
Posts: 3935
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 4:24 am
Location: Van Diemen's Land
Contact:

Post by chucky » Wed Jan 21, 2009 5:35 am

Banjar, You funny, me like funny. Funny, good. :D
Sequential offender.
my latest animations
User avatar
Rhoel
Posts: 844
Joined: Fri Feb 25, 2005 8:09 am
Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Contact:

Post by Rhoel » Wed Jan 21, 2009 6:36 am

I recently have developed the bad habit of listening to cartoons ... partly on the absence on a TV in my temp apartment, and because it is helping with my story development.

My two favourites are Madagascar and Ice Age II. Madagascar has some cracking character development and dialogue, really witty stuff: The story is strong and plenty of unexpected diversions. All of the characters are three dimensional, giving the actors something to play with, invent upon: That then inspires the animators to got he extra mile.

Ice Age II actually suffers from one gap/idea overuse - "You're the last mammoth". the story would be better if they cut at least two references to it - the audience got the message and 6 mentions of it at every story turn grates. But Syd the sloth is a diamond, a mad character with some great dialogue.

So the idea of not watching the visuals but listening to the audio is a great way of understanding if the story is working, the character is strong, the M&E balance right, etc.

Rhoel.

BTW, I'd add Gromit from Wallace and Gromit for character - Nick Park at his best. When a 30 second clip of Gromit drilling holes in wood panels (from "A Grand Day Out") was first shown at the BAFTA Theatre in Piccadilly, the entire industry audience were rendered helpless with laughter ... you know you've got it right when that happens.
gyula
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2008 8:32 pm
Location: Antwerp

Post by gyula » Wed Jan 21, 2009 8:59 am

about voice talents and speaking in a cartoon in general:
in a lot of todays cartoons /and also the old ones/ the original english voice talents are probably very good, but they never make it to non-english speaking countries. they simply got erased :)
I like the cartoons, Finding Nemo, Cars, etc (in my case) in Dutch, but they probably as good in French or Norwegian translations. But then again, the original English voice(talent) is already gone...still if the toon is good kids like it whatever country it is .. is it the voice then or the story or the character?
banjar
Posts: 67
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:09 pm
Location: Sunnyvale, California

Post by banjar » Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:04 pm

gyula wrote:about voice talents and speaking in a cartoon in general:
in a lot of todays cartoons /and also the old ones/ the original english voice talents are probably very good, but they never make it to non-english speaking countries. they simply got erased :)
I like the cartoons, Finding Nemo, Cars, etc (in my case) in Dutch, but they probably as good in French or Norwegian translations. But then again, the original English voice(talent) is already gone...still if the toon is good kids like it whatever country it is .. is it the voice then or the story or the character?
Good observation. Cartoons are fascinating on so many levels that it's difficult to say precisely why they work so well even when one or another of their attributes is not spot-on the best. Perhaps it is their ability to reduce the complex world down to its most important parts and to make the complex kaleidoscope of Reality simple to understand and to grasp.

One cool thing about them is that they allow for full expression of whatever is in the crazy mind of the animator. Anything that can be imagined, can be expressed. Whether it can be expressed effectively or not is where the skill and artistry comes into play ... and play and play.
User avatar
DK
Posts: 2446
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2004 6:06 am
Location: Australia

Post by DK » Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:11 am

Wow....there's been some really usefull tips in this thread but Iwould like to add another sub topic.

Developing colour co-ordination for your characters, ie, clothing. Does anyone have any ideas on how you should go about this? Are there any rules or formulas anyone can share such as a side kicks colours as opposed to a main character?

Cheers
D.K
User avatar
slowtiger
Posts: 5436
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2006 6:53 pm
Location: Berlin, Germany
Contact:

Post by slowtiger » Fri Jan 23, 2009 11:56 am

Don't rely on formulas, especially not if they are as simple as the one you mention.

There's a whole shelf in the library devoted to books about colouring, and they all happilly disagree with each other. Since I struggle with colour myself, I don't trust any easy recipe. However, I've found some useful workflows:

1. Work from the big view to the detail. Start with your overall design concept for your film, decide about which painterly technique you will use for backgrounds and which for characters. Take care to choose a style which supports your story.

(Examples: bayeux tapestry colours for a film about knights, water colours for Finding Nemo, flat Flash colours for Powerpuff Girls)

2. Have an overall colour concept for your sequences/scenes. Don't just paint nice BGs and props, think about what to express with colour.

(On Michael Sporns and on Hans Bachers blog there are many examples from existing films. There's also a website somewhere which shows every Hitchcock film in 1000 screenshots: you can see the colouring of sequences nicely there.)

3. Always create your colour models on a background and with several characters in the same frame. This will help you to avoid colour conflicts as well as too similar colours which will get confused.

4. Don't neglect your technical restrictions. Don't use extrem RGB values where you need NTSC safe colours. Don't use small textures and patterns when they will cause Moiré in small web resolution. And don't get restricted yourself by your own collection of software! Make it a rule to draw on paper as well as on the screen, use a bitmap paint program as well as AS.

Instead on pointing out recipes, I recommend to learn the tricks of the trade: how to use your system's/program's colour picker, how to read and change RGB and Hex colour values, how to mix colours, how to de-saturate a colour, and so on. This kind of knowledge can be found in most of beginner's books about watercolour painting or the like, and in some of the better software manuals.

Only when you know all this, it is time to learn some theories (more than one, of course). John Kricfalusi discussed a lot of BGs in detail and explained a lot of helpful hints, search his blog for these articles, especially about Art Lozzi and his techniques. This blog is only one example of what you can find in the net. It depends on your preferences where you want to further explore this field.
User avatar
Pixelpusher
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2009 12:59 pm
Location: Texas
Contact:

Post by Pixelpusher » Fri Jan 23, 2009 4:06 pm

Adobe actually has a great website for color coordination called Kuler. It can be found at kuler.adobe.com. I find it to be very useful.
"Life...animated, one keyframe at a time!"
banjar
Posts: 67
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:09 pm
Location: Sunnyvale, California

Post by banjar » Fri Jan 23, 2009 6:41 pm

Toon Titan looks like a good program but I think that it only works in Flash.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBlWfhJP2D4
User avatar
chucky
Posts: 3935
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 4:24 am
Location: Van Diemen's Land
Contact:

colour me confounded

Post by chucky » Sat Jan 24, 2009 5:16 am

DK, I think for choosing characters colours, besides the obvious issues of colour coordination, personality is they key.
Have a look into colour psychology, there's a publication called the Luscher (if I remember correctly) colour test. Colour choices indicate the choosers preferences, so put your own aside for the basic concept stage (to a certain degree) and let the personality of the character dictate. It should be fairly obvious from there. A flashy character likes flashy colours.
A sunny one like sunny hues, power obsessed- black mainly.
Light is fresh and dark is mature.
After setting up initial choices fine tune all to be complimentary even if opposite are involved. Discords are opposite in hue but have the exact same tonal value making for a awesome shimmery effect even if the colour is muted. Keep the colours and tone as close as possible on the whole to allow for a splash of vivid colour to attract the eye where necessary.

That toon titan looks like a great little plugin for flash, I am a big fan of colour wheels like that and in painter, I think gimp has it too.
The wheel is the ONLY way to pick colour that makes any sense the others are all bogus or geeky and do not assist in artistic decision.
The AS colour chooser is not bad- my second favourite style- but involves too many steps, colour selection and application should be fast and instinctive and making fine adjustments should be easy. This shortcoming shows up in AS users work all the time, often I see less than visionary colour choices, probably due to impatience with the process as much as understanding of colour palettes.
8)
Sequential offender.
my latest animations
TimAnim
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun May 18, 2008 6:13 am
Location: Canuckia

Post by TimAnim » Sun Jan 25, 2009 5:32 pm

Well speaking as a writer first (musician second, animator distant fourth)... I'd say that characters are not created by colours, designs, or voice talent- though all play a big part in bringing characters to life.

Characters are ideas, created for the most part by writers or writer/animators. They are ideas based on real people, highlighting or exaggerating aspects of human personality that the creator finds inspiring or amusing or entertaining or... ? It all starts with the character idea. Bugs Bunny is resourceful, wisecracking, and always cool under pressure. Charlie Brown is kind hearted but full of self doubt. Ren is a desperate schemer and Stimpy is all heart and feelings. These are the IDEAS that define character. Then that dictates the CHOICES the character makes in the script. And that inspires the voice characterization the actor will try to bring to the role, and the qualities of the drawing the animator(s) must try to exaggerate and exploit.

What I'm saying is that John K, for example, would've decided first that Ren was a maniacal greedy schemer, and then hit on the right drawing to embody that, and the right voice to express it. But it starts in the idea, and the script...

At least, that's my IDEA of how it works... But I'm just a writer!
User avatar
chucky
Posts: 3935
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 4:24 am
Location: Van Diemen's Land
Contact:

Post by chucky » Sun Jan 25, 2009 6:06 pm

Tim , I think that was covered a few pages back, I agree or you agree , I'm not sure which.
Sequential offender.
my latest animations
User avatar
Mikdog
Posts: 1896
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2005 3:51 pm
Location: South Africa
Contact:

Post by Mikdog » Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:39 pm

I did a bit of research on what makes a great character like Spongebob. Best result I turned up was that Nick looks for characters that kids can connect to on an EMOTIONAL level, and that in a time of a little bleakness people RALLIED behind an eternal optimist like Spongebob. Awesome. I love Spongebob.

And Stephen Hillenburg, the creator, has a passion for cartoons AND marine biology, so it was a perfect combination. All the characters are clearly defined, Squidward and Spongebob are on WAY opposite ends of the scale which makes for lots of comedy, Patrick's slow, Mr. Crabs loves money, Plankton is an evil genius, yet I still love all of them.
madrobot
Posts: 632
Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2008 3:07 pm

Re: colour me confounded

Post by madrobot » Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:02 am

chucky wrote:...often I see less than visionary colour choices, ...
Stop talking about me as though I'm not here Chuck!
User avatar
chucky
Posts: 3935
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 4:24 am
Location: Van Diemen's Land
Contact:

Post by chucky » Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:32 am

Stop talking about me as though I'm not here Chuck!
:lol: :lol::lol::lol: I can't blame the interface for everything madbot...... :lol: :lol::lol::lol:

.....................
Image
Sequential offender.
my latest animations
Post Reply