Above is my evaluation for the concept development project. In this document I have gone through an overview of my experience with the project and how I created/ designed my created based on the specific details of the brief.
Below is a reel of the screen tests I made for animating my hand puppet after building it. Unfortunately I was unable to creature some creature sound effects for this creature, or did I have the time to build a proper set for the footage. Therefore I made some screen tests in the garden, using plants and the shaded side. Although these screen tests do not have creature audio, you can see how the puppet is used, as well as how this puppet moves around the screen. Furthermore I would have removed my arm however I ran out of time before the deadline to cut that out. But in any case these are the screen tests for my puppet animation.
These different creature paintings have all been designed first in my sketchbook, as I wanted to create a rough guideline to draw over in Photoshop. I have chosen to create these detailed paintings because I wanted to show my development from the start of the project, to the end by having rough sketches at the start and detailed paintings towards the end. As I now have a pretty solid design chosen for my sculptures and puppet, I thought that I should change what each of the sketches used to look like, into paintings that relate to my creature in the world of Thra.
Therefore to start with I came up with this creature design after looking at Tony Diterzilli and I realised that my creature designs lack personality. However because my aim is to make my creature more evil looking, I decided to take my cute cat creature design and make it into a; roughed up, evil, selfish, cruel creature design. To do this I made this design have scratched up ears and a large scar across his eye. This show that this creature gets into a lot of fights and doesn’t always win. Furthermore the dark shadows around his eyes that presents an idea of the personality he has, as this shows anger and hate. Therefore it represents a evil personality.
Now to help me get an interesting variety of tones I used the grey scale value palettes that have a range of grey scale tones, as well as the grey scale interpretations of colour. I chose to use these palettes because I thought that having a certain shade of grey would help me later on when I use the gradient map to colour, because the colours in the palette will provide an idea on what colour suits best with the tone I use. Anyway After spending a large number of hours on painting the fur texture on my creature I decided to get some colour on him.
Using the gradient map I added a combination of; browns, greens, reds, oranges and purples. By doing this I was able to create some contrasting colours that blend nicely together on this creature. So by using the gradient map for the fur I used a black for the darkest tones and then a orange/ light brown for the lightest tones. Then adding tones inbetween I went through and added some browns that blend the two colours at either end of the gradient map. I chose to use green eyes, because they stand out from the brown fur. I think yellow may also have been a good choice to try, but I think it may have drawn your eye away to much from the overall design. The purple scar on his eye was to show how the dark crystal has interacted with him. Perhaps someone/ something sliced his eye with part of the crystal causing this creature to become more evil and menacing.
But overall I like how this design came out as it shows that evil personality with the eyes and overall facial expression.
The next drawing was heavily inspired by previous designs in my sketchbook and the Fireys from the Labyrinth movie. As you can see below in my grey scale painting I used part of the design above and some designs of my evil version of my creature in this design. This is because I wanted to create that mad looking creature, but still with an evil personality, kind of like a mad scientist. Anyway I started off this design by blocking out some basic tones and textures to help show the difference between the fur and the solid bone beak shape. However I did manage to go overboard in terms of tone, making the design almost look shinny compared to a skin texture for the beak. Therefore I had to go back and limit this down.
Below is a later image of this creature where I have applied the skin values as well as the hair values, clearly showing a different in tone and texture. By adding the bags under his eyes, it shows that this creature could be mad from the lack of sleep, bringing a sleep deprived, mad feel to this creature design. Furthermore I also used some of my puppet designs to help me with this painting as I wanted to see how my creature could change if I gave it a mad expression. This is why one of his eyes is larger than the other.
In terms of colour I made this creature have the pale skin tone with a swamp green colour for the fur. The reason for this was because I wanted to show how this creature evolved by living in the swamp. So overtime this creatures body became so unclean that mould and moss started growing in his fur. Because he was mad he did not think to bath in the rivers, but instead he decided to cover himself in more grass and fungus. This lead to his design having this rather dirty green colour to it.
I like how this design came out because it shows a mad swamp creature that sometimes cannot control himself. However the issue I have is that the design relates a lot to the Fireys from the labyrinth, which makes it less of a unique character design. However this could be developed further later on.
Finally this creature design was also inspired by Tony Diterzilli, as by looking at one of his artworks you can see which design it relates to. Anyway this design shows a more humanoid version of my cute cat creature design. However unlike the previous paintings this character is a more curious fellow. As you can see in the design my creature has a shard of the crystal in his hand, but also some small items of clothing. This includes; A armour arm plate, selves and a long, dirty drapery. These features help show that this creature can cloth himself but is also perhaps a slave/ servant in terms of the torn clothing. As you can see from the image below I painted this drawing from the head downwards in order to get the expression and head shape proportionate before painting the rest of the creature.
Below is the final grey scale painting for this piece, where I painted individual strands of hair, as well as blending the tones of the fur together so that they could stand out from other parts of the body without blending in too much. I have posed this creature as him sitting in a tree branch. I posed him like this to show perhaps a spy like creature, that watches over from above the tree stumps, helping the Skesis to learn more about their enemies.
In terms of colour I started off with a basic gradient map for the overall piece. As you can see below I decided to go with a light lime green, with some green/ yellow highlights. This was to show that the creature had remained living in the swamp environment and the fungus’s and plant life had started to discolour his fur from brown to green. However the issue I had at this stage was that the pink parts were too bright and made it difficult to focus on the creature.
Therefore to fix that issue I toned down the brightness and contrast of the pink nose and hands to make them less distracting and more part of the creature. In addition I went through and used the lasso tool to highlight specific parts of the creature to add different gradient maps for different parts. This allowed me to make some parts of the creature stand out more, such as the eyes and the crystal he is holding. Furthermore by going through and adding small extra details I was able to get s slight glow effect on the arm plate, showing perhaps their is a magic spell on it, or perhaps some symbols that show his loyalty to the Skesis.
Each of these paintings provide individual different ways of portraying my creature in the world of Thra. This has allowed me to explore new ideas while painting these sketchbook drawings to help develop the ideas behind my creature designs and how colour has been used to represent a story or emotion. Plus these designs have allowed me to explore using high levels of detail in my artwork both in grey scale and colour, which has improved the overall look of my creature compared to when I started this project.
Unfortunately not everything when according to plan in terms of getting everything done, as I got behind with sewing the ears together, therefore I had to sacrifice making the arms/ hands. Therefore my puppet at this stage will be a simple hand puppet with no hands due to the amount of time I have left.
But on the plus side I was able to get both the ears sewed together, as well as the eyes glued onto the puppet. I now have a almost finished hand puppet ready to be used for some screen tests. I really like how this puppet came out like, as despite never making a puppet like this before I think the overall design came out nicely. In terms of being a puppet in the Dark Crystal Netflix series, I think it may need some extra work before getting to that stage. However all the images below show multiple angles of my creature puppet at it’s final current stage.
Now my next task will be to go through and make some film tests with the puppet later on today, so that I can show you how it works in terms of personality and design.
As you can see from the images below I am beginning to finalise my creature sculpture. Now I know that it is not fully finished but at this current stage I have worked hard to get where this sculpture is and I don’t want to ruin it now. Therefore my task will be to apply some very fine details in the fur and face, then I shall attach the teddy bear eyes where the eye sockets are in the sculpture. But in the images below you can see multiple angles of some of the additions I have added to the sculpture such as; large fur textures, smaller fur details and just generally polishing up the sculpture, by cleaning off any loose clay.
Top/ 3/4 view
As seen in the images below I have developed a more appealing personality to this creature sculpture compared to how it originally looked, as I have developed a liking to sculpting as well as creating interesting creatures in various poses and expressions. Although the fur textures are not brilliant I think they are a pretty good start for someone like me who has not sculpting something like this before. I know that to get to a professional standard it would take at least a few more months to finish this sculpture.
Fur details close up
Tail close up
Back view/ 3/4 view
After Cleaning up my sculptures I decided to apply the eyes to the creature, using teddy bear eyes like the head busts allows me to easily get and interesting expression and provides some appealing colours. Now I know the head bust eyes were green, bur I thought I should explore different colour eyes such as brown to help bring a sense of evil to the creature, as if I added bright blue eyes, it would not look as evil.
Furthermore here I have used some small pieces of clay to make some small claws for the hands and feet, showing that this creatures has features, that help him climb through the trees.
Below are the final images for this creature sculpture while he is holding the crystal shard in his hand. I have really enjoyed creating this creature and building something like this out of clay. Although I have had my frustrations with sculpting I think this design/ creation has allowed me to explore a new medium for my portfolio and has allowed me to create a 3D model that I can use as reference in further development of my creature concepts.
Today’s task I set myself was to attach the beak, facial features and main to the creature puppet allowing me to have a nearly complete puppet. To start with I attempting to teach myself to sew, so that I could sew the features together without having to wait for help. However as you can see I managed to sew the parts together after a number of attempts, but I could not turn them inside out as the pieces were too small to sew together inside out. Therefore I had to remove the tail from the puppet because I messed it up and I was worried I would not have enough time to build the rest of the puppet as well.
After attaching the beak to the puppet, I came across a very annoying problem which I was worried would happen. Basically the bottom jaw of the beak was still to heavy so when you opened closed the beak mouth with the hand puppet, the beak would drop because it was too heavy to stay up without forcing it with my hand. Therefore to fix the issue I came up with a solution.
Firstly I created a cardboard cut out like in the skull tutorial and then made a foam duplicate of that cardboard piece. This piece I am making now for the puppet was for the main. The idea behind this was that a large main built from foam and fur would be able to keep the lower jaw in place without ruining the puppet. Plus it still fits with my original planning sketches.
Next I cut out the foam inside piece for the main and then I cut out a cardboard piece for me to draw onto the grey faux fur.
Once the fur piece was cut out I used a running stitch to pull the edges together so that the fur would wrap itself around the foam, for me to then glue it together with a hot glue gun.
AS you can see below gluing the grey main to the puppet fixed my issue with the lower jaw and makes my creature puppet look much more interesting. Overall my idea for fixing the lower jaw seemed to have paid off, allowing me to think of the other features needed for this puppet. Below are some images for the; Front, Side, Back and 3/4 view of my puppet as it is currently.
After making sure the beak and main were secured I then went into figuring out where the eyes were gonna go. I have not glued them on because I was not sure where I should put them on the head. But sitting where they are in the images below I think they are too close together making the puppet look too cartoon like.
I am planning to get some feedback tomorrow in order to help me with positioning the eyes on my puppet. Next I decided to cut out the basic shapes for the ears so then tomorrow I can get the ears sewed together with some help, and then attach all the parts together properly.
My next task for this puppet will be to glue the eyes on and sew the ears together, so then I can combine all the parts together. Also I am planning to get the hands/ arms built as well.
Over the past week I have been smoothing out both head busts so that I can add some more refined details into the sculptures. As you can see in the first images I have been focusing on the beak area, trying to get that slight dip in the face between the face and the beak. I also edited the position of the brow on the open mouth head, to show a more angry expression, as if the creature is screaming angrily. Furthermore I have made sure that the end of the beak (both upper and lower jaw) have that pointed edge to show the sharp, dangerous beak. In addition to sculpting the beak, I also thought it would be a good idea to add some teeth onto the mouths of my sculptures. As you can see below the open mouth head a numerous teeth poking out with the tongue to show a more threatening creature expression. Whereas the closed mouth head has some small teeth overhanging from the upper jaw.
As seen in my various designs for this creature I wanted to make the ears look like bat ears, however at the moment I only have the top part of the ear. Therefore to make the ear lobes for the creature I simply attach a piece of animation wire to each ear and then wrapped the wire in super sculpey. I skipped using tin foil, as I thought it may weigh the head down and perhaps break it. Plus the ears are going to be dipping in like a bat. After applying the basic sausage shapes to the ears, I then went through and smoothed out the clay to allow me to sculpt into the ear. Once that was done I used a range of sculpting tools to add some refined details in the eyes and mouths. Plus I sculpted into the ears to make them curve inwards like a bat, allowing the back part of the ear to stick out more than the inner part.
As you can see below these are the final head busts for my creature, a open mouth and closed mouth. I know these sculptures do not look completely finished, but I wanted to make sure that I had enough time to focus on the main sculpture for the full creature. Therefore I am leaving these as they are, however I can use these head busts as a guideline for building my puppet as I will be able to see how the beak opens and closes. In addition I can use these head busts as 3D reference for drawing out my creature head, as I will have a 3D model in front of me to refer to when designing my creature.
Using the my sculpting tools I went through my sculpture and started smoothing out the features that I had missed previously including; the ears and the tail. So Starting off with the ears I blended the clay together with my fingers and then I consider changing the evil side slightly to make the ear look more wore down or beaten. So using my sculpting tools I carved into the ear and made some bite marks to show perhaps this creature had been in a fight, or perhaps his ear is degenerating. Anyway to make the ear more bat like I decided to sculpt into the clay like I did with the head busts, allowing me to have a detailed bat ear that suits this strange creature.
After sculpting the ears I added some quick additions like the piece of fur on his forehead as this was part of my design and I wanted to implement it into my sculpture. Furthermore I then moved onto sculpting the back, for this idea I decided to look at goblins and how some have their spines showing because they are quite skinny. So using some reference images on Pinterest I was able to sculpt some large blocks on the creatures back to indicate is bones from his spine. To do this I pushed the clay together into a box and then I used my sculpting tools to carve out some clay from the back to make the spine bones stand out, while also making the shoulder blades pop out.
Moving on wards with sculpture I decided to start applying some basic fur textures to help me get a sense of where the fur would be on the sculpture. The majority of the short fur was done by using a sharp pointed tool and then draw some fur lines, similar to some of my Photoshop paintings. This was a similar principle with the main, however to make this fur more rough I used a large square frame tool which peeled the clay away and built a sort of rough fur texture. Using both of these tools on the sculpture has allowed me to develop a more appealing design for the fur, than what was done previously.
In addition to sculpting fur, I also wanted to make a wrinkle flesh texture in my creatures back, so by using a curved tool I used the flat edge to press into the clay and sculpt out some lines that would for the wrinkles. Then using a slightly less curved tool I smoothed out the edges of the line and made them form layers on the back. It’s not easily noticeable in the picture below but I have used these tools effectively to bring those bone shapes into the spine, while also bringing the shoulders out, creating pointer shoulder blades.
As you can see below I am not attaching thin/ smaller details, for instance I have been attaching some small flat pieces of clay to form the basic webbed shape inbetween the fingers. This was difficult because the fingers were quite thin meaning it was difficult to attach clay even thinner. However after some trial and error I was able to create the hand details.
In the images below I have started scratching into the clay to form that smooth flat fur texture, showing the good side maintains a clean fur texture compared to the evil side. In addition to that I also added a small but long beard to the creature to show that perhaps when the crystal changes my creature he may also become older in age. Each of features can be applied to my designs with this sculpture as reference. Furthermore below are some multiple angle photos of the sculpture as it is currently, allowing you to see a full 360 degree angle of the sculpture so far.
After sculpting in some extra details into the face like the bags under his eyes and the fur, I decided to add some sharp looking hairs on the top of his eyebrows to show a more bushy eyebrow texture, perhaps to show once again he got older. However as you can see now the evil and good side are becoming more and more different in terms of personality and facial features. Therefore I need to continue to expand on this sculpture making sure that I get as much detail as possible into the sculpture.
In addition to adding further details and textures to the face I have also been adding some more details to the back, and tail. By doing this I have been able to show a more bone like structure on the back, as well as a fur like texture on the tail. Using the tools I mentioned previously I was able to develop and explore new ideas for creating these fine details.
Now having these fine details my final task will be to get all the really really fine details in and start attaching the teddy bear eyes to the sculpture to help build that sense of personality through the eyes.
As part of my creature development I decided to apply some paintings of my creature reacting to the other characters in the Dark Crystal. So the first image below is my creature being caught by the Garthem. In relation to my creatures backstory I wanted to create a drawing where my creature was captured by the Garthem and taken to the castle. Therefore to keep that theme I decided to create a drawing with the Garthem grabbing hold of my creature. So firstly I painted this drawing in grey scale to get the value right, so that I could use the gradient map.
Below is Brian Froud’s artwork for the Garthem capturing Podlings.
Therefore I thought about colouring my Garthem in a similar colour scheme to the original painting by Brian Froud, so I tried to implement some of the colours in my design, including the background. Furthermore I think this painting came out quite nicely as you can see it looks like a Garthem and has some nice contrasting colour palettes. But I think I may need to go back and edit some of the values as some parts are too bold and not blending together as they should.
The other painting I made with my creature reacting to another character, was my creature reacting to one of the Skesis. I am not sure the name of this particular Skesis, but having this interaction was important to design, as my creature is going to be possessed by the Dark Crystal and then becomes a slave to the Skesis. Therefore I designed my creature gathering books for this Skesis who wants to find out some information on the Gelflings. Once again I decided to paint in grey scale because I am becoming more confident in painting this way and it helps to develop my understanding of values and separating the image into the Foreground, midground and Background.
Below is the reference image I used from Brian Froud to help me sketch out my design.
Looking back at my design I realised that in grey scale format it reminds me a lot of Cory Godbey’s art style, with simple shapes and values. But the way I coloured this was by using the reference image above as a colour palette when I used the gradient map, allowing me to create similar colours to the image above. My creature was coloured in a different way to make him stand out from the background behind him.
Looking at the image above I thought that the Skesis and my creature were not really standing out and the background colour was too distracting. So I decided to make the background a more sandy yellow, which made the characters stand out much more effectively making this image more appealing.
After sketching out this study in my Sketchbook I decided to continue with it and create a master study of Brian Froud’s artwork, allowing me to study his art style closer. Below is the original artwork that I chose to study. Although we are creating creatures for the world of Thra (The Dark Crystal) I wanted to try replicating another piece of art from Brian Froud. In doing this I have been able to study the anatomy of his creature designs and how they show a simple colour palette within the painting.
Using the original artwork and my sketchbook drawing I went into Photoshop and drew over my basic rough drawing. Then using Photoshop I went through and spent a good 10 hours replicating the tones and textures in grey scale first for this painting. Although the painting is in front of me with all the colours, I still prefer to draw in grey scale. I like how my drawing came out, but some of the features in my drawing look slightly different to the original artwork, for instance my eye pops out more, whereas Brian Froud’s design has a more shrunken eye. Overall though I am pretty happy with my interpretation of Brian Froud’s work.
Using the values from my grey scale image, I went through and used the gradient map to paint the basic colours in the painting such as; the light blues and purples. However unlike previous paintings, This time I went over the painting with a brush and painted in majority of the colours as I wanted to get a feel for how Brian Froud paints. The way I did it was by painting the darkest tones first and then gently painting over it with a light brush until you reach the highlights (white). This master study has allowed me to explore a new way of designing/ painting creatures and I want to continue to develop my art style so that it works similarly to Brian Froud for this project.