Developing the characters
My story has three characters - the main character, Maroon, the girl at the park and the old lady. When I started developing the characters, I was really inclined towards using a modified version of AnimSchool's Malcolm rig for Maroon as I had seen some wonderful animation using the rig and I wanted to use this project as an opportunity to create good animation to put in my reel.
Maroon: Here are some initial ideas on how I wanted the Maroon to look, kind of like mopey and really depressed with big sad eyes:
I was also experimenting with different kinds of hairstyles to see which one would add more character.
Unfortunately the Malcolm rig offered little flexibility with character modification, so I thought to model something and attached to the rig:
Unfortunately, after that I realised that the shape of Malcolm's body (long and stretchy) did not go well with the backgrounds(short and squarish).
So I decided to switch to my well trusted Morpehus rig. It seemed like the Morpheus rig model better belonged in this environment.
After modifying Morphy a bit, this is the one that I liked most, he seemed malleable enough to fit both in happy and sad modes. →
Girl : I wanted the girl in the park to be sort of attractive. I put a dress on the morpheus rig, attached it to it and modified it. It was hard as the dress kept intersecting with the rig geometry so I had to be really careful to fix it to avoid any problems while animating. I gave her a nice bright yellow dress. Here are two options that I really like:
It was hard to choose but I decided to go with the one on the right, simply because there were problems with hair geometry with the first one. The blendshapes for the dress took a bit of time to fix:
There are still a few glitches that wouldn't fix, but I managed to work around them!
Old Lady :
When I was planning on using Malcolm, I had thought about modifying the Bonnie rig for the old lady.
During our collaboration with the first year students, I asked my first-year collaborator, Natalia to do texturing for the old lady's face (among a few other things). She did a good job with the wrinkles:
Unfortunately, it wasn't possible to modify Bonnie's body to make it less curvaceous and older, as hard as I tried!
So I had to resort to modifying Morpheus again, and I'm so glad I did! It works so much better now!
She reminds me a lot of my cute grandmother, who I took time to observe (not in a creepy way! ) over the Easter break.
I had to model the skirt, attach it to the rig and work out the blendshapes so that the knees wouldn't intersect with the skirt geometry. Its not perfect, but it will do, as she is only there for a few shots.