As the setting for this animation will be in a heavily polluted world, with very low oxygen levels (due to the lack of plant life), I thought it would fit quite well if the human boy character was to wear a mask to assist with breathing. I quite like the idea of the goggles or a visor as well. I could create the glow/light on the goggles in Maya but think doing this in After Effects may work better as I could then animate some text to make the goggles appear like an HUD (Heads Up Display). I really like the idea of giving the boy character a scanning device similar to the robots so that they have some common ground when they first interact.
Below are some rough sketches of my young boy character. I quite like the idea of the boy having a hooded jacket to protect his face from the smog. I also experimented with some respirator mask designs. As the story is set in the future, I had the idea of his mask also being a helmet with a coloured visor. The visor could be used to display information to this character in the form of a HUD. This could allow for some interesting shots from inside the boys helmet when he first encounters the robot. I could animate the HUD interface in After Effects to make this really interesting and dynamic. As the character’s mouth and nose are covered by the mask, the eyes and body language will be used when I am animating to show his emotions and personality.
There is no dialogue in this animation so I do not need to create any lip sync (as much as I love animating them). To ensure the animation delivers enough emotion, I will exaggerate some of the animation sequences to compensate for having the mouth covered. I may have the characters hood down as having the hood up may cover too much of his face and make some of the animation of the eyes less noticeable. I created turnarounds for the boy character which I can take into Maya as image planes for the modelling stage. For the colour palette for the boy character, I stuck to grey, blue and green tones as this will tie in with the look of the cityscapes and the lack of bright colours will help add to the smoggy environment. In addition to the helmet visor, I gave this character a hand operated HUD which could be used to type messages and act as a futuristic mobile phone. The hand operated HUD will act as a scanning device which the boy will use to assist the robot in his search for the last tree.
I was very inspired by the Iron Giant for my robot character. The dynamic between the Iron Giant and the boy Hogarth is something I would really like to achieve in my animation. My initial thought was to have the robot character very small and cute looking but feel having this character much larger than the boy would make him appear quite intimidating at first and add an interesting contrast to his friendly and caring nature. Inspired by the naming system for droids in the Star Wars film, I have decided to name him Unit X35. As I will be combining 3D models with 2D backgrounds, I will apply a Toon Shader to the 3D models which will make them appear as though they are 2D characters. This will make sure the characters look as if they belong in the 2D environments and maintain consistency in the design.
Below are turnarounds for the Unit X35 character, I will use these as my reference for 3D modelling in Maya. I was very inspired by the Iron Giant for this design and liked the idea of having a humanoid robot character. In comparison to the boy character, Unit 35 will be very tall. Unit X35 will have a scanning device on his arm with a similar interface to the boy character’s scanner. I wanted them both to have similar technology so they would have some common ground when they meet for the first time. Unit X35’s scanner will pop up with an image of a tree to indicate what he is looking for and will give him potential locations of the tree in the form of co-ordinates.
I also created an animatic for the story and now have an idea of the length of the animation at 4 minutes though this may alter slightly as the animation progresses.
Now to begin the 3D models!