Character Design (Part-Time Course)
About the course
Character Design is an 8 week classroom introduction to the art and craft of character design.
The course will build up to a final project for a live industry brief. There will also be an 8 week period of online mentoring and aftercare, in which you can polish your skills in a virtual classroom and receive ongoing feedback and support. The course is designed by animator Alexander Williams with individual classes taught by guest lecturers from the animation industry.
Part One - Introduction to Character Design
- Week 1 - General Introduction to Design
Introductory Exercises. Creativity, ideas and inspiration for stories. Gesture drawing, fast sketches, and research.
In-class exercises: warm-ups and quick design exercises. Get the rust off!
Homework: Design Exercise 1
- Week 2 - Creating designs which have character.
Single images that illustrate personality and character. Design drawings. Situations and character-driven scenarios.
In-class exercise 1: Who is in the story? – Character free-association
In-class exercise 2: Take three inanimate objects and turn them into characters
Homework: Change a human character into an animal in three poses.
- Week 3 - Industry character design process.
A close look at the work of some leading character designers and how they work.
In-class exercise: create a pair of characters that contrast large with small.
Homework: Develop the same characters to illustrate a children’s nursery rhyme.
- Week 4 - Art Direction.
Introduction to the principles of design and visual development.
In-class exercise: Foundation shapes. Experiment with simple character designs based on simple shapes.
Homework: develop the designs with simple shapes to create some characters for a TV series.
Part Two - Character Design Technique
- Week 5 - Designing animal characters.
How to base designs on real life. Animal anatomy, Staging and character
In-class exercise: The cat family. Design a mother cat with several kittens. What can we tell about their characters?
Homework: develop the cat family designs to create some characters for a feature film
- Week 6 - Designing human characters.
Life drawing, human anatomy, gesture drawing and character poses.
In-class exercise 1: Two five year olds: Two sketches of yourself and a friend of yours age five.
In-class exercise 2: Take your characters and put them into different historical era.
Homework: take your characters and do “turnarounds” – viewing them from multiple angles
- Week 7 - Character Situations
The interaction of character with story. How do our characters fit into the overall story?
In-class exercise: quick sketches of characters in set situations – such as “children on the first day of school”
Homework: develop your quick sketches and work them up into beat boards.
- Week 8 - Model Packs, Turnarounds, Blend Shapes and Rigging Studies for CG.
In-class exercise: rough thumbnails of industry project
Exercise: Place your characters in a scene, with background and props
Part Three - Online Mentoring and AfterCare
Online mentoring and aftercare will continue for a further twelve weeks. Students will be set a series of projects for delivery, using a Facebook Group as an online virtual classroom. Tutors will provide online mentoring and individual bespoke video feedback.
Alive Character Design: For Games, Animation and Film: For Games, Animation & Film Paperback - 31 Oct 2011 by Haitao Su