Saturday, 10 May 2014

Going Live - Character Designs

As the overall style of the film had been decided, which was based around the Hobbit map, the characters were also going to be in the paper-style. This gave me an idea to make an origami model of the main character - the dragon. This is a gold paper origami dragon I made to help with reference for paper textures and possible shapes for the 3D model. It provided some good reference for the way paper looks and the intricate details:

I also produced character concept sketches for the Eagle and the Dragon, which I then took into Photoshop to test some paper textures and colours...

Parchment colours:

The Eagle on the left I made darker and had fiery golds shining through (as the Eagle is "corrupted by Morgoth" and goes through flame and sorcery to become a dragon):

Light parchment colours, was experimenting with how to make them look similar, as the Dragon morphs from the Eagle:

Experimented with adding flecks of foil gold to the paper texture as this is Smaug The Golden:

Tried a slightly cooler hue as I wondered if the paper Dragon might blend into the parchment-like map background too much in the film, depending on the final look of the background environment:

Turned up the contrast to experiment with the foil gold texture, kind of looks like fire on the surface of the dragon now:

Looking through everything that was being worked on I realized that not very much had been done for the 'Tree-Hand' which entraps the eagle, so I've gathered some research into moodboards and created some artwork concepts.

Tree-Hand Moodboard:

Origami/Paper Trees Moodboard:

Concept Artwork:
I quite liked the idea of the 1st one I drew (top left) of the roots looking like a second hand clawing at the ground - this part wouldn't need animated though, just the main hand part of the branches. With two hands this adds a slightly more human quality, as if Morgoth himself is clawing his way up through the ground. Also the branches and roots look quite contorted which add a sinister and creepy feeling to the tree.
I also tried out a tree with the fingers/branches more closed inwards and claw-like (middle bottom).
Added a few leaves to the tree (middle top) which could be shaken or dropped off when the tree becomes more alive - as if the hand was in disguise.
Also drew a more simplified and origami design for a tree (right) which could be the surrounding trees.