"It's Alive"
Work Journal

Building the characters

August 2nd, 2002
week 10

I built the characters this week. I was surprised at how easy it was once I got
into it. I started with a polygon cube and then just began extruding the
different parts. I pulled out the brow, then the chin since those are the
dominant parts. Next the nose and then the ears which I thought would be
really hard but turned out to be very simple. Once the basic shape was there,
I went into component mode and started to sculpt the shape using the vertex
points. I only did one side of the head. Once I was finished all the sculpting
and detailing, I deleted the incomplete side then copied the finished side and
joined the mirror image in the middle. The head took me about 3 hours.

I then started on Fritz’ head. I used a cylinder to start off with and then
followed the same process as I did with Igor. I decided to try making the
teeth all part of the head mass... big mistake. I spent about 10 hours just
trying to get the teeth and gums look right but they didn’t. So, I defaulted
to extruding a torus shape for the gums and setting polygon spheres in for
the teeth. I did the one half first then did the mirror duplication for the
bottom set. Then I simply duplicated and flipped the teeth over for the top
set. I played with the scale a bit to get them to look just right.

I then duplicated the dentures and used them for Igor.

The bodies came next, they were very simple. For these two characters, I
didn’t want them to be doing any bending or twisting that would deform
the body shapes. I’m basically looking at their bodies as acting like shell on
a turtle. I figure that for my first attempt at this I should be as simple as
possible then I can build on that.

Their arms posed a bit of a problem in that I didn’t want them to have a
fixed pivot point for the shoulders. This would be especially limiting on Igor
because of his large body shape and tiny arms. I had a class with the students
this week where we were working on character development. What I had
each of the students do was to pose for about 1 minute in any type of pose
they wanted (within reason and physical ability). Then we all did a quick
sketch using our characters from our final project. While none of the
actual poses would ever be used in the final film, it was extremely helpful
in getting to know the characters and what they could and couldn’t do
physically. It helped to clarify for me some of the issues around their arm
movements. Click here to see my drawings from the class.

I have no idea how I’m going to do what I want the arms to do at this point. I’ve had
several people offer suggestions (none of which I know how to do). Mark (our instructor)
has a couple of neat ideas that we'll try out next week.

Next entry - Leica reels

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