Character Development

Its been a while since I posted. I wanted to talk a bit about character development in terms of a feature. When you get on a film early, part of the process is to work with the riggers and make notes on models. Much of this is testing out how it moves and things like how the crease of an elbow looks. For me one of the more interesting parts is defining and exploring character. How do you get going? I find a good place to start is Reference. Fish, Superheros, Monsters, Rats, Car etc… They all have things we can study. For Finding Nemo, one of the more interesting things was learning to Dive. Ok, it didnt really help me animate my shot better, but it did allow me to have fun and relate it back to the work. We learn alot from experts in particular fields of study…. fish people, locomotion experts, race car drivers, etc…  He told us about reef fish that row, and some that were flapping fish. This small detail helped us make the characters physical and move differently. We had a fish tank that we referenced with many types of fish. All that helped. Visits to the Aquarium provided such a huge reference point for us. Once the reference was done we first tried just animating a fish. Some of the things we learned from that were what made a fish feel like they were in water. Fish have no slippage for instance… They carve through the water.  We noticed things like the surge and swell of the current affected the realism. Small details like that really brought it to the next level. What I really am trying to say is that understanding how to take aspects of the real world and put it into the work and to what degree is key. We noticed that we had to push the movements of the fish a bit and put a bit of squash and stretch into the body to make the characters feel fleshy. There were so many things I learned on Nemo, the most important being that if you are having fun at what you are doing, the work is more inspired. Also, working with a team, everyone pushes each other to the next level. As students, its so important to talk to the guy or girl next ot you.

-Andrew