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CS- Character

Year One- Introduction to the landscape of the animated character

Jodie Wick

on 13 October 2014

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Transcript of CS- Character

Contextual Studies - Character
- An introduction
Paul Wells defines Character as:

'The way in which a person acts and behaves, and is spiritually, morally, socially and practically developed through the choices he or she makes.'
There’s Designing a character and creating a character
General expectations of conventional character design, stem from 1930's and the work of the Disney studios.

Norman Ferguson, Milt Kahl

This style of animation is known as 'Hyperrealism' and combines caricature, personality and realism through anatomy and motion.
'The Illusion of Life'
"a foundation in fact"

"...and the drive for realism often trumped the graphic possibilities inherent in the artform."

"Centerline School"
Stylistic challenges naturally emerged in the modernist era.

One of the first challengers was Chuck Jones at Warner Bros with 'The Dover Boys' (1942)
Stylized imagery, limited animation techniques and stories driven by narration
United Productions of America (UPA)
Characters created mostly at an audience aimed at adults
'Mr Magoo' (created by John Hubley) was one of the most graphically conventional characters.
Driven by a desire to create animations featuring humans
Other human characters had been used in animations, however the uniqueness of Magoo was that He was treated in a realistic manner with comedy emulating from satire and not slapstic
Elswhere... Zagreb Film- Croation Film producing company founded in 1953 had started out with a Disney-like style but had diversified through opposition to the fairytale characters and cute animals. Human characters interacted with stylised reality.
Surrogat- Dusan Vukotic (1961) - first studio outside the US to win an Oscar
Short lived 'modern' mickey from the Disney commercials Unit- Designed by Tom Oreb
...whilst in the UK...
Halas and Bachelor were beginning work on Animal Farm (1954)

Contrast to Magic Canvas (1948)
Scott McCloud- Understanding Comics
Recognisable as representative of an item-lack of specificity- more universal
Characters have to be believable that doesn't mean they must be realistic.
Diagram by: Masahiro Mori
Hypothesized emotional response of human subjects is plotted against anthropomorphism of a robot, following Mori's statements. The uncanny valley is the region of negative emotional response towards robots that seem "almost human". Movement amplifies the emotional response.
Characters have to be believable no matter what they look like- so how do we make them engaging?
Simplified caricatures of people with a narrow range of behaviour-making every member of a certain group seem the same. Often these characters are offensive as stereotypes take away the humanity of the character you are portraying.
Archetypes are elementary ideas or subconscious character models that span time and cultures but, are kept fresh, current and relative through reinterpretation and re contextualisation. Through giving your character a personality and appearance specific to its back story and environment you will create an entirely original piece.
Seven Basic Archetypes
Joseph Campbell’s classifications of the seven basic archetypes as set out in his book ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces’:

- Hero- Jason in Jason and the Argonauts, Luke Skywalker- (George Lucus based much of star wars characterisation and story on Joseph Campbell’s theories)
- Mentor- Yoda, Gandalf in Lord of the Rings
- Threshold Guardian- Tests hero’s courage- Cyclops, Medusa
- Herald- Announcer of actions- Genie in Aladdin-he is also a composite of many archetypes- shape shifter and trickster.
- Shape shifter- One who is not what he seems- Agent Kent Mansley in the Iron Giant, The Beast in Beauty and the Beast
- Shadow- The dark side of personalities- Gollum
- Trickster-Mischievous humour- Bugs Bunny
Anything can become a character-

-Brothers Quay
-Jan Svankmajer

Dear Sweet Emma

- The Concept of the character you design relates very closely to what it is going to do and also to the technique/ medium used for creating it.
- Good characters are designed to the back story or environment- design can complement narrative or vice versa.
- Much of the characteristics that can be built into the design of the character are capacity for movement or lack of it.
- Exaggeration (The Big Story)
- Temperament and disposition become evident from what the character does e.g. wicked, good, clever, stupid.
- What it does relates back to the capacity for movement.
Every aspect of you character is relative.
- Gender (Joanna Quinn)
The Origin of the Iron Giant and Agent Kent Mansley
A.T.V Movie- Daniel Faigle
To Consider:
Choose a character from any genre of animation and deconstruct this character. It will be useful to set yourself a question, for example ‘How far did 1950’s design aesthetic influence the look of Edna Mode in the 2004 Feature Film The Incredibles?’

A question will help you to focus your essay and also provide a structure.

Try to include issues that are considered when designing the character i.e animation style, influences, who the audience is, where will it be seen, gender, culture? etc and relate these back to the question.

Think carefully about your choice of character for the essay, it will be helpful if you can link your findings to your studio work. Start your essay by describing why you have chosen the character and the reasons for investigating the question you have asked.

You will be required to create a 1000 word textual analysis detailing your findings for submission at the end of this unit.

All research, thoughts, development, key points from taught sessions and tutorials toward this project must be documented on your blog. The blog is an important part of the assessment submission and should not be neglected as this will effect your mark. All work to show at tutorials must be contained and shown from your blog.
1930's & 40's
Audience? Ralph Bakshi:
Fritz The Cat (1972)
Heavy Traffic (1973)

Bob Sabiston & Richard Linklater
"His films strive to recast our world in a more beautiful and revealing light."

"Dream-like fractured nature of reality making Ryan a character in his own animation"
Pixar- Cars and Wall.E
"2D is like the real world- not perfect"
Don Hertzfeldt

"Animation is a fragile medium, only allowing a character to live in a fixed amount of time and movement."
Peter Thaler and Lars Deniche (Pictoplasma)
Matisse, Klee, Leger
Full transcript