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Characters for Animated Film with Daniel Arriaga

Lesson 1 - Shape Language

In my first lecture, we will talk about shape language and how it applies to character design. We will examine the silhouettes of iconic cartoon characters and talk about why they read well. We will further discuss the use of shapes in various cultures throughout history, and how shapes affect character.

Lesson 2 - What is Character?

In this class, we will tackle the quintessential question: what is "character"? We will look at the works of more great designers to try to find the answer. This is a class for character design for film and storytelling, not television or illustration; we will talk about what the differences are, look at examples of designs with and without "character", and discuss more about the importance of finding good reference before you even begin to design your characters.

Lesson 3 - Gesture and Mood

In telling an effective story, we need to understand lines of action and how to use them. We will break down shapes and talk about what to look for when drawing from life. I will help you create a clear silhouette and stage your characters so that their moods and gestures read clearly and easily.

Lesson 4 - Exaggeration

Exaggeration is a vital component to character design, but it must not be done at random. In this lesson, we'll examine intelligent and tasteful exaggeration -- how to identify the key defining features of a character and push them. We will also cover the importance of good drawing and staging.

Lesson 5 - Moments

In "Breaking Bad", when Jesse and Mr. White cook together for the first, these respective characters have cinematic moments that add "true" character to their designs. In this lecture, we will discuss how dynamic story moments (body language, acting, staging, emotion, attitude) add "true" character to character designs.

Lesson 6 - Expressions

Good expressive emotion means conveying clearly to your audience what your character is thinking or feeling through their expressions. In this lesson, I will do an expression drawing demo and talk again about the effective use of reference, including using a rough sculpt to help us draw expressions from multiple angles.

Lesson 7 - Caricature

The best caricature artists can often draw a person with a better likeness than taking a photo because they can take character into account. In this lecture, we will talk about how caricature applies to character design, look at examples from great caricature artists, and do a caricature demo.

Lesson 8 - Finishing Touches

Finishing touches are our last opportunity to eliminate generic qualities from our character designs. I will demonstrate how to use texture and value to simplify shapes and enhance visual interest in a character.

Lesson 9 - No Fear!

In my final lecture, I will do demos of characters successfully finished to a clean up. We will talk about overarching issues for character designers: the many ways in which we can finish a design, how to avoid getting stale or bored, how to avoid insecurity and lethargy in your designs, and more.

Earlier Event: November 9
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