Now it was time to think about the visuals.
Whenever we need visual inspiration, we hop on over to one of our favourite galleries, such as 3dtotal, Behance or Mr Vimeo Staff Picks himself, Beeple. When looking at the amazing imagery it struck us: why is concept art always so much more visually inspiring than theatrically released animated features?
This indie style was exactly what we wanted to capture in our work, and found some really amazing references that sparked lots of ideas, and also helped us to brief the artists who we set the task of creating concept art.
A big questions we asked ourselves was that if we were designing for and older audience, then what elements of cinematography do we need to translate into this style? How should we use angles, movement, colour and pace to reach the demographic?
We were of course, very inspired by the Anime aesthetic, and took this as a springboard into the mood we created through the colour palette and some aspects of character design. This was then blended with some Disney influences – (though we want the style to be more mature), we really wanted to capture that characterful look. We’ve also explored the comic book world, looking for cult inspirations, particularly with thoughts towards strong or feisty females.
NB: One thing we needed to be careful of was using “comic book” as a grand term for pitching. What does comic book mean? In the UK, comic books could mean The Beano. In the US, comic books would be more superheroes, and in Europe they might first think of Asterix or similar. These are cultural factors we need to bare in mind, both when developing styles, and pitching.
We got in touch with some talented concept artists and sent them over our (very rough) brief:
We’re concepting a story / animated film about a character called ‘Back from the Dead Red’. She was a pirate of French and Haitian descent with flaming red hair.
There are some concepts online of this character but we really want to steer away from the busty / booby / slutty / fantasy type images. She needs to be a badass, good looking, and the hair being a big feature. Part of being a female pirate usually involved disguise so perhaps a scarf around the lower part of her mouth? Although seeing her mouth for the concept would be useful when we come to model in 3D.
Here are some references we really like, they don’t all tie together, there are just elements in each that we like. The main look we’re trying to achieve is a kind of 3D style with a more 2D look to the skin. We really like the look of Tracer from Overwatch, but the skin there is also a bit too real looking.
The hair ought to be a big feature, almost glowing.
Other than that we’d like to leave ideas around looks and costume up to you, we really like your work and feel you can be inspired by this and bring something great to the project.
Despite not being the world’s greatest brief, we were lucky enough to have found some really talented artists who took Red in a variety of different directions.
Red Concept Art – Julio Cesar
Red Concept Artist Pierre Leissler
And so a concept of Red was pulled together, taking inspiration from each of these designs… keep your eyes peeled as we update you next time.
Read previous Volumes here: