Director's Notes

What We Are Looking For: Characters

First, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for your wonderful designs today. They were extremely helpful, and provided Ethan and I insight as to the direction we would like to take this film. It is time to narrow things down even further, and this is the post to refer to for design refinement. This is what Ethan and I are looking for:

First, let me give you a place and setting for this:

1950. Swiss Alps.
Our hero is a slightly cocky French guy who is THE FIRST to climb this mountain. He is a fit and heroic looking, and although he is a little overly confident and seemingly obnoxious at first, he also has a soft side and is empathetic of other’s plights. (A “Buzz Lightyear” kind of dude)

As far as DESIGN:

We would like to suck a little more “Disney” out of the designs, and inject a little more “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.”  

We want to take the “tooniness” of this film further than any of the films we’ve put out before, and when I said I’d like an emphasis on shapes earlier today, this is the perfect movie to refer to! For instance, check this image of the mayor and Baby Brent out: 

 Baby Brent and the Mayor—as well as all the other characters in the film—have a very simplified, specific shape language assigned to them. Brent is essentially a rectangle with legs, while the Mayor is just an oval. This is the direction we are going to go—Disney has that more realistic look mixed with the toon, and that’s great, but we want to make these characters as “toony” as we can get them.

To be more specific, I will break it down even further. 

For the mountaineer:
Triangles—not with sharp angles, but rather rounder, softer edges. As Ethan and I were talking, we both named off Earl (the police officer from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) as inspiration for this character:

Look at this stud! With his bulky, lengthy top-half contrasting with his short legs, Earl is immediately appealing to the eye! We were thinking of a slightly leaner version of him, but with the big jacket and gear on, he may end up having a similar amount of bulkiness---it depends on how tight to the body you designers want to make his jacket. I have already posted this concept last week, and have noticed many of you also posting this idea already:

This are all seriously GREAT designs (minus mine..blerg!) but see if you guys can PUSH THEM EVEN FURTHER! 

For the Daddy Ram (YES, WE ARE DOING SHEEP):
Think rounded RECTANGLE. We don’t have a ton of designs for papa Ram, but use a square/rectangle as your starting point and play with his design.

For Baby:
Circles! Cute things are associated with roundness, so make him round and voluminous, sweet and adorable. This way he will be a nice contrast to Dad.

In short:

 NOTE: We are going to avoid as many SHARP EDGES AND ANGLES AS POSSIBLE. Everything will have a slightly rounded edge. 

This rounded, shapes-emphasis idea will also be expected for environments. Ethan and I referred to Emperor’s New Groove, the backgrounds from Samurai Jack, and Prep and Landing for inspiration, and he will take it further and post more on that later tonight.

Any questions? Need clarification? E-mail either Ethan or myself. We will get back to you quickly!

Keep this beautiful artwork coming, guys. We have some incredible designs already—thank you so much for your hard work and willingness to keep these drawings comin’!

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