So, after far too many late nights of obsessive compulsive work on my laptop (i’m sure this is how i started the music blog!) i have a first design for the main character Stina. I’ve uploaded a render test of the close up character model. It’s been done in the 3d animation package XSI using some subsurface shaders for the skin and eyes and my own custom setup for the facial animation system (check out youtube.com/filopastries for more examples of this system)
This is the result of many design iterations. She went through hundreds of different age/shape/colouring variations. I suspect she may continue to evolve, but i’m happy with her look, at least for the moment and the underlying animation system seems pretty robust. She needs to be able to switch from looking young to old and also be able to pull of pretty and ugly so it’s been quite a challenge to say the least! The next stage is to do some animation performance test to see how well she can pull off some of these characteristics (not to mention to see if i have the chops to nail her performance for the animation reference; Or whether its time to seek out a proper actor / actress for the task!) .
I’ve tried to make her look tomboyish and blandly pretty, leaving the facial expressions to do all the expressive work, but still with a base appeal. I toyed with the idea of making her look ugly, but it just drew attention to the fact and i decided it would distract from the narrative ideas i want to explore. Particularly as i want to be able to achieve a high level of aspirational romanticism for the viewer as well as visiting the darker side. I kept coming back to David Lynch, who i suspect will be a big influence on this film. Having visually attractive characters seems key to his ability to explore the darker sides of life and sexuality and clearly helps in creating real visual contrast with the darker, ugly and shocking imagery. I still haven’t settled on the age range for this film, but i think it’s going up, as i want to get into the darker themes that lurk in Angela Carters “The Bloody Chamber” short stories (..mine being a rather poor cousin of the aforementioned!)