Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Major Project: Le Patissier, Environment Design I

While, on one side I have been doing boards for the animatic, I have also been moving along with the other tasks in pre-production, and aiming to finish the designing stage very soon. with the character done I moved into visualizing the environment. yummy!

I have done some initial thumbnails of the 2 environments that my animation will have. the patisserie and the cake world.

 With a few favourites of mine, respectively. 3, 5 and6, i decided to take one further, and produce a concept art.

A few more to come!! Stay Tuned!!

Major Project: Le Patissier, Final Title Choice

Major Project: Le Patissier, Prop Design

While I starting to draw the storyboard, I took some time to explore the important props for the animation. These being the cake, the piping bag and the spatula.

While designing the piping bag, i came across and idea which can influence the animation, while the piping bag will assume a normal role in the real world being used by the patissier. In the cake world I firstly had the idea to have it become an oversized one which the patisserie carries over his shoulder. However as i was exploring a different idea came to my mind. having the piping bag as a companion to the patissier as he bounces the piping bag accompanies him, behaving and decorating on his own. In terms of animation it would be literally like animating a prop by maybe using blend-shapes and little rig. Having these prop assuming this position towards the patissier will allow me to use it a few times throughout the animation, and use it surely in repetition.

Therefore I initially began exploring it.

 With the developing and brainstorming of the prop, I arrived to a design which is little a minimalist version of the patissier a chubby, short cute prop little helper.Therefore I decided to create a quick turnaround to help me model it. 

I have also explored the look of the spatula. 

Last but not least, I have explored initially the cake design. I decided to create profile and top view of the cake, explaining all the elements I want to add. Also in order to research my cake details I opted to draw and specify their look. 

Further cake design will be done already in 3D where i will mock up a cake and apply these elements and then play easily with colour. Yum! 

Finally, while designing and developing the cake, I came across another idea to influence the story. When i  talked with Phil last week, he suggested me to use the screen frame and position in my favour, for instance having a character walking from left to right on the ground floor where other would go down to the top. of the right side. This idea would work great when the character is creating the wall of icing roses on the side of the cake. As my initial idea was to have the character steps become the flowers, the idea of using the frame would emphasize the upward decoration visible on the cake design and would enforce believability.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Major Project: Le Patissier Title Experiment

As a working title, my animation has as title Le Patissier, meaning the Pastry Chef in English. With these working title, I began experimenting with fonts in order to get the title designed.

In my opinion, the titles which work best are number 1 and 2, however I'm more inclined to number 1, as I really like the curvature of the font, it is interesting that it also reminds me cake writing with the piping bag.


After receiving some feedback about the font, I decided to explore the many effects on the first font design, from the page above I really like number 2, the bold version of it. As it keeps the simple but chubbier.

Major Project: Olivier, the Patissier, Final Character Pose & Profile Sheet

Here it is the final character design painting, I have used the precious pose and decided to paint it.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Major Project: Olivier, the Patissier, Final Character Pose & Silhouette

With most of the design sheets done, what is left is to pose the character, and paint it.

here is the final pose and the silhouette, to see if it is working as a recognizable character.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Major Project: Olivier, the Patissier, Expression Sheet

As promised here is the expression sheet for Olivier, this sheet features possible expressions that Olivier may do throughout the animation, with these drawings I will be able to recreate this same expressions in 3D.

In terms of character design tasks, I almost done with everything, only left is a few action shots and the final pose digitally painted.

Major Project: Olivier, the Patissier, Hair Developed

After a suggestion, I decided to further develop the hair to better fit the design and dont look too bland. therefore i applied the idea of it being made out of whipped cream. Although it shows that the hair seems to be divided in sections, in the actual model, it will be mainly spirals. 

Major Project: Olivier, the Patissier, Final Colour

As Mac and Windows dont seem to share the same colour scheme on the monitors, I have taken the pastry chef colour and tweaked it. the major change was the complexion on the characters which I chose to have a warmer colour. On the final digital painting I will add, blushing or red complexion around the cheeks. Thus far, the character has the intial colour on.

Major Project: Olivier, the Patissier, Props Sheet

Here is the props sheet for the Patissier character, this sheet explores the props that the character will have on him.

Next, will be working on the expression sheet, and the last design sheets for the character.

Major Project: Olivier, the Patissier, Size Sheet

here is the Size Sheet of the character, although i don't have any other characters I compared with the most important prop in the animation. This wedding cake is only shown as a cake because no design has been done on it so far.

Major Project: Olivier, the Patissier, Head and Body Ortographs

To understand the character it is crucial to create turnaround model sheets, this allows us to to understand how the character looks from front and side views, as well as to know if the proportions are working.
Another advantage of a model sheet is that it is a crucial drawing that helps translate the 2d design onto 3D.
Therefore, here is a separate model sheet for the head and the body.

EDIT: I have experimented with the hair as suggested, and i really liked the results.

This extra detail on the hair, allows the silhouette to be more interesting,  and to follow the idea of the whipped cream shape.

I have quickly edited the ortographs also.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Major Project: Olivier, the Patissier, Colour Experimentation

With the final design of the character done, I will be moving onto creating model sheets to help me translate the character from 2D to 3D, such as turnarounds and expressions sheets. However before that, I have decided to begin experimenting with colour, which then will help me create the final posed version of the character fully digitally painted.

With these 3 colour variations, I have like a few colours used in each of them. Firstly the uniform, I opted for a fully clean white, the trousers will be chequered and a red scarf. In terms of character complexion, I have opted for a brighter whitish one, and a slightly darker nose (which reminds of Disney). The facial hair, will be a lighter hazelnut colour like variation 1, finally for the eyes, I have chosen blueish.

 Therefore the final colour choice looks like : 

Major Project: Olivier, the Patissier, Character Body Development

The Final Head design was done, therefore I decided to work parallel and explore the body of the character.

For the body shape of the character I have decided to stylise it a lot, just so I will be able to animate in numerous impossible ways. Although, I tried a few different body variations in terms of overall shape, I decided to opt for a smaller head, big rounded body and tiny feet.

Here is the Final Character Design:

Major Project: Olivier, the Patissier, Character Face Development

Having a clear idea how I want to the character, and being exploring various possibilities for his design, I have began to narrow down my choices and develop them into final designs. From the previous studies, I have chosen one with pear shape head, therefore I decided to take it further and explore a few more variations on the head shape. 

After developing the head shape, I found the final head design. however some of the assets needed some developing, therefore I created a few variations for facial hair and the hats on the character. 

Exploring with these variations was crucial to arrive to a final design for the character, by choosing facial hair number 3 and hat number 5. The final head design was done. 

Next, I will be exploring the body and how it relates to the head. Stay Tuned !

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Major Project: Initial Body Alchemy Sketches

While I was exploring the face I decided to move onto the body and tryout a few silhouettes. these tryouts will help me understand the overall shape of the character. Firstly, I have used an unusual approach, by using vegetables and fruits I tried to get the majority of the shapes on his body.

Then I moved onto Alchemy, and began to block out some shapes.

From the sheet above, I like a few things in a few designs, the legs shape on number 4 seem to be working best, but maybe the body shape of 1 or 4 works best.in terms of head shape, I would say 5. The next step is to merge what i like in all the designs and begin developing the character as a whole.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Major Project: Olivier, the Patissier, Initial Face Studies

Here is a quick update on the character design, after doing the alchemy sketches I have decided to carry on and design some more possibilities, however this time around these designs were more controlled. Here is what i came up with:

With the designs above I have tried to experiment a little bit more with the character, based my ideas around the previous sheet and design 6, i began developing and exploring different shapes. On the sheet above I really like a few features in a few of them, for instance the design 2, 3 5 were my favourite, therefore on the last drawing on the left right, I have experimented by adding the features I liked the most to one design.

The next step is to take this design and further develop the body.

Major Project: Animation Timeline Layout

While im undergoing the the initial character design stages, I have been developing the story for my animation, therefore I create and animation timeline, to let me place the actions in time on the animation. This timeline also allowed me to think of some ideas for either transitions or character animations in certain sequences.

Timeline Layout

  • Present the Patisserie ( only the windowsill and the cakes on display, maybe a card evoking the idea of patisserie.)
  • Present the Patissier (placing the last layer of the cake on the top of the cake.)
  • Patissier is ready to decorate.
  • He applies icing onto the cake with a spatula, transition to the cake world, where the patissier is walking throwing icing on the floor and stepping on it to straighten the surface.
  • Ribbons with live of their own enter the scene. Embrace the patissier and then rest on the ground as if they were a red carpet.
  • Patissier decorates with frosting ( real world), transition on the decoration to the cake world, Patissier carries a oversized piping bag over his shoulder and bounces decorating as he walks.
  • Fruits enter the bouncing.
  • Chocolate sprinkles from the sky (like rain).
  • Icing sugar details enter the scene ( dove details fly to the cake, and roses grow from where the patissier steps.) Last rose transition to the roses on the fiances bouquet.
  • Patissier greets both in a vow.
  • Icing sugar is thrown( to associate with rice. (dust covers the screen).
  • Fades back out of the dream/ Cake world, to present the last shot, the joyful patissier presents the cake which is the same size than him.
  • The End.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Major Project: Olivier, the Patissier, Initial Alchemy Sketches

With research pretty much finished, (within this stage), I have began moving onto the next stages of the pipeline, on one hand, I have started to sketch designs for the character, on the other hand, developing the performance of Olivier, the Patissier.

As part of my pre-production design workflow, I like to approach in a particular way, before I get too stuck on one design, I begin by exploring various possibilities, for this matter I use software such as Alchemy, this software allows me to create fairly quick abstract shapes, which then I interpret my own way.

With this shapes I then take to Photoshop, and try to visualize characters. while normally you develop the character and then check the silhouette to see if the design works, This method allows me to work from the silhouette and de-construct what I can possibly fit inside.  This approach is very beneficial in many ways, firslty allows me to explore any designs without restrictions, it helps me see form and understand it within the shape, and quickly brainstorm possible designs for a certain character, ohh and it is very fun!!

With this said here is what I came up with. One the Left you can see the final sketch, based on the shape on the right. (although rendered this sketches took me maximum 30 mins to brainstorm.)

From the designs I came up with, some of them, for instance 1, 3 and 6 are closer to what I want to achieve with Olivier, though all of the designs have something I either like or will add onto the final design of Olivier.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Major Project: Animation Style- Transitions

As I am planning to show my animation, I will have to add transitions to when the character is in the real world or doing an action to the next. For this matter, I want to use smooth transitions, just so the audience will be taken from one scene to the next, to one action to the next, without losing the flow of animation. This method of animation and more precisely editing, will allow me to shorten the way I want to portray the action of the animation.

To better understand this method, I looked at Bill Plympton's work.

In terms of animation style, his animations are unique, firstly because of the visuals, which are very beautifully crafted, second because of his distinctive animation style. In terms of animation, by drawing less drawings per second, his animations are often jerky, however this style is contemplated by the use of crafted and detailed drawings.
For this research I have looked at some of his early works. such as 25 Ways to Quit Smoking and How to Kiss.

I have also looked into his 1992 feature film, The Tune.

My observations:

- Exaggeration in the animation.
- Squash and stretch character action.
- Animating to an extreme, impossible movements etc.

- Transitions via morphing.
- Scene transitions based on the form of objects. e.g: an object in that scene will have the same shape that other on the next scene,
-Smooth transitions
- Scene transition to abstraction, close-up's or abstract elements.
-Music leads the character actions, animation and transitions.

With understanding Bill Plympton's animation, I have learnt that in my own short animation, I want to smooth transitions between scenes, employing the same or similar methods perceived in his works. Although, 2D animation can be more organic than 3D, I found a great example of smooth transitions in the latter.

Supinfocom School- Love Recipe

These smooth transitions help the narrative of the story evolve faster and in a flowing way.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Major Project: Audio Analysis

Recently I went on analysing the audio sample, just so it will help me develop the story, in terms of staging, mood and key scenes.

I firstly drew a audio graph, of my interpretation of the audio, and added my observations on it.

This drawn graph helped me understand how the song develops allowing me to add key points of the short film in certain places. Also, by drawing a type of waveform it also helped understand how important each of the sections of the song is. 

To better explain this analysis, I have found a few things with the audio track , firstly and most important it id divided in 4 major parts which derive in terms of duration, secondly and according to the graph, the audio starts slightly slow but rapidly reaches high pitch, where I may add a key moment in the history, then it decays in mood , however rapidly the second stage of the song quickly picks up, however this time, it suggests that it is some struggle or delay to get to high pitch. On the 2 last parts of the audio, the duration of each section derives the most, by having a longer section which quickly is high in notes and slowly and "confusingly" climbs down, it suggests a certain form of confusion or conflict. On the last section, it picks up quickly to high pitch, however as short it may seem, it is suddenly cut to the end of the track. To conclude this analysis one may perceive eahc section is being parts of the short films, for instance the 1st section, the introduction of the characters and the situation, the following 2 sections may be associated to layers of the wedding cake. and the last section the conclusion of the animation. 

Finally I have taken the actual waveform from the song and divided it in sections, just so I know that the track is divided in 4 major parts which have variable lengths and moods. 

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Major Project- Research Diagram Update

A quick post just show the diagram with all my research thus far, this posts will serve as quick back-links, where I will be able to refer fairly quickly.

Major Project- Research: Animation Style II

As I begin to understand my animation, I continued to research animations styles which I want to use reference when animating my short. This time around I have looked at principally 2 animations, one is the classic Beautifully crafter Disney animation, Fantasia, and secondly, a particular scene in the modern Disney Film Beauty and The Beast.

Fantasia- Nutcracker Suite


In these two scenes of Fantasia, It is visible a few things I want to incorporate in my short animation. 

My Observations: 

- A very bouncing animation, similar to rubber hose animation. It is visible a lot of squash and stretch, overlapping and dragging. 
- Music is used to direct the character actions. 
- It features one of the most wonderful spectacles in animation history. Use of a variety of colours and effects. 
- Flowing animation. 
- Animation repetition, it is visible that often the animation sequence is the same, but boiled. 
- Smooth transitions between sequences, As if they belonged to a longer sequence that interlace in a beautiful way. 

The other animation I would like to show, is for similar reasons. Although it is a huge year gap between the two animations, it is perceived that they share the same elements. 

Beauty and the Beast - Be Our Guest

This is a great example and huge reference source to my short animation, because it demonstrates a simple task, such as serving a guest, but it turns it in one of the most exuberant and spectacular show to impress. One of the key elements is that uses also kitchen utensils and ingredients which are animated and have a live of their own, this is crucial to understand as I may want to breathe life to some of my inanimate objects. 

As I am at the end of my initial research for the project and the designing stage is following, a few more posts will surface here about animation style and sequence transitions.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Major Project: Props and Cake Assets Research

Being my animation revolving around the world of cakes and sweets, I have decided to research props that i will be using the most in my world. As I chose the patissier to decorate the most fabulous wedding cake, I focused this research on understanding what is used to decorate wedding cakes.

Indeed wedding cakes are available in many shapes and forms, and have numerous assets that can be put on to add flavour or merely decorate the cake. However to be more specific, I had to decide how my cook would look like, and what additions it would have. 
By having the base of the cake already cooked, which would consist in a simple vanilla or chocolate batter, I will add the following components: 

- Icing or butter cream to coat the cake base, plain and chocolate, this will allow the cake to lavished in white and brown cream as the preparation for the decoration.

- Fruits such as cherries or strawberries.

-Adding flavour with nuts and chocolate sprinkles.

- Icing sugar decorations such as petals or doves.

- The most iconic figures on the cake, the wedding toppers, the bride and the groom.

Alongside researching the components that are in the decoration of a wedding, i have also looked at the way of decorating it, I found a few videos, which showed a step-by- step how to decorate a wedding cake. this will help me to stage the animation, as well as understanding how each step is done. Although, I wont be showing an exact replica of each step on my animation, it will help me decide on which movements my character will want to convey. 

As you may see to decorate a cake, everybody follows the same steps in the same order:

- Apply icing or butter cream onto the cake.
- Add ribbons.
- Decorate with frosting around the cake.
- Apply fruits, nuts and chocolate sprinkles.
- Add icing sugar details (doves and petals).
- End by adding the wedding toppers.

Alongside these videos, I found slightly different one, which works as a gallery to showcase different wedding cakes.
Wedding Cake Gallery

After such a delicious research, I just feel like stuff myself with a lot of sweets, ohh.... the sacrifices of research!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Major Project: Time Period and Environment Research

With the character initially researched, I decided to move onto understanding the world in which this character is living. As I want to set my animation in France in the beginning of the 20th century, I began researching how live was being lived back then and how a patisserie would look like, from the interior to the exterior. Although, the environment is not the most important thing on this animation, it still plays an important role in making the short film believable.

Here is a influence map I have created for the patisserie environment in France around 1900's:

To complete my research in understanding how people lived in this era, I have also found a couple of vey informative videos, they show the social live of  France in this period, and mainly the designs of the buildins, monuments and stores. 

As part of the animation is set in a fictional cake world, where our patissier is imaging the cake decoration.I have decided to research how this world would look like. For that purpose I found a few pictures. 

Research for the "Cake" World 

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Al Dente

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Wizard of OZ

As I mentioned on a previous post, iwant the "cake" World to have a specific look, I want the objects of this world to be oversized and to have very vivid colours, very bold, to evoke the idea of sweetness.

Major Project: Patissier Character- Initial Profile Sheet and Research

At this early stage of the project, I decided to initially define the character of the patissier featuring in my animation. By creating an initial profile sheet, I am using it to guide when experimenting and developing the character designs. Also, I have gathered some initial influence maps, to give an overall idea of how I want my character to resemble to.

Alongside these 2 elements, I will also write a list on this post with the influences for the designs, it will serve as a quick referencing when accessing my research.

Initial Profile Sheet- Patissier

Fig. 1 & 2- Initial Influence Maps

Name: Olivier

Age: 47

Race: Human (Extra Stylised)

Height: 1.20 m

Body type: Cute Baby Shape, Short with Rounded Body, Chubby Arms and Belly, Small Feet.

Face Type: Chubby Face, Cute Shaped with Rosy Cheeks.

Complexion: Vivid Skin Tone, With Rosy Pigmentation.

Eyes: Probably Blue (Maybe Green or Hazelnut)

Hair: Dark Blonde or Light Brown Hair with Curls Coming Under His Chef's Hat.

Facial Hair: Maybe a Well- Trimmed Moustache Curling Upwards.

Clothing Style: Wears the Patissier Uniform, a Whole White Outfit with a Customised Insignia, and a Chef's Hat.

Speaking Style: Bohemian, Polite and Very Social.

Career: A Well-Established Patissier in the Heart of Paris, Specialised in Making Wedding Cakes.

Best Qualities: Happy, Contagiously Joyful, Pleasant, Amiable, Cute, Likeable, Content, Energetic, Hard-Working, Ecstatic.

Worst Qualities: Overwhelming and Hyperactive.

Weaknesses: Too Short to Properly Reach the Cakes.

With the initial profile of the character understood, now I will be able to begin exploring a few designs. Therefore a few sketches will be uploaded here shortly.

Research List


Danny de Vito
Gusteau from Ratatouille, Pixar
Skinner from Ratatouille, Pixar
Russell from Up, Pixar
Happy from Snow White and Seven Dwarves, Disney
Sultan from Alladin, Disney
Cogsworth from Beauty and the Beast, Disney
Baby Brent from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Bill Plymptom Characters 

Character Clothes and Props: 
Patissier Uniform- White Jacket, Black Trousers, and maybe a scarf around the neck. 
Chef's Hat
Rolling pin

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Major Project- Research: Art Direction and Character Stylisation

As I want to create a feel good animation, I have chosen to use a particular look for my world. The world of the Patissier will be a soft, rounded delightful world, with vivid colours delicious assets, this hopefully will also help to evoke happiness and joy as we follow he Patissier make the cake.

Therefore I looked at a few examples:

I have looked at:


-Bill Plympton
- Heavenly Appeals by David Lisbe.
- Love Recipe by Supinfocom School
- Al Dente by Supinfocom School
- Parigot by School George Mellies
- Cosmos by Supinfocom School
Fantasia by Walt Disney
One Man Band by Pixar Studios

- Wizard of Oz
- Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory
- Charlie Chocolate Factory

As you may perceive, what these films and animations share in common is the visuals, strongly vivid pastel colours. Colour will be one of the vehicles to evoke happiness and joy.

Meanwhile, I have began looking at the character and how I want to go on stylising it. Belonging to a very specific style of animation (rubber hose), this will allow me to have the freedom to stylise my character as much as I want, then I will be able to apply squash and stretch features on the rig.

For Character Stylisation, I looked at:

Animation Characters: 

- Brett Bean Characters
- The Incredibles by Pixar Studios.
Ratatouille by Pixar Studios.
- Tangled by Disney.
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarves by Disney.
- Fantasia by Disney.
- Elmer Fudd from Looney Toons.
-Bill Plympton Characters.
-How to Train your Dragon by Dreamworks.
- Despicable Me.
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

For my animation, I want to the character to assume a really stylised form, just so I can apply squash and stretch and exaggeration without looking repulsive. Stylisation will also allow me to explore the designs and create a more appealing one. 

Major Project- Research: Animation Style I

The music in this animation plays an important role to understand how I am supposed to animate the character. As I kept listening the audio sample, I kept thinking of bouncing, bouncing and bouncing. therefore what better animation style to use than the unique and pioneering rubber hose animation style.
The audio evokes a lot of bouncing, of movement of actions being done constantly, likely this type of animation. So, I decided to look into Rubber Hose Animation Style and understand how it may work. 

Rubber Hose Animation Style was one of the pioneering animation style to be standardised in American animation Industry around the 1920's. The Style is best know for having characters, who don't possess hinged limbs, instead the arms and legs consist in simple flowing curves. Therefore the definition of rubber hose limbs animation. Alongside featuring rubber hose limbs, this style of animation, also used a lot of bouncing, repetition of animation and boils. Although the 12 principals of animation were not introduced at this time, it is visible a use of exaggeration, squash and stretch and dragging and overlapping. 

These are the principals I want to apply to my animation just so it relates with the beat of the music. 

To better understand this style of animation I looked at a few examples, and added a few comments I found according to the animation: 

Felix the Cat by Pat Sullivan

Flip the Frog by Ub Iwerks

Mickey Mouse by Ub Iwerks

Looney Toons/ Merrie Melodies by Warner Bros. 

My Observations:

- Use of Rubber Hose Animation.
- Music Directs the Animation.
- Every Element is animated even the backgrounds.
- Very Bouncy Animation, with exaggerated actions ( Squash and Stretch). 
- Animation Synchronises or Overlaps.
- Animation Repetition.
- Character morphing into various shapes.

Silly Symphonies by Walt Disney

While the other short animations had previous mentioned aspects in common. this latest one, actually shows what i want to achieve with my animation, a mixture between rubber hose limbs and articulated limbs animation. This will allow me to have total control of the character but also, have him adapt to various situations.

Alongside, rubber hose animation style I want also to look into animation transitions, and maybe morphing. Therefore I will be adding more research onto this topic.