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Marmoset Toolbag by 8monkey Labs 3D Coat

Digital Character and Creature Design

Instructor: Luke Church
Scheduled starting date: April 20th, 2013
Time: 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM Pacific Standard Time*
Length: 10 weeks
Price: $499.00
Registration for this course is open until April 15th.
Do you have any questions? Please consult our FAQ.

Registration for this course is closed, please contact us to be informed of the next time this course is offered.

*Times and dates may be subject to change. If you would like to be informed of any updates to the course schedule or enrollment period, please contact us and give us your contact information.

Prerequisites: A solid foundation in drawing, completion of Intro to digital concept art or a similar course.

Required Tools: A good internet connection, Wacom tablet, a current version of adobe Photoshop (cs3 or higher), drawing materials and a scanner.

Course Overview: Students will learn intermediate techniques in digital concept art for designing interesting and memorable character and creature concepts. By the end of the course, the complete concept design production process from initial design to final image will be covered. The class format will involve live demos and feedback through one on one communication and paintovers. Homework will be given after each class and students are expected to have the homework complete for review by the next class.


Week 1: CHARACTER DESIGN 01

  • Objectives and originality, art vs. Design. What is the difference?
  • How to approach character design problems. Workflow for achieving the most successful solution.
  • How to write a short Summary of the Character (objectives)
  • Character archetypes and story telling
  • Finding inspiration and reference.
  • DEMO: where to begin; exploration and the initial ideation process through thumbnailing and sketching.
  • Assignment for week 02: ideation/thumbnailing for three character archetypes (hero, sidekick, and villain) Write short storry for characters

Week 2: CHARACTER DESIGN 02

  • Assignment review and critiques
  • How to evaluate the success of your ideas. Choosing the best direction.
  • What now? Refining your most successful ideas and how to push them further.
  • Being disciplined; sticking to design objectives.
  • DEMO: bringing our characters to life; the refinement sketching process.
  • Assignment for week 03: character refinement; three variants for each character (hero, sidekick, villain).

Week 3: CHARACTER DESIGN 03

  • Assignment review and critiques
  • Selecting your final direction/solution.
  • Final refinement pass: how can i push my characters even further?
  • Preparation for final presentation rendering
  • Posing and expression
  • Clearly communicating the design/idea
  • DEMO: the importance of good finished drawing. Colour
    exploration and establishing mood.
  • Assignment for week 04: Three finished drawings for rendering each character (hero, sidekick, villain) and five different colour variations for each.

Week 4: CHARACTER DESIGN 04

  • Assignment review and critiques
  • DEMO: rendering; lighting setup, achieving mood through lighting and establishing form. communicating materials and methods for achieving believability.
  • Assignment for week 05: Three finished greyscale renderings with a focus on lighting and form. One for each character (hero, sidekick, villain).

Week 5: CHARACTER DESIGN 05

  • Assignment review and critiques
  • Final presentation; what is a good presentation of a design and the different ways to achieve this.
  • DEMO: Rendering 02
    • Applying colour to our designs. Methods for bringing our g.scale pass into full colour.
  • Selecting colours that are appropriate for our light source (key light, ambient light, rim light/reflected light).
  • Assignment for week 06: Three finished and presentable designs in full colour. One for each character (hero, sidekick, villain)

Week 06: CHARACTER DESIGN 06

  • **EXTENDED: assignment review and critiques,
  • DEMO: Paintovers.
  • Pushing the presentation; taking feedback an d evaluating where we can improve our pieces for our portfolios. Doing what you need to do to get your work to a professional level.
  • Assignment for week 07: Apply the feedback received in in class by the instructor and peers. Push your characters to a final portfolio worthy level!

Week 07: CREATURE DESIGN 01

  • Final Character assignment review and critiques
  • Creature design; how to approach creature design problems
  • Achieving originality in creature design; utilizing speculative evolution/adaptation.
  • Creature archetypes and story telling
  • Functional anatomy in creatures and the importance of observation.
  • Finding inspiration and reference.
  • DEMO: creature exploration; the ideation process and thumbnailing/ sketching.
  • Assignment for week 08: Ideation/thumbnailing for one creature design and a short summary

Week 08: CREATURE DESIGN 02

  • Assignment review and critiques.
  • Evaluating your ideas and choosing the best direction/solution.
  • What now? Refining your most successful ideas and how to push them further.
  • Being disciplined;sticking to design objectives.
  • DEMO: bringing our creatures to life; the sketching/refinement process.
  • Assigment for week 09: Six refined variant sketches for one creature design.

Week 09: CREATURE DESIGN 03

  • Assignment review and critiques.
  • The importance of refining anatomy for functionality.
  • Preparation for final presentation rendering.
  • Posing and expression for creatures.
  • Clearly communicating the idea/design and appropriate presentation.
  • DEMO: colour for creatures and communicating materials.
  • Assignment for week 10: One presentable full colour rending of your creature design.

Week 10: CREATURE DESIGN 04

  • **EXTENDED: Final creature assignment review and critiques.
  • DEMO: pushing presentation and polish. Focus on student pieces from the term (character and creatures).
  • INDUSTRY Q and A: Open floor for students to ask design, art, portfolio development, and industry related questions.

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