Monday, 25 October 2010

character design - henchmen?

Heres a couple of spin off characters that would revolve around the fight between Billy, Thor and the evil Lord Hel.


Character design - Thor

Here is some images of the sidekick "Thor". Changes that will take place will involve his Axe becoming a Hammer and him to take on some more "lightening" based qualities.


Character design - Hero

Here is the young school boy hero from my cartoon, a boy whos life changes when he finds a magical book which opens a gateway to an ancient battle between viking gods of which he must help fight. With Thor at his side, he becomes a super viking warrior prepared to clash swords with any other worldy adversaries.

This is the School boy Hero named "Billy" in his usual form.

Here is Billy in his "Viking" form prepared to take on the evil forces of the norse Gods attacking his School.


Character expressions - Hel

Here are a few of the expressions I reckon my villain "Hel" would use most frequently. This in turn will make it easier to animate the character at a later stage, or further help me to understand the characters intentions and personality.


Character design - Villain "Hel"

Heres some of my designs for the evil viking underlord "Hel" for my character design project.

Here is my original idea for the character "Hel" based on a few rough skeleton sketches I produced. The character is based on that of famous evil people in that of the cartoon world - Mainly the evil pointed features of characters such as Jafar from Aladin, Cruella Devil from 101 Dalmations.
I started with more of a "Brute" image in mind, however this tore the character away from the idea that he was suppost to be evil, so I attempted to mix the best of both worlds to acheive a nasty, sly, strong yet evil character using a mix of both principles. The first sketches were as the following images, of which seemed to speak louder to me as side kicks rather than main characters. Their just not evil enough!

Here you can see from taking reference from such famous characters as above, I can create a much better idea of what would build an "evil" stature. I then applied it to my own design to further the menacing nature of Hel's indimidating appearance.

In playing around with this new idea for slim, pointed, scary evil looks, I decided to try and re design Hel's facial appearance. Here you can see he has started to gain a "skull" like nose, with Cat eyes and a sinister smile.

As a result of this I decided to push his design further, trying to see how changing different aspects of the facial contours effected the "evilness" of the character.

In talking to Colin White, he suggested larger horns and quickly sketched out my design into a new form which helps to pursue his evil charms.

  • Hel before:

  • Hel after:

This design of Hel takes on that of a similar appearance to the character "Maleficent" in the Disney classic "Sleeping Beauty" (1959).


Friday, 22 October 2010

11 second club lip sync part 1 - jaw roll

For this character, I accidently used the pulling down of the jaw instead of rolling its mouth with the rotate tool. However, due to the characters dumbish, quirky voice, I feel that a diving jaw will add to his goofy personality and work better with his speech.


Monday, 18 October 2010

Viking Gods - Character design research

Heres a list of the different Gods that Viking beleived in which are good for interesting characters for my characters back stories.

  • Odin

Odin was the god of war. He stormed around on his hellish eight legged horse

  • Thor

Thor was the God of thunder, also the most popular and well known of the Norse Gods. He had a short temper however was not out to harm, he was a reflection of what most Vikings thought was important: Strength, Determination and Respect. In his simpleness he had one quick way of fixing things which he felt got in the way of justice, he would kill them with his hammer.

  • Freyja

Freyja was the goddess of love and war, originally of sex. She had the ability to trasnform into a bird by wearing a falcons skin.

  • Frey

Frey was a fertility God. His Sister was Freyja the Godess of love and war.

  • Loki

Loki was half god, half fire spirit. In a sense this character was the devil of the Viking's religious views as he would cause the over Gods trouble and be disrespectful.
  • Idun

Idun was the Goddess of spring and immortal youth.

  • Sif

Sif was the goddess who married Thor and bore his stepson (by Odin), Ull. The vikings (and their gods) admired golden hair, and she was exceptionally proud of hers, so Loki cut it all off while she was asleep.

  • Hel

Hel was a goddess (or a monster), a daughter of Loki and Angrboda, who ruled over Niflheim, which was the land of the dead.


Thursday, 7 October 2010

Generi guy character lip sync final stage


Synopsis idea for Viking Superhero Cartoon

The class Nerd Billy is often the subject of bullying and abuse, a boy with no confidence. He loves nothing more than to go to the School Library and to get a few books out to read. Although hes top in his class at just about everything (asides from P.E), he has a passion for History. He gets out books on ancient civilisations and cultures, but his most favourite subject is the mighty Vikings! One day he becomes bored of reading the same books over and over again, only to notice something sticking out of the shelves of the History department. There lays an old book, half hanging off the shelf, so Billy takes it. To his surprise, this battered old book is about the Vikings, the title being carved into the book which is covered in dusty filth. Billy opens this book and reads the first few lines "Behold! Whoever reads this shall bear the burden of our existence!". After this, Billy finds that he has unlocked an evil source of power, that of evil Viking Demi-Gods who wish to settle a battle they fought before being locked in the book for over a thousand years. Billy is confronted by a small Viking named Tharack, who explains now Billy has released the powers of the underworld he is the one to fight the evil. To Billy's surprise, he now has Viking super powers himself! So alongside his new found friend they go out to fight the evil forces that be, taking one out at a time in each episode. Things change in Billy's life, he gains confidence from his super powers and finds out he's not as bad at P.E anymore either!


Viking research

Here are some interesting videos which give ideas for Viking lifestyles, characteristics and appearances.

Vikings are used in awesome music genre mash-ups too! Check this band called "Amon Amarth", a brilliant example of taking Viking ideologies and firing them through heavy metal. (An idea for the Cartoons "theme tune" direction?)

Here is more documentry style video showing about Viking culture

This is a play on the Vikings by the Muppets, which shows how the Vikings can be turned into something more silly and amusing as opposed to their serious, violent truth.


Viking research for character design

In our character design class we have been asked to come up with a backstory for three characters of a randomised theme given to us. My Cartoons theme was "Viking Superheroes", which sounds simple but when coming to make a synopsis these characters appear harder than first presumed. Its a difficult job to ensure I dont tread into "Thor" territory and that steriotypical aspects dont turn the backstory into a bore for the audience.

Im going to ask myself three questions about Vikings create a better understanding on a more collerated level.

Who were they?

"The Vikings came from three countries of Scandinavia: Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The name 'Viking' comes from a language called 'Old Norse' and means 'a pirate raid'. People who went off raiding in ships were said to be 'going Viking'.

The Viking age in European history was about AD 700 to 1100. During this period many Vikings left Scandinavia and travelled to other countries, such as Britain and Ireland. Some went to fight and steal treasure. Others settled in new lands as farmers, craftsmen or traders." - taken from

"While the term Viking is used in a general way to describe the people of Scandinavia during the medieval period, it's really a name for a profession -- it's like if we called all Spanish or French people Pirates. The Scandinavians were also explorers, farmers, fishermen and merchants -- not just Vikings. Indeed, the people who are usually referred to as Vikings were actually made up of several different groups, including the Danes, the Swedes and the Norwegians, who were themselves often broken into small petty kingdoms." - taken from

What did they do?

"The actual Vikings were all men. They used their expertise at seamanship and battle to make raids on the towns and churches of neighboring kingdoms. These raids were part of an intensely masculine, warlike culture that emphasized battle as a way for a man to prove himself." - taken from

"Viking meant a pirate. The earliest sea-borne expeditions of the Pagan Norsemen (from Denmark and Sweden as well as Norway, and starting at the end of the 8th century) were essentially violent raids for booty. The attacks on Christian monasteries in the British Isles gave the North men a fearsome reputation. Soon settlers and traders followed the raiders; flourishing towns grew up in places like York and Dublin." - taken from

What did they look like?

"They were well dressed and well groomed, long haired and bearded, with colored tunics made of wool or linen, and trousers, arm rings, and sometimes capes." - taken from

"The most common image of a Viking is one in full battle dress with armour and weaponry. Protective gear might have included a leather body-protector, for those who could afford it, and additional protection from the knees to the neck was available in the form of a shirt of chain mail, sometimes called a brynie.

Hard leather skull caps were worn by some Vikings, although such things have not been recovered archaeologically. Iron helmets, either hemispherical or conical in shape, and with some form of simple bar projecting down from the forehead to protect the nose, are very rarely found, and are more likely to have been worn by the rich and powerful or the hardened Viking than by an occasional fighter.

A large round shield, averaging about 1m (3ft 3 in) in diameter and made from parallel wooden boards, provided protection for most of the warrior's body. Men would wear a pair of trousers, most likely be made from wool. The tunic they wore would be long sleeved and quite long, perhaps down to the knees. This would be fastened at the neck by a brooch, and tied at the waist with a leather belt. In colder weather a wool or oiled leather cloak might be added to this ensemble." - taken from

A more steriotyped Viking would look like this:


Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Scream review

So here comes another Wednesday morning watching another movie after an insightful look into Phil's play on the subject of Postmodernism. In a similar fashion to a previous film we saw, Kill Bill, this film divulges into a similar trend of blood splattered madness. The bloodshed in this film may be enough to fill a swimming pool, but its spilled in vast quantities carefully, at precise moments in the film to help build the tension and storyline to its closure.

The film opens with Drew Barrymore playing a girl named Casey getting random phone calls from a scary caller. The caller plays around with her by phoning her a few times, then starts to show his true colours. This builds the tension of the film and allows the audience to understand what to expect from it. The fear invoked into the audience at the moment we see Drew Barrymore's hanging dead body from a tree is when we realise the somewhat corny, yet frightening attitude that this film portrays. Theres many occasions within this movie that can be compared to classic horror movies, it weaves in and out of stories already told, which is in a sense what creates its success. We even experience the killer "Billy" himself reciting lines from movies, the lead character "Sidney" commenting on the subject of horror films and we watch as they play out these stereotypes throughout the movie.

The film rolls on to the main story and we are introduced to the characters which set up the next 1hr 50 minutes of pure edgy teen horror. Sidney Prescott's (Neve Campbell) Mother was murdered in a violently almost a year ago to when the plot is set. She believes the killer is caught and safely being held in prison, however we later on come to find its more than likely this is not the case. Sidney's Mum was seeing Billy's father, which caused Billy's Mother to run away. A TV news reporter who covered the case, Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox), is in on getting a slice of the action. She wants it so she can gain attention for her new book, which gives mention on the murder case of Sidney's Mum. Gale wants to prove that the real killer is still out there, so she relentlessly harasses the people in question.

Were put on a spinning roller coaster of a ride as the suspects in the film become less obvious just as they seem to be staring you in the face. Things start to unfold and the killers begin to appear. When the killers become known your left with a dizzy sense of euphoria as you feel like you've known who it was all along, shouting out to the characters to mind their backs, or, in true horror movie fashion, to "look behind you".

Theres one thing to note, the end of this film gets bloody. I cant help to think though that some aspects of gruesomeness were toned down, as ive seen much worse. For a slasher style movie this definitely is driven more by angst and anxiety created by the scenes themselves, as opposed to the shock and horror of watching someone being stabbed a few times. Its a brilliant film to watch and has some amusing acting, definitely setting in the feelings of a psychopathic nature. Definitely one to watch if your into horror!

Monday, 4 October 2010

Ed Wood review

We sat down to watch our weekly film with Alan on a Tuesday, not too sure what to expect but what manifested infront of us was the wonderful world of a man named Ed Wood.

Directed by the slightly insane, yet amazing creative genius Tim Burton, this film embarks on the ups and downs of Ed Woods career in film. The first thing I noticed about this film was it was entirely in black and white, a contrast to the film used in Ed's period of cinema. It also suggests the lack of interest in trying to make money off of the man, being somewhat more of a tribute to Ed Wood. I guess Tim Burton has somewhat of an admiration for Ed's strange behaviour and film making, due to his own stylistic choices.

I see this man far too much and hear his name far too much... Johnny Depp. That being said, however, he does a brilliant job at playing the somewhat quirky roles that Burton offers him. I wont deny it, hes a very talented actor. Somehow catching glimpses of Depps usual mannerisms, yet amazingly becoming lost into the character. He is a man of many faces!

It's quite a humorous film, as Ed's inabilities to do his job properly are put on display. It comes to us that Ed was a movie maker of budget, always being careful with how much he spent on a film and using every resource he could. With Martin Landau playing the late Bela Lugosi splashing around in a dirty river wrestling a prop in the form of an Octopus we see Ed's failures come to life. It's kind of awkward to know that you're laughing at him and not with him.

I feel sorry for Ed, as he seems to cling onto his Gold, Bela Lugosi (Dracula 1931). The amount of times Ed would proudly announce Bela's name in this film is enough to drive you insane if you notice he's doing it. Then your reminded of just how much this man meant to Ed, how he was an inspiration and a key to his much wanted success.

Ed Wood may not be remembered in the way he would've liked but he definitely made an impression on the history of film making. This light hearted look on his life shows how he is his own success in being bad at his art, however the fighting spirit he shows in this film makes him beloved by many around the world. In a sense, Ed Wood always tried to achieve a masterpiece, or a great film. If this film has anything to go by, what he didn't realise was, he was writing it all along.


Saturday, 2 October 2010

Bad kids go to hell review

I run my hands over the glossy front cover, immediately from the artwork the title "Bad kids go to hell" makes some sense. A group of six angsty looking adolescents stare back at me with a mix of attitude and anxiousness. Their definitely up to no good, with some of the characters appearing less confident than others, living up to the name "bad kids" as the title suggests.

As I turn to read the first page I'm hit instantly by the fact the story starts out to Black Sabbaths "The Wizard". The sounds of Ozzy's harmonica and howling vocal plays in the back of my mind, and I think if theres anything to fix me to read on in a first page then this certainly does the trick! So the Author has good taste in music? Or is this a reflection on the nature of the characters involved, or the dark settings that this comic strip provides? I can say from this analysis that the book already stands out as something aimed at the more alternative mind.

There I am flicking through the pages, already the story grabbing me with twists and turns in every direction. The artwork in this Comic is brilliant, some serious efforts been put into this. The characters are a cross between typical cartoon and realism, which keeps the audience reminded that its fictional, giving the reader that edge of creativity to work on in their minds. I'm smacked by one character, whoever designed this deserves a medal. Veronica Harmon, God Dayum! The edgy witchcraft loving, skimpy skirted rocker chick always with something to say, definitely one of the best characters in here! Unfortunately, she dies at the end when revealing shes actually someone else. Shame that.

What I find interesting about this comic is how it seems to be drawn out in a way in which you can imagine it being animated. Each page is full of directional hints to how things would be moving, how it would be sounding. The colour schemes show a brilliant technique of setting the tone for a scene.

Overall I love the edgy twists, the settings and moods portrayed, and how each time the story seems to take you one way something happens to submerge the characters into more action. A good read!