Brief 4 – Children’s Show Character Re-design

For this brief we were given the task of creating and pitching the idea for a new children’s TV show. We had to traverse through the full creative process needed to bring a concept to life, from idea generation, character creation and storyboarding; culminating in the production of a short animatic to present our ideas to the class.

Research Process

We began the research stage of this brief by first looking at current and past children’s TV shows. From this we examined and made notes on the formats, structures and themes present in these popular shows.

Links for the research process:

Idea Generation

Following this extensive research, I put together a mind-map for us both to use. The mind-map touched on some of the findings from the previous step, yet also aimed to explore our numerous thoughts and ideas for the direction that the brief could be taken in.

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Character Design Mind-Map

We also aimed to employ the use of synetics trigger questions when approaching our ideas, which encouraged us to tackle new thought processes in order to think more laterally and stray away from conventional thought processes. I feel that this was a hugely beneficial process.

Idea Finalisation

At this point we were ready to start discussing our ideas in order to discover the ones that we felt were the strongest. After another period of deliberation we arrived at the Time Traveller Tom idea.

This featured the main character as a young school student, Tom Time, who is set an assignment to create a fact-file on some of the major figures from history. To do this he builds a small time-machine device and dons a ‘hero’ costume to travel back into the past. During the building of this machine, it malfunctions and zaps his cat, Mr. Tiddles, with radiation, causing him to be able to talk. Mr Tiddles joins Tom as a cynical sidekick character. On top of this, a girl from Tom’s class, Suzie, steals the blueprints to his device and follows him into the past in order to sabotage his efforts of achieving a good grade. Suzie Sabotage, becomes the ‘arch nemesis’ character.

Concept Development

From the reflections of previous briefs, it was decided that we should focus more attention to the delegation of tasks, in order to share the workload. As a result, I took on the design and creation of the Logo, Tom and Mr. Tiddles characters, as well as the generation of the final animatic sequences, and my team member took on the designs of Suzie, the Time Watch and the treatment of the final production.

I started with the logo design.

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Logo Design Sketches

We discussed the logo as a pair during the idea development stages and arrived at the ‘3 Ts’ concept. I worked on different styles for the emblem, taking inspiration from shield designs and focusing on the balance of the image. The final design was intended to be similar to the iconic superman logo shape. I used the 3D software Blender to draw up and render the final design.

Time Traveller Tom- Logo1
Character Redesign Logo

Next, I began work on Tom’s design. This involved looking back through some of the initial research links, drawing visual inspiration from a range of sources.

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Tom Character Design

Following another meeting and critique of work, the following design was finalised and drawn up digitally in Adobe Photoshop. I wanted to show Tom in action, so created two designs to show him running in both his school clothes and ‘hero’ costume. On the hero costume, I displayed the logo on his chest.

The final character design that I was tasked with completing was Mr. Tiddles. Once again I sketched out a number of ideas, before they were discussed and refined in a group meeting.

TTT- Tiddles Ideas1
Mr. Tiddles Character Designs

It was heavily considered which design best conveyed the ‘cynical’ personality of Mr. Tiddles, and it was concluded that the final designs below, were the best. This was primarily down to the successful use of his eyebrows and facial expressions to portray emotion, and this was something that could be adapted to different uses.

The Animatic Storyboard

Having the characters finalised and put in place, work began on the final animatic. My team-mate was tasked with generating an initial script that we then refined as a pair; before I went on to create a storyboard. This final sequence was discussed further, with notes being made on the background music and sound design that I would need to consider when putting the animatic together.

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My Animatic Storyboard

The Final Presentation

Collaborating all of our design work, we put together a final presentation that would showcase our process from concept to completion when pitched to the class. An album of the individual slides from this presentation are shown below.

This also led to the design of the final animatic, below.

Reflections

Overall, the process of completing this brief has been extremely informative and mostly enjoyable. The efforts made to share workload definitely led to less stress for each team member, although there were still some imbalances in the tasks taken on, purely due to differences in the team’s skill sets, such as in using software.

The process of using synetics trigger questions were really beneficial to us during the idea generation phase, although some work could still be made to refine the story and give Suzie Sabotage a better motivation behind sabotaging Tom’s efforts.

Despite this, I feel that the ideas and designs that were created for this piece were mature and would work well in a commercial production environment.


 

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