Olivers Kat - short story concepts

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  01 January 2013
Olivers Kat - short story concepts

I'm developing some concepts for a short story for under 10 year olds, and was hoping for some feedback on the development of it.

Simply put, the story is about a boy who draws a picture for his parents of a cat, but upon him offering it to them as a present, his mother freaks out due to the markers he was using having marked the floor. The kid (Oliver) runs away into the night, where he meets the living incarnation of his cat drawing (Kat) whilst alone and scared in the snow. Together they go on an adventure through the neighbourhood and Kat teaches Oliver that while families sometimes argue, that doesn't mean they don't love each other, which allows Oliver to forgive his family and go home.

I've already worked on the characters and am looking into some sculpts as well as animation tests and background designs. Any feedback would be much appreciated. The work so far has been hand drawn line art with colouring in photoshop. More to follow soon

 
  01 January 2013
Some thumbnails for the background art

 
  01 January 2013
it sounds like a great project. the art is charming and the concept is adorable. interested in seeing your progress as it goes along. best of luck to you !
 
  02 February 2013
Interesting style, and nice thumbnails. Are you going to be adding color to the thumbnails so you can work out the color keys of your short film?

One thing to consider, is that when you have really skewed features, it's harder to make your characters emote effectively. For example, the boy's brows are so high, and the brows are so important when it comes to emoting--this could create a lot of problems later.
 
  02 February 2013
Thanks a lot, nice to hear some feedback. I hopefully will get to colour thumbnails soon, but unfortunately for now I have to focus on developing one looktest and some animation tests for my school deadline with this project.

I was also slightly worried about the skewed features, so I have been doing some expression sheets for the characters as well as poses. The plan is to allow Oliver to move his eyebrows around as much as he wants, hopefully this will help overcome some of the issues with the face, especially given that he has dots for eyes as well.

Here is an update with some of that, and also some WIP location development.







 
  02 February 2013
To my eyes, the height of the brows don't work at all. They are too far from the eyes to work effectively when emoting. When you push the critical components of our facial features used to emote too far, you break their effectiveness.

Stylization isn't arbitrary--you should have compelling reasons for your choices when you exaggerate, simplify, idealize, skew, and so on, and your reasons should almost always be for the sake of the narrative and characterization.
 
  02 February 2013
Ok, thanks for the feedback, I thought the higher eyebrows made him look more innocent but didn't think about the cost of expressions. I'll try lowering them when I get back to character work. Right now here's an update with the coloured background for one scene.

 
  02 February 2013
I have to agree with the comments on the eyebrows. For me, they're so close to the hairline that they might as well be part of it. I think you're expressions in the test read fairly well, but my eye was ignoring the eyebrows until they lowered enough to be read with the eyes. I think placing them in the middle of the forehead will make them easier to read without loosing the innocense. It'll also give you the option of raising his eyebrows if you want.

I like your background style. It reminds me of VanGogh. I would be careful with the darks, though. Children tend to consider darkness as something scary and evil.
 
  03 March 2013
Thanks for the feedback Yep the eyebrows have been lowered now, and it does read better, so thanks for that all. As for the backgrounds, in this scene the character is entering from the left (which is a scary forest/neighbourhood) and moving into the light where the cat will be, so I wanted the left to be dark and scary. I'm trying to get that Moomin's vibe going on in the story. You make a good point though, and I think I could lighten up the right side more where the bush is.

Here is an update with a new background facing the fence. I'm half way through animating now, so that will be updated soon too.

 
  03 March 2013
This is pretty fantastic! Posting so that I'm subscribed for updates.
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  03 March 2013
Ok, here is the final animation for half way through the story when Oliver meets Kat. All in all the film would be about 10 minutes long, but this is a test to find the style of the rest of the film. Just before this Oliver is running scared through the forest, but cheers up when he meets Kat. Because of that, it might be a bit of a shock to come into the animation, but enjoy! The sound design is also far from finished.

Link to animation (video)

Thanks a lot
 
  03 March 2013
Again, this is fantastic! Can't wait to see the whole animation.
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  03 March 2013
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