Wednesday, 26 November 2008

The Monk

Simplicity is going to be the key word throughout my whole film making process and as a hermit monk, and as with all monks simplicity is fundamental to the very basis of their belief. In almost all cultures monks have practically no possessions and ware only very basic clothing consisting of some sort of robe or body wrap.
Shaolin monks of china are famous for their bright orange robes and training clothing, although they do also have some in greys for the more junior monks, Whereas Tibetan monks tend to use darker shades of yellows and reds.
I’ve gone for something in-between for my main character as he doesn’t necessarily belong to either of these sects, although he is probably an old shaolin monk as he practices Chen style tai chi (a style used by shaolin monks)
I’ve chosen brownish yellow for his robes as it coincides with what monks in that region might be wearing plus the tones are more in keeping with those of some Chinese art that I am drawing inspiration from. But again, always keeping them simple.
With regards to his actual design and shape, I’ve been influenced mainly by old kung fu movies and there white eye browed monks. One film in particular is shaolin vs. lama which has a great stereotypical grumpy old white haired monk who lives away from the temple.
I’ve decided that he should be skinny as it makes him more vulnerable to the audience, plus old people are generally skinny anyway. I've been looking in to line and shape and to the visual meaning they convey, hard, sharp and angular shapes and edges on a character are synonymous with villains and bad guys and reflect their intentions and personality, whereas soft line and rounded edges are related more towards the good guy. A good example of this is in the Simpsons, homer being the good guy is made up almost entirely of circles and round shapes as Mr. Burns on the other hand is portrayed as cold and calculating with his pointy, scrawny and hunched appearance.
Being as my character is actually a nice old man who has become grumpy and cantankerous through loneliness and isolation, I’ve tried to create a balance between the two in terms of his visual aesthetic. I’ve given him strong angular features combined with long soft flowing lines. This should hopefully make his transition through the film from bad guy to good guy more believable to the audience. Well that’s the idea anyway.
I’ve also tried to consider some technical elements within the design. As it’s going to be in CGI and I’m no GC wiz, I need him to be as simple as possible whilst still being versatile enough to get a wide range or movement and expression out of. I will use a simple morph target set up for his face and as he’s going to be interacting with other objects he’ll will probably need an ik/fk arm set up too. He was going to have some beads around his neck but I’m not sure how I would do it, I will experiment when the time comes.
I think I’m still in essay mode. Zing!

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