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  • Writer's pictureArthur Herring

How my wife and I got into making an animated film PART 4

So where we left off last time is where I'll pick it back up again. Character Design. This wasn't something I was up for, with such a large project I knew the time and energy involved would be far too much to be of interest to me. My artistic passions are more with creating environments and landscapes. Anya hasn't had experience either.. what to do?

She decided on a more straightforward approach. The plan was to find models, have them pose in the way we needed them for each scene, take photos, use the photos as reference basis for our character "style". We'll draw them an outfit to replace the ones in the photo to attempt a match of their nation and magic. No fantastical character design, no large eyes, no multi layered costumes, etc. Just 2D, human-looking features. We just didn't have the time, expertise and resources. (This is a zero budget project)

Without a budget, how did we find models? We matched character features with those we knew. Friends & family were a huge help, but we still needed to find the character called Irinarkh. One day while shopping at the local grocery store, we both spotted him, turned to each other and said, "Irinarkh". After gaining courage enough to track him down, I pursued him down aile 8 and asked the inevitable question in front of the canned peas. He answered with a surprising, "yes, sure. When shall we plan it?" We were more than pleased with how close he matched the character, and posed for us.

Now she had characters, and had given them their costumes and such. It was only after all this that we found the Character Animator program on Adobe Creative Cloud. Before this was any sort of animation, we had planned a very simple "video story book" of sorts.. or a type of motion graphic novel. Imagine flipping a page with still, layered images that would move in relation to each other. I remember getting the call from her as I was away on a mural project. I could hear the excitement in her voice that she had found a program that could allow the characters to talk and move a bit, but with limited restrictions. I wasn't convinced at first that it was a good idea, but eventually the idea won. We were on our way to making a 2 hour, but simple, animated film.

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