Arnold Tsang

Arnold is a concept artist for Blizzard. Recently I’ve seen gameplays of a new Blizzard game called Overwatch and the art style is fantastic, it reminds me a lot of team fortress 2 and borderlands and I’m going to start trying to mimic this style. Here’s some of his work from Overwatch.


12 Principles of Animation – Appeal

Appeal deals with the, well, appealing look of your character. The character you design and plan on animating should be pleasing to look at, the character should have some charismatic aspect to like about them.

This applies to all characters, whether it’s the hero, villain or any other character. Appeal doesn’t just mean good looking, it also means interesting. So when it say your character should be likable it doesn’t mean that their personality should be likable it means that they are interesting to look at.

However this is hard to do since everyone has a different standard for what is appealing, for example some people would find classic Disney characters appealing whereas others would find manga or anime style art more appealing.

However, even though you cannot please everyone, giving your character a dynamic style can greatly boost its appeal.

There are 3 clear cut ways you can do this.

  1. Use a variety of shapes
  2. Proportions
  3. Keep it Simple

Use a variety of shapes; try out different shapes because you can go as crazy and wild as you want with the characters designs. Every good character design starts with a clear shape.  This also links to our second point

Play with proportions; one style that commonly messes with proportions is cartoon. Cartoonists often magnify the things we find interesting and shrink the things we find ugly or boring. Finding the aspect of a character that defines his or her personality and blowing it up, can often create a more appealing design. This again relates to our next point.

Keep it simple; too much clutter on a character can overcomplicate the character and can restrict animation of the character. This is the difference between drawing for illustration and drawing for animation. Pick only the necessary details when animating a character as you will be drawing them hundreds of times.

A good example of appeal is the Powerpuff Girls, created by Craig McCraken. They have been simplified so that the designs are simple and easy to animate, they have clear basic shapes used for the head, body, arms, legs and details and their proportions have been changed to give them more of a cute design and to clearly show that they are young girls with the big eyes, larger head and small body. Other examples of his work are, Dexter’s Laboratory, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends and Wander Over Yonder. Below are some Designs for the characters in these shows showing the use of the 3 rules above.

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12 Principles of Animation – Solid Drawing

This principle is about making sure that forms feel like they’re in three- dimensional space, with volume, weight and balance.

One thing that makes animating a lot easier is being able to draw the figure from all angles. This requires knowledge of three dimensional drawing.  For example when drawing a line on a sphere it must follow the contour of the sphere’s surface. A straight line instantly makes the circle look flat.

When drawing cubes avoid using parallel lines as it can make it look like a flat symbol or logo. Instead lines should be bent towards the vanishing point.

When doing a rough pass of a character use basic solid shapes like spheres, cubes and cylinders to construct the character instead of circles squares and rectangles. This helps you keep in mind the space that they’re in, you can also draw perspective lines on the ground to keep track of their distant from the camera.

When doing the clean line version of your character be very mindful of overlap and try to include it whenever possible.  Without overlap everything appears to be on the same plain.

Another thing to avoid is symmetry. Symmetrical lines look flat. Instead offset two curved lines or pair a straight line with a curved line.

The principle of solid drawing also applies to 3D animation as well. Do not allow your character to ‘twin’. This is when a character movements are symmetrical on both sides of their body, for example both their arms move in the same way at exactly the same time from the same start point to the same end point. Instead offset their movements so they have weight to them and that it has to have balance in a 3D environment, you can do this with posing it differently like slouching or standing on one leg whilst its arms and legs move in different directions to balance the weight distribution of its body so it can balance.

Solid drawing is used to give characters and objects more weight and volume, making them look more 3D and avoids wooden, flat looking characters. In 3D animation this is extended to ensuring models move naturally in all expressions and movements and in no way deformed or computer generated at certain angles.”

There are so many examples of solid drawing it’s hard to pick one, but any classic cartoon uses solid drawing, from The Simpsons to Disney. So here are a few examples of solid drawings used in animation.

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We have also looked at this in life drawing, as being able to scale and proportion a character is very important. We have studied this by looking at how Winnie the Pooh was drawn, and during one of the weeks we had to design characters we had to create a 360 view of them. Even in later weeks I created a 360 view of one of the characters named ‘Mossman’. Here are some Photos.

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12 Principles of Animation – Arc

When an object, like a ball, arcs we need to consider the slow in and out, caused by gravity. When doing this in 3D and motion graphics, we can achieve this effect by keeping the movement in the x axis constant but giving the movement in the y axis a slow in and slow out.

Without an arc in the object the animation can seem very dull and straight, like in pose to pose animation, but with an arc in the movement of an object it can give the animation more character.

Arcs can be added to almost any figure movement, for example if a character is taking a step you should have the body of the figure move up and down in an arc before he even takes his first step. This allows for the animation to flow more and seem a lot more natural and fluid instead of very rigid. If an arc is not applied to the figure walking then the action can seem very dull, when animating with arcs it is important to use exaggeration and anticipation as well to get your figures action across in the animation.

Arcing a ball is one of the first things we learned when animating as it is so vital to the animation and to have an animation look correct, look natural and flow then arcing your objects movements are very important.

One Show that uses arcing a lot is Avatar: The Last Airbender

This show heavily features a lot of martial arts in it as the characters in it use various types to control different elements. With this comes a lot arcing in the characters animations especially with the water bending techniques as it’s very slow moving and mimics the way water moves back and forth. The Airbending technique is quite similar but relies more on the figure being loose and being able to flow with the opponents fighting technique and change direction quickly rather like air. The Airbending is based on the martial arts style of Baguazhang and the Waterbending is based on tai chi.

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