Workshop: Photoshop Intro

Being familiar with photoshop, I found the begining of this workshop very simple. However, I’ve found myself struggling a lot more than I thought I would working on a tablet. The first time I drew my character on the tablet, it came out very scratchy as I found it very difficult to find my lines and get my shapes right.

In this session I tried to get over that by roughing out my character’s basic shape in blobs and then getting round to making the outline afterwards. It helped somewhat, but even then my lines were off the mark.

I’m going to keep going at it, as I know I’ll only get there through good practice, and I need to get myself used to drawing him proportionately without his arms growing by a few inches each time.

Robin mentioned to me that I really need to work to the model sheet one I’ve nailed it down, so in the next couple of days I will play around some more before finding that final perfect shape based on the way he can move.


Tutorial Notes

  • Nail down your facts on the technique! 2D – CG colouring?
  • How Studio Ghibli makes a hero a shadow
  • Make comparisons to previous Ghibli characters
  • Realistic style conected to historical context – Get quotes on this
  • Historic, cultural context SHINTO
  • Link between character complexity and animation style
  • Look at E-Journals

Miyazaki on Lady Eboshi

While doing some research on Princess Mononoke, I came across an interview with Hayo Miyazaki about the film and his thoughts on some of the characters, including Lady Eboshi.

The interview has been translated on a Studio Ghibli fan site here:

In the interview, he talks about Eboshi’s back story.

“I thought up a story that she was a wife of a Wako boss (Japanese pirates/smugglers who raided the Chinese and Korean coastlines)”

“What Eboshi is trying to do is to build a paradise as she thinks of it.”

He infers that establishing Iron Town is a reaction to her previous life as a smuggler’s wife. This could be because she was abused, explaining her sympathy and respect for the sex workers that she’s employed and empowered in Iron Town. However this doesn’t account for her sympathy for the leppers. Perhaps she’s just an accepting person with a place in her heart for the outcasts of society?

Although she’s a wise and reserved character, she has a lot of hate inside her that she takes out on the forest; A profitable use of her demons. Perhaps this back story is the source of her un-wavering drive?

Dynamic Animation Ideas

Weight & Effort

  • Two balls drop, one heavy (Bowling ball) one light(Tennis Ball). Two small cubes drop and push the balls off screen with their respective amounts of effort.
  • A seal moving on land.
  • Shoving a heavy box.

Speed & Acceleration

  • Propeller Starts spinning.
  • Ball rolls round in circle.
  • Rocket Launch

Stretch and Squash

  • Piston squashes ball, pincors stretch ball.
  • Blob gets run over.
  • Squirrel Jumping

Impact and Reaction

  • Ball lands on trampoleen
  • Fishing float lands in water

Lord Claude Colour Analysis


Here are a few colour schemes I came up with for my character based on colour theory and references.


This is the character colour scheme I’ve been working up since I first added colours to him. I think of Claude as a character that needs bold decoration to hide the fact he’s a fragile little man and to give him an inflated sense of status; We can’t have God’s chosen big wig be just a frail, old bloke under a linen table cloth. He reflects the frivolity of the Catholic church. Gold had to be a part of the outfit to reflect this, and not just on the decoration of the staff, I wanted it to be a part of the character too.

This character is a villain, a warmonger (set in the era of the crusades, I’m not saying anything about Francis) so Red was an obvious choice to conotate blood and danger, something instinctively recognised by humans.

But we can’t forget the fact he’s a spiritual leader, and I think a pope without white isn’t a pope at all. White is in the mix to reflect the pure and holy side of the character.

However, something I’ve recognised about my character after spending so much time on him, he’s a fool. Now when I see the colours and the outfit, he’s a clown. And these bright red, yellow and white colours reflect that nicely.

Navy & White – The Calming Pope

Again, white is featured in this version to reflect his spirituality, but this time, it’s more prominent. The character feels a lot more humble and neutral. This is also conveyed by the blue that I’ve used here as well. Blue conveys depth, purity and wisdom, which is certainly the kind of qualities you want to see in a spiritual leader. Being so instinctively associated with the sea and the sky, it can give vibes of tranquility and calmness.

Purple & Black – The Tyrant King Pope

This version was supposed to convey his royalty and his villainous side. With purple conveying extravagance and wealth and black reeking of death and evil, what other colours could I have chosen?

Gold & White – The Greedy Pope

This pope is supposed to be greedy and nasty. The gold is supposed to tie into the idea of wealth and greed. White I also feel can tie into the idea of superiority to convey his inflated ego.

Orange & Red – The Eastern Pope

This one I thought I would change up a little – We’ve taken on the colour scheme of eastern spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. I really like how the orange and red work together.




Lord Claude Character Sheets


Here are some rough character sheets I developed over the weekend. Despite not really  being adept with the format, I drew these digitally with a graphics tablet on photoshop. I struggled initially because my style really doesn’t suit a smooth paint brush tool and I couldn’t sketch anything out like I wanted it. But before giving up, I discovered the pencil tool and found I could pretty well sketch like I could on paper but without the mess.

These sheets are very rough but they improve from the turnaround I did first to the poses I did last, so I think I’ll get the hang of it in the end. The final character sheets will hopefully be nice and clean. But for now, I’m happy with these sketches.


Week 5 Summary

This week started with us moddeling our characters in Plastercine to get to know them in 3 dimensions and really get to know their shape. This was a valuable exercise that prepared me for making an initial character turnaround sheet, something that I’ve never been good at at the past, so it was good to have a physical reference.

Linsey’s lecture on character bodylanguage came in very handy for me as it was the most relivant thing we’ve explored regarding my chosen character, Lady Eboshi. Her character is very subtle and she doens’t do a whole lot of moving but a lot is conveyed through her body language and expression. I still haven’t begun a draft essay, but I plan to have a start by next Tuesday. I need to catch up on the research side of things.

Being introduced to TV Paint has introduced me to a whole other technique of computer animation. Begining to learn the software has given me a lot of inspiration for the posibilities of what I can produce. I look forward to using it more in the future.

Sarahs talk on ‘acting for animators’ was another great session that’s reminded me of all the basics of GCSE drama with Stanislavski and Laban. I can see how thinking about the wants, needs and goals of my character can help me develop my animations by giving them context and giving the character purpose.

Princess Mononoke: Post Viewing Analysis

The overriding theme I got from watching Princess Mononoke today was the blurred lines between good and evil and not just through the character of Lady Eboshi; A good portion of the cast have dubious morals; The wolves and their vicious blood lust for the humans, Jiko and his manipulative endeavour for the head of the forest spirit, the Boar tribe and their blinding hatred and pride, lady Eboshi and her belligerent industrialization and unforgiving progress. There’s a good deal of seemingly terrible characters in this film, but the badge for the antagonist seems to go to Eboshi.

From the beginning, Lady Eboshi and Iron Town are painted as a dark force. The wise woman in Ashitaka’s village professes that “There’s evil at work far in the west” and our introduction to Eboshi and her people is very cold, stark scene; Eboshi, dressed in black and crimson, is overseeing her men driving a convoy of over-loaded cattle through the splintered remains of a forest on a rocky cliffside in the pouring rain. When the wolves attack the convoy, we see that Eboshi is smirking as they are attacked by wolves, even as her people are thrown off the cliff by the chaos. She relishes the fight and gives us grounds to call her blood-thirsty.

But looking at this less superficially, I can see a very different painting. Eboshi is a devoted leader, who wont see her people embark on a deadly journey for the sake of her own progress without joining and protecting them with her own two hands – even if it means risking her own life. It’s bold and noble move for her to take and something she wouldn’t do if she didn’t have any respect for her people.

However, it’s undeniable that the filmakers intention is to serve her to the audience as an antagonist. Most obviously her outfit and colour scheme fit the bill; She sports a dark blue cloak over a deep red robe. She quite often tops it all off with a red hat as well. Blue conitates calmness and stability while red gives off blood, war, power and strength. This is quite fitting for her character as on the face of things she is particularly calm and stable person but on the inside, she is terifically vicious and powerful.



Character Research: Week 5

Movement is crucial to making us believe something is alive.

Movement should tell you a lot about a character, so what can I tell about Lady Eboshi by thew way she moves?

  • The first scene we meet her, she is standing upright, relatively still amongst a lot of chaos, overseeing her people.
  • She holds her ground, unflinching as a giant wolf mauls its way through her men towards her, timing a shot perfectly to fire at point-blank. Her movements are calculated and sure.
  • This contrasted with her men fleeing and being dragged by spooked cattle.

She is fearless, determined and decisive.

  • Her next appearance is brief and again, her movements are sparing.
  • She stands elevated above the characters she’s speaking to.
  • She never turns her body, only her head to face them. She raises her chin and turns her head away before swiftly walking off. Ashitaka is left in awe.

This reminds me of the scene we first see the Forest Spirit. The spirit walks across the frame in between some trees before pausing to turn its head to face Ashitaka before promptly walking off. There is the same sense of power with each of these characters.

She’s someone who doesn’t need to move a whole lot to tell who she is. Her lack of movement and body language tell us all we need to know.

Her facial expression is interesting as she seems to have a petetual scheming smirk on her face, be it in polite conversation, in a fight for her life or just after having her arm bitten off. This constant subtle grin gives the viewer the impression that she’s one step ahead of the game – which is more or less where she is more or less over the span of the entire film.