(This will only be a quick entry as I’m sick today, but I wanted to get my thoughts down.)

I spent some more time thinking about the area I’d like to study and considering what specific aspect would be useful to go into.

As I laid out in my last post, there are a few aspects of anthropomorphism and its use as a design element and a storytelling device that interest me. Initially I thought about looking at the degree of animal influence on an anthropomorphic character, however upon researching recent animations using such characters, I think this has been explored to an extent already. In particular I watched some behind the scenes videos for Disney’s Zootopia from earlier this year – in it, they cover the ways in which animal behaviour can be used to create and enhance an anthropomorphic character’s animation very succinctly:

So for my focus, I am now considering examining which techniques are key to creating an anthropomorphic character animation. To clarify, which aspect gives it the “character-ness” that differentiates it in the audience’s view from a plain everyday animal – is it facial expression, gestures, the appearance of ‘thinking’ vs simply reacting? I feel eye movement is an important factor as well. Do all these elements need to be present to create the desired impression, or is there one aspect which is more important than the others? Do they need to work in combination to work at all?

I have idea for how to investigate this, such as using a base model and animating these different factors in isolation from each other and observing the effect they create. The particular parts I will look at may need differences in the model, however, e.g. for looking at gestures it may be necessary to have a model with more paw-like hands, and a version with more human–like ones capable of wider expression. I will run these ideas by my tutors shortly.


Header image from:

io9, 2016. One Animal in Zootopia Has More Individual Hairs Than Every Character in Frozen Combined. [Online] Available at: http://io9.gizmodo.com/one-animal-in-zootopia-has-more-individual-hairs-than-e-1761542252. [Accessed 24 November 2016].