Cat Learns a[nother] Lesson about Planning.

I figure blogs are all about sharing as you learn - not just posting really pretty finished pieces - so I'm going to share with you all the story of my Meret model. It's a long and twisted tale of poor planning and knocking your head against a wall repeatedly (figuratively, of course..)and it's not over just yet, but I can still share. Here it goes.

Meret was originally intended to be a graceful, neat (tidy) cat - the reason behind him being a cat, in fact, was to contrast the cool, graceful motion of a cat with the clumsy, bouncy movements of the frog. In my current animatic, however, I seem to have forgotten about all of that. On the first day of CA I also decided to make him into a quadruped.. without any planning whatsoever, and I got this awful looking model:

So... it was bad. Then I played with it for awhile, but I still couldn't seem to make it look like any sort of concept I had of Meret:

...and made a lot of different versions of it because I didn't like it:

Then, it suddenly occured to me that there was absolutely no way to make a bipedal cat look graceful... So I decided to change it. I made another, pretty rushed turn around to fix him:

And I'm including this because I think it's funny:

I got the body to a reasonably good point:

But I'm still not happy with the face - SO- Tony showed me this really cool paint-over method. You take a screen grab of your model and just paint on top of it in grays in Photoshop - cleaning up your shapes and whatnot until you like it. Then you pull it into Maya as an imageplane and get to work making your model look like it.

So, the point of this story is to a) keep story in mind. What does your character need to look like in order to best support the story? Without a graceful design, I had destroyed all reason for Meret to even be a cat in the first place. b) Plan well. I could have gotten to the point I'm at a lot faster if I had simply sat down for awhile and drawn out some more variants before going into Maya... which is a lesson I've learned many times before... but I may have to learn a few more times, it seems.

~ Cat

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