Week 6 Reflection – Finishing the First Sprint, Further Character Silhouettes, and Black Hairstyle Research

26/10/20

GAM701

This morning was spend fixing some last minute bugs and details for the game that Louis encountered, but I was able to remedy this! We the built the game and combined it into a folder with the references for the music being found in the ‘sources’ document. The link to our game can be found here!

Today I also made a plan for the rest of the week.

Plan for Week 6

Transcribed version:

Monday: Finish game, Attend lectures.

Tuesday: GART Work, Play other students’ games.

Wednesday: GART Work.

Thursday: GART Work.

Friday: Attend lectures.

I will need to specify further what ‘GART702’ work defines exactly, but I plan to do this tomorrow.

I attended the lecture, and successfully uploaded the game for peer assessment. I am happy with how the game turned out, although in the end I couldn’t get the main menu screen to show up at the beginning of the game, despite it working before. This is something I would have tried to fix if I had more time, as well as sourcing more music to give the game a bit more depth. I believe having more music and sound effects would really enhance the charm of the game.

In addition, I would also change the perspective of some of the backgrounds and how the character sprites sit on them, as some are quite disorientating.

Example of Fox on Stream background in game.

As shown above, the fox when partnered with his background, appears to be sitting in the river, and be very large for the scene he is in.

To improve this, I would either make sure both the background and sprite lined up by sketching both at the same time, or by adding an indicator that the sprite is purposefully disjointed from the background. For example, in this case, I could have added a little stick underneath each sprite so it looked like they were paper puppets on sticks. This would have matched the appearance of everything looking handmade/traditional, and like a children’s book.

After attending the lecture and submitting everything I decided to rest for the remainder of the day, and start fresh tomorrow!

27/10/20

GAM701

While reflecting on yesterday, I realised that I completely forgot to add in the sprite of Granny so that she would appear! This is a mistake on my behalf, and something I will not be able to fix as the game is already submitted. However, although it is a shame that the art is not displayed in-game, I don’t think it takes away too much from the overall experience. Before submitting, I was rushing with a few hours left before the lecture to fix the bugs. Then, the game stopped working completely and I had to restart the coding process. Thankfully, the second time around was quicker, but it did mean I missed out coding in Granny’s appearance.  I believe this was just a case of last-minute bugs and me rushing to submit on time, which is unfortunate.

Today I also want to assess all the games by my peers that I have been assigned with my flatmate. I am excited to check out everyone’s games as it will be an inspiring experience! It will also give me a bit of a break before I start working again on my GART702 work. I still feel a little burnt out after working so hard over the weekend on the GAM701 game. However, I know after planning what I need to next for GART702 that my motivation will come back. Starting is often the biggest hurdle for me! So, by planning what to do next I am able to break down the tasks more in my mind and then they become more achievable.

GART702

To develop my character further, I have decided to take the particular fairy form outfit forward that uses sheer/iridescent material and iterate upon it further, as Ady suggested I should do before moving onto expressions and further details. By focusing on developing one outfit fully, I am hoping that this will get me used to the workflow and also speed up my production.

To do this, I will look further into the fashion designer ‘Iris Van Herpen’ my peers suggested, and I also plan to continue with the drawing over of the forms of the flower photos I took that I was working on previously. By completing this task, I should generate a lot of interesting forms based on flowers which I can then layer over the figure of my character. After doing this, I can inspect how iridescent and sheer fabric will interact with these forms and produce some interesting results.

In addition to this, once I have created multiple iterations of the fairy outfit, I hope to then move onto working on different wings for the character which will accompany these outfits. I plan to use the flower shapes to create these, and I will make sure to focus on how they look when paired with the different outfits. If necessary, I will also take in the character into Ren’Py to test how she will look in a visual novel context, as I have done for the GART701 game I created recently. This will help me understand how to scale her properly, and also which areas to pay more attention to, eg torso upwards, as these will be the areas of her that are on screen.

While waiting for my flatmate to be available, I decided to continue the drawing over the flowers work. The issue with coming back to this work after a few weeks is that I have forgotten which brushes I used for the line art. However, I decided to just stick with a hard mechanical brush, as the beauty of the lineart does not matter at this stage, since the forms are going to be filled in anyway.

Picture showing the differences in brushes.

I chose this brush because it flows very smoothly, and this means I will be able to make these drawings quickly. The one issue with this brush is that it does not support pen sensitivity very well, but as I said earlier, I will be filling in these drawings most likely, so the line weight does not matter at this stage. To make sure that I was able to draw the petals of particularly delicate flowers without wobbly lines I also increased the smoothing on my brush so it was easier to create smooth lines.

Example of the drawings I did over the flower images I took, demonstrating the smoothness of the lines.

GAM701

My flatmate and I decided to instead do the game assessment task tomorrow, so I continued with the flower drawings. I was unable to finish them today, as I am still tired from the work I have done previously, however, I do plan on finishing them soon.

28/10/20

GAM701

Today I reviewed the games alongside my flatmate, which was a lot of fun to do! It was really interesting to see what my peers have created, and to assess them from the criteria point of view.

While playing my game with my flatmate, however, I did notice further coding errors I had made, such as images showing up in the wrong place. I was sad about this, however, I know that it is a result of me rushing at the end to get it all working with last minute bugs, so I am trying not to be too hard on myself. Overall, they do not take away from the charm of the game, which is the main focus. In future, I would like to manage my time better so that mistakes like this are less likely to happen. I believe that working on a project to a tight deadline has allowed me to speed up my workflow too, so this will aid in avoiding the last minute issue in future.

In addition, I believe that if my team had more members than just two, this issue could have also been avoided, as there would have been more people to check the game for faults and also help with coding. However, for the situation we were in, I am still proud of what was accomplished!

After I submitted the feedback for my peers’ games, I rested.

29/10/20

GART702

Today I decided to focus solely on GART702 work, as all other work had been completed. I have a GAM701 lecture tomorrow, which may provide more work, so I want to make sure I do as much work on my character assignment as I can before this.

I continued working on my flower drawings, but before doing this I made a plan, similar to the plan I made last week relating to iridescent materials.

Flower work

  • Sketch over flowers
  • Layer over silhouettes
  • Fill in to create unique shapes
  • Look further into Iris Van Herpen’s fashion design to influence this
  • Get feedback
  • Work iridescence/sheerness into clothing
  • Use flower drawings create wings
  • Get feedback again
  • In future, use flower drawings to add flower details into the clothing

The reason I am drawing over the flowers, rather than simply just filling them in is that, at a later stage, I can come back and re-use these flower drawings for detailed work, as mentioned above.

While drawing over some leaves from a picture of a tree I took, I encountered a lot of interesting shapes that could translate into wing shapes!

Drawings over tree leaves that I did which reminded me of wings!

This was exciting because after I create the outfit variants, I want to then create wings to go behind them, and this already gives me some ideas of what they could look like!

While I was drawing over a picture of hydrangeas, I thought about how depending on what PH level they are planted in, hydrangeas will bloom a different colour. I have found hydrangeas really interesting and appealing ever since learning about this. This made me think about how different colours can relate to emotions, and about how I can display my characters’ different emotions through this! I think it will be an interesting way to do this, and I would like to develop this further.

Additionally, I could also have the wings do the same thing, in that they also change colour to reflect the character’s mood. I decided to research hydrangea colours further and came across this interesting article which discusses it in more detail. (SCHREIBER, n.d.)

Once I finally finished drawing all the flowers, out of curiosity, I turned on all the layers with the drawings on just to see what it would look like and this was the result.

Flower drawings complete.

I think that this is a really interesting image! It’s interesting how most of the details I liked were towards the center of the photographs, which makes sense as I would have focused on these when taking the photos. Just looking at this, I feel like I can see a figure amongst all the chaos.

Image with figure that I saw in it highlighted.

I highlighted where I can see a face, wings and torso and legs. Of course this was just for fun, and most likely won’t influence much about my character.

References:

SCHREIBER, H., n.d. Curious Chemistry Guides Hydrangea Colors. [online] American Scientist. Available at: <https://www.americanscientist.org/article/curious-chemistry-guides-hydrangea-colors> [Accessed 29 October 2020].

30/10/20

GART702

After attending the lecture in the morning I continued my work on my character. Today, I will be layering the flowers over the body silhouette I have in order to generate interesting forms. Before doing this, I will research further into Iris Van Herpen’s work which will inspire me further. I will also revisit the moodboards I created last week featuring sheer materials, as these had some interesting and exaggerated forms.

After gathering some reference, I definitely agree that his designs fit the direction that I am going with my character. I really like how a lot of his designs seem very natural inspired, floral in places.

To continue the flower work, I organised the drawings from yesterday so that they were all visible on one layer. I then saved this as a PNG and took it into Procreate to layer over the silhouette. I decided to take it into Procreate, because then I could show a speedpaint of the process, as Procreate automatically records this.

This step should be a lot quicker than the last, and I should be able to produce a lot of different results quickly. I completed 10 silhouettes in total. The first five are using solid black only and are more of an exploration of the exaggerated shapes I can create using the flower drawings. These were highly inspired by Iris Van Herpen’s work.

The first five silhouettes I created based on my flower images.

The next five I created paying more attention to the outfit’s design and I used multiple monochromatic shades to show the detail more clearly.

The second batch of silhouettes I created based on my flower images.

I decided to send this off for critique to my friends and course mates to see which direction I should take them in.

After receiving feedback, I plan to iterate on them further. I would also like to incorporate hydrangeas more into the designs, so I may do 5 more silhouettes based on this flower alone, for the reasons I mentioned previously about hydrangeas being linked to emotion.

Here is the feedback I received:

Dad’s feedback:

Bottom of no4 – transparent sleeve and bottom bit of the dress

Top of 3 – rose bits – put those with 4

Shoulder of 2 with 1

Try out wings of 3 with changes to 3&4 and 2&1

Summary of feedback

  • Someone liked 3 – felt it had an ‘Art Nouveau’ feeling to it
  • ‘I really like number 2. I think it has a really nice shape too it and could look really nice with the flowers around the neck’
  • One person said they needed more context as to what the character is meant to be like – this reminded me to keep in mind what my character is like, and I should really focus more on defining her before moving forward. I would like to work on filling out the character bio sheet as suggested by Jenny Harder before making big further progress. This way I can really make clear in my mind what my character is meant to be like, and then base the design around this.
  • ‘The ones that jump out to me the most are 1,2 and 3 :0 but are these fairy ballgowns or normal attire?’
  • ‘Ok so i think numbers 2 and 5 fulfill the feeling the best in my opinion?, however n.2 is slightly less friendly cuz sharp shapes – could be a bit mischievous but number 5 fits it to a t. Number 1 is pretty but feels a bit ice-skate ish (i’m really sorry) and with number 2 the wings don’t read as such but just flowers. Personally i really also like n.4 because that feels very ott and luxurious but a bit more glamorous than your characteristics!’
  • Recommended to look into Barbie Fairytopia, and also the stage costumes of fairies for Midsummer’s Night Dream.
  • ‘the bottom right sticks out to me immediately because it’s big and warm and soft and that makes me feel big and warm and soft and that’s what I need rn LOL. I think also the way that the dress is kinda inverse from the wing silhouette is really nice. I think looking further it also just generally feels like the nicest shapes …? I think there’s probably some small tweaks you could do to the others to get more flow in the designs that would help. like, pulling a teeensy bit more from fabric than flowers so gravity is a lil more there if that makes sense’
  • ‘I personally really like 1 and 4! The designs are really unique and the transparent (tulle?) elements feels very light and delicate! Also the values are of higher key so it brings out the richness of her skin colour better I think :’) also the petal sleeves of the first one is so prettyyy’
  • ‘I like the dress of 2, the skirt of 1 and the wings of 3!

I decided to action this feedback tomorrow!

31/10/20-01/11/20

GART702 Over the weekend I worked more on my character. I tried out the suggestions that my dad gave me, and these are the results.

Iteration of previous silhouettes.

I believe the outfits now flow a lot better and are more visually cohesive, although I do not like the wings and will scrap these.

Feedback on this iteration:

  • ‘I really don’t like the flower wings but that might be a me thing, they are not readable easily and make the silhouette overly busy , i do however like some of the iterations on the dresses!! Especially B got a lovely update, i am sad that c’s flower stole is gone but i am sure the flowers on shoulders can look lovely’
  • ‘ohhh I love how elegant D is’
  • ‘ohhh HEEEECK YEAHHH! i love how you raised the waistline to the chest in A, it now has a cute factor alongside its prettiness’
  • ‘2 costumes look good x wings need to be looked at x The costumes are white -what would they look like if in the bottom grey shade all over? and the new added shoulder bits? The wings maybe they could be made into the membrane frame on to which the transparent translucent wings are attached’

To progress forward, before working on outfits that incorporate hydrangeas into them, I decided to develop a full character sheet for my character to further strengthen the concept of her in my mind. This will help me make quicker decisions when it comes to her design, as I will be able to consult her bio before making any changes to her design to see if they match her characteristics/backstory. I also did some further research into hydrangeas as a plant.

I found out about when hydrangeas bloom. (Grant, 2019)This is useful as I was considering defining my character by a season and having all the flowers correspond to the same season.

Through further research, I found out that the bigleaf hydrangea is the variety of hyrdrangea which changes flower colour depending on soil acidity. (Spengler, 2019)

Additionally, I found out here that hydrangeas are a particularly popular garden shrub in South Africa (Hydrangeas, 2016)

I then moved onto looking a little more into hairstyles, and found quite a few websites that were useful and interesting to me! I wanted to look more in depth into the history behind Black hairstyles in order to respectfully inform my character design decisions.

I found this particularly interesting article that explored some super unique and inspiring hairstyles. (kwekudee, 2012)

An Afro-Colombian hairstyle featured on the article above!

The above image was really inspiring to me, not only because it has flower imagery, but also because it reminded me of the previous work I had done relating to the silhouettes inspired by Iris Van Harpen’s work!

I was inspired to look further into Afro-Colombian hairstyles and found this lovely article which features some hairstyles that are very flower-like! (Beautiful Afro-Colombian Hairstyles, n.d.)

This website included a lot of really good articles, so I looked through quite a few!

I looked a little more into African braiding, but as mentioned earlier, I feel like it does not match with the shape language I want to pursue with my character, so I did not follow this line of research any further. (AFRICAN BRAIDS: 29 AFRICAN-AMERICAN CELEBRITIES SUBLIMATE WITH BRAIDS, n.d.)

From this article, I really loved the style of the double puff and bantu knots! (YEMI ALADE: 12 FANTASTIC HAIRSTYLES OF THE NIGERIAN SINGER, n.d.)

I looked further into Bantu Knots, as shown below, the traditional hairstyle of the Bantu peoples. They are also known as Zulu Knots, with Zulu referring to a member of a South African people. This relates back to my previous findings relating to hydrangea plants, and where they are commonly prominent!

(BANTU KNOTS: 12 BEAUTIFUL BLACK WOMEN IN BANTU HAIRSTYLES, n.d.)

Although I am unsure I want my character to be strictly from one real-world area, as she is a supernatural fairy, I would like to take inspiration from South Africa as I want to realistically create a Black character that is respectful of real-world cultures and heritage.

Because of this, I looked a little further into South African traditional dress, with a particular focus on finding hairstyles, but could not find any that I thought would fit my character. (Collison, 2017)

I decided to do some further into Black hairstyles and their history to ensure I was making an educated and respectful decision when choosing which hairstyles to use for my character. This article was really interesting and in-depth. (Horne, 2018)

In order to find more reference for my drawings, I looked further into double puffs, and found this article also!

(AFRO PUFFS AND DOUBLE BUNS HAIRSTYLES FOR LITTLE BLACK GIRLS, n.d.)

I then moved on to focusing on filling out the character bio, as suggested in Jenny Harder’s ArtStation tutorial ‘Designing Characters with Personality and Expression’.

I decided to start searching for a name for my character. As well as flower symbolism, I am also very interested in different name meanings, and when I am creating a character I like to pay attention to this. Usually, I base a character off the name I give them or try to find a name that fits their personality. Looking at this article, I came across the name Thabisa. I looked up South African names specifically because of my previous research into where hydrangeas are prominent, and also because it relates to her ethnicity.

While working on the character bio I needed to come up with a reason why the kingdom she lives in has fallen, as she is very closely related to nature, I wanted the reason to be to do with habitat destruction, so I looked up the main reasons why this happens. (Habitat destruction, n.d.) I chose to make the reason for this logging, as I felt it related to her beliefs and characteristics that I was writing at the time in this bio.

I was unable to finish the character bio on the weekend, but I did do a lot of interesting further research, and I do have a clearer idea of my character now. I will continue to develop the character bio on Monday and also work further on hairstyles for my character.

References:

Grant, A., 2019. Hydrangea Flowers – When Do Hydrangeas Bloom. [Blog] Gardening Know How, Available at: <https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/shrubs/hydrangea/when-do-hydrangeas-bloom.htm> [Accessed 1 November 2020].

Spengler, T., 2019. Different Types Of Hydrangea – Learn About Common Hydrangea Varieties. [Blog] Gardening Know How, Available at: <https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/shrubs/hydrangea/common-hydrangea-varieties.htm> [Accessed 1 November 2020].

GardenShop, 2016. Hydrangeas. Available at: <https://www.gardenshop.co.za/hydrangeas/#:~:text=Hydrangeas%20are%20amongst%20the%20most,areas%20to%20the%20drier%20hinterland.> [Accessed 1 November 2020].

kwekudee, 2012. HAIRSTYLES IN AFRICAN CULTURE. [Blog] TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE, Available at: <https://kwekudee-tripdownmemorylane.blogspot.com/2012/09/hairstyles-in-african-culture.html> [Accessed 1 November 2020].

Afroculture.net. n.d. Beautiful Afro-Colombian Hairstyles. [online] Available at: <https://afroculture.net/beautiful-afro-colombian-hairstyles/> [Accessed 1 November 2020].

Afroculture.net. n.d. AFRICAN BRAIDS: 29 AFRICAN-AMERICAN CELEBRITIES SUBLIMATE WITH BRAIDS. [online] Available at: <https://afroculture.net/african-braids-29-african-american-celebrities-sublimate-with-braids/> [Accessed 1 November 2020].

Afroculture.net. n.d. BANTU KNOTS: 12 BEAUTIFUL BLACK WOMEN IN BANTU HAIRSTYLES. [online] Available at: <https://afroculture.net/bantu-knots-12-beautiful-black-women-in-bantu-hairstyles/> [Accessed 1 November 2020].

Afroculture.net. n.d. YEMI ALADE: 12 FANTASTIC HAIRSTYLES OF THE NIGERIAN SINGER. [online] Available at: <https://afroculture.net/yemi-alade-12-fantastic-hairstyles-of-the-nigerian-singer/> [Accessed 1 November 2020].

Collison, L., 2017. An Introduction To South African Traditional Dress. [Blog] Culture Trip, Available at: <https://theculturetrip.com/africa/south-africa/articles/an-introduction-to-south-african-traditional-dress/> [Accessed 1 November 2020].

Horne, M., 2018. A Visual History of Iconic Black Hairstyles. [Blog] History, Available at: <https://www.history.com/news/black-hairstyles-visual-history-in-photos> [Accessed 1 November 2020].

Afroculture.net. n.d. AFRO PUFFS AND DOUBLE BUNS HAIRSTYLES FOR LITTLE BLACK GIRLS. [online] Available at: <https://afroculture.net/afro-puffs-and-double-buns-hairstyles-for-little-black-girls/> [Accessed 1 November 2020].

Artstation Learning, 2020. Designing Characters With Personality And Expression. Available at: <https://www.artstation.com/learning/courses/pDK/designing-characters-with-personality-and-expression> [Accessed 8 May 2020].

En.wikipedia.org. n.d. Habitat Destruction. [online] Available at: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habitat_destruction#:~:text=Clearing%20habitats%20for%20agriculture%20is,cause%20of%20species%20extinction%20worldwide.> [Accessed 1 November 2020].

Posts so far:

Week 1 Reflection

Week 2 Reflection

Week 3 Reflection

Week 4 Reflection

Week 5 Reflection

Week 6 Reflection

Week 7 Reflection

Week 8 Reflection

Week 9 Reflection

Week 10 Reflection

Week 11 Reflection

Week 12 Reflection

Posts so far:

Week 1 Reflection

Week 2 Reflection

Week 3 Reflection

Week 4 Reflection

Week 5 Reflection

Week 6 Reflection

Week 7 Reflection

Week 8 Reflection

Week 9 Reflection

Week 10 Reflection

Week 11 Reflection

Week 12 Reflection

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