Specialisation Project: Research Blog Post

Hello everyone! I should have done this several weeks ago, but better late than never, right? Oh well, onto what I need to do.

An Indroduction to My Project

My specialisation project is focusing on improving my 2D animations, and to do this, I have decided to do many animation tests, and hopefully make at least one smooth animation loop, but also start animating more than just stick figures with basic attachments.

My before I started this project, my animations looked like this:

It’s blocky, and very simple, and there aren’t many attachments, like hair, clothes etc, and what attachments do exist are me guessing how they move and have no real research behind them. They are also very stiff.

By the end of this project I hope that my animations look something closer to this:

While chunky, it is spaced out really well. One of my favourite artists on DeviantArt is Aileen-Rose, who made the video, occassionally does a live stream, where we can ask her questions about her work. She also takes the time to respond to comments on her art and on her profile. The timing of this animation is great, and the expressions on the characters faces really emphasize the emotions and complement what is happening.

To reach these goals I needed to go back to the animation basics that I learnt back in my second trimester, and use the excercises that I was given then and work on my timing, my smooth in and smooth out, as well as my follow through. I also needed to research facial animation, and more to do with follow through. I also wished to start looking into lip sync and hair animation.

Ideas and Reference

The ideas that had at the start of this specialisation project were very ambitious and it was soon discouraged by my lecturer, who encouraged me to do something that would have been more obtainable. However, though I did listen to my lecturer, I shall share my original idea here.

My first idea was to try and animate a short scene from a book that has never been turned into a movie or tv series etc. And the book, well, books, that I turned my attention to for this were the “Black Magician Trilogy” by Trudi Canavan.

Black Magician Trilogy covers

I thought it would have been interesting to try, so I collected a few reference images to add to my pitch, as well as draw my own short concept.

BMT Ref Ideas

Black Magican Trilogy_The Novice_Arena Fight

However, with that idea being pushed aside, I had to find new ideas for my new project. So I found all the animation exercises that were given to me back in my second trimester and looked though those to see what I could attempt again, I also came up with a few new ideas that I could make.

exercisesSC

Ideas that I came up with were a small things like testing cloth animation, hair animation, and animating something from an old script that I wrote in Grade 10. I also wanted to test facial animation.

So I looked up reference for this. Here’s a few of them, so that I don’t fill up a scroll bar of images.

Workflow

All the artists that I have seen on DeviantArt have used the same workflow for their art, and I believe that I can convert that workflow from digital still images into animation. The artists that I have watched and asked will often draw the rough sketch, sometimes this is on paper, then sketch over that in a paint or photo manipulation program, such as PaintTool Sai or Adobe Photoshop. After they finish the sketch, if it is a commission for someone, then ocasionally send the sketch to their customer and ask their opinion. If the customer wants changes then the artist will do another sketch, then ask again, if not then they do the line art. I have seen some artists in their live streams colour the background before completing the line art. After the line art is finished then they will add the colour, then shading. Speedpaints on YouTube show this workflow well.

I use this workflow with my own images already, so I feel comfortable using it. I have improved on my workflow over the years by asking artists questions, watching speedpaints like the video above, and watching live streams where I can type questions and get them answered right away. Now I just have to translate it to work for animation. I believe it would look something like this:

– Block-out animation
– Rough animation
– Second rough animation
– Line-art animation
– Colour added
– Shading added

I do not think I will be able to complete the whole workflow, just the first few steps, during this project, but just as I did with my art workflow, I shall continue to improve upon my animation workflow.

Practices and Techniques

As suggested by my lecturer, I picked up “The Animator’s Survival Kit” by Richard Williams, and it has been my bible for animation for the past weeks. It has many tips and tricks in it that I have looked at and tried to follow, and others that haven’t really stuck yet. I’m sorry Mr. Williams, but I’m afraid that I am unable to work in the dead silence that plagues my house sometimes. I need that music, even if the volume is only at 4%.

This book shows numerous ways to do one movement in animation, such as three catagories of sneaks, a recipe to a walk animation, and the different key poses in a run animation. There is also four pages of the same two frames of animation with different breakdown poses inbetween to change the way the expression is interpreted.

One of the most useful pieces of information that I found in this book were the pages on flexibility. “A great way to get flexibility is WHERE we’re going to place the BREAKDOWN drawing.” (Williams, 2009) These pages include the four pages of the same two faces with different breakdowns. The journey from the face going from one expression to another is all dependant on what emotion the animator wishes to convey. Such as making the mouth flat and bringing it up closer to the nose is a gulp, showing fear or aprehension, or making the smile larger and turning the head up slightly before going to the sad expression would be a show of false confidence. “This ‘simple overlap’ gives us action WITHIN an action. More ‘change’ – more life.” (Williams, 2009)

Another page that helped was the page with the breakdown of the run cycle. It helped me block out my own run cycle, though it isn’t perfect yet, and it has shown me the positions that I needed to draw for my animation.

Run Cycle Test

I probably need to colour the arms to make their movement clearer.

This book has also helped my with my “Mr Amazing Invinci-Ball” skit.

Mr Amazing Inviciball

Though it has no squash and stretch on it yet, it works in the stage that it is in now. I will get the squash and stretch finished on this one before my next blog post.

“The Animator’s Survival Kit” has been very useful to me so far, and I’m glad I was able to borrow it from SAE’s library.

Another source of information that I used for this project was the old lessons back from my second trimester at SAE, going back over all the principles of animation. It was very useful going back over the basics again. I don’t know how to reference the lessons, but I can reference the the YouTube playlist that each lesson was focused on.

The “12 Principles of Animation” video series by Alan Becker is a very good series to watch if you want to understand these principles quickly. The videos are only a few minutes long, but explain the topic well and get the point across easily.

This has been a very long blog post, perhaps not my longest, but still long. I hope I haven’t killed your interest. I will post my last two blog posts for this trimester tomorrow. I’m sorry that this is so late and so long, this blog was meant to be in two parts, but I chose to place both parts in one post due to it being so late. So I thank-you for reading this long post, and I’ll see you all tomorrow.

~Icetail~

Reference
 – Aileen-Rose. (2017). Survive the Shadows – Welcome to the Shadows Rough Animation. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p96PcnvFYe0
Aileen-Rose on DeviantArt. (2017). DeviantArt. https://aileen-rose.deviantart.com/
GIPHY Studios Originals GIF – Find & Share on GIPHY. (2017). GIPHY. https://giphy.com/gifs/studiosoriginals-3o7TKoHNJTWWLgljYQ
Scream. (2017). DeviantArt. https://fantasyheart.deviantart.com/art/Scream-26675995
– WalkingMelonsAAA. (2017). Ultimate Undertale Speedpaint – (Full compilation) True Pacifist ((special info in description)). YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WTkeNGtfYw
– Williams, R. (2009). The animator’s survival kit. London: Faber and Faber.
– Windy hair animation. (2017). DeviantArt. https://watchtehtail.deviantart.com/art/Windy-hair-animation-408051019

Meet the Team Project: Post-Mortem

(The video shall be embedded into this post as soon as I can get it here.)

Hey to my readers! This blog post is to recount everything and analyse how well my group’s Samurai Jack Meet the Team Project ran. In this post I must do two things; reflect on my team and how well we worked together, and reflect on the roles in the animation process. As such I will appropriately title the sections of this blog post. Thanks all for sticking with me this trimester!

Part 1

Reflect on how you (and your team) have performed with regards to behaviour, collaboration and the major events/issues that occurred during the project.

To start off with, I shall note important events and/or issues in the project. The first one that I believe I can identify, was at the beginning during our project planning. We were discussing the risks that could affect our project, and I had filled in solutions for all the risks that I had identified, having done a bit of research to find these strategies to minimalise the affect of these problems, however I was told that I should have asked before changing anything on the document because confirmation hadn’t been given on it. This small conflict was caused by lack of communication on both our parts, where I wasn’t aware that we were waiting on confirmation, because it had never been mentioned before, and I should have told the team that I was updating the project plan document.

The next issue that arose was during the design process when we were deciding what kind of characters we would be making for this project. Before this project began, I knew nothing about Samurai Jack, where as my teammates did. They had experience with the world that had been selected, where I had to catch up. Unfortunatly the only videos I could find were short segments from from various episodes. There were the few clips that my teammates sent me to watch as well. They gave me an idea on the diversity of the characters at lest. With much trial and error I was able to create a character that my teammates and I could work with. The character I created however didn’t have a nice backstory like my teammates had given their characters. I should have asked my teammates for assistance for a better story to have come out of my character.

One final issue that is sitting at the forefront of my mind is ongoing currently, and that is the lack of informed updates. What communication we had has now almost completely died, and the inquires as to progress or looking for assets have come up empty. We do not seem to have planned out our risks well enough, or perhaps we have lost motivation towards the end of trimester as the project drags out. We underestimated how much time we had left to do things, and how much personal life and other commitments would push us back, nor did we properly plan around this. We could have discussed this potential risks in more depth to have avoided this problem. We could have also made sure that our chat didn’t die out in the first place, to keep a constant feed of information and updates.

Our project plan documents weren’t too effective, when we completed it we didn’t really look at them after we had finished. Our Kanbanchi board wasn’t used effectively either until later in the project when we finally worked out how to use the program properly. While we didn’t really look at our project plan documents, we did, however, manage to follow what was written on our Kanbanchi board.We didn’t diverge too much from this plan, but some tasks did get put off and completed later than we had negotiated.

Our communication at the start of the project was very active, we were discussing different ideas, and how to go about doing our project. I believe that our pitches for the project went well. As the project progressed though, periods of silence started to appear, where nothing would be said for a few days. This slowly became almost complete silence, which I noted earlier. The progress on our work seemed to coincide with the decrease in our chat, and less happened to the final product as we communicated less.

Part 2

Reflect on the roles within the animation production process.
On Transferable Skills:

I improved some of my own transferable skills during the course of this project, my ablility to work with others, and perhaps some analytical skills, however, let me be the first to acknowledge that I am quite antisocial and I sometimes find it hard to communicate, and quite often I am quite happy to let others do the talking. This doesn’t mean that I won’t participate however, and I do try my hardest not to remain silent during project work. I do however need to work more on this, become more comfortable with talking with the group, asking for opinions and giving my opinions. To improve on this all I can really do is continually force myself away from my comfort zone, and participate more actively in discussions amongst my peers.

On The Final Deliverable:

In the brief to this post-mortem blog I have been told to comment on the overall “ownership of responsiblities”. I’m not entierly sure what that means, but I assume that it would be discussing how our tasks were divided. With the animating of our Meet the Team video my group agreed that each person would be responsible for animating the shots that held their characters. As I had the least amount of shots to complete, I offered to hold the main Adobe Premiere Pro file and compile all the exported shots in order, ensure that they were the right length and ensure that the audio lined up with what was happening on screen. I enjoyed compiling our shots and adding the audio, I was able to tell my teammates if their shots went over the timing that had originally been planned and I could ask them what they thought the best solution would be, either cutting the end of the shot, speeding up the shot, or moving everything behind the shot back and making the video longer.

 

Well this has been a slightly long post, I’m not sure if I answered everything that I was meant to properly, however if there is anything missing this blog post will be updated soon enough. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog, and I’ll see you all next time.

~Icetail~

Meet the Team Project: Animation Research

In the first week of this trimester at SAE, in my Studio 2 class, we were told that our main assignment was to be a Meet the Team video that was to introduce new characters into am existing franchise. We were split into teams based on whether we had chosen to do 2D or 3D animation, and then we decided on a franchise to create these original characters for. My team elected the cartoon “Samurai Jack” as our franchise.

This blog post has been made to discuss how I am to be going about animating the shots I’ve been assigned, however to do that, I should first show and explain my character.

Samurai Jack MTT character model sheet FIXED

This is my character, she is an ice mage. Of our characters, she actually has the shortest screen time. In the video she will be the apparent villain. And though I have designed four different views, she will only ever be seen from front on.

One of the requirements of the brief is that we rig our characters so the group had to then research 2D rigging, or puppet animation. That required to break my character a bit, so that she could be rigged. Here is her sprite model sheet.

Samurai Jack MTT ice mage sprite sheet

Now she can be rigged. Currently, she is rigged in accordance to Robin Fuller’s video on puppet rigging, using the second technique mentioned; parenting.

It works for me, and is easy enough to use, and makes the most sense. The set up is easy to. At least, in my opinion, it is so. It does everything I need it to do for this animation. It most likely wouldn’t be the technique I would use if I had more scenes to do with my character, or if I needed to animate some more complex movements, however, and there are more efficient ways of setting up a 2D character rig. Like the Duik tool add on for Adobe After Effects, which contains many advanced tools to make for easy animating.

However, for this project, I shall just stick with my parent rigging, where I have attached all the pieces of my ice mage, in a hierachy, starting from the torso, working outwards to her hands.

Here we have some of my reference images of my own hand in the position that I was drawing my casting hand in. Twenty photos and two videos got me the movement and poses that I needed, to have the ice mage casing magic. I can’t embed my own video’s to my blog post however, so I can’t show you the video reference.

Another piece of reference I used, was Khadgar, from Warcraft, in the Warcraft movie, when the main characters have their first altercation with the Orcs.

khadgar-as-seen-in-the-warcraft-movie

Now that’s magic. It is a good example of the hand movements in casting, although with magic, it’s hard to come up with an exact casting stance, since it would rely on the character’s personality and the situation that which they are in.

And now that all of that has been adressed, I’d like to leave off here by sharing some of my thumbnails for a few of my shots that I will be animating. The order is up down, left to right.

MTT Thumbs

I didn’t feel like drawing the mage again, so I took her model sheet and reconstructed her in each frame. With the arrows, I think I’m going to have to discover a better way of representing the movement through the air.

Well that’s all I have to say on this. Thanks for reading! And I’ll see you all in my next post!

~Icetail~

Reference
Blackburn R. FrostieHeart on DeviantArt. DeviantArt. 2015. Available at: http://frostieheart.deviantart.com/
Duik – Rainbox. Rainboxprodcoop. Available at: https://rainboxprod.coop/en/tools/duik/
Fuller R. After Effects puppet rigging tutorial. YouTube. 2013. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsuOXXEo9qI 
Jones D. Warcraft. Universal Studios, Blizzard Entertainment, Atlas Entertainment, Legendary Entertainment; 2016

ANI211 – Cross-Discipline Project Post-Mortem

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0ByPaqkr58dyTOU9zUldKMHB2S3M

In that link above, is a video with royalty free sound effects and the Papyrus battle theme called “Bonetrousle” (belongs to Toby Fox), added to my obstacle course animation. The sound effects were meant to be placeholder sounds, that would be replaced when the audio students whom I had talked to got back to me with the sound effects that I had requested.

Unfortunately, one of the audio students was unable to help me, thankfully he emailed me, telling me that he couldn’t. The other audio student emailed me, telling me that she would have the sounds completed in a week. For reasons that I do not know however, I did not get the sounds. When I sent another email, I received the reply that their week had been pretty full and that the would see what they could do over the weekend.

I did not end up receiving the audio I requested, and find myself at a loss at how to proceed in this blog post, however, I think I should just go with what I stated in my presentation in class yesterday.

From this experience, I learnt a few things.

First, I need to negotiate clear due dates for what I need, and when asked to make assets in future I should ask for clear due dates as well.

Secondly, I need to get onto cross discipline work earlier, so that if something falls through, I still have time to find more cross discipline work to do.

And lastly, I need to come up with a better way of communicating with the students I am working with, for this time round, emails did not seem to work.

I wish I could add more to this blog post, but I’m afraid that since I failed to receive assets then I don’t have anything more to say. This is unfortunate, and I hope that I can do better next trimester.

~Icetail~

CIU211 – Self-Refection of Creative Project

The following is a critical self-reflection of my creative project in the module CIU211 in my Animation Bachelor’s Degree. I am not criticizing the work of my teammates of this project, and should they be mentioned, it is only to add to the reflection of the project and choices I made during it.

poster_ciu_by_frostieheart-db7djm9

The major project in CIU211 was to propose, and then create, a piece of media, that would then be shared online. The topic of this piece of media had to be related to one of the weekly topics in class, and we could chose any form of media to present it.

I proposed a poster, challenging stereotypes and self-image, having read the lecture on mainstream media. My teammates liked the idea, and we began writing out the proposal for this task. When it was first submitted, our lecturer told us that the plan was vague and needed to be fleshed out, with facts, not just ideas. I had trouble finding the information that I was told I needed from scholarly websites and other reliable sources, I simply had no idea what to search for. My lecturer did however send useful texts that helped a lot.

When it came to creating the actual project, I, as the one who originally proposed the idea, became the project lead of sorts, and I delegated jobs. One of my teammates offered to make the poster, and so I gave her that job whilst myself and our other team member would do whatever other research was needed as well as find images to be placed in our poster. On paper, this was a well thought out plan, however this didn’t work in practice.

I, and I’ve been told that my teammates as well, prioritized Studio 1 (ANI210) over CIU. The studio unit was the bigger one, where there was teammates relying on me for assets, lecturers reminding us of our learning outcomes that we needed to have completed, and the emphasis on doing our mini-specialization projects. As a consequence, there wasn’t as much effort being put into the poster, it had been pushed to the side for assessment in another class. Because of lack of effort, the poster was not as good as it most definitely could have been.

In the last lesson of trimester, the class presented all the projects made, and we all marked each others works. Common comments on this poster were about the lines being too thick, the text not being necessary, the subcultures that we were trying to show not being clear enough. And to this, I completely agree, the lines were too thick, we, my group and I, acknowledged this when it was first posted into our slack channel, but my teammate who was making it said that she couldn’t fix it. I also agree that we probably didn’t need the text there, and it covered up a fair chunk of the image that could have been used as more of the image to help in bringing forth the point. And yes, I agree that the subcultures, and subsequently our main idea, were too hard to make out, there should have been more diversity and difference in each image that was placed in the broken mirror.

One idea suggested in that last class was to create a series of images to help convey our message better. This idea intrigued me, and I believe that it is a good idea, and if we had of had the time, we could have created a series of posters, a set promoting the question of “who do you think you are?” instead of just the single image.

In future I shall try not to present forward half-formed ideas and try to have a more solid idea to work from, or help someone else with their idea and leave my half formed ideas for a later date, at which time they would be better developed.

This ends my critical reflection of my creative project this trimester in CIU211. I hope I didn’t bore you all with this.

~Icetail~

http://frostieheart.deviantart.com/art/Who-Do-You-Think-You-Are-677517201
Also here: http://missjiav.deviantart.com/art/Identity-677532164

ANI210 – Aftermath Post-Mortem

For the whole trimester, my teammates and I have been working on our Aftermath project. The brief for this project asked us to create a game environment in Unreal Engine that showed the aftermath of some event. My team chose to create the aftermath of a bar brawl (come on guys! What’s wrong with the aftermath of an office Nerf war?) set in the Wild West.

Plans & Pitches

First; let me show you my concepts.

thumbnails

Wow, it has been so long since I looked at these images, it’s almost jarring to see. These images were born from much research into Wild Western saloons. As you can see, I was quite bad at perspective at certain angles, but I do like to believe that my perspective skills have improved.

The research process felt a little chaotic, as if we were just collecting images without actually knowing if they fit with the style and time period we were going for. But we managed to figure out the style we wanted for our saloon, and our group leader told us the year that we were looking for and we were able to start piecing together our style guide.

We wanted – note; wanted – to create and texture our assets in an Overwatch style so we got a whole lot of images of the Overwatch map ‘Hollywood’. (For those who don’t know; Overwatch is a game made by Blizzard Entertainment.) This map has wild western buildings that we could use as reference, and we grabbed images of other Overwatch maps to get a feel of the style.

With the rest of the images on our style guide/mood board, we collected images of the interior of saloons from the time period and other small props that lay around the saloon, such as bottles, barrels, spitoons, wanted posters etc. From these we could keep concepting and finish pre-production.

We typed up a project plan we continued to draw concepts and/or started modelling. However during our project, we never looked at the project plan, it just sat in our Google Drive, not being touched and we progressed. We should have followed this plan closely, perhaps then we would not have handed the environment in so late. Without the project plan, it is most likely safe to compare our progress during the project to a blocked up funnel. We needed better planning for this project and we needed to stick to it.

Creative Work & Processes Used

From there we went onto modelling. One of the main problems faced was backwards compatibility between 3dsMax 2017 and 3dsMax 2016, for when we were modelling at home and at uni. I, personally, kept forgetting to save my files in a format that could be opened in 2016 version of Max, which really impacted how quickly I could finish assets. I also discovered that an asset you create in 2016 doesn’t stay in the 2016 format once you save a new version of the asset in 2017, that caught me up a few times while I was working.

There’s a few of my assets. It was interesting trying to work out how to make the round tables (I made a small and large one), and chairs. It was also interesting trying to work out how to break the crate. I didn’t have many problems with the modelling part of this project, and my favourite asset that I made was this one:

Saloon_model

For some reason, I just really love this model, it’s so amazing! *hem hem* Enough self praise. From modelling come texturing, and well… you’ve seen a few on my models, so I’ll show you some of my texture maps.

I enjoy texturing a lot, and the floor, dartboard and the texture for the saloon sign were some of my best this time around. The yellow texture in the corner there is for some gold bars that were in the environment. The floor was the hardest out of all my textures to make, the dartboard being the second hardest, as I had to determine the length of the floor plank, however, once I had worked that out it was a simple matter of copy and past to get the rest of the planks there.

When everything was textured we then began to place it all together in Unreal Engine, though in all honesty, we should have started this step sooner, while we were modelling and texturing. I had a problem with my broken crate pointed out to me, in which the inside of the crate was invisible due to the way I rendered out the image. Unfortunately I did not know how to fix this until yesterday, when our lecturer showed me the settings that were incorrect, as such, it was not fixed in the environment.

We discussed what triggered events we would add to the environment, and at the beginning of the project we had a lot of triggers, unfortunately, due to us running out of time, and a lack of assets, the only trigger we ended up adding was a proximity trigger on the piano that would begin playing “The Entertainer” by Scott Joplin when the player moved near the piano.

From the screenshots above, you can see that we didn’t end up sticking to our planned style of Overwatch. This is because when we began texturing, some of us tried to stick to the style, whereas others went with a more realistic style, so our textures ended up being mixed matched. However I think our environment turned out alright anyway.

Project Management & Teamwork

Our project was handed in well past its due date. This happened, first, because we overestimated how much work we needed to do to create the environment, and then later, because we all decided to focus more on the next project; our obstacle courses, over finishing our environment.

While working on this, we never realized how close the due date was or how long it would take to put the environment together in Unreal. All the weeks up to the due date were filled with modelling and texturing, and a week to import it into Unreal, then export and upload. Our project was almost too ambitious. We should have noticed the amount of backlog in assets that was happening and cut less important assets from our list.

Another problem was communication and misunderstanding. Using Slack to communicate is both harder and easier than talking face to face. While, yes, it was easier than waiting till we could meet up to discuss the project; over the internet, you lack everything you use to communicate except your words. The group would discuss details in the group chat on Slack, trying to explain their ideas, but since we were unable to gesture to images effectively, these discussions grew more heated. We should have organised to meet up at uni more often to have group meetings so that these details could have been sorted out properly.

Near the time when we were meant to hand in our environment three of us were discussing the possibility of asking out team leader to step down as it was felt that she wasn’t doing her job to the best of her abilities. I had noted that it was far to late to be considering a change in leadership, and while my teammates conceded to my point, it was easy to see that they still wanted to press the point further. Any problems with leadership should have been dealt with in the first weeks of of the project, not talking about it towards the end of it.

But aside from this, I enjoyed working with them, and I am happy with the end result of the project. I hope I have more chance in the future to work with an amazing team.

~Icetail~

Updated: 9th of May, 2017, 11.45am. 1.15pm. 4.12pm

Character Creation: The Design

Vague descriptions be gone with my newest character: Seraphina. She is a dancing elf with many styles of dance in her repertoire. Her design wasn’t easy to nail down but in the end I think I did pretty good.

So meet Seraphina:

Seraphina Ref

This wasn’t just improving my character creation skills, it was also me working on my proportions (what are those?) and hands (I can’t draw hands, I know).

Sera’s design was based around the blood elves of World of Warcraft, the belly dancers of the middle eastern countries, and the Shuvani Romani Kumpania whom I have seen at the Abbey Medieval Festival here in Australia. Her pose is a mix between Celtic river dancing and ballet.

ThumbsWhen I was thumbnailing Sera, I found myself leaning more into the ballet, ballroom and the long flowing skirt style of romani dance. They worked more with what I need for my story. I liked the way the skirts would flare out as well, creating opportunities for great dynamic poses. I played more with skirts than pants in my sketchings as well. Thought in the end I went with the poofy genie style pants. In the sketches you can see below, I also played around with the star design, trying to make it a part of her. I’m not entirely sure if I succeeded in doing so, but I tried hard to make it a part of Sera.

Sketches

A major design reference that I used during this stage was Olivia from Fire Emblem Awakening. I was inspired by Olivia’s outfit, and the way it fits the character perfectly, showing her personality and is a good representation of her role in game.

When I was typing Sera’s backstory, I was trying to think of something that was interesting but not cliché. I tried to get it to a point where I could continue in a story with a good reference to personality, who she is, and what she values. I hope that I did a good job.

Name: Seraphina
Nicknames: Sera, Nina
Stage Name: Starlight Seraph
Age: 18
Occupation: Travelling dancer/Master Dancer

Race: Elf/Álfur
Eye Colour: Cyan
Skin Colour: Golden Brown
Hair Colour: Dark Red
Height: 159cm
Weight: 56 kg

Seraphina grew up surrounded by the dancers and musicians of her father’s travelling group of entertainers. There she learnt and mastered many different styles of dance, her favourite style being Ballet. When her father retired, Sera took over as leader of the group, where she continues her family legacy in front of audiences everywhere.

In Seraphina’s group, your stage name is always given to you by your audience. When performing, she earned the name ‘Starlight Seraph’ from a band of pirates who described her as being as elegant as her namesake, the angels. This name became official when Sera was performing and the same band of pirates called her that, causing the other patrons to start calling her ‘Starlight Seraph’ as well.

Sera is bound by a marriage contract with one of the pirates whom are regular audience members. This contract guarantees the protection of Sera’s travelling group. Sera likes her betrothed, but refuses to show it, often giving her suitor cold glares as he tries increasingly extravagant ways of winning her over.

Seraphina’s sister, Rhapsody, chose music over dance, and often accompanies Sera as a master musician.

In this I also tried to iron out several story points that I will use. Such as Seraphina’s relationships, and who she works for/what she works as.

All up this was a fun experience, and I hope to continue improving my work and that I finally manage to finish a story. I shall do it! I will succeed.

Please leave a comment to tell me what you think! See you all next time!

~Icetail~

Research Blog
Seraphina Ref