Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Visual Effects Module: Designing The Aliens

I have begun developing the Inhabitants of the spaceship in the short sequence we are to produce. My initial designs were based on elements taken from my moodboard:

The design to the far left reflects the smooth exoskeletal beetles from my moodboard. I feel this particular Alien reflects a smooth metallic 50's science fiction style particularly with the small radio-like antennas. The design central draws influence from the Rhino beetle images I collected. The Horn, jagged edges and spikes connote a more villainous evil being, along with the darkness of the armour and the red lights reflecting a sense of danger. I carried the lights (inspired by the blue present in the Mass Effect husks) over to the more organic design on the left. I had Jeff Goldblum's fleshy mutated character from the movie 'The Fly' in mind, which can also be found on my moodboard. This is where the inspiration for the sinister bulging bug-like eyes came from. You can also see wires weaving in and out of the character's flesh, showcasing this theme of organic meets synthetic.
I also had the idea of inverting the horn from the central design to create an alien that reflects the beak wearing plague doctors of the past. I thought this would also bring over medical connotations, suggesting that the aliens are surgically altering the character:

A criticism with this design would be that the character looks less insect-like. Perhaps if I were to study the anatomy of mosquitoes, the beak could be represented more like a sucker, honing back in on the theme of insects. I also tried to incorporate spikes to suggest an unfriendly alien, whilst keeping the armour more subtle. Also note that I am keeping the anatomy of the alien designs very skeletal and boney. I have kept this in mind based on feedback from the initial critique, where it was brought to light that skeletal insect-like characters would require only rigid joints and little weight painting. Based on my skills in the area of rigging and animating, this should make the process much more manageable.

Moving on from the Plague Doctor design, I wanted to study some possible helmet styles:

The first design elaborates on the Plague Doctor idea with the beak-like extrusion. This design however incorporates straps giving potential to reveal more of the alien's semi-synthetic tissue around the head. The second design in the centre has a similar intention, yet incorporates the large bug-eyes from previous designs, along with a more mosquito inspired sucker beak. I feel this mask makes a transition from bird-like to a design that fits more with the insect theme. With the final helmet I revisited the Rhino-Beetle idea. This design makes for a more complete helmet consuming the whole head. As effective as I feel it is in suggesting an evil being with the harsh jagged silhouette, perhaps it would make the alien look too armoured, more like a soldier than an surgeon. The aliens will be inhabiting their natural comfortable space where their victims have been rendered immobile and threat-less. For this reason I feel the more mask based designs are better suited.

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