#1 01-20-2009 4:50 pm

michaelcawood
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Devils, Angels & Dating - CG Short

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1289261/DevilsAngelsAndDating_Poster.jpg
     
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1289261/DevilsAngelsAndDating_Asset_Tracker_files/DevilsAngelsAndDating_Asset_Tracker_30623_image001.png?width=700

Main Website
Teaser Trailer Video
WIP Animatic Video   

What is this all about?
I'm making a CG Short Film for the love of it as a hobby on the side of my day job. But it's much more fun and creative if I can find some talented collaborators. So I'm posting this to see if there are any talented souls out there looking to get involved. Ideally I'm looking for people with some experience already, perhaps looking to diversify their skill set and portfolio. Or simply to act as a showcase for talents they know they have but have yet to have the opportunity to do working in a professional environment. You can see how the project is shaping up at my website MichaelCawood.com, but I'm hoping that we can use this forum to help spread the word and show off the highlights as we go along. The target audience is the web surfer, it will look striking enough on almost every frame for most people to want to click on an image of it, while intriguing enough in its subject matter to keep people watching. Obviously it will be fired off to the festival circuit and I'll knock on any other doors that are relevant (TV, Cinema, DVD, etc...) but the internet is our only guaranteed venue.

Who am I?
My name is Michael Cawood. I've been an Animated Filmmaker since 1994, having worked on Animated Films, VFX Films, Commercials, Games and made numerous personal short films in my student days. You can check out my LinkedIn profile and my Filmography to get a flavour of my work. My last student film, Panda Pander picked up a few million viewings on one of the video portals. But having started as a 2D Animator, I've yet to make my own CG short film, and my film making skills have moved on a lot since then. I love making these things and I've done more than my fair share in the past but for the last nine years I've been focused on making other people's projects. I enjoy the process in any capacity who ever it's for, but I felt it was time to get back to making something for myself. I've never stopped writing stories or creating characters over that time but this project is compact enough to actually get made. I have most of the skills necessary myself to make this thing so I have no fear that it can be done. I'm only lacking the modelling and texturing skills to make a character models to my standards, so that's the only minimum requirement of this endeavour.

What do you get out of it?
Not paid:    Don't be fooled. There is almost no market for making money out of this. It's too easy to watch a CG Short on a video portal for free, so why should anyone pay for it? So I'm not offering money. I could tell you that I'll divvy up any proceeds should that happen (and I would), but you really shouldn't be doing this for the cash. Personally I'm quite sure I'll spend more on this than I'll ever get back.

Credit:     I have no particular need to sit back and say I did all of this, so I'm very happy to share the credit, where credit is due. I'll deploy a similar system to the BBC, anyone that contributes over 10% in any given specialist area will be credited, most likely in order of contribution. I'll also try to maintain a list of contributors on my website during production, once they start having something to show.

Portfolio Material:    This isn't a secret project, as it unfolds you are welcome to use whatever you are contributing in your own portfolio to sell yourself to employers, as long as you are specific about what you've done. I'm relying on this to ensure a high quality of product.

Reference:    I'm more than happy to write worthy contributors a good reference. For professionals, I'd heartily recommend adding this project to your LinkedIn profile (only once you actually start working on it) where I can recommend you and employers can verify the legitimacy of it. You can also seek recommendations from other people you've worked with on this project.

Promotion:    I'll happily cross link with strong contributors if they have websites they want people to see.

Contacts:    Anything you do like this is a good way to make contacts in the business. You never know who you'll be working with in the future.

How much of a commitment?
Since I'm assuming people are doing this for their own portfolio, I would expect that most people will want to do a small number of contained parts of the project. If you're an animator, it might be a few handpicked shots. If you're a modeller it might be just a character. If you're a concept artist it may be a handful of sketches. You get the idea. If there is someone out there willing to make the same broad level of commitment as I am, I'd welcome a partner but I'm not foolish enough to expect it. My only request is that whatever you want to get out of this, you at least make a commitment to yourself to complete it and to the best of your abilities, although no-one is going to come and burn down your house if life gets in the way and it's not possible, just try to let me know and pass on what you have if it's reasonable for someone else to finish it for you (although bear in mind most people would rather work on something they can clearly identify as their work).

What's the film about?
Synopsis:
Mr. Cupid, Master Devil and a rather attractive young judge, jury and executioner in the form of Miss Death gather in the 'After Life' War Room to attend to their daily routine of manipulating our lives down on Earth with modern techniques that would put our iPod generation to shame. Each of them reluctantly compelled to play out their role in the game of life in order to maintain the balance. There's an unspoken attraction in the room as their true personalities are revealed to each other. Then someone gets a bright idea and re-purposes their high tech tools in a way that turns the tide of war and flips everything on its head.

At the moment I'm not posting the full script/treatment to avoid direct copy cats, but that may change. I'll reveal it to people that get in touch with me when it's suitable. It's still open to change at this time but it has settled into a decent story already, and it just needs a few talented eyeballs on it to really make it shine. But the goal is to keep it short and manageable.

What do you need to do?
I want to make one thing clear. My standards are quite high, and although I hate to exclude anyone, I'd rather work with people that can prove in some way that they are up to the job so that we don't end up wasting each other's time. So get in touch either on this forum or through my website's contact page and send me a link to your work (no attachments please, unless they're only a few KB). Make sure you've thought through what talents you want to offer and prove to me you're capable (either visually or through a good explanation).

What does the project need?

Concept Artists (Colour Scripts)
3D Animators (Maya 2009, Reel must display a high skill level)
Layout Artists (Maya 2009, Industry experience required)
Animation Supervisor (Maya, Industry experience required)

I'll post other specialist skills as and when it's most appropriate, but at some stage in the project you can expect most animated film making skills to be of use. If you are interested and just want to discuss it please get in touch. If you have any quick questions of interest to everyone please use this forum thread.


Thanks for reading... you'll probably want a rest now! lol

Last edited by michaelcawood (07-29-2011 12:41 am)

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#2 01-20-2009 5:55 pm

PetrP3TR
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Re: Devils, Angels & Dating - CG Short

Michael, a cool concept, getting other animators across all borders to work on your film.

(I've often wondered how my short animations would look if I didn't do all the Voices, Sketches, Editing, Coloring, SFX, Designing, Sound Effects, Music, Directing and Scripting. Oh, I left out Clean Up... no I didn't. I don't do clean up! Something's got to give.)

I'd like to help, even if it's just the cheering section.

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#3 01-20-2009 8:56 pm

michaelcawood
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Re: Devils, Angels & Dating - CG Short

I used to do clean up too! It was a great excuse to re-watch all my animation VHS tapes in the background while I worked.

So PetrP3TR, what colour Pom Pom do you want? The pink ones have been taken. smile

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#4 01-21-2009 2:16 am

theultimatecoin
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Re: Devils, Angels & Dating - CG Short

sounds interesting! this is gonna be a 3d animated film right? how long is the short gonna be?

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#5 01-21-2009 6:18 am

Frankie V
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Re: Devils, Angels & Dating - CG Short

When you get to the part where you need animators Iím in.

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#6 01-21-2009 8:43 am

arien1986
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Re: Devils, Angels & Dating - CG Short

ohh i don't hav the skills you are looking for right now..
would love to animate and share views on the storyboards.
so for the time being.. lol..since the pink ones are taken..  can i get the blue ones?? smile

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#7 01-21-2009 10:11 am

michaelcawood
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Re: Devils, Angels & Dating - CG Short

I'll post updates here; including what skill sets I'm looking for.

In answer to theultimatecoin, it will be 3D, although I have a rich history in mixing 2D with 3D so there may be some compositing trickery to give it a unique look. I'm also hoping to develop some cool effects that will bring the image to life in a new way. One of my overriding principles is always to add a dose of originality, hopefully without re-inventing the wheel though.

Since I've not finished the animatic yet I don't know how long it will be exactly, but I'm estimating around two to four minutes (the current intro is already too long, that will get cut down). There's more than enough material for a 20 minute piece (this is about the 20th complete 'back to the drawing board' re-write of the story) but it's better to have two minutes of gorgeous story and animation than six minutes of unfinished mediocrity. My goal had originally been to make 90 seconds (something to do with all the 90 second adverts I used to make) but I just don't see how I can get this type of story and convincingly convey the complexity of their character in 90 seconds. If it had been a heavy action piece I could have done it, but itís more focused on character personality and performance so it takes a little more screen time.

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#8 01-22-2009 1:21 pm

ngooch
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Re: Devils, Angels & Dating - CG Short

sounds awesome, I'm in!  give me some pom-poms!


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#9 01-22-2009 3:18 pm

Walkey
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Re: Devils, Angels & Dating - CG Short

Yes, if you need an animator I am here too I am interesting by the devil one ;-)


The limits of animation is our imagination :-)

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#10 01-22-2009 8:56 pm

michaelcawood
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Re: Devils, Angels & Dating - CG Short

Thanks to all the people that have shown an interest on here and via email. I'll spread the word when the project gets to the animation stage. Before that though I'd prefer to have a rock solid animatic. Then there will be some Previs that needs doing. Itís not very glamorous so I suspect Iíll be doing that myself but if there are any animators out there with a strong eye for cinematography, give me a shout.

Master Devil and Mr. Cupid are both characters I'm fairly happy with as far as their designs are concerned. They just need some more pencil mileage to show that they can pull off everything I have in mind for their performances. Miss Death, I'm hoping to spend some time re-working though, as her role in the story has evolved since this design was done. Sheíll probably have closer proportions to the Devil with a bigger head and a less hourglass figure.

There is some potential for R&D work as well in both 3D, effects and compositing. Each of the characters has a tapered off bottom half, a bit like a ghost. But the idea is that the effect will be themed to the character. It was to move well, and look the part. I donít expect it to be easy. There are a few tests for it on my website, but if anyone has any ideas about how to do it and wants to have a go thatís a job thatís ready to go.

In the mean time Iím really interested in hearing from artists and animated filmmakers that want to work on the preproduction. Iím very keen to round out the preproduction to a high level before we go into full production. I need some unique props designed; each character has a wand/device/gadget with their own theme. Iím imaging something like a cell phone or Wii controller with a scull on one, Deathís skeletal finger/hand on another, etc... But the biggest thing still to design is the environment. Its set around a heavenly war room table in the void between Life and Heavenís gates, and one end of the table may well be met by a Law Court style Judges bench/throne for Miss Death to sit at. All of this is open to interpretation and new ideas though so Iím very interested in talking to some good concept artists.

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#11 01-22-2009 10:14 pm

MattJ
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Re: Devils, Angels & Dating - CG Short

michaelcawood wrote:

Each of the characters has a tapered off bottom half, a bit like a ghost. But the idea is that the effect will be themed to the character. It was to move well, and look the part. I donít expect it to be easy. There are a few tests for it on my website, but if anyone has any ideas about how to do it and wants to have a go thatís a job thatís ready to go.

Wouldn't mind trying my hand at a couple of walk(float) type cycles on them.  I mainly have free time in the evening and weekends.  Maya user.

Matt -

Last edited by MattJ (01-22-2009 10:14 pm)


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#12 01-23-2009 6:18 pm

michaelcawood
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Re: Devils, Angels & Dating - CG Short

Cycles? It's not something that can be animated yet. It has to be invented from the ground up. I imagine it will require geometry that deforms dynamically as the character moves. The textures, rendering and compositing will have to be very carefully planned in combination with other effects to get the right look. I started some tests. The videos are here:

Direct Link



Direct Link

Last edited by michaelcawood (02-04-2009 9:00 am)

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#13 01-26-2009 3:42 pm

michaelcawood
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Re: Devils, Angels & Dating - CG Short

A revisted character design. I wanted to bring Death's proportions closer to the Devil's in order to make their relationship more convincing. The new design puts her in the middle of Cupid and Devil in age and proportions. Gives her an attitude that makes her feel as though she could fend for herself, whilst still being attractive.

http://www.michaelcawood.com/images/CGShort/Death_Character_Design.jpg

I spent some time figuring out the layout of the room and the positions of the characters relative to each other. This video explores some potential camera angles in a very rough form.

Direct Link



I'd also like to take this opportunity to welcome Ryan Hagen on board. He's making a start with modelling a first generation Devil character ready for some R&D to work out the ghost effect and the hair.

Last edited by michaelcawood (02-04-2009 9:03 am)

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#14 01-26-2009 4:31 pm

RyanHagen
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Re: Devils, Angels & Dating - CG Short

Oh great, the cats out of the bag:)  I'll post some WIP work here soon, and would welcome anyone else that likes to get on things early in the process.  Other than animation, this to me, is where the fun magic happens, developing how things will look and feel.   Michael is a great guy to work with, I hope others jump on board for helping figure out some of the non-animation related trickery:)


Ryan
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"Frustration is the handmaiden of creativity" ~ Chuck Jones

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#15 01-27-2009 6:55 pm

michaelcawood
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Re: Devils, Angels & Dating - CG Short

Iíve updated the animatic. I switched to smaller thumbnails to get it done quicker though; I can make it more detailed later when Iíve edited it down. I cut the food box section from the intro as it was slowing things down and didnít really have a good enough payoff. It was there to help establish the Devilís personality, but Iíll come up with something simpler and let the performance sell it. It also saves making the food box and its contents (I wasnít exactly looking forward to figuring out how to peel a grape in CG!). There are other sections still to be inserted between these sequences, I just wanted to get these done first as they explore most of the biggest space issues. Iíve also used all the props here, so we can figure out how they need to function. The other sequences are more character based.

Direct Link

Last edited by michaelcawood (02-04-2009 9:05 am)

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#16 01-29-2009 6:48 pm

michaelcawood
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Re: Devils, Angels & Dating - CG Short

On todayís animatic update Iíve reworked the intro for Devil and done Deathís mysterious reveal. It also establishes the character personalities and the dynamic of how the characters interact. Some of the drawings are a little bit rough to really tell what their expressions are, but it will be refined later.

Same link video as above.

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#17 01-29-2009 7:26 pm

RyanHagen
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Re: Devils, Angels & Dating - CG Short

Much clearer now.  Keep working it, it will only get better. I've got some things to show you tonight, nothing that will make you go WOW really, but hopefully something to get us going on some R&D stuff.  Nice work Mike!!!!


Ryan
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#18 01-31-2009 8:03 pm

michaelcawood
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Re: Devils, Angels & Dating - CG Short

Thanks Ryan, Iíll email you some feedback on the model in a minute.

Another animatic update. This time most of the essentials are present and thereís a temporary audio track in place. I probably shouldnít have done the audio yet but it was an interesting experiment. Unfortunately I had some technical issues that really made it rather painful to get done (Premiere didnít seem to like speeded up mp3 files with fade offs). It also gives you the illusion that the action scene has finished before it actually has, since the music isnít a perfect fit. But I figured one version of the animatic with sound would give a few people a taste of the mood... although I have to admit, this music is probably a little too big too soon!

Anyway thereís more to refine yet, not least the added twist at the end. Iíve actually managed to skip about 30% of the script overall and keep it relatively logical, but itís suffering from a lack of depth and character setup time that the script has. Itís always possible to add this stuff later, but Iím going to try and see how much I can get away without at first to keep the film short. Iíll layer in what I need in other passes until it feels right.

The same link applies, as before.

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#19 01-31-2009 9:57 pm

michaelcawood
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Re: Devils, Angels & Dating - CG Short

http://michaelcawood.com/CGshort/Devil_Model_Notes_v01.jpg

Hi Ryan, here are some notes for the Devil model so far. To address your question about the hair... can you block in some simple geometry first just to see how the shape sits on the head in 3D? Just spheres and pyramids overlapping to get the volume right first. Iím not sure we need the level of detail you are thinking of, but I could be wrong. This will help with the eyes too as the eyebrows are presently built into the hair line in the design and I want to see if that will work. Actually that's something to test in sketch form first, as well.

Similarly, can you put a simple tapper off volume on the bottom half? This will help us figure out the size and balance of his main features.

I'd rather not start the texturing yet, but you could play with simple gradients and basic colour tones. It would be good to see what tones we'll need overall on the hair, skin and flame. If you put some lights on them too we can figure out what tones read well from a distance against different backgrounds. It's likely his skin tone is a bit dark here. We can always localize lighter tones where we need it but I want to get the broad sweeping colours right for maximum readability.

Great work Ryan, thanks. Have fun with it.

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#20 02-01-2009 2:00 pm

ravigovind
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Re: Devils, Angels & Dating - CG Short

Hi all,

I've been doing some concept artwork for Mike recently, just started off with some experimental sketches for the Devil character, which Ryan has already started modeling. I will be posting more soon, for now you have these two pages. Keep the feedback coming!!

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3532/3243432707_b2e1fd97fd.jpg?v=0
Full size image: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3532/324 … 97fd_b.jpg

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3097/3243432015_79806011b6.jpg?v=0
Full size image: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3097/324 … 11b6_b.jpg


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#21 02-02-2009 12:28 am

ravigovind
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Re: Devils, Angels & Dating - CG Short

Here are more images, still working on the design of the devil character:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3115/3244632003_020bd3531e.jpg
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3102/3245457880_da236609e2.jpg
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3486/3245457022_e64ffcc4c1.jpg
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3493/3244629097_f66b45b47e.jpg

To see the full sized versions go to my flickr album here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/41452451@N00/

Hope you all like these...as usual, please keep feedback coming!!


----
Ravi Kamble Govind
http://www.rvganimation.com
ravi@rvganimation.com

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#22 02-03-2009 2:01 am

ravigovind
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Re: Devils, Angels & Dating - CG Short

Sketches of "Death" this time:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3126/3248594465_69dccf04f8.jpg
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3419/3248593705_644bdbd10b.jpg

See full sized here: www.rvganimation.blogspot.com

Last edited by ravigovind (02-03-2009 2:37 am)


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#23 02-03-2009 12:27 pm

michaelcawood
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Re: Devils, Angels & Dating - CG Short

Hi Ravi, more cool pictures, with some nice touches. But I think the biggest thing thatís missing is the appeal. Death isnít an evil character, and sheís coming across as an evil Goth fem-fatale in these sketches. I like the flowing ghost trail although I figured it would be better to do something with the clothing, since Cupid is more likely to have a Ďcloudyí style ghost trail. The bottom right sketch has something going for it in the way that the cloth wraps around itself. I like the flowing hair but itís a huge technical problem so letís avoid that, I actually abandoned that in earlier drawings. Even without trying to do dynamics, Iíve done hair that flows over the shoulders before and itís a huge pain in the butt! The overall style Iím shooting for is somewhere between modern 2D Disney and Anime Chan, so keep that in mind when you youíre thinking about shapes and proportions, have a look at the Death sketch below. There are no baddies in this film, only personalities that clash and an uncomfortable situation, so all the characters should be appealing. This is a good time to expand on the characterís personalities so that we can get back in character. Ryan and I had a long chat about it the other day, itís a shame you werenít listening in on that too, but Iíll try to cover most of it here.

http://michaelcawood.com/images/Thumbnails/Cupid_Halo_Character_Design.jpg
Cupid
Frustrated and chauvinistic; resentful about the ironic nature of his job.

Cupid was a world weary old man who knows all the tricks. He's spent his youth pursuing ladies then reluctantly fixing them up in order to maintain the balance of the world. So he's missed out on a romance of his own, and he's looking for a partner but the tricks are all he has and he doesn't know anything more than that. There aren't many 1000 year old single angels; most of them have had their breaks in love at some point in their existence. So it's frustrating for him and he's slipped in to a bit of a chauvinistic rut, easily swayed by any perceivable new hope he can get his hands on but rarely using it in a new way. He is well beyond hating his job and wants something on the side to spice his existence up.

Devil is new to this job as heís replacing someone else that had been there for a long time. So Cupid was number three in the room, suddenly heís number two and after so long at the bottom of the pecking order his ego has shot up and heís getting cocky, perhaps even shooting for number one; Death. But deep down he's a lonely soul and isn't very good at hiding it any more, to the point that he's getting a little too friendly with Death. Death can be quite scary at times, so he knows when to stop... most of the time.

Heís the most cunning of the three, and bored of his work heís more than capable of multi-tasking and teasing the other two, or flirting with Death at the same time as coupling people up. In fact the more he can do to avoid paying attention to the work heís doing the better he feels.

http://michaelcawood.com/images/Thumbnails/Devil_Character_Design.jpg
Devil
Cute but reluctantly compelled to do evil.   

Devil is young and new to the afterlife but doesn't exactly fit the mould he's been cast into. He wants to find love but he's way too shy to do anything about it. The trouble is, as cute as he may be, he's a devil, so no-one trusts him and he's become very insular. His job is to balance out Cupid by breaking up the matches he makes, but he's not well suited to it and resists it. He's found satisfaction in the perfection he brings to the small things in his life and almost manages to push his job out of his mind most of the time. But this dual life is beginning to show between the cracks; he twitches and shakes the more he tries to control himself.

Heís smart, but single minded. He can focus on things but he will be easily distracted. Heís gullible and naive and more than a bit uptight. He fancies Death but would never normally do anything about it. Heís intimidated by Cupid, and tries to keep a low profile. He hates himself for the role he is compelled to play out, i.e. breaking up the couples Cupid makes. Heíd much rather do something else but he canít stop himself, itís in his programming... if someone isnít doing it, he feels compelled to fill in the void.

Devil started out as a teenage centre piece for my CG Short Film, when I dropped the Doorman Character. He's now become a cute devil, and he's designed to stand opposite an older Cupid. I didn't want him to have the obvious horns, so I worked his hair into a horn shape instead. Along the way I realised the hair and his face forms a strong heart silhouette which speaks more to his concealed inner personality.

http://www.michaelcawood.com/images/CGShort/Death_Character_Design.jpg
Death
Inadvertently sexy and sympathetic to Devil's plight.

Miss Death is a career girl, judge and executioner, who's been so focused on the task of delivering death that she's not found time for guys that donít live up to her standards. In fact she secretly hates her job now and resists every death she must bring, but can't stop for the sake of her compulsion to maintain the balance; sheís the only one with the bigger picture and knows her role in the cycle. She gets quite upset when she has to deliver death but usually hides it well. She doesn't realise she's hot and hasn't really mastered the art of a feminine allure, thanks in a large part to her job. She's looking for something different in her life, a change that brings balance in both the world below and her heart.

Sheís actually protective of Devil since heís the new guy, and defends him from Cupidís cockiness. Sheís also secretly sympathetic to Devilís pain, but canít betray it for fear of showing weakness. Sheís number one in the room and has to keep order. Sheís very smart, and more than capable of fending off Cupidís advances with dignity and a smile. Sheís not at all insecure. Sheís not much of a fan of Cupid but she knows she canít get rid of him as heís the only one keeping life going, and thatís very important to her.

Death is the newest character to the story and ends up being the love interest for both Cupid and Devil, but she's no damsel in distress and could take them both on if she were to succumb to her instincts. However her resistance to Cupid has distracted her from Master Devil's hidden charms so far and sheís just beginning to fall for him.

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#24 02-05-2009 2:24 pm

RyanHagen
Upright Citizen
Registered: 06-16-2007
Posts: 1068
Karmojo: 48
Moderator

Re: Devils, Angels & Dating - CG Short

Hey Michael, I wanted to drop in and let you know that i"ve been doing some sketching as well.  I'll get them posted as soon as i finish up some things.  I would like to have more conversations with you as well....to discuss style.  If you're open to different approaches, or if you're pretty set on what style you're after.  Talk to you later.


Ryan
Animator
"Frustration is the handmaiden of creativity" ~ Chuck Jones

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#25 02-05-2009 8:49 pm

michaelcawood
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From: Los Angeles
Registered: 10-10-2007
Posts: 592
Karmojo: 60

Re: Devils, Angels & Dating - CG Short

Hey Guys and Gals, there's an image at the bottom of this Reference Page that I thought was an interesting inspiration for the Heavenly setting.

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