I thought I’d move onto designing my alien for the next stage a few days ago as I now know the sort of narrative I want to portray. I thought I’d move onto the alien first because I could then get a better idea of what sort of spaceship the alien would drive, it would fit much better if I knew what the alien inside looked like or at least roughly.
The image of the sketches above are some very quick drawings of possible alien shapes, styles, sizes and features. It’s not fully finished but the ones at the bottom are more or less likely what I’m aiming for. There’s still some features I’d like to test out with the look of them and things like that but that can come to a later date with the design.
Whilst I was thinking of these designs though I had made my way down to ceramics and they were great and seemed really interested in doing things especially with FX and animation. Whilst I was down there they, so kindly, gave me some clay to have a go with to try to mold my alien character to get a real good idea of its structure and appearance in a 3D form. I’ve never actually used any clay apart from a short play in foundation so it was pretty bad but I got some great tips and knowledge from ceramics. Who knew there was so much to clay and when and how to mold it being more smoothed or textured. They have an incredible array of tools and materials too.
So this was the first real go with the creation of the alien in clay form but whilst making it I decided that it looks too much like a squid. Something that I didn’t want it to look like, although there was a lot of looking at those weird sea creatures. The square on it’s back was also meant to be a form of jetpack or just a bag but I then decided to add features like those later on and just focus on its actual body structure.
This is where I decided to flatten the alien a bit and bring his body mass lower. It’s not as high and tall but rather stretched out across so that I could fit legs onto it, as originally I was going to have more tentacle like things drop down from its body. I may place some tentacle like things on it on a later date but again I can develop that some more later on. I also tried to make the eyes less at an angle following the body line but more upwards due to the change in appearance to be angry or neutral. With the model I also wanted to make the point that I really wanted to take facial features further within this module so I could look at more detailed facial rigging with eyebrows and gestures. Although the actual alien is a simple design, I really wanted to push the detail with subtle but detailed and effective animation and texturing.
I had bought some wire from a local crafts shop which I wanted to use as supports for when I put the tentacles and other parts on but they turned into small legs. I also was thinking of having these various sized glowing balls orbit the alien but once I placed them onto the model I’m not so sure they’re needed but I do like the idea of having them as ears and a tail which they kind of look like in the images I took.
Whilst I was down there, they also talked to me about a form of putty that one of the ceramics people had actually made with their own ingredient. It’s a really interesting putty and great for animation as it doesn’t actually dry but it is fairly sticky which can be an issue. They can make it in pretty much any colour which is great, so there’s something to keep in mind for definite. I just made the alien in a small version to get a feel for it and thinking I could possibly use it to see how my alien could open up and fall apart, how it would move and such.