© 2018 by Xander Morningstar

BUNKER THE SNOWMAN

Bunker the Snowman was originally just called my "A-Bend-Able" snowman, because I needed to create a character that I could actually bend and learn how to morph using the fundamental principles of animation (stretching, squash, anticipation, staging, slow in/out, etc.). His name didn't change until after the portrait was completed, and his animations are still in development.

Bunker actually is one of several characters created to exemplify these characteristics. The others also show minimalism, depth, texture, and limited design. 

The character is actually being considered to be used as an asset in an interactive form, possibly an upcoming video game title. Bunker possibly will be able to project the snowballs, who will have their own personalities despite their minimal design as an arsenal. Coming soon!

PROCESS WORK

I created this short animation of Bunker to practice his appendage movement, while keeping his body stationary. It's an introduction to actual body movement, and I have learned that literally every aspect of the body moves (including the scarf, carrot nose, and the goofy fez on his head), even if it's as subtle as a centimeter of movement. Keeping something stuck in once place is the opposite of animation, and ultimately not what I want to do. But since this was a gateway piece, I'm happy with it and it shows progress. I hope to only move on from here, and eventually even come back to this with an improved work to compare with. 

The sketches here show the original sketches of Bunker as a character, and then a series of stills that sketch out his movement. This simple sketch is showing several actions that the character needed to be able to visually showcase. More importantly, they show full range of body and accessory movement, which is key in creating a believable / living character. The jumping animation practices one of the key principles of animation, a squash and stretch. As his body hits the ground, it squashes into itself, and when it extends back upwards from the bounce, it stretches!

These are the other characters sketched out (not yet fully realized) that exist to showcase artistic principles.

 

Snowflake Fairy - detailed character who explains the other principles of the cast.

Sled - Inanimate object that has wood textures, metallic textures, and corrosion. 

Snow Angel - Shows depth into snow, creating a 2D to 3D illusion.

Igloo - Inanimate object that has limited mobility, and thus has personified features (ice blocks rotate and move like eyes and eyebrows, the tunnel operates like a mouth)

Snowballs - minimally detailed character meant to showcase simple and complex movements that are simple to understand, such as stacking, compiling, being thrown, etc.

The sketches here show panels of a scene, with Bunker walking down a path, an animation not yet fully realized. There are also emotions shown here that resort to facial movement and how expressions change the character. For example, intense emotions create a fiery expression that actually gives off a mildly melted look to Bunker, whereas tears freeze and stick next to his eyes.

The panel here shows the frames used in leg movement for Bunker's idle stance (as if the character were to be placed in an interactive genre). The stance is meant to show that the character is alive, but it stationary. The legs are moving in and out. Similarly, the arms will gently sway up and down, when completed.