Character Design 1

Brief

In a small group, take a series of at least 8 images to demonstrate:

  • The use of characters’ gaze.
  • The use of posture/body language.
  • The use of proxemics.

Body Language

We experimented with a range of poses to create different moods. Images 1 & 2 respectively demonstrate friendly and then formal engaged conversation. The slight increase in distance between characters and squaring them from each other has a marked impact on the overall effect. Image 9 showing the characters standing with arms crossed increases the tension in the image further, while image 10 showing a single subject looking dejected benefits from the composition as well as the body positioning.

Gaze

Changes to the direction of gaze seems subtly nuanced, but we found that they had a more dramatic impact than expected, especially regarding whether the eyes are clearly shown in the finished image. As shown below:

In a moving image, one might expect to see all of these expressions, but analysing the individual images there are some striking differences in the effect: not showing the eyes at all gives an overall moody effect, but showing some of the eye draws focus which is more engaging. Showing the eyes clearly looking at something not pictured however, indicates a more expansive narrative.

Proxemics

The blocking of characters on screen proved quickly to be one of the more complex considerations. Not only does the placement of characters have an impact on the narrative qualities of the image, but the position of the camera changes how the space is presented to an audience. Perspective being the key ingredient in storytelling, it makes sense that this would have an impact in a literal sense as well.

Further Reflections

It can be difficult to quantitatively scrutinize some aspects of a shot independently of others. Character design for instance, is most compelling through action, but how we frame that action can deeply affect the audience response. These images are representative of a growing creative vocabulary which gives me the tools to effectively express more complex ideas. My appreciation for the complex interactions of various elements on screen grows to excitement as the detail of my understanding becomes clearer.

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