Thursday, April 22, 2010

PCSB Stuff 1

The Success Kids were initially created for Polk County Public Schools to illustrate classroom technology integration. In 2008 I was comissioned to create a short animation starring these kids. However, since the original versions (who were called Compass Kids) weren't proprietary, I needed to create entirely new designs. I started with Jake, only because I had the clearest idea for what I wanted him to look like. And I would be providing the voice.

These were the first drawings - done entirely in flash. Chronologically they go from top left, bottom center, and end at top right. The two on the top right were ALMOST what the final version would be.
Here is how he ended up. The final model needed a distinctive 'M' shape at the center of his haircut. This style was scaled back a LOT for the final animation though - mainly due to time constraints, and a lack of staff devoted to the project - (it was just me).

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After Jake I went on to Melanie - the second lead character. Going in an entirely new direction from the original, Melanie was going to be a"Successful" stylization of Alexandria Hart™ from my Allied Worlds universe. Her face was eseentially the same as Happy Friday Face, but with the Alexandria hairstyle. Which is why - in the design phase at least, she was Friday's daughter.

Her shirt was going to have a heart on it but that was dropped in the final animation, simply so I wouldn't have to animate a turn for it. Pretty lazy - but that was Flash MX2004 and shape tweens were unforgiving.

Melanie developed a wandering hairband. In some designs (mostly the promotional ones done for print media before the show) she has it, and in others she has a shine. In the final animation she had neither! Today's Melanie has both.

This image with all three of the kids was done before their final designs were locked in. The third character, Gary, was supposed to be the rich, awkward, and slightly obnoxious friend. When he went to the colorist (, he suddenly became African American - which forced a re-design of the hair. Clothes stayed the same though.
Raihan Duzan, the person who colored these and the person who built the original non-proprietary puppets, had some interesting ideas about the character design. She's the one who gave Jake blonde hair and made Melanie have a distinctly Asian skin colour. I don't know what's up with the black heart though.

These two were done as a backdrop for the program itinerary. Something was off about Jake's legs, so I changed them while I was coloring. People jump to throw a football sometimes right!? These represent the best designs I did for these kids that year.

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The original characters were cardboard cutouts glued together and then held up with popscicle sticks. And no, I'm not making that up. When I wrote that first script (in 2007) I named the teacher Miss Flatley - as an homage to her dimensional discrepancy. When I redesigned her, I wasn't sure what I wanted. Her implied curled hair from the original made her look a little too old when drawn, So I desided to go for a more frizzled look. How did I do that? By making it spiky.

The one in the center with the poofy hair is was my first attempt, the two at the very top were my second and third respectively, note the Sora style hair.

Taking the best of the first designs, I made these. The top left and bottom right were combined to make the final version of this character. When I made her name-tag I named her Tracy. Since now she's... you know... drawn.

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The coach was the hardest character for me to design. I simply could NOT find a design I liked. In the end I went with the simple one, a face inside a hat.

Top middle was the final design, the one with the half shut eyes. The coach is actually the one character who I liked the version in the final animation better than the one in the designs. Partly because since he didn't move that much I was able to make him more complex. I just called him "Coach" for the longest time, when it came time to give him a name, I went with Willis. After Dave Willis!

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