You would think that over the last 15 years or so, there would be plenty of exciting human character designs put out by the Hollywood studios, what with CGI being a new and exciting field and all. When the idea popped into my head yesterday, I realised that we haven’t seen all that many over the years. Granted, making CGI humans has only really been possible over the last 5 years or so, but even then, the examples have been few and far between.
Take a look at this small sampling:
Elastigirl from The Incredibles doesn’t really count because I don’t consider her as a “normal” human character in the same sense as those above.
Compare those charcters to this one, by Andrew Hickinbottom
Woah! Big difference, eh? You can tell this one has real character, and she looks even more French than Colette!
OK, yeah, they’re all female but I can justify it on the grounds that female characters in general have much more intricate designs and distinguishing features and as a result more often than not represent the best designs in a film. I’m not being biased, just my personal opinion.
If you look back over the years at all the cartoons ever made, good character design can do wonders for your film. I can say with certainty, that when I was young, my mother pretty much hit the nail on the head when she opined that no-Disney animated films really did lack the polished design that Disney’s had. Was that the only thing that hurt their chances, probably not, but I bet it didn’t help them either.
Like I said, it’s still early days so I am hopeful that we’ll start to see more and more explorations of the capabilities that CGI can offer in terms of character design and the level of detail the technology can provide.