Asset Design


Stylistically i had always said i wanted things to look smooth and semi realistic. I made this mood board to try and explain the road i wanted to go down. When i showed this the group still didn’t understand what i meant…


I then turned down the opacity of the images and drew over the top to high light the shapes i was trying to explain. As you can see i have highlight the soft smooth curves and some of the harsh angled edges that contrast with the smoothness of the curved shapes.


I began designing things for the house such as kitchen appliances…


And possible furniture concepts.



Quick Apartment Sketches

I had originally said i wanted the designs to be very smooth and soft shaped, however it took me a little while to realise i went too literal in that sense, and things were looking too feminine. I then looked mens apartments within animation to get inspiration. I decided on this sofa design, it has harsher shapes that previous designs but still has soft look to it within the arms and back of the sofa.




I wanted to make sure this apartment conveyed that a man lived there, i added (perhaps in a sexist manner) things like a games console, open disc cases, cups not on coasters, a plant sitting on top of books etc. I wanted to create a cluttered but warm and lived in look.


Since the living and kitchen area are one big open area, i realised i needed to design it too, i didn’t want to over complicate it with any fancy designs, and didn’t want to look to clean or spotless. I decided it was best to visually show this by adding clutter, such as a pot on the stove, dirty dishes in the sink and on the counter tops.


I also began shading the kitchen image also.


Apartment Layout

As our film is based in an apartment for its entirety, we realised a good apartment design was needed.

I began by looking at animated films based in apartments such as ‘The Secret Life of Pets’ and also looked at films by “Illumination Entertainment’ as we really liked the smooth and contrasting shapes they use within their designs.

Then i realised that there wasn’t much point designing things to go into the apartment until we worked out the shape of the apartment, and what needs to be seen and not seen. I began by sketching out Birds Eye Views of apartment idea’s.

I originally drew this out as i like the idea of an open living/kitchen area, i drew the rest of the apartment only to realise that the film will fully take place only in the living room/kitchen area, so the rest is not needed.


In the end we decided on the design below, only we are changing the bookcase to a computer desk.


Live Action Compositing

In our film we want the Turtle character to watch the TV, we thought it could look nice to have a live action advertisement on the TV, we got the inspiration for this idea from Disney Pixar’s ‘Wall-e‘.


None of the group has done this before, however Nathan says he has a small amount of knowledge and experience with this.

This could be done using Nuke or After Effects, the links below show some tutorials and explanations how this could be done and achieved successfully in our film.

Live Action in Nuke

How to make After Effects Compositing look good.

How To Seamlessly Integrate CG and Live Action

Toon Shader

When making the film we discussed the idea of using Toon Shader, something we have never used before.

What is Toon Shader?

Toon Shader is a form of Cel Shading , it is a type of non-photorealistic rendering designed to make 3D CG appear to be flat by using less shading colour instead of a shade gradient or tints and shades. It is used to mimic the style of ‘cartoons’ or ‘comic books’ to give it a different texture appearance.


As this is something none of our group have ever used before it will be a real learning curve for us all of us.

There is more information about Toon Shader at the links below…

Toon Shader Wiki

Toon Shader in Maya

Maya Toon

Early Apartment Concepts

In the beginning when discussing the look of the house apartment, we said we wanted something clean and glossy but also warm and lived in. Shelley and Niamh looked at some examples as you can see below…


What i like about the image above is the outline work, it reminds me very much of ‘101 Dalmatians‘. I like the cluttered look of all the crockery yet the floor is still very clear and clean.


The two images above are of the same apartment but drawn in slightly different colouring and brightness, although both are lovely i actually prefer the one directly above this text, the rougher line work is something i enjoy.


This image is closer to the style we like in the film mentioned in a previous post “June: Life is better when you share the ride” I enjoy the blunt shapes seen the picture on the wall and the half hazard style of the bring work etc. I plan to use this image as a close reference when designing the apartment.



The two images above are drawings i did earlier in the week before we decided on the stylistic approach. I do still enjoy the style in the top drawing, and plan redesign and develop it in the new style.