July 23, 2008
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I in no way pretend to be an expert in BG layout, but I do now what feats I admire in order to reach my art direction goal for Superficial*. I recently brought up a suggestion on John K’s blog concerning urban environments. He kindly posted an entry of some urban environment but they were too simple for me.
THIS is the type of urban environment I am talking about:
A very generous BG layout artist at Disney TV told me that objects such as poles and corners of rooms should not “grow” out of a characters head. I interpreted the observation as no lines what so ever should exist behind a character but sometimes it can’t be helped. Also, the lack of lines can make a BG really bland due to lack of texture. I noticed the Japanese are masters with getting away line textures. Notice the way Tai pops out nicely against the tiles in the kitchen screen shot above.
Notice how the BG artist left a nice bit of sparse negative space to draw our attention to Tai. My knee jerk reaction is, “Why isn’t there a container garden on that balcony?” But then I remember the point was not interior design here, it all about showing the audience where the character is. Eyes to the left peops.
This is obviously a house in the country. Talk about oxygen central!
More glorious clutter and textures to compete while Tai’s crazy hair:)
There’s a better example of an urban exterior than this one at the end of the first season in the series.
I’m using Digimon because it’s one of the few fairly recent cartoons that really invested in urban BG layout design–that looks authentic. There are so many cartoons that have urban settings where you KNOW the BG designers live in the suburbs. The sparse placement of buildings and lack of urban clutter is a dead give away. The Digimon artists obviously live in Tokyo and grew up much like the characters (in apartments) as opposed to the typical American two car garage lifestyle.
Next, let’s find some ‘Bebop!