Using actual photographs of Royal Guards as a reference, we went ahead and started drawing.
We debated whether or not to include eyes or a mouth, as they would only increase the amount of work we’d have to do. In the end we decided that they were unnecessary, and went with the more simplified design. All the emotion will be portrayed through the character’s moustache and body language.
As the Royal Guards were going to be the most abundant characters in the film, it was critical that we got their design perfect.
To begin, we looked at the concept art and final designs of the main cast of HM Spiffing:
We also looked at the designs of Aardman characters, which we were told were one of the biggest inspirations for the designs of HM Spiffing:
As seen in the examples shown above (“Wallace and Gromit” (1989-) and “Flushed Away” (2006) we can see that Aardman characters generally have large hands and very cylindrical bodies, and we could easily identify the features that inspired the art style of HM Spiffing.
Utilising our new knowledge, we went straight to creating a design for the Royal Guard. The basic body shape would be similar to Captain English, the game’s protagonist, where they are well built with slim legs, but with more emphasis on the height of the character.
As the majority of our cinematic takes place within the walls of the Palace of Westminster, we searched for several photographs of the architecture and interior design of the building.
The deep reds with the white and gold trims were the major colour features that stood out, but the detail of the trimmings, we thought, were going to be very difficult to replicate on Maya. We decided to think of a couple of shots and angles that would let us get away with minimal trim to model.
While researching various companies that had made cinematics for video games I suddenly remembered Blur; they had made the beautiful realistic looking cinematics for games such as The Elder Scrolls Online, Dishonoured 2, Knights of the Fallen Empire: Sacrifice, the “descending into Hell” scene from South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut and most recently provided many of the visual effects to Deadpool (2016).
Their style, though unique, always captures the essence of the original source, whether it be the fantastical landscapes of The Elder Scrolls or the the over-the-top craziness of South Park. We wanted to do as much justice to the source material as we possibly could by adopting the values of Blur and applying them to our project.
As we wanted to add as many references as possible, we looked to some iconic movie moments that would inspire us in terms of cinematography and tone.
Apollo 13 (1995):
The World’s End (2013):