HAIR OF A HERO
“Hair can be as frustrating as it can be beautiful.”
For my senior thesis at Ringling College of Art and Design, we were asked to create an emotion-evoking piece. I wanted to get some laughs by telling the story of a monster-slaying hero who is torn between keeping his hair for the adoration of the village people and cutting it for the convenience of his monster slaying.
From the beginning, we knew hair was the most important part of the design so we wanted to contrast it from the rest of the world it lived in. We decided to shape and movement were the best ways to make it stand out. Our shape pallet was sturdy forms vs wavy whisps while. How his hair moved had to stand out too. For most things, we used snappy pose to pose animation while the hair was done using a mixture of straight-ahead cel animation and procedural After Effects animation.
All hair can be beautiful so the most beautiful hair had to have all the colors. Therefore, the pallet was derived from hair colors with greens to contrast them. This resulted in a unique feel for the piece, keeping hair at the center.
Process and Technique Breakdown
We started with rough storyboards that soon turned into color scripts. Those soon became an animatic to guide the timing and pacing of the narrative. We then began roughing out the animation in Photoshop. We composited each scene into After Effects then worked towards finalizing the linework and color. Finally, we gave the hair its colors and polished the composite in After Effects for the final render.
The hair had to look smooth and mesmerizing so a procedural After Effects route was taken. We used turbulent noise with various distorts to give it shape. Then we posterized it and gave it some color.
What's With the Voices?
The villagers needed voices. So, I called up my best friend and we screamed. A lot. At 4:00 AM. On our phones. In quarantine. And it was a lot of fun!