We have been developing the look of this film for a while, going back and fourth with things we like, references, tests, etc etc. We've also spent a lot of time researching into the direction we want to take the fur on Ditto.
I have always drawn her very geometric, which in turn makes this a little complex to design in terms of fur direction, as you don't wanting it feeling like it's all going around in the same direction, it ends up feeling like her face is getting sucked into some kind of vortex.
So I thought would be cool to share some of the references I have been looking at and some of the early tests we have done with Ditto, and it would be awesome to let us know what you think in the comments! :D
I first started looking at Wile E. Coyote in the Reel FX shorts Coyote Falls and Rabid Rider. I love how the fur looks around the edge of his face, the rim light through the fur, gives him a perfect silhouette, but yet you still see the effect of the fur. I then saw the Peanuts first trailer, and looved how they approached Snoopy's tufts of hair on the top of his head. It implies a soft 3D character, but yet it still has that completely geometric 2D feel.
And then most recently I took a peek at the newly released Zootopia stills, as they have had to approach a number of different animals with their different qualities of fur. I was particular interested in these images because they are great examples of approaching the very shortest hairs around the nose area.
Here is a couple of pictures I took of my cats to show their actual fur direction and how the hair should work around the nose in real life.
Here you can see I started to draw over Ditto, to see how the fur direction could work:
Then the next step for me was getting the colour correct, which we are still working on, so we have been using some references of white cats, to see how the hair reacts in light. And you can even see the difference in the groom experience in the next two pictures, especially in the tail.
So this is where we are up to at the moment, I can't wait for it to progress, and I hope you guys like it!
She will have eyes! As you saw in the previous post, we have been experimenting how to handle her facial features.
We are currently awaiting a new rig for Ditto to continue more tests, but it doesn't mean we have stopped analysing and deciding on which direction to take it. Originally, we weren't even going to take the fur route! We looked into textures, or more of a Plasticine look, but I think something draws me into the offset of something very cartoony with a few elements that you wouldn't usually associate with something so geometric. I think this will also contrast nicely with the environment that we intend to go forward with, which I will show in another post.
Let us know what you think in the comments, we'd love to hear from you.