Design Chops

My Name is Jorge

Last Wednesday VFS Digital Design Talks lecture series presented an inspiring and informative evening with J.R. Canest and Peter Gikandi.

The first presenter for the ‘Design Chops’ night was VFS alumnus (2009), J.R. Canest (Jorge R. Canedo Estrada), who talked about what it means to be a Motion Designer.

Story, Design, Audio & Animation

First and foremost, Jorge underlined the importance of story in his creative process. For him, it’s not just about putting shapes into motion, its about carefully constructing the symbolism and the meaning behind each element in the motion design. That being said, his approach to motion design is equally experimental, allowing for the discovery of surprising good ideas born out of mistakes.

J.R. Canest

In fact, J.R. Canest says, ‘we don’t make enough crap’ — because it is only by recognizing what is bad, that we can begin to understand how to make it better. His process also recognizes the value of comparing your work to that of others, allowing the influence of their ideas be expressed by in your own voice to transform it.

Jorge with VFS students

Peter Gikandi

The next presenter, Peter Gikandi from Big Park Studiosreturned for another engaging lesson in concept art driven character design.

Peter with slide of character design

Peter offered some good tips for preparing your character design using concept art techniques. Drawing on the example of Kung Fu Panda, he illustrated the benefit of asking the questions:

1. Who is the character?
2. What do they want?
3. What is the conflict?

The answers help provide a basis for defining the character visually:

1. A panda bear, Kung fu fanboy.
2. He wants to be one of the five great Kung fu masters.
3. He is very fat and has no skills.

To illustrate this, Peter engaged the audience by asking for aspects of a character profile. They came up with:

1. A hipster vegetarian lion.
2. Make all lions vegetarians.
3. He is a natural carnivore, he is wasting away from malnutrition.

Peter and hipster vegetarian lion slide

Other details played a critical role in defining the design, but each item, whether it was the ironic T-Shirt, the ratty fur, the natty-dread braided main, or the yoga mat and the bowl of incense in front of him, were all conspiring together to ground the personality profile. A great example of thorough character design — and of collaboration too!

Peter and VFS audience

Thanks again to Jorge and Peter for an inspiring evening!

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