Tom Oreb- Design Inspiration

Tom Oreb is an animator, writer and character designer/ stylist who worked with Disney from 1940s all the way through to the 1970s. He has worked on projects including; Alice and Wonderland (1951), Sleeping Beauty (1959) and 101 Dalmations (1961).

The work above, however, is not what I am interested in. I looked into the commercial pieces he created- including unused car advertisements for Disney. He creates a lot more of a ‘simplified’ look to the characters- but keeps the characteristic shapes there. I wanted to use this- especially the facial designs on the Minnie and Mickey Mouse for the fox. With the simplified eyes.




Some fox sketches that I did are below, I will feed back to the rest of the group to try and finalise a design.


Layer Textures

One of the main things behind this character is the type of texturing used on him. We want to create a fabric look to the main character, with the likes of wooden shoes, combined with the black outline too. We wanted to keep this outlining- however it is not crucial- so would be nice to experiment with both; the black outline present and then absent.

I looked into how to create the different maps from the textures I found, this is recorded in a different post, but the way to create this look of black line on texture is below.

Through a process of layered shaders, using a layered texture node in Maya, this look can be created.

Character Concept’s for Characters

We wanted to draw out the different characters in the styles that we have talked about previously talked about.

The Fox

We changed the fox to playing a banjo as we thought it co-operated with his style a bit more. Giving into the more ‘home-made’ look, as a mish mosh of different fabrics. I based the shape of the character of a previous drawing Even did- softer and a little more child like. I tried to keep the shape more blocked though- like the original fox.


Even’s redraw of Mr Fox.


The fox I drew up to model.

The Octopus

Cassie’s concepts for a slightly maniacal Octopus. We made him look more like the an actual octopus for style reasons.


The Dinosaur 

The original dinosaur we presented to Jude was a claymation style character, with the mouth and eyes on the one side. I gave Even a few characters to look into for inspiration when modelling him- Aardman’s Purple and Brown being a big influence here.

Aardman’s characters often have separate objects for the different features. (YouTube, 2017).




Even did these really nice sketches exploring the different expressions that we could sculpt to show the different emotions of the dino chap.


Purple & Brown ‘Balloon’ clip. (2017). [online] YouTube. Available at: [Accessed 17 Feb. 2017].

Meeting 2 – Presenting Ideas

So on Friday we met with Jude to present our ideas- originally we were worried we hadn’t selected an overall idea and this would be mentioned, however it wasn’t and we were surprised at how we were acclaimed for our efforts.

Jude liked all our ideas, however, he decided to let us pick which of the ideas to carry out. We left a little more confused than before as we liked many of our ideas and didn’t know how to chose which one to use. We came back to the room and decided to come up with pros and cons for each- based on what we had discussed with Jude today.

The Doors

Pros- can be continuous, don’t have to end and so can be generated as individual gifs for each character, can be individual- a lot of fun personality shown in them.

Cons- Monsters Inc

The Corridor

Pros- fun animation

Cons- rip off of White Stripes Music Video, longer than suggested brief (5 seconds per corridor)

The Walking/ Marching

Pros- challenging to us to recreate several hard animation movements

Cons- complex rigging none of us are confident with, so it may fail.

The Building Blocks

Pros- would look really nice and a clear divide between all the styles meaning it would be easy to see. Also would be a good way to explore character acting and personality.

Cons- bit of an ‘easy’ way out- which I disagree.

We managed to break our ideas down into two separations- the 2D and 3D idents. We decided that the door and the walking animation would look best in 2D and that the letter building and the corridor animation would look best in the 3D style.

We all agreed on the doors as being the animation of choice for our 2D animation, due to Jude’s comments of the doors working continuously- at ten seconds each.

The 3D animation, however, was taking a lot more time to agree on. We put it out to the class and asked for their critics and they agreed that the quick cuts would be a better option to explore.

Our next stop is to explore how the characters are going to look- character design!

‘Mashing’ the Character Styles

As mentioned in our meeting with Jude last week-it was discussed that we should create a variation of character styles in our ident. Why is this, you may ask, given that MashMob has a very vector aesthetic? The answer lies with something Jude said last week- the company’s goal is to bring together artists of all different styles, background and with different ideas- working together to create something awesome and express themselves- MASH-MOB- get it?

Jude preliminary mentioned a ‘stop motion’ look to some characters- something which I would love to create with some of the art provided- especially the dinosaur and octopus. On Monday, we met and narrowed down what we thing each character should look like overall- to give to Jude for feedback on the look. We mixed it up as much as possible- given Mash Mob’s reputation and difference in artwork.

Even commented that the idea from Jude reminded her of the song Nobody’s a Nobody from The Secret Life of Gumball (2016). Sure enough, the group of characters have difference in styles- some low poly, paper, 2D and stop motion.

Skip to the last ten seconds for the effect we talk about. (YouTube, 2017).

Fox- paper decoupage/ combination of textures on the underlying graphic.

We loved the idea of bringing together a lot of different textures in the fox character, but keeping the graphic look from the line art on his face etc almost as if it was stitched onto him. We liked the idea of keeping him flat- as if a kid had created him from excess materials.

Robert said this reminded him of both Yoshi’s Woolly World (2015) and Tonko House’s Dam Keeper (2016). The use of a woolly look and fuzziness adds an unusual look to normal smooth characters we are familiar with.



Yoshi in Yoshi’s Woolly World.


Characters from the Dam Keeper.

We also looked into stop motion films such as My Life as a Zucchini (2016) and The Fantastic Mr Fox (2009). The differentiation in the texture from the skin vs the clothing is one I have always been fascinated with in Stop Motion. I especially like in lower budget films when the fabrics stitching and threads are still ‘real’ sized for humans and not the dolls, so the cloth sits funny.



Characters from Fantastic Mr Fox.



I love the contrast of the knit jumper hear- it really breaks up the textures.

The Chicken/ Hen- home-made puppet.

So, this chicken fast became one of our favourite characters- simply because of the actions it could be animated with. One of our ideas involved the character running in a comic way- legs pushed forward, body bend back to avoid a fall.

This is going to sound like an odd reference, but the Parrot from Spongebob Square Pants (1999 -2017). We wanted to add a kid like element- as if it it was a class project put together. Another reference was the chicken characters from The Muppets (2012).



The Parrot from Spongebob Square Pants (1999-2017).


The chickens as seen in The Muppets.

Cassie also suggested that we look at a advert for Good Mythical Morning Chicken. The chicken here looks like a ‘bad’ model- made up from different feathers and fabrics.

The Gorilla- vector/ layered

We decided to keep the gorilla in the MashMob style as we liked it best here. However, we had a few ideas about bringing it into 3D- the use of thicker layers, further apart give a nice depth of shading.

Jack found this nice example, for our niice board, of my favourite character. Sherlock Holmes.


The use of thicker shapes creating depth here.

Another style we looked as was creating a 3D character but keeping him flat in colouring- using toon shader in C4D or Maya. This is found in a few different clips we found- another from our niice board of a turkey on a treadmill.


I love his little run cycle.

Another example of this was used through Monkey Tennis and their work. This advertisement for a health film gives a nice flat feel to the overall piece. Something we could play with in our gorilla designs.

VM i velfærdsteknologi by Tennis Monkey.

The Dinosaur- we wanted to go with a clay like look to this character, done in 3D, much like many old stop motions shows including Pingu (1986-2006), Morph (1977- 2015) and Wallace and Gromit (1990-2005).


The lines on the character show it is made from clay. (Pingu, 1986-2006).


Smoother shapes but with ‘finger’ marks-showing the characters were once malleable. (Wallace and Gromit, 1990-2005).


Again, the same textures as above. (Morph, 1977-2015).

The Octopus- 3D stylised.

One of the styles we wanted to include was this 3D ‘smooth look’ as seen in many animations nowadays, including the likes of Warner Bros Boss Baby (2017) and Storks (2017).



If you look at the skin textures in the human characters from Storks (2016) you can see this consistent texturing- giving a gentler character.



Again this texturing is shown in Boss Baby. Warner Bro’s animation has really changed its personal style.

We found more emphasis on this style from the likes of Monkey Tennis, a company that I will refer to in a separate post due to the volume of work the we looked at. They have the same smooth look to their texturing- with slight break ups to give a slight rubber look. Below is some of their work.


I love the colours in this- the actual elephant has moving textures on his body. (, 2017).


Polygon man one. (, 2017).


Polygon man two. (, 2017).


Another clay like man- similar to what the octopus may look like. (, 2017).


Again the break up of textures on this model make it feel malleable. (, 2017).

Below are a few other references from our niice board. I really like the cactus- reminds me of the polymer clay I used to use as a kid.


Courtesy of Cecy Meade. (, 2017).



Work from El Grand Chamaco. We really like the gangster models.

Reference (2017). Monkey Tennis Animation. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Feb. 2017]. (2017). Behance. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Feb. 2017].

Coming up with Ideas

Today we met to discuss our ideas and narrow them down- combining and developing them into something better.

We had a lot of different thoughts and inventions for the ident, but below are the few that seemed to stick out the most.

The Corridor

This idea came from a mix of Jack and Even’s ideas- based on the old Cartoon Network Idents (see below). I involves the process of pushing through the different levels- either through doors are travelling through in a corridor sense, giving a shout out to the different styles and characters. In each transition- it would pass a character, interacting in some way.

Watch from 2 minutes onward to see the ident we were inspired by- the actions inside the logo or box. (YouTube,2016).

Robert also commented how this progressional thing remind him of the Xiaolin Showdown opening credits.

The Shiaolin Showdown credits. (YouTube, 2016).

Jack made a mini mock up of the idea- as we originally thought it may be too long to use, but it worked out at roughly 10 seconds- which is good! The idea reminded me of the optical illusion used in the Harry Potter sets- which I saw recently at the Warner Brother’s Studios.


Optical Illusion Hallway.

This progression in set also brought to mind the falling scene in Alice and Wonderland- as if the character is progressing through the mind. The way Alice moves through different colours and artefacts in the rabbit hole could be applied in how we structure our characters- the further away from ‘reality’ the more intense and imaginary the scene is.

Alice falling into Wonderland. (YouTube, 2017).

The Doors

This idea came along in literally ten minutes of conversation today. What started as what we thought a ‘stock idea.’ A white screen with doors on on them – 4 at the top and 3 at the bottom- very much like the Monsters Inc title sequence (see below).

Monsters Inc credits. (YouTube,2016).

Various characters open them/ interact at the same time. The doors then would close on them- reopen to reveal the MashMob logo. However, we had a previous idea from Cassie that included the chicken/hen/rooster laying the egg that would be the squarish-O in the logo. From this we realised we could customise each door to match the character- a nest for the chicken, a porthole for the octopus, a fancy posh decor door for the fox etc.

Following the leader

Another of our ideas was to have a sequence of walking characters together- each ones walk to reflect their personality.

We wanted to incorporate a little gag into this- so therefore had a few plots to follow. The first was a nice one by Robert that we really liked- the first shot showing 4 of the main characters and then panning out to show the characters marching after the giant hen- like duckings following a mother duck.

The intro for Robin Hood (1973).


Inspiration that would make David Attenborough proud.

Even found some gifs that we thought demonstrated the motion of the different characters. The main one being the bouncy of the chicken.


Fredrick Storm- An Inspiration

Fredrick Storm is a character artist and co-owner of Tennis Monkey animation (my most recent fan girling company). He has a gorgeous take on style- creating 2d like characters in a 3D format. Below are some of his works which I think show this best, many of which I love.

The Three Wonky Polygons.

Fredrick’s ‘friends’- Tetragon, Pentagon and Hexagon.




Animation for a track by Simon Larsen. Milkshakes by Fredrick Storm and Sophie Refshauge.

A Doodle

I found this on Storm’s blog and thought it was pretty niffy- the mix between both 2D and 3D is seamlessly integrated to create a believable scene.


The Pink Elephant


I gave him an email to ask if he himself had any inspirations for character design and the likes- here is what he had to say;



First Meeting- Mash Mob

So, today we met with Jude from MashMob for the first time, to discuss our project brief. Jude wants us to create a ident for MashMoob based on the the five main characters used in their logo and website. These characters include; robot, dinosaurs, fox, octopus, M shaped creature.

Above are the characters from MashMob’s website and Facebook.

We are free to carry this out in 3D however it must work as a vector too. We originally thought it would have to be a very flat animation, however, Jude mentioned making one of the characters into a claymation type texturing, which I think would look pretty cool on the monkey.  We also have to make a 2D version of the ident- this can be the same as our already completed ident or one that is totally different. At the end of this, the ident will be converted to SVG -Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is an XML-based vector image format for two-dimensional graphics with support for interactivity and animation. Jude advised us to look at things like MR Men- especially Mr Tickle.


Jude advised us to look at the likes of the Mr Men for inspiration of the vector style (minus the outline).

Another thing that Jude advised us to use was consistent colour schemes, keeping in mind those used on MashMob’s website. He also advised us to keep the basic graphic principles in mind; such as aligned text, the same fonts from the website etc.

Below is the Mash Mob logo- one thing that we have to include.



MashMob’s logos.

Our next meeting (next Thursday) will be to introduce script ideas and a storyboard for our chosen ideas, along with any designs we have in mind.