Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Sword in the Stone – Video Analysis

When the knight (Not King Arthur) attempts to remove the sword in the stone he first grabs the top of the sword with one hand and yanks the sword upwards. With his strong action and no movement from the sword the knight’s body judders back then forwards. His face immediately turns to a sudden surprised facial expression in response.

He then places his entire body action into the removal of the sword by placing his body underneath the sword and using an upwards body motion. His entire body tenses and he raises his head to look upwards. Both hands are on the swords handle.

With failure he changes position. He’s face is now all scrunched up as he has both hands on the sword and yanking at it from a side on action repeatedly.

He then changes again to pull the sword up from the stone from a higher position. He appears angry and frustrated at this stage and his friends then enter the scene to help. His head is leaning far back as his entire body weight in lent to one side in an attempt to pull the sword free.

 Video Clip:

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Fork in the Garden – Video Analysis

In this investigation a garden fork has been placed into a garden. A male and female have been asked to act out how they would remove the garden fork, as if they didn’t realise it was stuck in the ground. They have been asked to approach the garden fork as if it were the sword in the stone, after a few attempts the sword will become free from the stone. 

Female Video Analysis

On first approach she inspects the fork. Firstly walking around the fork, and then looking at how it is held into the garden. Her eyes are permanently on the garden fork and her facial expressions are bland.

She then grabs the fork in an attempt to pull the fork out of the ground expecting the fork to be in the ground very loosely. When she pulls on the fork for the first time it is only with one hand. On pulling the fork her nose scrunches up and her eyes close slightly as she puts effort into the pull. Her upper body rises also with the upward motion.

Once she figures out the fork is in the ground very tightly she then re-investigates the positioning of the fork, and then places both hands onto the fork in another attempt to pull the fork free. She places both hands on the fork as in this attempt it is clear she will use more force.  Her facial expressions remain the same as the first but slightly more scrunched up with a strong smile as she puts in all her effort.

She then re-investigates and takes another attempt to pull the fork from the ground. She uses the same motions and facial expressions as before but for a much longer duration. After her third attempt she smiles and gives a slight laugh as the situation it hard to believe.

She then takes her final pull on the fork, her body rises high, and her face scrunches up, but with a smile as she pulls as hard as she can. As the fork becomes free from the ground she stumbles back with laughter and a large smile.

Video Clip:

Male Video Analysis

On first approach the male inspects the garden fork with an intrigued look on his face. He places his hand onto his face and holds his chin. His eyes are permanently on the garden fork as he spends a few seconds thoroughly inspecting the fork before stepping closer to it.

On his first attempt at pulling out the fork she stands behind it with both hands placed on the fork. Like with the female, his faces scrunches up, his upper body rises, but his eyes close as he pulls at the fork. His shoulders also become very broad.

As he realises that the fork is in the ground is extremely tight he steps away, with an exhausted facial expression, blowing out a blast of breath.

He then grabs his breath and steps back up to the fork in another attempt to withdraw the fork from the garden.

In this attempt he quickly inspects the fork and then quickly dives in to take his second attempt to pull the fork free. His facial expressions are just like before but much stronger as he puts in all his effort into the removal of the fork. He pulls so strongly that he rises onto his tiptoes. His smile forms into a teeth grinding look as he realises that the fork is still not coming free from the ground.

With another blow of exhaustion he takes another step back from the fork, with a puzzled look on his face. He then shakes his head before inspecting the fork from a further distance away. Standing back, as if to realise the fork is defeating him.
He then steps forward to take another attempt. His whole body rises as he firmly places both hands onto the top of the fork and he pulls with all his strength. His facial expressions clearly showing that he is using as much force as possible. His face is all scrunched up, his eyes tightly closed and his teeth grinding together with a rich smile.

The duration of his third pull is much longer than the first or second and he then steps back to realise that once again he has been defeated by the fork.  His facial expressions are identical to the second failure.

On his fourth attempt his facial expressions are identical to the third but slightly angrier. He quickly dives in like before and with another blast of energy the fork becomes free. His facial expressions immediately change to a huge pleased smile, his eyes wide open as he laughs with excitement as he withdraws the fork from the ground.

Video Clip:

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Facial Expression Research

Facial Expression Categories:
Sadness and agony
Surprise and Fear
Disgust and Contempt
Sadness and Agony

Sadness often invokes similar feelings to crying. It is rarely performed as an act of voluntary so this makes it difficult to mimic. It can often be easy to identify when a person is faking it. It usually consists of conflicting actions.
Recognising signs of Sadness

·         Corner of lips are often pulled down
·         Cheeks raised, pail colours
·         Possibly dropped jaw (if vocal)
·         Upper eyelids drop
·         Inner corners of eyebrows raised and brought together
·         Eyebrows frown

Unlike sadness it can easily be mimicked. It is often found that anger is combined with sadness. Anger often uses the same facial expressions as sadness but in a different way. The eyes are a sign at who the anger is often being aimed at and colours to the face are more than likely to become very red.

Recognising Anger
·         Jaw tightly clenched
·         If teeth exposed, mouth has rectangular shape
·         Thinning of lips
·         Lower jaw can be forward

Eyes and Cheeks

·         Redness to the cheeks
·         Blood shot eyes
·         Raised upper eyelids
·         Possibly tensed lower eye lids
·         Eyebrows lowered and brought together

Surprise and Fear

Out of all of the emotions fear has been studied more than any other emotion. It is often hard to distinguish surprise and fear as each individual is different. Dependant on the occasion that has caused the fear or suprise it can vary. Surprise is a temporary expression, which often converts into another form of expression. This could be anger, happiness or sadness.

Recognising Surprise and Fear

·         Upper eyelids raised as high as possible
·         Tensed lower eyelids
·         Eyebrows raised and slightly closer together
·         Eyes staring straight ahead

·         Lips stretched horizontally
·         Possibly dropped jaw

Disgust and Contempt

Subtly different from anger and it is rarely seen and often not photographed unlike the other emotions. It is often triggered when an individual has seen something strange, lost a loved one or suffered some form of misfortune.

Recognising Disgust and Contempt

·         Active muscles around the nose
·         Eyes can be relaxed comparatively to anger
·         Can even be limited to one side of the face
·         Feeling of imbalance
·         Lowered Eyebrows
·         Open eyes
·         Straight glare from the eyes
·         Paleness to the face


Happiness is often seen when something good has happened to somebody or they are showing signs of feeling good. Happiness is the most common emotion that is seen on a daily basis. It can show on somebodies face for a long period of time or just for a second.
Recognising Happiness
·         Lips curved upwards
·         Cheeks raised, maybe signs of redness
·         Relaxed muscles around the mouth

·         Eyebrows raised up
·         Brighter eyes
·         Eyes become fixed on something or someone

Facial Exressions and Muscle Movements

In this image the main change in facial movements are those that are close to the centre of the eyebrows and lips. It is here; in these locations were the main muscle movements are to create the anger facial expression. The lips become tighter together and the eyebrows narrow and frown in the centre.
In this image the main changes in facial movements are those that are centred on the nose area. This area of skins becomes much tighter and narrower. The eyes become smaller and the centre of the face becomes scrunched up. More of the lips can be seen. There are more facial movements in this expression when compared to the anger expression.
The main changes in facial expressions, in this image of fear, are the widening of the mouth. The mouth becomes wider but the teeth remain closer together, in a grinding state. The eyes are slightly wider and the centre of the eyebrow area has become tighter and narrower. The nose area and cheek remain relaxed.


This is the facial expression with the most amounts of muscle movements. All areas of the face have had dramatic change in muscle movements. The eyes have become narrower but also the surrounding area has become higher. The area around the mouth has become larger and more outward. Her mouth has increased in size but her teeth still together. When a smile happens it is very common for the surrounding area to tighten and the cheeks to rise. The nose remains in a natural position, little muscle change the but main changes are the mouth and cheeks.


The muscle changes seen in this facial expression can mainly be seen around the mouth area and forehead. There are little changes as the face remains in a very neutral state. The lips remain close together while the cheeks have dropped. None of the inside of the mouth can be seen. The fore head becomes tighter and the centre narrows.


One of the facial expressions with the most muscle changes. The entire face has become much longer. The mouth is fully opened and the area around the eyes have widened dramatically. From the bottom of the nose the south part has dropped lower while the upper part of the face has risen. In most areas the skin has tightened, there will be noticeable wrinkles of skin on the forehead.

Monday, 20 February 2012

New Storyboard

Below is the new storyboard, it now has more detail in each scene and shows Balthier's facial expressions and body language.

A brief description of each scene:

Scene 1

Balthier walks past the Sword stuck in the stone, with a cheeky glazed look his takes notice of the Sword and decides to have a g at removing it.

Scene 2

Balthier prepares himself to remove the stone from the stone and take several attempts.

Scene 3

Balthier realises just how hard the sword is to remove. He begins to put more effort into the stone. His facial expressions begin to change, he becomes frustrated.

Scene 4

Balthier’s mood changes, he begins to get angry at the Sword, the camera angle changes and Balthier begins to put his whole body weight into moving the sword.

Scene 5

Balthier remains angry but begins to kick the sword in an attempt to remove it. His facial expressions and body language show his frustration and force in attempting to kick the sword free.

Scene 6

Final after such force the Sword becomes free from the stone, Balthier’s mood changes to happiness, his cheeky smiling villain face has also returned.

Storyboard before any colour or digital enhancement.

Thursday, 16 February 2012


Below is a test video:

In the test video I have now fully applied my model to a biped structure and have meshed the skin on. The eyes have been attached and the facial expressions were created using the morph modifier applied to the head. The video is only a test and has enabled me to pick up new skills in order to turn my stroyboard design into an animation video.

Monday, 6 February 2012


Below is a very basic storyboard which will provide a draft detail of how the short story will be created in animation.

In the first scene Balthier will enter the scene and walk towards the sword which is stuck in the stone. Over the next few scenes Balthier will attempt to pull the sword from the stone. These scenes will be used to express detailed character animaton using body language and facial expressions. Balthier will eventually kick the stone and simply cause the stone to break in half revealing the full sword.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Character Designing

Draft Designs of Balthier

After having conducted research on villains I decided to draft some ideas of what I would like my character to look live. These draws were sketched on original paper in pen and pencil. Once the drawings were finished they were then imported into Illustrator where the ‘Live Trace’ tool was used to create a digital image of the drawings.
Before live trace in Illustrator:
After live trace in Illustrator:
This image below was the first original design of Balthier:
I didn’t use this particular design as I thought that he was too basic, his design would be hard to display the necessary characteristics that I need him too, in order to play the part of withdrawing the sword from the stone. Creating his clothing within 3D Max would have been a challenge so I decided to re-design Balthier with more villain and medieval period characteristics in the design below.
Second design of Balthier:
This was a very hard decision to choose between using this design of Balthier or the one that I chose to use.  One of the main reasons that I didn’t choose this character was the complications I would have encountered by creating his 1 piece jacket and that he didn’t suite the research that I had carried out so far.  However I loved his characteristics and feel that he would have made a great villain character but he didn’t appear suitable towards a young audience.

Designing Balthier

Below is a draft drawing of what Balthier may look like, at present his colour of clothing is only for reference use and the animation may feature different textures.

Before Colour and digital enhancement, a scanned copy of the original drawing.

Why I chose to build this character.

I have chosen to create this character because during my child hood I spent many hours playing computer games and it was often very common to find characters that were created based on historic traveling swords man. These kinds of characters are easy to create characteristics for and they appeal to children’s imaginations very well. In the research questionnaire that I got 5 children to participate in many of the villain characters were based in times when knights and kings where around. This is a very common time period seen in children’s movies and TV programs. Many of the Disney films are based in this time period. He's clothing has also been based on a medievil theme. This is becuase many of the chosen characters that were extracted from the research carried out by the children were mainly based in a medievil time. The clothing is dull and they commonly wear boots and represent poverty. This is why I chose to use dull, old style clothing. It is also commonly seen in children’s villains that they are featured with a weapon, usually a sword of some sort. Some of the characters mentions by the interviewees also carry armour. This may be used as a sign of power or to appear stronger. This is one of the reasons I have given my character a weapon (sword) harness and body armour.  

Facial Expressions and Body Language Techniques

I have chosen to give my character the appearance and body language of a strong person, walks with his chest pushed out and a walk with a bowl. He will use the body language in such a way that he will appear as though he doesn’t have a care in the world about anybody else. His facial expression will be bland and he will not smile at all and will have a facial expression of somebody in a constant mood and with frowned eyebrows. This will give the appearance to my character that he is angry and must not be crossed or he would start trouble. This kind of body language and facial expression is commonly found in child villains, referring back to my research.  


A mood board of some of the Characters that have been on TV and in children’s programs that I used to watch when I was younger. This mood board enables me to visually identify characteristics that I feel are vital to the designing and building of a children’s villain character. The key elements that some of these Characters display and the way they function as human will be incorporated into the designing of me Villain Character.

Research Questionnaire

Child Character Questionnaire

Has consent been authorised by the parent?

Age of child being interviewed? Yes/NO

Participants Sex: Male/Female

Favourite TV program
Favourite Film
Favourite Villain Character
Favourite Character
What do they like about their favourite character

This is the questionnaire used to research into what children aged between 7 and 10 years old like about their favourite TV programs and characters. The children were interviewed with full parental consent and they were also present in each of the interviews. These interviews were extremely short and kept very simple. There were only a few questions that had to be asked in order to extract the essential data. Only 5 children were interviewed in total.

The most common feature that was identified in the interview about the villain characters was that they are mainly characters based in films or games that are based in the day when knights and kings were present. Most of the characters all display scary features that children would either dislike about them or features that would make children like them as villains such as their dress code, weapons etc. This features will be used to create and design my character on.
Results are as follows:

Favourite TV program

Scooby Doo
Tracy Beaker

Favourite Film

Harry Potter
Robin Hood
Pussy In Boots
Sword in the Stone

Favourite Villain

Gargamel – Smurfs
The Joker – Batman
Sephiroth – Final Fantasy
Rumpelstiltskin – Shrek
Scar – The Lion King

Favourite Character

Vaan – Final Fantasy
Cloud – Final Fantasy
Pupper Smurf – Smurfs

Features most liked about their favourite characters?

The way they are dressed
The way they talk
Their friends

Below are images of the villain characters chosen by the interviewees -

Character Profile

The character I have designed is named Balthier. He was originally born in the highlands of York in 1650AD and spent most of his childhood watching his dad fight as a knight. At the age of just 10 Balthier watched his father die on a battlefield serving for his king. Balthier watched his father fight endless fights and knew that he would eventually lose his life for nothing. Upon his father’s death, his sword was sealed in stone to mark the existence of his father and his heroic existence. This gave Balthier rage against humans and was the spark that created his evil character. He yet still, journeys to find the sword in stone, but not with the same intension of using it like his father. The sword will eventually now serve him and his very evil existence, to have revenge on human kind.

Balthier is 6ft 2” tall and doesn’t have any hair. He is the age of 30 and is commonly seen always wearing his dull clothing, brown leather harness and dirty brown boots. Balthier is known as the bad knight slayer and wears a black eye mask that wraps around his head. He is commonly known for hunting people who hold information on the location of his father’s sword.

Balthier’s favourite food is meat, he regularly eats it straight from the bone and sometimes raw. He often is seen walking with his chest sticking out to make himself appear bigger and stronger. His voice is incredibly deep and he spits when he talks.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Villain Characters

Villain Characters from the Sword in the Stone
These characters can be used to inspire the characteristics and design of my character. I would like to stick to keeping the character in a similar time period such as medieval. There is a possibility that the character will have body armour as such to identify that he has authority and is a potential villain. He will act in a similar way such as Sir Kay, a character in “The Sword and the Stone’ who is very keen to steal the sword. Many of the inspirations that will go into designing my character will mainly be from Sir Kay.
Sir Kay
Kay is the son of Sir Ector, and at the beginning of the film, is in training to be knighted by Christmas. He is a big, burly young man with red hair, and is most likely somewhere around the age of 20, judging from a line by Merlin. Kay serves as a foil to his younger adopted brother Arthur, being boorish and lazy, despite being higher in rank than Arthur. Kay treats Arthur rather cruelly, usually calling him the deriding nickname of the Wart.
Sir Kay Before being honored as a Knight -
Sir Kay as a Knight -

More Villains:

An old looking character from Roger Rabbit with evil features. Judge Doom is a scary evil looking character. His main features come from this old bald head and black gown and large white eyes. His has the look of a typical old bald scary looking man, perhaps a head master of a school. His characteristics are strongly represented through his use tone of voice and his facial expressions during performance. He has an overall colour appearance of pure black with white blood shot eyes. His appearance make him appear as though he has seen and experienced some terrible times, killing, deaths and blood shed. His body langauge is slow, expressed with his slow walking but powerful connection to any audience.
I feel he is one of the scareist characters used in child videos.

Strawberry bear is an extremely evil villain. However he does not represent the characteristics of a typical even person. He looks cute and cuddly but under his fur he is an evil bear. This bear in my opinion represents the characteristics of a paedophile. However he does display the features of an old man bear, in the movie he walks around with a cane which gives him the look of old and powerful. His facial expressions are cute and happy and his body langauage ensure that you know he is old but very wise and takes control because he knows best. This is all part of his characteristics to draw you in close.


Itchy from the simpsons is a typical teen looking character. He plays the role of always attempting to be killed but is extremely bright and very snidy. He has the features of a teenager, a fag in his hand, hair styled in a cool style, collar neck clothing and a look of being popular. However under his great looks is the appearance of an evil character. His characteristics are strongly represented through his use of body language, doesnt have a care in the world and expresses no authority nor respect to anybody.


Mr Burns represents the look of a typical old man, a business old man with lots of money who is extremely stingy. He has the characteristics of an evil boss, somebody in a powerful position and who takes things from those who are less fortunate. He is more nearer the teenage evil character and represents the characteristics of somebody who stays far away from people, lives a long life. His power is clearly represented in his clothing and his evilness in his facial expressions. He uses very strong body language, mainly in the use of his hands.  


Scar is a very well-known character. He has the features of a typical family member who will offer you deals too good to be true to trap you and stitch you up. He has the beard of an old man, a feature commonly used with evil kids villains. The main evil features in this character are his eyes, claws, teeth and beard. This character is another good example of Disney use of animals but with represented with humanised facial expressions and body language. An excellent character to connect with through children. In the animal kingdom a lion is seen as king, above all other animals and will all fight to take the dominating role. He is very much like Mr Burns, a high level of use both in his facial expressions and body langauge, mainly in the use of his hands.