Posts Tagged 'expressions'

PowerPoint People – Toy Figures

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You can create a cast of characters and develop relationships, conflict, cooperation, affection, competition, solutions, etc., and sell your story! For example, you can show scenarios with an office staff – the boss, an admin, a tech, sales guy, etc. Or you can show doctors, nurses, patients, technicians, etc., working in a hospital setting.

I provided some tips on creating cartoon-style people in a previous series:

You may want to review these earlier posts to learn some of the details. This post will use some of the same ideas to create simpler characters inspired by Lego figures.

If you have copyright concerns using these figures in your work, seek legal advice.

Here is my version of the basic figure, created in outlines, using standard PowerPoint shapes:

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Here are some notes:

  • As you might expect, you can find millions of images of these figures on the web; not only are they collectable but some people enjoy customizing their own versions. My version was inspired by  3-view patent drawings found on the web.
  • I set Snap to Grid and picked a grid spacing that makes it easy to draw and align the shapes.
  • The real toy figures are quite rigid (no elbows, knees or body flexibility); my versions have elbows and I will allow some “bending” of the neck and body to get more freedom in posing the figures.
  • In contrast to the cartoon-style figures I developed in the earlier posts, there is no distinction in overall body shape or size between males and females and body shape (slim, fat, etc.) can’t be used to distinguish characters. Of course, if you need children for your project, simply make them smaller.
  • The “hand” is a Donut (red) with two subtracted Rectangles (green); here’s the process:

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To give you an idea of the possibilities, here are some front view poses:

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Notice that a couple of the figures are bent at the neck and the body; this is not possible on the “real” figures. And the real figures don’t have working elbows.

Here are some side-view poses:

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Conventionally, the faces are relatively simple but allow some expressiveness; here are some examples (using standard shapes):

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Here are some notes:

  • I’m using the conventional yellow skin tone (except when I want an ethnic appearance). You  may choose another color for “white” characters but the yellow adds to the authenticity.
  • Faces are conventionally created with black lines (with some exceptions).
  • The top row uses a solid circle for eyes; the second uses an oval eye with a highlight. Both kinds of eyes showed up in my research; the non-highlighted version may be a feature of earlier figures.
  • The second row also adds eyebrows – these are essential for creating a variety of expressions.

Because the faces are relatively flat, and there are no ears, the side views are limited:

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You may want to “fix” this; I have chosen to keep this characteristic and not struggle with putting too much detail in the side views.

Here are some more faces and expressions:

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The last row includes some comic book conventions (sweat drops, “steam” line, thought bubble). See my post on expressions for more on this.

Identifying individual characters in your story involves hair, costume and maybe a prop or two. Here are some hair styles created with standard shapes:

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The first style is created by Subtracting a Rectangle from an Oval. The others use rotated and overlapping shapes. Here are some profiles:

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Costumes distinguish characters and sometimes specify their roles. Here’s a “guy:”

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Costumes are created by adding fill color to the body parts and adding additional shapes (the cap, for example). Here’s a business man:

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The shirt and tie are a couple of Triangles and a Diamond. Here’s the businesswoman:

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The scarf is two Wave shapes and the skirt front view is a Rectangle.

Poses and props can help define a character and a situation; here’s the girls’ gym teacher:

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Here, the tool helps identify the worker and the club and pose identify the golfer:

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The head of the wrench is a Hexagon subtracted from an Oval.

It will make things easier if you use only simple views of the hands:

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The first examples show a hand grasping a gray cylinder. The second group features a hammer. The third group shows the hand grasping a flat, thick object.

Uniforms can specify the character’s role; here’s a police officer:

lgo16If you want to create figures like these; a free PowerPoint file is available to help you learn these techniques; use the link below and click on the PowerPoint icon to download the “source” .pptx  file containing these objects:

Powerpointy blog – toy figures u

See this page for more on downloading files.

If you have questions, praise or complaints, please add a comment below. Liking or following this blog might encourage me to keep doing this. Or not.

 

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PowerPoint People – Expressions, etc.

This series has been about creating characters to illustrate our marketing, sales and teaching stories. In the first post, I showed you how simple figures can be constructed and “posed” to represent a surprising range of situations. The second post added costumes and other features to create individual characters. This post will show you how simple facial features and other tricks can put your characters in recognizable emotional situations.

Here’s Mike with his face:

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The brows, nose, mouth and profile ear are Arcs; the eyes are Ovals and the front view ears are Rounded Rectangles. The hair is a union of Chord shapes (shown in red). The shapes are changed in some of the expressions (later).

Following the theme of this series, I have kept the face very simple. Yet, as you will see, a surprising range of expressions can be created with these simple elements.

I could have drawn the eyes as white-filled ovals with a “dot.”  Although this would offer additional expressiveness, I decided to keep it simple. You may want to experiment with the eyes.

Here’s Millie:

ux2.png

This are the same elements as in Mike’s face except the nose is a little smaller. The front view hair is a series of Ovals; the side view hair is three Chords.

You may not like the way that the brows collide with the hair. This is not unusual in comics; the brows may leave the face entirely. You can fix this if you want to by re-designing the hair.

You can search the internet (cartoon/comics faces/expressions) to find examples and various styles of faces registering emotions. Use these for tips and inspiration.

In our case, expressions are formed by simply manipulating the brows, eyes and mouth. Here’s Mike with a range of expressions from smile, to grin, to laughter:

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The smile is the original face. The grin opens the mouth and raises the brows. The laughing face is created mostly by the brows and eyes (angled lines) although the mouth is more open. In general, more intense expressions use the brows and eyes in a similar way. The side view mouths are Intersections of an Oval and a Chord.

 

Additional facial features (“frown lines,” forehead wrinkles and such) can be used. For simplicity, I’ve not used these but you may want to experiment with them.

Here are examples of sadness:

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The first sad expression modifies the brows to extend down the side of the face (I don’t know why this works) and the downturned mouth. The brows and closed eyes along with a more downturned mouth create a sense of despair.

Here’s Millie in two stages of surprise:

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Raised brows and the rounded mouth provide a surprised look. The bigger mouth and straight angled brows create a more concerned expression

Here’s a couple of angry expressions; the compressed eyes and squarish open mouth transform irritation into fury:

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Here, mismatched elements signal confusion while angry eyes and a wide grin create a vengeful expression. Mike’s mouth and Millie’s eyebrows are two Arcs:

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Over the years, comic strip artists (a vanishing breed) developed a vocabulary of symbols representing emotional states and other aspects. In 1980, cartoonist Mort Walker cataloged (and whimsically named) these objects (“symbolia”) in The Lexicon of Comicana. Remarkably, these symbols are almost universally understood and can be used to signal or emphasize emotions. Here’re some examples:

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Sweat droplets (“plewds”- Teardrop shape) indicate effort or stress. The wavy line (“indotherm”) suggests heat or anger. The light bulb (with “emenata”) represents an idea and the starry objects (“squeans”) show intoxication.

The wavy line is made using the Curve tool – drag and click along a zigzag path (shown in blue) to create the line. The light bulb is a Union of shapes as shown.

Comic artists also use symbolic content in speech balloons:

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The question mark indicates confusion or uncertainty. The thought balloon can show a character’s preoccupation, in this case, with money. The typographical symbols (“grawlixes”) represent profanity. The balloons are built-in PowerPoint shapes (Callouts). The font is, of course, Comic Sans.

The payoff for all of this is to combine poses, facial expressions and “symbolia” to create characters actively participating in our stories; here are two examples:

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This running figure includes horizontal lines indicating speed (“hites”); the construction worker includes “swalloops:”

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Facial hair, glasses and earrings provide a little more diversity. Components are shown in red; the blue Oval is Subtracted to help form the young woman’s hair:

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If you would like a free copy of a PowerPoint file containing these objects, please use the link below and click on the PowerPoint icon to download a “source” PowerPoint file:

Powerpointy blog – PowerPoint People – Expressions u

See this page for more on downloading files.

If you have questions, praise or complaints, please add a comment below. If you appreciate my efforts, liking or following this blog might be a good idea.


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