School of Film and TV - Theses

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    Explorative sculpture as a creativity support tool for developing characters and stories for animation
    Wallace, Justine ( 2017)
    This practice-led research examines the use of explorative sculpture as a creativity support tool for developing characters and stories for animated films and video games. The process of constructing three-dimensional representations to visualise and catalyse ideas, is practised in a range of domains, including architecture, fine art and industrial design. These physical representations are sometimes referred to as sketch models, concept models, prototypes, mock-ups or 3D sketches and are used to generate and experiment with ideas during the early conceptualisation phase of the design process. As part of this study, I used explorative sculpture to develop the characters in a screenplay for animation called Kiddo. The resulting explorative sculptures and the story they helped to shape are the central artefacts of the research. The research findings suggest that while explorative sculpture has limitations as a creativity support tool, it also has unique and useful attributes which, when used in combination with other tools, may facilitate the creative process during the early phases of animation and video game development. This study aims to focus and refine my practice as a teacher and maker of animation and games. It was led by my longstanding and persistent proclivity for sculpting, which has been developed across twenty years creating sculpture for museums, stop-motion animation, puppetry, special effects and character design. It was also catalysed when, as a teacher, I perceived a problematic tendency for courses and texts on developing animation and games to privilege text-based approaches to generating ideas. The dissertation that forms part of this study, contextualises explorative sculpture by investigating its use by artists and designers. To examine the process of explorative sculpting in my own practice, I utilised Sullivan’s thinking and making research model. Specifically, I prepared video recordings of my explorative sculpting sessions, during which I verbalised my thinking and decision-making process (Sullivan 2010). I also discuss explorative sculpture considering the following themes: Practicality, Physicality and Touch, Chance, Roughness and Ambiguity and Practitioner Preference. The development of these themes drew on my experience using explorative sculpture as a creativity support tool as well as existing research on cognition, design and creativity. The findings of this study suggest that explorative sculptures are less practical than twodimensional sketching and less useful for rendering a large quantity of rough and ambiguous iterations. However, explorative sculptures, by virtue of their threedimensionality, can convey useful haptic feedback, material qualities and visual information which may facilitate creative responses from students and practitioners of animation and games design. Explorative sculptures also lend themselves well to the incorporation of found objects and the influence of chance. They may also be useful for students and practitioners who benefit from the use of kinaesthetic and visual creativity support tools. I argue then, that explorative sculpting can be a useful creativity support tool for developing characters and stories for animation and games, especially when combined with conventional ideation methods like writing and two-dimensional sketching.