Lucis is an advanced civilization, the crown city of Insomnia is
self sustaining and generally safe, but the limited land with which to build on can barely fit the growing population. You are an independent adult who had landed a dream job in the heart of the city, your parents bid you farewell from their farmhouse just east of Lestallum, and now you are living alone
in a very crowded, claustrophobic, and constantly noisy business district.
One day, you find an offer of comfort in your solitary life:
Model: NOCT-1.5 (limited number of units produced):
This model is the cutting-edge technology of all companions available in the market, the be-all end-all royalty of the trade. it is never advertised because very few people can afford it, but you’re a tech nerd and you’ve heard of the legends
It’s usually ridiculously expensive and waaaay out of your range, for some reason, this one is on sharp discount in your local computer shop
the clerk tells you it’s on a discount because it has been taken out of the box by a previous owner and returned, but is in top shape otherwise
it’s a small investment even after the price cut and you’re seriously trying to talk yourself out of it, but the more you look at the android behind the sheer plastic, the more you are entranced by the sharp features and slim design.
a part of you hungers to see what the eyes look like once turned on, and what kinds of apps and functions you can install on such a rare product
you take it home, and the moment you plug it- him in, bright piercing eyes glow red for three seconds, and then mellow out to a soft crystal blue
How do you structure facial and body anatomy in a way that's cartoon-y, but still looks… right?
Well, a good understanding of anatomy is important because you have to know the rules before you can break em, but honestly it just comes down to basic shape and exaggeration.
There’s a really simple lesson when you first start looking into character design:
These three different shapes are coded to tell us different things about a character. A lot of disney villains have a lot of sharp angles in their designs (Scar, Dr Facilier, Maleficent) whereas the princesses are pretty much all built out of circles. Exclusively. And dad characters and Business Types are so often squares. So working with these super simple shapes, you can start to code a character.
Like, to me, Hazel is very round, Frank is a great big ol’ rectangle, and I picture Leo being a little more scrappy, with sharper angles in his design because he’s… you know. Leo.
You can break anything down into the basic shapes it’s made out of, once you start looking for them. And when you start exaggerating them to build the figure, you get a cartoon-y look:
And when you take the shape you’ve made and black them out, they should each be a unique shape that’s recognizable as that character:
I still have a lot to learn. If you look at Jason and Percy, they’re pretty similar in body shape. The only real difference is hair shape and the fact that Jason is more Chris Evens and Percy is more Chris Pine. Piper is also underdeveloped because she’s just sort of… a basic lady shape. And there’s nothing wrong with that. but compared to Annabeth’s pronounced hips and Hazel’s pear shape, Piper’s design in this state is less interesting. But Frank and Leo are the most distinct in the lineup, because they don’t match anyone else’s shape.
(And for the record: I literally started drawing thick black shapes and filling them in. No undersketch. Just erase when the shape is wrong and try again, like painting. It’s easier to discover shapes and you can have more spontaneity that way!)
I know that doesn’t really answer your question but that’s how I’ve been thinking about characters lately! Start with a shape in mind and remember what those shapes say about the character. And try to keep it relatively proportional, haha.
sneaking away from her parents and other villagers to try and get onto the ocean
ambition to follow her heart, leave her “safe” island, do everything they said she couldn’t
deep, fierce love, respect, and desire to protect those she considers hers (fuck mankind, she’s protecting HER island)
“ever defeat a lava monster?” “no…have you?”
“you’re no one’s hero. BUT…save the world? you’d be EVERYONE’S hero.”
“Maui, Maui, you’re so amaaazing”
“if you can talk, you can teach”
“told you I could do it!”
understanding physical fitness is important; appearances matter and so does self-preservation…physical fitness helps both these things (statue vaulting, rock climbing, fixing rafters, et cetera)
punches Maui and then points out she was the one that found the hook first
“wow. a shiny, glittery cave. and just like me. it is covered in sparkly treasure. sparkle, sparkle…sparkle”
“I bet you get along great”
false flattery straight in the face of “the crab who became a legend!”
covered a barnacle with bioluminescent algae as a diversion
doesn’t straight up tell Maui about his shark-head (maybe to spare his feelings but probably because it was amusing if her stifled laughing was any indication)
keeps digging into Maui’s tattoos to get the answers she wants/needs despite realizing it’s tough on him
pushes Maui past his breaking point emotionally because she knows it’ll help him (“I want to help but I can’t if you don’t let me”) because Maui is her’s now and she takes care of what’s her’s even when they fight her kicking and screaming
“the gods aren’t the ones who make you Maui…you are”
self-doubt & insecurity is very Slytherin…they and everyone around them hold them to incredibly high standards
determination + ambition + intelligence = fast learner (of things such as wayfinding)
“probably should have saved it for Te Fiti"
constant vigilance + quick thinking = strategy (“finding you a better way in”)
“I thought…I could make it” (sometimes Slytherins are too proud, too sure of themselves…)
“we’re only here because you stole the heart in the first place!” (Slytherins lash out with sharp words designed to hurt, at times more aware of the wounds in the people they care about than their own weaknesses)
“I never should have put so much on your shoulders” (please remember how young Moana is, the responsibility and expectations she’s been saddled with and her determination to push through it, to prove herself)
“I am the daughter of the village chief, we are descended from voyagers” (pride in one’s lineage)
“the call isn’t out there at all, it’s inside me” (a fancy way of saying ambition, huh?)
making sure Hei Hei is safe before the showdown (don’t forget Slytherin’s protect those they consider their’s)
the look Moana shoots Te Ka after she tricks the lava monster with the rock&smoke combo
surprise when Maui comes back (Slytherins have a reputation for tending to look out for themselves for a reason, right?)
pretty much immediate understanding that Te Ka is Te Fiti after receiving the two crucial missing pieces of information (Te Fiti is gone from her resting place & there'a a spiral on Te Ka’s chest)
shows no fear when faced with a terrifying lava monster barreling down on her (show no fear to those outside your House because they /will/ use it against you)
bows to Te Fiti, her goddess (true Slytherin ideals at work)
“I may have gone a little ways past the reef” (oh you don’t say?!? sassy little shit, I love her)
fucking puts a goddamn shell on the pile of rocks “raising the island higher,” effectively keeping any returning/future chiefs from continuing the tradition and placing their own stone on the pile because she put a BREAKABLE OBJECT ON TOP OF THE PILE (I understand it’s a message, a symbol but COME ON SERIOUSLY?!? that’s fucking Slytherin and you know it)
becomes an outstanding leader, a symbol for her people…a true Chief, a true Wayfinder, an excellent Slytherin
help me improve my mocs i suck at bionicle and no matter how much parts i buy my mocs dont get better
It’s all about use of color and shape. This is why you sometimes see giant mocs made with TONS of pieces - that aren’t really interesting or impressive.
One thing to keep in mind regarding color - you typically should stick to having 3 colors on a moc, tops. This enables the moc to be more visually unified. Some special cases apply, like using any number of different browns in a single moc seems to work well, depending on how the browns are placed.
You can usually get away with using multiple shades of the same hue, depending on how you use them.
When coming up with the “core section” of your moc - the most visually interesting area of it - try to find parts that fit each other aesthetically. You may find that some pieces have similar “design schemes”.
This motorcycle front panel fits with Nuju Metru’s mask. Both pieces have sloping designs with sharp edges - almost a “low polygonal” look. I used these in my “New Nuju Metru” moc. Not ALL of the parts you’re using have to have similar design schemes, but having a few parts which visually fit each other on different sections of your creation really helps.
The use of CCBS on the shins and knees in Newju helps to make them distinct from the more “greebly” parts of the rest of the body - and visually ties them to the similarly smooth textured shoulders and mask.
Just spend some time and think of ways to use different shapes. It might take longer than you would expect or realize, and some times it takes several iterations of a moc to really get the whole creation to flow the way you want. It probably isn’t all going to come together in one sitting, and it isn’t necessarily easy!
If you feel like taking a moment to look through my Brickshelf, there’s a few mocs of mine - each of them have at least two versions.
Like Niwha Nui here, this version isn’t quite there….
But after I came back to the moc some time later, I was able to see what changes I needed to make so that the body could have a nice visual flow and contour.
Even slight changes can make a significant difference in your designs!