This project is a live-action/animation hybrid short film that chronicles the adventures of a young man trapped between time and space and having to deal with a sarcastic robot and a dim-witted supercomputer.
This video is an animation test of the eye movements for Spencer. I wanted to give him simplistic fluid eye movements and I was testing to see how slow I could go with movement.
The Story of Spencer's Design:
This idea originally dates back to circa 2015, right after "Interstellar" was released in theaters. I watched the film in December or January, and at the time I was thinking of time travel, specifically, if it went completely wrong, and if a person were to do that, how would he get out. With help, of course! So I began initial sketches - I knew I wanted something simple, something that was able to express emotion without too much realism, a sphere with moving eyeball seemed natural, after all, the human head is essentially an elongated sphere with eyeballs, et al.
The script came next - it had to be short, concise, and humorous. The first draft was not very good, mostly full of exposition (as most first drafts often are). The second draft was more concise but it still wasn't quite there. Then I came to understand what I was missing. The kind of comedy I enjoy the most is improvisational, made up on the spot. So the script became suggestions instead of set pieces of dialogue that needed to be said. Now came the difficult part, finding someone to portray a wise robot.
Recently, I have been playing with Spencer's design, which is inspired in part by Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" and Valve's "Portal 2" (specifically the Wheatley character). I wanted to not make him perfect, give him something that was a bit off, so I worked in Maya (2017) and started extruding and extruding until eventually it came out looking like it does in the video. I also played with a cube, a monolithic type of character (a nod to "2001") but decided that if I were to have this monolith character, it would be a separate one with simplistic light animation and a voice actor attached.
Currently, fine tuning is being done, but the hope is to film the project soon and have it done by either the end of December or sometime in January of 2018.