Character design in ‘Mocca’

Animation, News

During the 2021-2022 academic year, the 4th year Animation students have produced a short film from start to finish. In this project they have put into practice the knowledge and skills acquired throughout their training, they have corrected mistakes and have managed to generate a consistent project in a record work time: 9 months. And to do so, they emulated the workings of a real animation studio.  Moreover, this teamwork has been their first experience in a full audiovisual production. And it has allowed them to polish their skills as animators.

The students of the 3D Animation, 3D Generalist and Concept Art specializations worked as a team to create ‘Mocca‘. A 3D Animation short film that reflects on the accelerated pace of life in which we currently live and advocates a healthier, slower and more conscious way of life. In this post we discover the concept art work of this project by Cristian Palos, Ivan Rodríguez and Alvaro Pozo, students of the Art specialization.

The graphic style of ‘Mocca’

Once the script for ‘Mocca’ was established, one of the first decisions made by the team working on the short film was to choose the production’s graphic style. “We tried to do a 2D hand-painted style,” explained Alvaro Pozo. “A stylized and realistic texturing inspired by the visual style of series like ‘Arcane’ and ‘Valorant'”. “The graphic style of these series is mainly based on the combination of two elements,” added Cristian. On the one hand, the use of handpaint on the textures. And on the other hand, 2D effects that allow for a more stylish result.


The characters of ‘Mocca’

The priority for our Art students when approaching the character design was that it should convey their identity and emotions, both in terms of acting and physiognomy. The main robots in ‘Mocca‘ have totally different personalities that have determined the design of each one of them:

  • Mocca is an old-fashioned and inflexible robot in his way of being. Therefore, his forms are rigid and square.
  • Latte is a young and cheerful robot. Therefore, its shapes are more stylized and rounded.

Who is Mocca?

Cristian: He is an old glory that is still anchored to his splendid past, when everything around him has evolved.
Alvaro: He’s an old-fashioned robot, both in his mentality and his design. He refers to the archetypal person who is stuck in the past, who prefers to live anchored to his golden age. It is square and rigid, it does not adapt to the new (Latte) and rejects what is alien to it.

And how does his personality translate into character design?

Cristian: His design is mainly inspired by coffee pots and machines from the 20th century. Both his shapes and his colour palette have the function of placing Mocca in an earlier era than the rest of the characters in the short film.
Alvaro: To reflect this old personality, we have opted for traditional materials and worn colours, which show the passage of time.

Latte is the co-star of the short film. What is she like?

Cristian: Latte is a cheerful, outgoing young woman with a lot of energy and ideas. In the story she is the direct contrast to Mocca.
Alvaro: Yes, she is dynamic, usually in a good mood and always wants to help.

¿Y cómo habéis elegido el diseño de este personaje?

Cristian: Como en el caso de Mocca, su diseño está inspirada en cafeteras, aunque para ella utilizamos cafeteras más actuales con un diseño más orgánico y suave. Su paleta de colores también es más viva que la de Mocca, tanto para acompañar como para remarcar su personalidad más alegre.
Alvaro: Latte es un personaje redondo, con formas más estilizadas y curvilíneas. Sus colores son vivos, que contrastan con los de Mocca, y crean esa dinámica de lo viejo vs lo antiguo tanto en tecnología como en manera de pensar.

The short film features a third character: Express0

Cristian: Express0 has no personality. It is completely cold in its colour palette and square in its shapes.
Alvaro: He is designed to be a machine that has only one purpose. When it unfolds it shows its “monstrous” side, imitating a maw. And this makes it even more alien to us.

And who are the Robertos?

Alvaro: They are simply filler characters. They have friendly and dynamic forms that make them more relatable, but at the same time they are generic to represent masses of people.