Room Design for my animated short

My group and I realised the importance of mise-en-scene within our short so I started to explore this through room design. To create a realistic environment for our university/office building, I looked at the photographs we had taken as reference images of the university and made some studies/adjustments to these. We decided to place our scene in this setting as our original concept took place in our actual university; later renditions changed this fact but this setting was still relevant and would be easiest to find references for.

Below are some of my initial studies for this excercise. The first study essentially replicated the structure of the university’s third floor with my addition of some clutter to make the room appear more interesting.

Artist: Lauren Bell

The image below was essentially a developed version of the image above; I did this digitally (photoshop) and played around with colour and tone so that it would appear as if were night time (the original setting of our short). We have since changed this idea, but my team and I wanted the short to take place during this time so that our inanimate characters (elevator/ vending machines) could come to life without others realising. To add tone, I picked my basic colours and applied those to one layer, then I chose a darker and lighter tone of the same colour,and blended those with a lesser opacity level.

Room first jpeg.jpgArtist: Lauren Bell

In the image below, I explored both staging and also how I could modify the room to work better in our short. Whilst our university has a large atrium exposing most floors I decided to cut this as I didn’t feel that it was necessary, would distract from the action, would needlessly increase work load, and may end up making the render time longer. I rectified this by simply adding a wall. Additionally, I changed the location of the doors so as our characters would have better staging.
Room design first jpeg
Artist: Lauren Bell

The design below was taken from the same document as the above and adjusted to be more suitable for our scene.Our ideas have since changed, but in this rendition our elevator character had a romantic connection with a female vending machine whilst the other vending machines were antagonists; this is why I had placed our female vending machine directly facing our elevator. Additionally, I made the room smaller so that the scene would be more intimate, and I completely changed the door so that the design was more suited to a room this size in an actual building. Finally, I added elements such as the pink poster and the rubbish bins to emphasise the personalities of the characters.

Room design adjusted
Artist:Lauren Bell

The design below is simply the other end of the same room.
Room design 2 JPEG
Artist: Lauren Bell

Reference Images

Below are some of the reference images my team and I took which served most relevance to the above work. In some cases, I applied these photographs to a Photoshop document then adjusted their dimensions to be more fitting to the scene.
photo 18 origphoto 24

Below is an image I found online that greatly influenced my changed in the design of our doors.

Artist Influences

As I’m more used to drawing organic things, It was a challenge to complete this task. To help this, I found artists like Paul Mager who drew man made settings.

Paul Mager

Paul Mager is a set designer/character designer for animated films. He has worked in films such as Despicable me, The Lorax, and A Monster in Paris. What I liked about his work was his ability to add character and intricacy to room/space whilst using simple straight lines; this was necessary for my work as our setting was quite modern. Additionally, looking at his work made me realise that adding additional lines to object bevelled them and made them appear more realistic and intricate.

Below are some of Mager’s designs.

Paul Mager 2Paul Mager 1Paul Mager


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