I’ve been recently trying to understand creativity and the creative process in terms of play.
When I first got to college they showed us a film that at first glance wasn’t that interesting to me but as of recent has been popping up in a lot of conversations when I try to explain how I’m making my 1st year MA film.
“Balance” is an animated short directed by Christoph and Wolfgang Lauenstein, the way the film was “designed” sparked my interest in how to introduce ludological principles in film. The film starts off with five characters standing on a platform which is floating in space, when one of the characters moves he tilts the platform, forcing all other characters to move so they don’t fall off. The emergent property of this playful mechanic (and play, in general) is that it generates interest.
So how can we apply this to character design?
Good design emerges from limited environments, so set some arbitrary limits! I’ve recently realized that the hard and creative part of free-form design whether it be animation, film, music, character design etc. is inventing new games and rulesets with which in I create these designs.
I’ve linked a puzzle called “Sedici Animali” designed by Enzo Mari in which you can see an example of designing playfully by putting arbitrary limits like:
-All designs need to fit within the margins of a square
-All characters have to interlock
-There has to be 15+ creatures
The interesting consequence of these seemingly arbitrary rules we can set for ourselves is that it facilitates new and interesting form language and consistency, and also, at least for me, makes the creative process fun!
You can follow my progress HERE