(This is part of an ongoing description of the making of an 3D animated short.)
Here is a rough sketch I did in Photoshop of what Sophia and Marcello might look like. Certainly they will be tweaked a lot beyond this. I'm not sure about Marcello's facial hair, and I don't think their mouths will be perfect spheres: Sophia's will be a little wider than round (since she is a 'broad') and Marcello's a little taller than perfectly round.
This last week I made some models of the characters in Model Magic. This is a material that Scott Dodson introduced me to when we were making It's About My Brother; on that project, we used it just for the hair. For this film, I made the mouths and eyebrows out of it. Ping pong balls filled in nicely for eyeballs, and I wrapped Model Magic around them to make the eyelids. I cut out the flat face shapes behind the mouths from foam core. Then, with either marker or paint, I gave everything a rough color.
I'm actually pretty bad at making things with my hands, but this was a great exercise. The experience of molding the characters with my hands -- instead of teasing electrons trapped in a box -- led me to think about what the characters should look like and gain some new insights. But most importantly, now that I'm working on the storyboards I have something to play with when I'm trying to come up with new pieces of business. And the business -- how the facial elements rearrange themselves so the characters can express themselves -- will be what this little short will stand or fall on.