Visual Development: Is a way to explore and figure out the look and style of your final film before beginning the animation process. Visual Development isn't just the background images, but the characters, the props, ways of moving a character or object, the environment and the world that the story takes place in.
Here are a few early VisDev designs for Disney Pixar's "UP". Here are a bunch of simple head designs of an old man... An idea of the House in a different location by Lou Romano.
Another Lou Romano design, Its night and the two characters are talking about what is shown on the right of the image. Your eyes start in the middle, drift to the left to see the horse and night sky in the window and then over to see the house on the mountain with a waterfall.
What starts off as simple concepts and drawings, eventually becomes more visually defined.
As the storyboard is locked and the Animatic is being assembled, Visual Development begins about the same time the storyboard is being created and Character Designs are coming together. Visual Development keeps on going through the rough animation process to figure out how the rough props or environments will look. The Director is the one who is approving what the visual look will finally be.
Your visual development must be explored to make it as interesting to look at as possible and which fits the story in general.
Here are character designs from "Inside Out" by Chris Sasaki. See how the character designs for Disgust evolves into her final look.
From a Cartoony look...
to a little more realistic...
A combination of both...
After all the revisions, redesigning and tweaking, we finally get to our final design!
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