Maarit Kalmakurki Digital character costume design in computer-animated feature films


Maarit Kalmakurki's pioneering study brings attention to the role of costume design in animation. It explores how digitally animated costumes are designed through six exceptional computer-animated film productions that engaged a costume designer (Shrek, Shrek 2, Shrek the Third, Puss in Boots, Monster House, Big Hero 6). Little is known of the stages involved in costume design for animated character identities and storytelling, since traditionally in animation, character costumes are designed by an animator and decision-making has been subsumed within the character development process. This monograph explores the collaborative effects of costume designers in animated films and illuminates the different ways the medium of computer animation affects design decisions and costume material choices. Although the final result is digital, tangible materials play an essential role in costume design development and creation. These digital character costumes are powerful in transferring multisensorial effects to the audience, enhancing character believability and audience immersion in the world of the film.

Maarit Kalmakurki is a scenographer, researcher, and educator. Since 2004, she has collaborated as a costume and set designer in multiple theatre, opera, and film productions. Her creative projects also include co-curated historical dress exhibitions in the U.S. and contributions as an artist and installation designer in exhibitions in Finland. Kalmakurki is also an award-winning scholar, and her research interests combine stage and film costume history, dress history, and the use of technology in design processes – a topic that generated her doctoral research investigation. She has taught courses and lectured on her research and costume design practice internationally at such institutions as the California Institute of the Arts, University of California Los Angeles, and Victoria University of Wellington, NZ.

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Page count
Size (width x height)
176 x 250
colour illustrations

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