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.