new narratives

Terrence and Lamar: Research and Design

When developing the setting and characters further, I wanted to look into the facts behind a scientific basis for our designs. I started by looking into different species of octopus, and decided the giant pacific octopus (the largest species) was the best fit for our character Lamar.

The giant pacific octopus is found in the northern pacific ocean, seemingly preferring waters close to land masses rather than living out in the far ocean.

Areas where the giant pacific octopus is found. 

This means if we wish to have some factual basis in our story we should have Terrence’s island be located somewhere in the northern Pacific.

Terrence himself is probably a fisherman from the USA or Canada (as opposed to Russia or Asia). Based on information from the wikipedia page on US fishing, I’m thinking he’s Alaskan or even from the Aleutian Islands.

Wherever he was from originally, we have decided to hint at Terrence being shipwrecked on the island and living isolated from everyone. We tried to hint at this by having his island have traces of his old ship on it, such as the life ring hanging up or the ship’s mast being used as part of a washing line.

For more information on the island model visit Lydia’s blog here.

While Lydia modelled the island, Maggie wanted to model and rig the Terrence model.

His design is very much influenced by Lydia’s orginal concepts and the children’s animation Pocoyo.



James took the tricky task of modelling and rigging Lamar the octopus. I offered him a little feedback on the model and animation but apart from that it’s all his work.

The model is mostly based off this design of mine:


It was important to the story that the octopus have the capacity to look both scary and friendly so having expressive eyes and eyebrows were an important part of the design which James and I paid a lot of attention to when he was completing the model.


These images I found of tentacles were also used to help design James’s model of the octopus:


As well as our own designs, the final iterations of the Lamar model were also influenced by the designs of characters like Octodad, Hank from Finding Dory, and the tentacled thingy from the Gorillaz music video for Up on Melancholy Hill.




You can see the many different stages of Lamar’s model and design on James’ blog here.

Although I was able to offer ideas and advice to my teammates on their models’ designs and animations, I am not confident or competent enough at Maya to have modelled or animated anything good by myself. I still don’t have regular access to a computer apart from in uni and I know that isn’t an excuse but I do feel very behind with the software.

I am very glad to be working with such skilled and helpful people who can make up for my weaknesses.




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