Imagine your favorite animation or game without the main character.
God of War without Kratos and Disney Animation like Looney Toons without Bugs Bunny!
There will be no link between the story and the audience/gamers.
The character of the game or animation is the one that works as the connection between the story and the audience.
Moreover, can you imagine if Mickey Mouse was not a mouse but a rabbit? The fact is that Mickey Mouse is a knock-off of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and was created only because Oswald was the character of Universal Studio and Walt Disney needed new characters for themselves.
Even the famous Sonic Hedgehog character, which has its own animation and game, was first thought to be designed as a rabbit, as rabbits are very fast, and then it was considered to be an armadillo, and finally, it was designed as the classic Hedgehog that we all love.
Well, it is quite possible that we might have loved these characters however they were designed, but thankfully, we never get to see that, and therefore we have various characters that we love.
The central idea is that characters matter a lot for the success of a game or animation, and designing the right character is the key to a successful game/animation.
Why Character Design Matter?
Various successful games and animations revolve around their characters.
As far as animations are concerned, the story of all the animations is formed around the main character, and then there are various other characters that have small or significant parts in the story.
When we talk about games, some games do not have any character, but when we talk about big successful games, they all have some character to create a story for the game and provide the game with something that can help the gamers connect with the game.
For example, when we talk about “Candy Crush,” the game is to match the candies, however, to connect the gamers with the game, the game has the main character “Tiffi” that is introduced in the first episodes of the game. She is the main protagonist played by the users.
Therefore, characters are so much more than just a visual representation. They work as the bridge that helps the users connect with the story of the game or the animation.
4 Basic Character Design Principles
1. Decide the look and feel about the character
Ask what you want from your character. It is always advisable to think of a design that goes well with the character’s usual nature within a game. There are archetypes of every different character based on the type of game/animation.
Mind the following principles for deciding the look and feel of the character.
- Knowing the design preferred by the target audience: You have to come up with a design based on who is going to play the game/ was the animation. Often when you know the audience you are designing the character for, you have very clear guidance for your help.
- Whether to build a 2D or 3D character: Now, many things differ between characters in 2D and 3D graphics. While many principles just work the same, there are also several unique aspects. For 2D and 3D characters, you need to ensure different effects. 3D character design is a little more challenging, especially for human faces.
- Coming with a Backstory for every character: Before designing, you need to come with a backstory for every character that will define every character’s actions and behavior.
- Learn from other games/animations: Now, have a look around and see the type of characters that do good in ideal games/animations of your choice. A game/animation created for kids or teens should have characters with different looks and feel. Learn from other successful games of your niche.
2. Design a defining and unique character
Now that you have a detailed and granular idea of the characters, it is time to design the unique characters that define a game/animation and their experience. Here are some quick to grab tips.
- Make the character unique and distinct: The character should be not only attention-grabbing but also truly unique and distinct to create a lasting impression.
- Distinct line qualities that tell about the character: The depth of the lines used to draw the characters often tells a lot about the characters. You have an array of your choice ranging from thick, even, soft, round, sharp, uneven, and also scratchy lines.
- Maintain consistency: When designing characters is also important to maintain a kind of coherence and relational sync among characters. Soldiers in a military attack game/animation should have a consistent look in uniform.
3. Bring the character to life
Now, you need to ensure that the characters represent people and certain emotions that are likely in the context. All the characters should have a personality, expression, and shape.
- Personality: The character should have a befitting personality that will easily help the audience connect with the game/animation.
- Offer unique shape: The character’s body shape clearly should conform to the personality and what it does.
- Expression: The most important thing is to create characters with the expression for different occasions. The expressions should conform to the personality besides manifesting reaction.
- Make use of Exaggeration: Closely related to character expression; exaggeration helps characters come to life and appeal to the audience directly.
- Be particular in color: Colour also plays a key role in creating the look, feel, and personality of the character. Remember, darker colors always go well with the dubious and villainous character.
Give your characters accessories: Accessories is part of a character that defines its location and the kind. The designer needs to be meticulous in maintaining logical conformity.
4. Make the characters push a certain objective
Finally, every character should have a clear objective that should drive him through various actions. These objectives should be felt through their appearance and demeanors. Only then a character can engage the audience and make a memorable experience. Here are some key tips.
- Keep the design simple: Grandeur is what makes the design complicated and tougher to relate. With a simple and minimalist design of the character, you can easily push the audience to the next level.
- A detailed background: To give your character a clear motivation, you need to chalk out a backstory with details like their origin, the way they came, any event that happened in the story, where the characters live, what they do, their preferences, etc.
How to Design a Character (11 Steps Process Guide)
Now, as you have the story and all the characteristics of the character, now is the time to get to some technical stuff and develop the character.
1. Prepare a rough sketch
The first step is to prepare a rough sketch of the character with all the accessories and the costume inspired by the above-mentioned points.
2. Redraw in Vector/Raster
Now, draw the character in the designing program and make sure that you use the decided line art and color versions of the character.
For 3D character development, the character is required to be created in the 3D space of a computer program. It is an essential process for first and third person experience in games and animation.
It is the process of unfolding the mesh to create 2D texture that fits the 3D objects.
If the character is a 3D one, design the texturing of the character from the colored version of the concept.
6. Rigging in 2D/3D
In rigging, build the skeleton and the muscles of the character. Attach the skin of the character and create a set of animation controls for the same.
Weight painting all the bones from the Joints and turning parts of the character.
The animator animates characters on the timeline by taking care of each moment and time frame.
9. Camera Angles
In the Storyboarding, the artist makes sure that Diaphragm contains sufficient scenery. It also helps to save time by excluding extra things while preparing a scene.
Lighting throws photons to the scene, haha! not physically but digitally. It enlightens the scene and makes it living.
11. Final Gather and Post Processing
After setting up the whole thing, it’s time to render the artwork. And then there is some post-processing. Post Processing enhances the scene and its appeal. Scene by scene Color Grading is the huge part of post-processing.
How can a unique character design benefit your game?
A good character is the one that helps the users enjoy the game, a great character makes the player fall in love with the game, however, the ultimate character can not only make the users fall in love with the game, but it will also help in sales of merchandises and console/device that is used to play the game.
For example: Kratos from the God of War.
Kratos not only helped in selling the game, but it also helped in the sales of the Play Station as God of War was a PlayStation exclusive game.
Throughout the journey of Kratos, there have been many ups and downs, and the journey has become a magical story, and this is what people look forward to in character.
A character is not merely a 2D/3D art, but the character is who defines the game and has a detailed back story and a great future. The character should evolve throughout the journey.
If you fail to evolve the character, it can become the sole reason for your game’s failure, and recently this has been the case of the failure of the recent Assassin’s Creed Game. The same story for the character was told in each version of the game, and there was very little character evolution.
Therefore, if you are looking to develop the ultimate character, ask yourself the following questions: Why? What? How?
Why: It describes the profile of the character and the background of the character.
For Example: If the game is a shooting game and the character is killing many people in the game, why is the player doing so?
What: It describes the appearance and looks of the character.
For example: When the God of War game was decided, they wanted to create a character that will fight the Gods, and therefore the character has to be super strong, and it should have badass looks. They have to go with the ancient dressing. Just imagine Kratos wearing suits and carrying Blades of Chaos.
How: It describes how you will build the character.
Will you design the character yourself, or will you simply outsource the character designing to a Character Designing Company?
Game Character Designing
After you have figured out the answer for the questions mentioned above, you can follow the process of designing a character to design the ultimate character for your game. Remember, before connecting to the story, the gamers connect with the character and therefore make sure that the looks of the character highlights all the attributes associated with it and the looks should also be in sync with the story and the period of the game.
If you are not well-versed with various designing software or with character designing at all, the best option for you is to hire a game character design company to create the perfect character for your game, as a character is a very important element for the success of a game.
Ease up your Character Designing process by outsourcing
Character is the key element to the success of any game or animation. To design and create the perfect characters for your game/animation, make sure that you hire the best character designing company. If you are planning to hire a character designer for your game or animation, Capermint Technologies is the one-stop destination for all your character designing needs. With our designers’ widespread skillsets, we will design the perfect characters that will become the new definition of your game or animation.