Gen­er­ate ideas for char­ac­ters

shares her method for de­vel­op­ing new ideas for char­ac­ter de­sign and mak­ing them work for the pro­fes­sional video game in­dus­try

ImagineFX - - Issue 141 December 2016 -

De­velop char­ac­ter de­sign ideas, with Na­dia Enis.

When­ever I’m in­vited to cre­ate a char­ac­ter “in my own style” I’m aware that this gives me the op­por­tu­nity to re­ally push my­self and go crazy with the de­sign. But I also have to make sure that the con­cept still works as a video game char­ac­ter. This means it has to be read­able in its en­vi­ron­ment, the de­sign has to sup­port the game func­tion of the char­ac­ter, and the tech­ni­cal artists have to be able to re­build the de­sign within the game’s tech­ni­cal re­stric­tions. So I sep­a­rate these stages into two dis­tinc­tive steps. I’ll first show you how to go com­pletely nuts and push your ideas and con­cepts to the ex­treme. Then I’ll show how I take the de­sign and clean it up for pro­fes­sional use. A key as­pect is creat­ing a beauty shot, which clearly shows the at­ti­tude and move­ment of the char­ac­ter.

My paint­ing process com­bines tra­di­tional and dig­i­tal me­dia, but my steps don’t re­quire mas­tery in any of these medi­ums. They re­quire an open mind, pa­tience with your­self, and push­ing through un­til you have that great idea.

Be­cause creat­ing a piece of con­cept art in­volves work­ing within lim­its, here’s the char­ac­ter brief I’ll work to: cre­ate a non­playable char­ac­ter (NPC) for a 3D role­play­ing video game, with a mer­chant game func­tion and a wicked at­ti­tude. And just for fun, the shape will be page-fill­ing and the colours will be flashy. So get your pen­cils ready and fol­low me!

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