Graphics, mechanics and storytelling are the three pillars on which the success of any game is built.
Character design starts with an idea and its implementation in a concept. The character of the hero, his gender, biological characteristics are usually laid down in the terms of reference. But the concrete embodiment of this idea is the task of the designer.
What’s The Purpose Of Character Design?
The character must look organically in the game world and be detailed enough to perform the actions laid down by the game, corresponding to the mechanics. Obviously, the heroes of an arcade mobile game and a massive open-world RPG for PC have different sets of characteristics and requirements.
If the world is not too detailed, drawn or drawn schematically, then an overly detailed, realistic hero will get out of the big picture.
The character design must meet several requirements. First, meet all technical requirements. Secondly, to fit into the aesthetics of the game world. Thirdly, to be understandable and memorable – this applies to both 2D and 3D games, deliberately cartoony and as realistic as possible.
Depending on the genre of the game and the depth of the plot, the character can be either a person or some kind of abstract symbol, and this should also be reflected in the design.
Memorable details work for symbolism. If you add a cowboy hat and a revolver to the conventional “pig” – a human figure, even without additional detailing and drawing you will get a cowboy from the Wild West. When you replace the hat and revolvers with a helmet and a sword, you get a knight. At the same time, the decals do not reveal the character of the characters. This requires detailed elaboration, facial expressions. And distinctive features of the specific personality of the hero.
What Kinds Of Work Do Character Designers Do?
For an artist, getting into game development is a great success. Outside of gaming companies, not every artist can boast of a stable job and a good social package. But those who work there can get access to the IT industry, known for its special attention to working conditions. The salaries of game artists are closer to the salaries of technical specialists rather than humanitarian ones.
The professionalism of an artist is by no means determined by the software he uses. 2d character designers are comfortable working with PhotoShop, ZBrush, 3DsMax or, say, Maya.
The Character Design Process
Drawing, or rather, a large number of concept drawings is a prerequisite for creating a game character, even one that will later be created as a 3D model. The designer must imagine exactly how his character will look, performing different movements, in different clothes (if the mechanics involve changing them).
Before a character acquires memorable, recognizable features and distinctive appearance, the artist creates many different versions.
After the approval of the concept art, you can proceed to modeling in 3d art company(or, if the character is in 2D rendering).
One of the most important stages of character creation is concept art rendering. Very often it is the result of this work that determines the future of the game: whether it will receive funding or not. Concept art is a visual presentation of a key idea, often shown to investors.
At this stage, it doesn’t matter what materials the artist works with (there is a wide range, from watercolor to computer graphics). It is important that the art captivates, impresses and conveys the mood of the future game and the character of the character.
How To Get Started With Character Design
The larger the studio, the more differentiated the responsibilities of artists and designers. In giant studios, different people are involved in the main characters, monsters, armor, weapons, and so on. The smaller the studio, the larger the area of responsibility of each of the participants. If you are engaged in an indie project, then it will be your responsibility to develop those elements that accompany the characters throughout the game for character design agency: switching between the first and third person views, changing weapons, costumes, changing the appearance, etc. Moreover, it is required not only to draw all these elements, but also to generate detailed documentation for each of the characters.
The character design style spectrum
First, let’s define how we want our character design 3d to look. Simplified, the visuals of the game have two parts.
- Style. For example, realism, cartoony or primitivism.
- Setting. Fantasy, military, sci-fi and so on.
- Overwatch – cartoon in a sci-fi setting.
Remember that game design and art should complement each other. For example, most fans of hardcore turn-based RTS may not like cute animal units.