UNIT an animation. A character is the
UNIT 1Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION TOCHARACTER DESIGN Defining a Character:Beforewe learn about Character Design, let us first understand what is meant by a Character.A Character can be defined as any person, animal, or figure –whether inspired from real life or imaginary – represented in ananimation. A character is the sum totalof all his traits, mannerisms, and appearance, which together determine how it isbeing portrayed. Forexample, the characters of Tom and Jerry in the famous cartoon series areportrayed as Jerry being mischievous and clever and Tom being simple anddirect.
In Disney cartoons, the character of Donald Duck has his own way oftalking, dressing and thinking. Therefore, a character is the aggregate ofphysical features and personality traits that form the individual nature ofthat person or thing. ADD PIC Tom-jerryWhat is Character Design?Characterdesign is a vital component of an Animation film. Character is what drives thestory and breathes life into a film. Thecharacter design is the process which consists of defining the characterthrough his/her physical appearance. Theprocess of designing a character starts with a Character Designer receiving abrief of the character and the script pages from the Director of the Animationfilm.
These script pages describe what the character is like. The artist thenhas to create a number of drawings of what he/she believes the character wouldbe like. An art review is then undertaken where the director selects only thosefew character drawings that come closest to the character as has beenvisualized while writing the Script. The character designer then takes thosedrawings and begins developing them again back at the drawing board. Thisprocess repeats itself until the desired character has been designed.Character design begins with pencil sketches. Sometimes theartists have a clear idea about the character, sometimes only a vague notion ofthe character’s personality.
The character designers draw hundreds of penciland marker sketches to refine the look of each character. They have to decide how cartoony, how iconic,and how realistic they want each character to appear. ADD PIC pencilsketch of a characterLet us look a little more closely at the process ofCharacter Designing in an Animation film. But first, let’s meet a ConceptArtist? Concept ArtistA Concept artist takes ideas for characters from the director of thefilm and creates a visual representation of them. A Concept artist utilizesvarious media (including pencils and paint) when creating the design. Someconcepts artists work on the overall look of a character as it might appear ina film or a game (age, size, costuming, facial features, etc.
) and any propsthe character might have (weapons, staffs, etc.).Job responsibilities of a concept artist include: Listening to and interpreting the ideas of the directors. Analyzing source material for ideas to further build on a character or story. Completing a story board with sketches of characters, settings, and props. Working with character designers as they build a 3D representation of the sketch.The Concept Artist and the Character Designer workas a team to design a character.
The concept artist makes a rough sketch of acharacter and the character designer will take that sketch to the next leveland make a more complete image. A character designer is solely focused ondeveloping a new image of a character for a film, animation, or video game. ADD PICCharacter DesignerA Character Designer is anartist that creates new, original characters; it can be a character developedfor Feature Films, TV Series, Video Games, Children’s books, Web Animation,Comic books, Comic strips, or even Licensing or Toy Design.They are often responsible for taking the Concept Artist’s roughimages and breathing life into them by making them more concrete.
Along withthe Art Director and Concept Artists, Character Designers develop drawings,clay or plaster models, or even 3D representations, allowing audiences to trulyconnect to the characters. This is why knowledge of Photoshop and othercomputer programs that allow for 3D imaging and animation is essential for thiscareer.Job responsibilities of a character designer include: Reading the provided script to build character images that fit the story. Gathering inspiration and research when designing a new character to ensure correct anatomy and costuming that fits the story or the concept. Creating many possible versions of the same character so the team can choose the most representative features. Going to meetings with clients, game designers, and/or directors to further develop and change the character. BASICSOF CHARACTER DESIGN:Cartoon characters are everywhere, from advertising to film, andthe ones that stand the test of time all share something in common.
They havesubstance over style. Designing innovative, cool looking characters is great,but if they are superficial, they will not be remembered for long. Greatcharacters like ‘Mickey Mouse’ have much more than just a unique look, theyhave several key elements that are instilled in the very core of their design.IntroductionThe key elements to creating memorable and lovable characters are 1.
) Target Audience, 2.) Character Traits, 3.) Back Story, and lastly, a design that draws from all theseelements. Where to Begin?We can start by sketching out a character. To do this, peopleusually take inspiration from observing real life, i.e.
animals or people. Theimagination can also be relied upon to do so. Most of the interestingcharacters we see in films and television have come out of the imagination –For example, Casper, the lovable ghost.
ADD PIC 1.) Your Target AudienceIn most cases your character has to create a bond with itsaudience. Designing a character for an audience means getting into youraudience’s head, i.e. understanding the taste, likes and the dislikes of youraudience. If you are creating a character to appeal to an age bracket of six tonine year old boys, you must first know what your typical six to nine year oldboys are interested in, the sorts of things that make them laugh, the sorts oftoys/food they like, etc.
This information then feeds into your character tomake it endearing and identifiable. Think like a six or nine year old boy, andthen design the character. At this stage, ask yourself the following questionskeeping in mind your target audience- “Why do you care about the character?” “Can you relate to the character?” “What is it, a Human, an Animal, or some imaginary character?” “What does it do?” “What does it like to eat?” “What does it want?”Then start thinking about the personality traits of the character, also known as CharacterTraits.2.) Character Traits ADDPICThese are your identifiers; the characteristics of your character,the building blocks for your character, all the things that make them unique.It can be literally what they are, i.e. a Human or an animal or some imaginarybeing, the clothes they wear, the food they eat and their personality traits (i.
e. confident, irritating,etc.). These character traits need to permeate your design, because you’re notputting a script in front of your audience, these traits need to be visual andvisible. You may use stereotypes, a particular thing’s inherent characteristicsas a tool.
For example, the lion cub in the LionKing needs to be brave, as it is expected of a lion. There’s nothing wrong with stereotypes, but be clever with them.Use your imagination. If you want to draw attention and emphasize a particulartrait, it is a good idea to make it more prominent, bigger/brighter in color,and in contrast reduce its equivalent opposite to create a strikingjuxtaposition. For instance if the character has small arms, in contrast hislegs could be made really long to bring out the shortness of the arms.
3.) Back Story ADD PICThis brings us to the Back Story. If you were a person that hashad a bad experience in the past, it would shape the person you are today.Similarly, if your character took part in World War II, he may have an aversionto loud noises, and often talk of the war.
It is this history; the good or badexperiences that make your character come to life.Case Study ADD PICHere’s an example of the Character ‘Stubby Arms Fox’ designed bythe Animator Ben Mounsey. This character here represents the application of allour elements.The Character Designer has given him these character traits andback-story:”A fox born with short stubby arms and in contrast, very longlegs.
He has always thought his little arms were more like wings and he longsto be a butterfly and to be able to fly. He’s quite timid, but determined andhigh spirited. He loves his big yellow shoes, which he thinks are great foradventures and exploring.”Over to YouSo hopefully this overview has given you some insight into theprocess of creating a character design.
By nature this is an organic andindividual process, and the three steps mentioned above, may give you somepointers to approach Character Design. Take it, expand upon it and really beinnovative with your character designs.Questions1. Explain therole of a character designer.
2. How arecharacter traits important in designing a character?3. What is therelevance of the Backstory?4. What are thejob responsibilities of a character designer?5. Design a simplecharacter with a Backstory. Explain your concept in approximately 100 words.