creating characters

Discussion in 'Game Development (Technical)' started by Reanimated, Aug 10, 2004.

  1. Reanimated

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    Hi
    Ive reached the stage now where all I have to do now is the art side, put it all together and its pretty much finished. However, for me, this is the hardest part. How do you guys come up with characters? (as a visual side, not personality). Do you try and copy elements from other well known characters? I cant find many strong tutorials on drawing cartoons, although there are quite a lot of books. Do you just use your own art, or do you use books and things and slightly modify them? Everytime I create my own character, it just doesnt seem right.
    Thanks
     
  2. Nauris

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    Take a sheet of paper and write down the key personality traits of char. If there are more than three - choose the most important three as your basis.
    Then...well, sounds silly, but just draw.
    I usually start with tens of little quickies, searching for some interesting elements on the fly. Once you have hooked up some, try linking them together, experiment. It may take tens and tens of ditched characters, but the trick is not to worry of how carefully they are rendered, after all, youre doing this for yourself, its just process. doesnt take too much time that way.

    Also, even when you think you have come up with final design, continue to draw char again and again, so your hand becomes familiar with the lines of this specific character. Try different poses and actions, once you`ve understood the character and visualized it well enough, you`ll have much easier job doing final drawings.

    As for inspiration - everything is a fair game, as long as you dont copy anything. What I love - Google is my friend.
    I enter those personality traits in google image search and simply catch ideas. They dont have to be character designs, sometimes the look of dog or simply a composition of still life or whatever can give a needed boost to imagination. Sometimes i even enter completely unrelated search terms just for kicks - you`d be surprised how inspirational can search engine be if you surf with open mind :)
     
  3. Fost

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    I personally find character design the hardest thing that I have to do and something I always want to be better at, and yet I'm an avid collector of character based artwork and artbooks.

    For several years now, I've kept a folder full of categorized images that I find useful as art reference, and it's become my main source of inspiration (I've even had other artists write it to a DVD in the past). Pretty much any photograph of a person that ever caught my eye, I've scanned and dropped in there. It's a great way to spark an idea off which is a large part of the effort - then you just have to keep working on it.

    'Figure drawing without a model' by Ron Tiner, ISBN: 0-7153-9785-0 is a handy book, (not that you'd know by my sketches!) as I found it took a more 'illustrative', rather than 'fine art' approach. You could also use an application like poser to create the basic look of something and then sketch from it. That is, assuming you are doing 2D character art.
     
    #3 Fost, Aug 11, 2004
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2004
  4. Reanimated

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    Thanks for the replies. I used google and found some interesting images so that should be good.
    Ill look into poser since I am using 2D images. Any chance you could give me the link to poser, since everytime I type it in google, it comes up with Poser (3d modelling). Thanks.
    Edit: Unless you mean I get the 3D version and use it as a template for 2D images at different postures?
     
  5. Reactor

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I think they are talking about the 3D Poser application.
     
  6. Jack Norton

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    Look at my game UBM, I've made all the characters with Poser 4. If you want 3d characters, is the best tool.
    Otherwise you have to hire an (expensive) artist :)
     
  7. Fost

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    Yes, funnily enough, this was the original intention of poser: essentially, a replacement for the wooden artists' mannekin.

    There's another application that specifically targets 2d artists and avoids much of the things poser does. It's loads cheaper, and probably better if 2d art is all you used it for.

    For the life of me, I can't remember it's name. I think I saw it in an issue of develop sometime in the past 6 months.
     
  8. Reanimated

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    lol hate it when that happens. I see something on a magazien cover...think Ill never use it, and then a month later I wish I bought it :D Ill try searching for it. If Ive come up with a name for my character(s), how do I check that its not being taken? If someone already has that name (ie..their real name), is it possible that they can take legal action against you for using the same name?
     
  9. Fost

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    Yeah, it's driving me insane - I can picture what it looks like, just not the name!

    I think you are on pretty solid ground with any name, but it might not stop someone attempting file suit. If for instance, you named something 'Jennifer Lopez fishing simulator', after a fictional character you have called Jennifer Lopez, then as long as the likeness isn't the same, or their are obvious character comparisons, it's technically ok. However, in reality, if they have more money than you, you are probably screwed.

    If you haven't heard of the name, you are probably on safe ground. We named all our characters after porn stars, which was fun, and I somehow doubt they would mind (I'd personally be flattered;) ).
     
  10. Jack Norton

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    LOL!!!
    Jenna, Felicia, Mimi, Samantha... haha :D
     
  11. Fost

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    Hey! Jenna is ours! Be careful or we might sue!!

    I think this is a fun way to come up with names - just pick people you think are cool from books, film etc - the more obscure the better, and alter the name a little to make it unique to your game.

    Case in point is we have a character called Jenna Johnson ;) A couple of people on our forum worked it out, and they kind of liked that there were little clues/trivia/references in the game (ours is littered with such things).

    Scarily, we get a lot of fan mail about that character...
     

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