For this weekly blog I will be following the action plan I set for myself, I will continue my research on character design and make concept art for the design of my character. For the first task I will be analysing existing character designs and seeing why they work, after I am done with this task I will evaluate my work and discuss what I have learnt and how this will help me. For the second task I will be researching important character design principles and discussing how they will affect my project. Finally I will be creating concept art based off of my character design research, afterwards I will discuss my work.
For this task I am going to deconstruct some creature and character designs and analyse what makes them interesting as well as how their design relates to my previous research. I will primarily focus on my previous work related to shape, colour and structure. While looking at various designs I hope to also notice other interesting aspects of them which weren’t part of my previous research. By doing these I hope to gain more insight about what makes a character design work so that I can apply this knowledge to my project.
When looking at the Praying Mantis the first thing I find to be interesting is the limb shape, they are thin, long and angular which relates heavily to my research on the design of spiders. The shape of the Mantis’ head is very triangular, which relates to my research on shapes and how triangles represent aggression. Finally the overall structure of the design is unlike anything else, the shapes of the claws, the head and the torso are very unique which makes the design on the Mantis quite striking. The claws are very large which brings attention to them, this immediately draws attention to the danger of the Mantis.
Mecha Dehaka (Heroes of the Storm):
This design is an alternate skin of an existing character, it is an alien redesigned as if they were a robot. In terms of colour this character is quite unique, the main colours are yellow and black which when combined represent caution, this is also shown through the icon on the shoulder which is similar to a high voltage warning sign. The dark darker colours emphasise intimidation and power, the red eyes are a stark contrast to the yellow and black and gives a sense of evil, rage and wrath. The head design is very triangular which emphasises the aggressive nature of the character, there are also many spikes around the character which have a similar effect. The sharp objects either side of the face resemble mandibles which brings the appearance of the character closer to that of an insect. The character is also very hunched and low with a very large claw and tail which emphasises the danger of the creature.
Anarch (Diablo 3):
This enemy has an extremely unique design, the silhouette of this creature is very striking and strongly resembles some kind of spider due to the multiple long, angular limbs on either side. Overall this creature mostly consists of dark colours, the exceptions being the bright blue which represents some kind of magical effect and the white which highlights the claws. The claws being bone white contrasts the rest of the body and brings a lot of attention to them, this highlights the fact that the creature is a threat. The rough, irregular edges of the claws and the tattered clothing convey a sense of savagery, this combines well with the hunched form and the inhuman body structure.
General Grievous (Star Wars):
The character is one which ties strongly to my previous research. His long, thin, angular arms are reminiscent of the arachnid designs discussed previously. Most aspects of his body are angular such as the spikes along his arms, the talon-like feet and the protrusions on either side of his face which look similar to the sharp mandibles of an insect. These relate strongly to the idea of using visual aspects from threatening creatures, but it also relates to the idea of not quite looking like anything from our world as the design takes multiple minor design aspects rather than being reminiscent of a single creature.The design of his face is also noteworthy, outside of his weaponry his eyes are the only part of him which aren’t white or grey, they are a bright yellow surrounded by a dull red. This colour contrast brings attention to his eyes, the eye holes on his mask are a strong triangular shape which relates to my previous research and ties strongly to aggression.
Big Daddy (Bioshock):
The two main aspects of this design which draw focus are the drill and the head. The drill is a triangular shape and is very large compared to the rest of the body, the only other parts which share a colour with this are the pieces of equipment on his back, so the drill contrasts to most of the rest of the body. The face is quite unusual, the low position implies that whoever is inside the suit is very hunched, which implies that the user is perhaps not a human and has a different body structure. This is further implied by the size of the limbs compared to the torso of the body. The eyes on the helmet are also quite strange, the only thing they resemble are the eyes of spiders which imply threat due to the connections which can be made to the creature itself.
The Lich King (World of Warcraft):
Colour scheme is a large factor in this character’s design, the entire character is very dark, the eyes of the character are bright and glowing which draws a lot of attention to them. The character also has a strong angular theme for the most part, the gauntlets of the character have large spikes on and the ice forming on the armour ends up looking jagged and sharp. The helmet is also quite angular and sharp, the front part of the helmet obscures most of the face, covering the face in shadow which helps contrast the eyes. The area around the eyes is a sharp triangular shape which conveys a strong sense of aggression.
Ganondorf (The Legend of Zelda):
Most of this character is based about dark colours, however areas of importance such as the gauntlets and the head are very brightly coloured, this is to draw attention to these areas. Not all of the areas of his body incorporate sharp, triangular shapes, however the head and the gauntlets in particular use these shapes, the headwear of the character is very focused about this and conveys a theme of aggression and intimidation. The gauntlets use similar shapes, however they are designed more to look like the talons of a predatory bird which makes the character seem more threatening.
Bowser (Super Mario Bros.):
Throughout this character design triangles are an important aspect, they can be seen in the shape of the claws, teeth, spines, horns, neck accessory and arm accessories. Even the character’s hair is shaped to look like triangles. The main colours in this character’s design are yellow and green, however there are parts which are bright red which are highlighted due to the contrast. These parts are the eyes, the hair and the points where the spines and horns connect to the body, these draw attention to the face of the character and the dangerous aspects of his design, this helps to convey the theme of intimidation. The size of the character implies weight, this combined with the low, stable stance and the spikes across the entire character suggests they are very dangerous to fight.
Much of the threat from this character’s design comes from the disproportionately large wings, they are long, angular, insectoid and are reminiscent of a spider’s limbs. The focal point of these wings are the large claws which are designed to look very threatening, the size of the claws compared to the rest of the body helps to emphasise this. Even though the base for of the character looks human there are many aspects which move their design further away from seeming human, first is the set of wings, their design is threatening and they don’t resemble any kind of real world wings. The arms of the character are threatening, the fingers end in long sharp points and one arm has sharp, curved protrusions. The colour scheme is almost completely dark and the colours themselves are very different to the colours of any typical human, this continues to push their design further away for that of a human, they also have bright, glowing eyes which dehumanises them further.
During this task I have analysed the design of a variety of characters and creatures, I have compared their designs to my previous research to see how these different features such as structure, shape and colour are incorporated. I have also looked at aspects of these designs which weren’t covered in my previous research and why they are important, for example I noticed that the dangerous aspects of a character such as claws may be large and have colours which contrast them to the rest of the character to highlight them. I also noticed that many characters incorporate aspects of animals into their designs, such as the talons of a bird, this partly relates to my previous research on the design of insects. This research task will help me because I can use this task to help me develop designs for my character, by knowing both what goes into a design and why I can develop a design based on this information.
Character design principles:
For this task I am going to research important character design principles, I will discuss my findings and relate them to my previous research. I will also evaluate this task and write about why this task was important and how it will help me.
This is the first site I used for my research:
The first point discussed is the character’s silhouette, they mention how if you can tell who a character is by their silhouette alone then they are a well designed character. This ties in strongly to my previous research on geometry, for example a design focused about triangular shapes would have an angular and threatening silhouette. The character’s silhouette can immediately convey a mood or personality so I will incorporate this into my work.
When they begin discussing sketching and the overall shape of the character they say this about the villain character: “He has a shape with a rigid posture indicating he’s not too friendly.”. The hero character’s design is “a clean shape” which looks “soft and friendly”. This is partially due to the shapes used in the design, for the villain there is a strong focus on rigid square and triangular shapes, whereas for the hero there is a focus on a softer rounded design with circles playing a large role.
Colour is also a large focus, the hero has bright and natural colours whereas the villain has a focus on darker colours with red being a large focus. During my previous research I discussed that red is a colour associated with anger, wrath and evil which is suitable for the character’s role as a villain.
The last topic they cover mentions scars, these imply that a character has been through battle and that they are capable of combat. It also adds to the visual theme of intimidation due to their experience with fighting. For my robot I could incorporate battle damage such as dents and scratches to suggest that the robot has seen combat and not been destroyed.
The second site I used for research is this:
Similarly to the last article this covers shape and the idea of softness and hardness in a character’s design. A character with a softer shape will look less threatening and more friendly, a character with a harder design will incorporate angular corners and straight lines more, this will result in a more imposing and intimidating design.
This article also suggests creating multiple variations on the design rather than just creating one design and sticking with that. When I work on concept art I will create several designs and decide which is the most appealing and suitable before moving forward.
By doing research on principles of character design I have gained more insight into what I should consider when developing my design. The parts of this research which I found most valuable were the idea of considering a character’s silhouette, considering softness and hardness of a character’s outline and the suggestion that I should create multiple variations for my character’s design. When working on my concept art I will strongly consider this research as well as my previous research on character design, these pieces of research will be a strong influence on how I create my concept art and how they will be evaluated afterwards.
For this task I will be creating concept art and discussing how my work relates to my previous research. Afterwards I will evaluate my work as a whole and talk about how it helps me.
Most of these pictures are from my previous task on character research where I looked at body structure, in the previous post I discussed the inspirations for this design such as Dog from Half Life and the Katar dagger. I also talked about how I designed these concepts with and angular theme which is based on my research. The lower four images are variants on the base design which are inspired by the Scorpion, the Hercules Beetle and the New Guinea Spear.
This design was meant to be angular and non-humanoid, it took inspiration from the head shape of the Praying Mantis, for the second image I added a triangular eye to make the design more threatening. I also added a blade which is meant to resemble the mandibles of an insect. For my final piece I may choose to not use the eye, but use the mandible as the lack of any obvious eye is interesting and the mandible adds detail and conveys threat.
For this design I wanted there to be two main segments, the lower body and the upper body, this would allow the robot to rotate the upper body without affecting the legs. The sharp shapes on either side are designed to look like a ribcage and the shape on the back is designed to resemble a spine, this is following along with my previous research where sharp shapes and imagery related to death (bones in this instance) can convey threat.
These are concept designs for the arms of my robot, I designed two different variations based on what I’ve researched. Out of the two I prefer the second one as it is thinner which relates to my research on insects and it is more triangular which relates to my research on the meaning of shape. I also like the different claw design, I feel it is closer to the Katar but also merges well as part of the arm.
These were two concepts for the legs of the robot, I wanted the legs to be relatively short and sturdy so that the creature wouldn’t look unstable due to its hunched form. For this reason the scaling of the left leg looks better, but the shaping of the right leg is more relevant to my research, I may end up combining aspects of both.
The first design was based off of the horn of the Hercules Beetle and the tail of a Scorpion, the second design was also based off of the tail of a scorpion, however the claw at the end was based off of the pincers of an Earwig. The first design was more rounded in an attempt to resemble the horn of a Hercules Beetle. The second design was made to be more angular and mechanical, due to the size of the claw it draws a lot of focus and conveys threat.
Overall I am pleased with this art, the drawings are not advanced but they will help me envision each part of the character as I progress through my project and they are all strongly based off of my research. This artwork will serve as a reference for when I create the character as a 3D Model.
For this weekly blog post I set out to follow my action plan by continuing character research and creating concept art for the different aspects of my character. The character design research was valuable to me as I looked more in depth at character design principles and I analysed existing characters and creatures against my previous research. This helps me because I have gained more insight into both what makes a character effective and why this makes a character effective. I also created concept artwork for my character which will help me as I create the character model. Overall this week have been very beneficial in terms of understanding character design and developing designs based on that understanding.
This is what I wrote in my action plan for this week:
“Continue character design research. Create concept art for my character based off of my research.”
This week I continued my character design research by applying the research from the previous week to popular designs and designs relevant to my character, I also researched character design with regards to creating a hero or villain character as my character would be an enemy. Based off of this research I created concept art, I tried to apply as much of my research as possible, such as triangular shapes, thin limbs and insectoid imagery.
Praying mantis. Available: http://www.keepinginsects.com/praying-mantis/. Last accessed 15/05/16.
Mecha Dehaka. Available: http://us.battle.net/heroes/en/heroes/dehaka/#?skin=mechaDehaka. Last accessed 16/05/16.
Anarch. Available: http://diablo.wikia.com/wiki/Anarch. Last accessed 16/05/16.
Grievous. Available: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Grievous/Legends. Last accessed 17/05/16.
World of Warcraft. (2010). World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Cinematic Trailer. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCr7y4SLhck. Last accessed 17/05/16.
Ganondorf. Available: http://zelda.wikia.com/wiki/Ganondorf. Last accessed 17/05/16.
Bowser. Available: http://www.smashbros.com/us/characters/bowser.html. Last accessed 17/05/16.
Kerrigan. Available: http://heroesofthestorm.wikia.com/wiki/Kerrigan. Last accessed 17/05/16.
Ben Camberos. (2011). Creating Hero Versus Villain Character Archetypes. Available: http://design.tutsplus.com/tutorials/creating-hero-versus-villain-character-archetypes–vector-4241. Last accessed 17/05/16.
Patrick Yurick. (2014). Character Design (For your portfolio).Available: http://www.makingcomics.com/2014/09/17/character-design-portfolio/. Last accessed 17/05/16.