Tips for Creating a Great Character Design

145Whether be it for games, comics, animation or merchandise, we cannot ignore the fact that good character designs play an active role in driving the sales of the product in question.

While good character designs help to drive sales, great character designs grow companies and even shape the landscape of the creative industry. This is the first of 3 articles dedicated to the topic of creating great character designs and some tips to bear in mind when designing your characters.

The Core Product

What is the core product or platform which your character will be appearing on? Where will the character be seen and in what medium? This will directly affect how you should design your character, as different products will have different presentation platforms. Ideally your character should translate across several platforms to maximize its licensing potential.

Target Demography

What is your core product’s target audience? Have you considered the traits and personality that will appeal to the target audience and not only makes sense in the game, but also gives the game play a boost? Characters aimed at young children, for example, are typically designed around basic shapes and bright colours.

Licensable and Merchandisable

When designing your character, always bear in mind its potential for licensing and merchandising. It is no good if your character has limited potential to be exploited. Ask yourself these questions: Is your character charismatic as merchandise? What kind of merchandise can your character be made into? What kind of merchandise would look good with your character on it? How many different categories of merchandise can your character lend itself to?

Distinct, Different and Visually Impactful

Is your character design unique? With so many characters out there on the market, you need to ensure that your character stands out. Your character needs to be strong and interesting in a visual sense to get people’s attention. Take the Simpsons for example – the characters’ unusually bright yellow skin colour is an immediate attention grabber. Do a thorough check and be perfectly honest with yourself. Does it look distinct and different enough or does it look like something out of another game or animated series? If it even remotely resembles something else on the market, chuck it away and go straight back to the drawing board! Do not hesitate!

The Lead and the Followers

Do ensure that you differentiate your lead characters well from the supporting characters. It would be a tragedy if your lead character blends so much into the supporting cast that he fails to stand out. Even if all your characters look great, a potential licensee may end up being spoilt for choice because all your characters look great but your lead doesn’t look extra great! Licensees lose interest quickly when licensing your characters becomes too complicated for them.

Graphic Design Jobs for Felons

144Graphic design is an excellent career choice for ex-felons. Jobs for felons are not too easy to find nowadays because of the current economic slump but jobs are always available for talented graphic designers. Graphic conception jobs for felons are a top paying felony friendly job.

Graphic design is a profession that melds the creative design process and technology. Designers work with painted, drawn, photographed or computer-generated images and text to create a message. They design the visuals of posters, logos, magazine advertisements, album covers, T-shirt designs, product packaging, websites and more.

If you are having difficulties getting a job, graphic conception may be a good choice for you. For one thing, it is not a highly regulated field. In addition, one of the main advantages for a felon who wants to pursue a career in graphic architecture is the large number of jobs for felons available and the possibility of self-employment. Many graphic designers work freelance because they enjoy the flexibility and freedom of being their own boss.

Graphic Design Jobs for Felons

What types of graphic design jobs for felons are available?

You can either choose freelance graphic conception jobs for felons or work for just one company or organization. Both jobs pay well but the regular jobs offer more job security while freelance work offers more freedom and flexibility.

Most companies do not need graphic architecture work done every day so they do not have a graphic designer on their payroll. When they do need something designed such as a logo, poster, banner, magazine advertisement and other such work, they will need to hire a freelance graphic designer for that particular project.

A freelance graphic designer has many clients who hire him to work on many different design projects. With more and more companies using the internet to search for talented designers, freelance graphic conception jobs for felons are plentiful. You can even work from home which is an especially good option for people who have disabilities or those who want to spend more time with their families.

Not all graphic designers work freelance. Many choose to work regular jobs as designers for advertising agencies, magazines, newspapers, public relations firms, film and animation studios, computer game design companies, etc.

Graphic Architecture Jobs for Felons: How to Succeed

To succeed in a graphic architectures career you need to be a creative, artistic person who can translate ideas into visual form. Nowadays almost all design work is done on computers. Graphic conception software doesn’t remain the same from year to year so you also need to be comfortable with having to learn to work with changing technologies and software.

As a graphics person you will be working with many different clients so you need good communication skills. Clients will also criticize your work and possibly ask you to make many changes before a project is finished. That means that personality-wise you should be flexible and open to criticism.

Job Opportunities for Felons: How to Attain Your Goal

It is not required to have a formal graphic degree in art or design. Some smaller businesses will hire designers based on previous experience and knowledge of whatever software programs they intend to use.

On the other hand, many clients and big businesses are reluctant to hire people who have no certificate, diploma or degree in graphic conception or its related fields. That is why it is a good idea to invest in getting formal training as a graphic architect.

There are many different types of courses you can take. Schools may sometimes offer similar programs that sound the same but have a different focus. For example, one multimedia course may emphasize animation techniques while another course may focus more on the print industry.

Short diploma or certificate programs are good but when you graduate and start looking for your first job, you will probably have to start from the bottom and work your way up the career ladder. A four-year bachelor’s degree is more expensive but also more impressive and will help you to start work at the higher-paying jobs for felons.

Graphic Conception Jobs for Felons: Summary

Graphic conception jobs for felons are an excellent choice for people who like to work with computers and are artistically talented. Although it is possible to teach yourself graphic design, you will probably need a diploma or degree in graphic design to get the best jobs for felons. You can either work freelance or look for regular graphic design jobs for felons. The best thing about graphic design jobs for felons is that they pay well and there are many job opportunities for felons available.

Tips On Character Animation Jobs

143Be sure you know whether your potential employer wants to see rotoscoped or motion-captured animation. Some Character Animation jobs will be very interested in mo-cap produced animation, while others will be completely turned off. Special Effects. Because of its high profile and glitter factor, this is a very seductive realm of 3D. Everyone wants to see his or her name at the end of a movie. Remember that all special effects does not mean blowing stuff up, though.

Employers are interested in seeing intelligent movement, camera work, model construction, and texture creation. If this is your goal, be sure to have a firm grasp on fog, smokes, pyrotechnics, and compositing techniques. Be prepared with examples of compositing prowess. Show complete digital scenes and hybrid scenes. Have interesting explosions, but have down-to-earth subtler effects as well. After all, not every special effects house does space explosions all the time.

Pre-Visualization: Most every tool, toy, or object we see manufactured today has been touched in some way by a computer. Increasingly high-tech or high-fashion objects are being created digitally before they are ever realized tactilely. From theatres to architectural firms to engineering facilities to package design houses, the power and flexibility of computer-visualized design is taking hold.

The ability to switch a color on a box, or try a different wallpaper in seconds rather than hours, is making the investment in time and resources worthwhile. If you are interested in this sort of 3D, make sure you have superb model and texture work. Visualize both designs of your own and objects around you digitally. Produce cutaway illustrations, ad mockups, and, above all, make whatever it is that you are visualizing attractive to look at.

Even if the firm is designing wrenches, someone is going to buy those wrenches, and people buy what they are attracted to. Architecture pre-visualization is a strong area of 3D. For some odd reason, clients like to see a design before they sink millions of dollars into it. For this reason, architect firms are very interested in packaging a design in an attractive manner that not only showcases a good design, but also sells the product. If you are interested in architectural pre-vis, make sure you have a good understanding of architectural detail. Know that rooms have floorboards, and know what a dado-rail is. The ability to speak the same language as your employer is half the battle!

Game Design Software For Aspiring Video Game Designers

142If you have a passion for video games and you already know you want a future job in the game design industry, right now is the best time to start developing your skills and getting some experience.

If you’re not yet in a position to take college level courses in programming or design, one of the best things you can do is start working with game design software at home. Here are three titles you can start with – all of them free.

1. Crystal Space – 3D Game Design Engine

This open source game engine is an excellent way to get your feet wet if you’re interested in multi-platform game development. Since it allows you to develop games using the C++ programming language, it is an an excellent design software title to start with. Besides allowing you to gain first hand experience in 3D visualization, Crystal Space will also help you develop your keyframe and skeletal frame game animation design skills too.

Since there are versions to download for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X, anyone aspiring to get into the game design industry can gain a lot of experience by working with this on their home computer first. There is also a large support community online that can answer your questions and help you learn and develop your design skills with this title.

2. Cube – First Person Shooter Game Design Software

If you’re not quite up to programming in C++ yet, but still want to get a feel for game design, you should certainly download and try working with Cube. This is a first person shooter (FPS) game and game engine that is open source. If you enjoy titles like Quake and Doom, this engine will allow you to create your own game with similar action and physics.

With this software, you can design your own FPS game world and learn to work with basic game design features such as lighting, textures, and other graphics. You’ll also learn to program collision detection and other physics necessary to create realistic weapon functions. To top it off, the game you design can be programmed for single player and multiplayer modes. Again, this title is perfect for starting out in game design as it can be downloaded and run from a Windows PC, a Linux machine or a Mac.

3. DimensioneX – MMORPG Game Design Engine

With the popularity of massively multi-player online role playing games (MMORPGs) such as World of Warcraft, you’ll probably want to get some experience with designing these types of games as well. If so, you should download and spend some time with DimensioneX. While most of the design software for MMORPGs is quite expensive, this title, like the ones above, is open source and free.

DimensioneX will allow you to develop multi-player games that run on a Java servlet and use a scripting code similar to BASIC. This means that not only is the programming language easy to master, but after you create the game, you can easily upload it to a webserver and others can play it with you online. Although you can’t create massive in-depth worlds with it, it will at least allow you to learn and work with important MMORPG game design concepts including maps, player communications, sounds and more.

How an Animator Can Bring Your Characters to Life

141One of the central features of any animated production is the character that populates it. You provide the vision for those characters.

A skilled animation company sharpens that vision and brings it to life. There are many ways in which the animator develops characters perfectly suited for whatever type of project you need, from advertising animation to educational animation and more. The following are just a few of the valuable contributions the 2D animation studio can make to character design.

Target The Desired Audience

The exact look and feel of any animated project depends in large part upon the audience for which it is intended. For instance, an educational program geared toward children would use bold patterns and bright colors, whereas an animated explainer video for business executives would use more restrained design elements. The studio you choose to provide animation for your project will enhance its effectiveness by creating characters that are appropriate for the audience you wish to reach.

Animation studios will help you define the correct style for your audience right from the start by also providing you with concept design services. These services formulate vague ideas into a specific overall style. A skilled team of animators can walk you through the development of your concept and then create unique characters that fit both your vision and the audience who will be enjoying the finished product.

Visually Depict Personality

Each character in your animated project will have a distinct personality. This personality is one of the traits that will set them apart from the animated characters already out there. Through concept design and character design, your animation partner will work with you to determine the personality that each character possesses. Developing this personality may involve creating a back-story to give them history and depth. The animator will then use this background to inform their understanding and development of the character.

The animator will use their skills to take the traits that were fleshed out earlier in the process and visually depict them in the character’s body shape, facial expressions, and movements. For instance, the animator will use lines to create a body for the character that reveals their personality. Soft lines may denote gentleness, while sharp corners may reveal stronger or negative aspects of the character’s personality. Animator Moritz Schneider, for instance, explains that he used sharp edges on one of his characters to depict that character’s hidden strength and integrity. These sometimes subtle design elements convey to the viewer aspects of the character’s personality that may not be explicitly articulated in the dialogue or actions and give him or her added depth and intrigue.

In addition, the animator will use design elements such as accessories and colors to reveal a character’s thoughts, feelings, and preferences. These elements can become integral parts of the character. For instance, the yellow complexion of the Simpsons has become their trademark look, one of the reasons they first captured viewers’ attention. Reds and blues can convey a sense that the character has something in common with comic book heroes, while dark colors will give viewers the impression that the character has some less than pleasant aspects to his or her personality. Accessories can give viewers a glimpse into the character’s circumstances (such as whether they are rich, stylish, plain, or simple).

Finally, 2D animation companies can add other design features, such as facial expressions, to give the viewer visual clues to the character’s personality. At times, they will exaggerate these features to emphasize certain aspects of the character’s personality, or swerve away from strict realism to create cartoon characters that will have greater appeal to the sensibilities of the target audience. Regardless of the specific techniques they use, however, animators will all strive to produce characters that fit comfortably into the purpose and overall feeling of the project.

Create An Environment To Complement The Character Design

Finally, traditional animation studios can bring your characters to life by creating environments that complement or further reveal their personalities. For instance, an animator may choose to reflect the conflict a character is facing by inserting elements into the surrounding environment that visually clash with the character. Alternatively, the animator may choose to insert small details into certain scenes (such as background objects or colors) that match the proportions or interests of the character. A good animator will understand how the environment interacts with the characters being created so that all the elements of a project fit together convincingly. In fact, a skilled animator will be intentional about nearly every detail they add into a scene, so that the entire project comes together as a realistic and cohesive work of art.

Character design is essential to the animation process, because the characters’ personalities, appearances, and actions have the ability to affect the success of the entire project. Viewers will relate to or be turned off by their experience with those characters. As a result, the animator will work carefully to choose the colors, shapes, styles, and environmental details around the character to create a personality and role within the project that will satisfy your vision and appeal to your audiences. A skilled animator can help you not only flesh out your vision for the characters populating your project but also build them and the world around them into a form that will charm, enchant, instruct, and motivate the audiences you wish to reach.