Even if we do say so ourselves, that’s a great question! If you’re interested in character design, you may have designed lots of your own characters. But you’ve probably not come close to doing what a character designer does.
What is Character Design?
It’ll help to talk about character design itself before we get into what a character designer does. Generally, character design is the development of new, original characters for a computer or traditional illustration or animation. Character designers may also be used to design characters for toy manufacturers.
Character designers work from a character definition that might be part of a story outline or script for a film, TV series, video game, graphic novel, or book illustration. Character styles can range from very graphic, like ‘Stewie’ on Family Guy, to photorealistic, like ‘The Incredible Hulk’.
What a Character Designer Does
Character design is firmly based in 2D drawing. Whether by hand with pencil and paper, or with digital drawing tools, a solid ability to draw, particularly human and animal anatomy, is key to being a character designer.
Among other details, the following are some of the steps a character designer takes to design a character from scratch.
- Immerse themselves in the story or script to understand the character’s role in it.
- Research anatomy, costuming, physical settings, time-related references (past, present, future), specific to the script and character.
- Review concept art to understand the look and style of the project
- Draw. And draw some more. From initial impressions of the general look of different versions of a character, to showing each character version ‘in action’, there’s lots of drawing to be done.
- Give the character personality and believability. While not a separate step in character design, each layout must be more than a visual design of a character. Even if it’s done in stages, a believable personality must be conveyed in the design layouts.
- Once characters are approved, the designer may be tasked with creating a model sheet of the character that shows the character from different angles
- Some projects may need other layouts showing the character in particular poses, or expressing different moods and emotions.
This is a just a brief explanation of what a character designer does. To learn more, get in touch with Max the Mutt College of Animation & Design today.