Vinod Rams: Create Game Character Art

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I have been curious about one of the magazines in the studios. I’ve been looking into the ‘Imagine FX’ magazine and I’ve found a very cool article which I’m sure it’ll help me out with my character designs projects. This is an article written by Vinod Rams. He is a concept artist and an illustrator with 15 years of experience. The article basically “shows you how to design a video game character the Gigantic way.”

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1.Body exploration.
We first must know what we have to design in order to start designing at least something. After we got our brief we can start by doing some quick sketches whilst exploring different body types such as Slim, Skinny, Muscular, Athletic, Stocky etc.

2.Triangular shape.
In this instance the designer was aiming at creating a mysterious figure with a cape/cloak. Therefore he went for a triangular shape.

I’ve noticed how the designs are very detailed even though they are just sketches, also the designer doesn’t focus on the face, it’s more about the armour and the weapon for now and of course the pose and the body shape.

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3. We got one!
Around this stage we should have a clear idea of the armour and the weapon that we are going for. The designer right now starts to think about the face study to get a better feel of who the character is. He also mentioned that he posted his artwork on his companies internal Wiki in order to get feedback about who and what they like the most.

4. Action poses
During this step, the designer is showing different poses for the character, for example; running, jumping, sneaking, attacking or just simply walking/standing. The poses that you choose are supposed to reflect the personality of the character.

5. Another shot
At this stage the designers co-workers got back to him saying that they didn’t like the cape because of the previous difficulties when it came to animating a different character. So he thought of something else in order to make it less complicated for someone else’s job. Also the rough sketches that followed the feedback, didn’t work either.

6. It’s a bull’s-eye
The designer has started fresh, he went back to step 1 and just done everything all over again, turns out that his co-workers preferred the second idea. This shows that sometimes a designer will be forced to start fresh with different ideas. Of course in a sketchbook first and then on to the digital.

7. Explore facial expressions
At this stage the designer decided to work on the facial expressions and just the head of the character overall. During this step is where the designers can finalise the personality of their chosen character. It’s interesting how just one small change to an eyebrow can change the character completely from looking happy and generous, to smug and sinister.

8. Proportions and readability
The designer has now got a clear understanding of the personality, this is where he goes back and works on the body proportions in much more depth. The designer is exploring different ratios of legs to torso to collar and also try different shapes for the collar. The designer also explores motion concepts during the exploration of the character’s details.

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9. Motion concepts and poses
This stage shows the designer working on different poses now baring in mind what the character is wearing. This can also show how certain features of the character will move about. For example; a light cape will float as the character runs etc. An important thing to point out is that this part is something that shows the character’s personality in much more depth rather than the final concepts as it shows how the character carries itself around.

10. Complete the concept
This is where you choose the best pose that will represent the character in the best way possible. You have to pay attention to things like the weapon, the previous action poses and just the overall feel to the character. Also the designer mentions how he researched into WWI and WWII military uniforms in order to get a colour scheme for the character.

11. A well-dressed lady
At the mid-point the designer took a break to look more into some features of the design and trying out different things before finalising the concept. The designer mentioned how he has to think about what would look best when it comes to the 3D render. Also the hairstyle tells a lot about the character as well.

12. Crossbows meets umbrella
In this case the designer mentioned that because Gigantic is a fighting game, it is important to be able to show the functionality of the weapon. It first obviously started as a rough sketch during the process of figuring out the body shapes etc. but now it is time for details. During this process the designer is getting constant feedback from his co-workers to avoid any complications.

13. Shapes and motifs
The designer mentions how it is important to keep a motif, for example his character’s shape motif is being puffy, therefore there are no harsh shapes anywhere in the design.

14. Apply final details
This is the final step, here you can see if the character is shown as a strong character (if it needs to look strong) basically you are making sure that you’ve got the main factors of what the character is supposed to represent.

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