While Character design can be a stand-alone project it is also a vital component of video production. It is what drives the story and breaths life into it.
Today we decided to open the veil of character development with our concept artist Natalie.
Almost all of our engaging characters are created by the tiny hands of our formidable lady - Natalie.
Natalie, tell us your story, how did you start drawing? When did you get your professional start?
As my mom tells it, as soon as I learned to hold things in my hands, I was drawing all over her textbooks.
But I can’t say that drawing was my only passion in childhood. I tried a lot of ways of expressing myself: sculpting, music, dancing, I’d pick up painting and then leave it alone for a while.
I took painting seriously when I was around 20. I realized that every free minute I had I was dedicating to drawing instead of doing something more important . . . like making myself prepare for university exams (I studied foreign languages, by the way).
Probably, because of my love for drawing I never was an A student :)
What do you see as the main goal of the character in an animated video?
The main goal is to attract the attention of the viewers. No matter if it’s a negative or positive character or whether it’s in a game or animation.
What information do you need to get started on character development?
If it is a short video, first of all I need a short description of the desired appearance and style.
These are examples of a characters created for a mobile game.
It’s also important to understand your audience.
For example, characters aimed at young children are typically designed around basic shapes and bright colors.
Knowing which emotions the character should provoke, you can experiment with colors. They will really help communicate a character's personality. Typically dark colors such as black, purples and greys depict baddies with malevolent intentions. Light colors such as white, blues, pinks and yellows express innocence, good and purity.
With a full-length film or a big game it is not enough to have just a short description.
I need to know the character’s main features, his story, to see character examples from other games, if there are some, examples of his style and clothes.
Do you already have some templates for creating characters for certain types of videos? or do you have an individual approach to every project?
I only have a template for the creation process. Every video has its own style, every character is unique so I don’t have prepared templates. Every time it is a new story.
Can you shortly describe the process of the character development? What stages does it include and how much time does it usually take?
It is hard to talk about turnaround time, because a lot depends on the requirements and goals of the client. It can range between 1 hour to a couple of days.
Regarding the process, first of all I get acquainted with all the given requirements and ask additional questions to get the full picture.
Then I draw a number of sketches from which the client can pick one or two that he likes the most.
Then comes the stage of sketching and coloring.
After tons of revisions and additions, we make the finishing touches to our character.
In most cases, after the character is developed I work on developing each side of the character: full face, profile, back.
Also, it is interesting to work on facial expressions and poses.
So, generally, that looks like this
We all know that explainers mostly are aimed to educate so how important is the character development in explainer videos? What benefits does that have?
As I already mentioned, the character should attract attention and get the viewer interested. In explainer videos characters are good to depict the target audience. A video has more chances to influence the customer when he can identify with your character.
But if the character is good, and the video is not - the explainer will not work. And vice versa. If the video is beautiful, and the character is boring and forgettable everything will fail.
Teamwork is critical here.
We totally agree with this statement and are happy to have in our team such a talented creatives like Natalie because teamwork makes the dream work.
I am sure this short blog post gave you the basic understanding of what is character development in animation and how it looks like.