The aim of this project is to design two different boxers. These boxers have to contain a narrative as well as a use of how hey could be used within a video game. The narrative could possibly be shown by a pose that they are placed in. As well as this one of the characters must be human, the other can be whatever I desire.
Arnold Tsang is a character concept artist from the United States mainly known for his art on Overwatch. Looking at the different pieces that he has created i is clear that his style is cartoon/animated rather than realism. Using bold black lines to highlight specific features of the character. A big inspiration that I can gain from this concept artist is they way the characters are designed. Each character has been designed so that if they were just silhouettes they would easily be recognisable. For example, the character ‘tracer’ could easily be recognised due to her long spiky hair and ‘McCree’ could be recognised because of his large western cowboy hat. When I starting my sketches this is something I need to think about.
Marco Nelor is a character concept artist that has worked on successful games such as Mortal Kombat X. I thought that it would be a good idea to research a fighting game character artist as these characters will be the most similar to the ones that I create as the boxer would most likely in a fighting game. Looking at the different pieces that Marco has created it is clear that he goes for the realism style, making the characters look as close to real life in possible in terms of the characters figure and proportions. Since this is a fighting game, all of these characters have a large figure with extremely defined muscles so that it is obvious that they are a warrior. I feel like this makes sense but makes all the characters too similar. None of the characters is skinny or just larger in body fat. However, one piece of inspiration that I can take from this artist is that the clothes the characters were given a narrative and backstory about the character. A good example of this is a piece showing a female character wearing dog tags and military equipment. This obviously shows that this character has a military backstory but also that they are a diverse range of characters in this game and not just ‘ninjas’. Another good example is a concept of the main villain of this game. The clothes of this villain appear to by of ancient fashion due to the colours and abnormal shapes of the shoulder pauldrons. This then gives the narrative of this character making it appear that he is possibly magical and thousands of years old.
Starting off this the design stage of this concept I began drawing simple ideas for my characters. immediately knew that I wanted one of my characters to be a robot as this would give me lots of design choice and they are rarely seen in fighting games, or just as a playable character in games in general. looking at the techniques I have learnt in the past I found that one of the most useful for designing my robot was the silhouette technique. This was similar to the scribble pareidolia, however, the shapes are more controlled and can be more like characters. The pareidolia technique would be better if designing a prop or vehicle. When doing this I took my research into consideration and tried to give my designs key features that would make them stand out.
Sculptris Idea Generation
For the human character, I came up with my idea using a different technique. I began using a program called ‘Sculptris’ and creating shapes giving very little thought to what the final outcome would be. After a good hour using this program, I could see an idea within my working. An old man with a long thin moustache, reminding me of the Sensei from the kill Bill Movies.
With my sensei character, I then began sketching using the Sculptris file as a reference for how I wanted my character to look. I used the head and scale of the character off of this but then wanted to add traditional Chinese robes so that it was obvious that he was a sensei. I used reference images found on the internet as a guide to designing the clothes. The key element that I noticed was that the clothes appeared to be ‘baggy’, hanging loosely on the Senseis. I tried to imitate this for my character.
My initial sketches had led me to come up with an idea for my robot and I began to develop him further creating variations that showed him as a boxer and as a warrior. To make him stand out as a silhouette I decided to give the robot abnormally large shoulder pauldrons, similar to how they do it in ‘World Of warcraft’. This way the silhouette would show a tall skinny robot with out of place shoulder pads. Since the brief stated that the character could not use weapons I knew that the variant showing him with a shield equip would just be an alternate design. For this character I knew that I wanted it to be obvious that he was a boxer, therefore I added boxing gloves to my sketches and make it look like they were crudely attached to the robot using tape. This was so that it appeared as if the robots original purpose was not to fight. I wanted the robot to be related to the Sensei and I came up with the idea that he would be a training bot. Since the Sensei would be in a guild it is most likely that there would be students that needed to train. The purpose of this robot would be to be the opponent of these students. I wanted this to imitate into my design, therefore, I thought it would be good to have engravings on one of the shoulders of the robot that read ‘training bot’ in simplified Chinese.
3D Model and Posing
I then drew my human character in multiple poses showing a stance for fighting and him meditating. I used an image off of google to show a typical fighting pose of a Sensei. The reason that I decided to draw my character meditating as from my knowledge of films and animations that have contained a Sensei, the main thing that they seem to do meditate to try and find piece. A good example of this is Kung Fu Panda.
Finishing off the design of my sensei I then created a robot arm using 3DS Max and attempted to merge this with the existing Sculptris image to create my final character design.
After developing my robot I wanted to create a 3D model so that I could easily pose him. I did this using the drawings I did as the reference for how he should look and stand. I also used a boxing stance reference picture off the internet to help me correctly position him. When creating my robot I had an accident within the software which was that my character duplicated. Most of this looked extremely weird and was deleted however it duplicated the arms and ended up improving the design of my robot. Making the final idea a four-armed robot instead of two like I had originally planned.
Finally, I took the drawing of my posed Sensei as well as the 3D image of my posed robot into photoshop and began recreating them, refining the design and adding colour so that it was obvious what material the clothes of the Sensei where and what material the robot was made out of.
I made a development sheet for both of these characters so that it was easy to see where I started and how I got to the end of this project.
Looking back over this project I feel like there are certain elements where I have exceeded my limitations, especially in the 3D area of designing organic models. I feel like I have researched more than usual into the subject of my project and then used this as inspiration for the final outcomes.Using 3D software for character design Is something that I haven’t done in my past character design projects and I feel like it is certainly a technique that helped me extremely well. It enabled me to pose the designs of my characters easier as well as show them from different angles easily.
I still feel like character design is the subject in Games where I am lacking due to my drawing of anatomy. However, by practising sketching and comparing this project to my previous character project, I can clearly see an improvement in the shape of my characters and how they should be positioned.