Blue Screen Vs Green Screen: Explained
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Animated movies today showcase characters that look like real-life characters. Such realistic characters are achieved through lot of practice and planning. Character designers plays an important role in replicating life-like characters for the silver screen. These characters could be humans (like Miguel and Mamá Coco in Pixar Coco), animals (like Simba and Mufasa in The Lion King), mythical creatures (Toothless and Stormfly in How to Train Your Dragon) or even objects (Lumière and Cogsworth in Beauty and the Beast). In each of these cases, having a good reference helps to build reality & credibility on screen.
This 3-step process will help you create a character that is both entertaining and believable.
Gesture drawing forms the base of character designing. For gesture drawing, all you need is a sketchbook and a pencil, or a drawing tablet. Even those who doesn’t have any classroom or software training can do this. You could sit at a park or any place of your choice that doesn’t attract too much attention to you, and make quick sketches of the postures and emotions of people around you. Remember that these are not portraits, but simple quick silhouettes. Your subjects could be humans, animals or objects around you. These sketches could be used as the base for your future character designs. They may help you develop everyday people like your mother and father, or imaginary characters like dragons and unicorns.
Check out this video on Gesture Drawing:
You have already got those outlines. Now what? It is time for you to start sketching these figures without references! This is when you may have to rely on your own skills and instincts to bring characters to life. It is not feasible for you to go back to the nearby park and start making sketches every time you need a reference. So you have to depend on your experience and observation. Decide what more could you add to those characters in the silhouettes. What expressions and actions suits the character? How would the character behave? All these ideas start coming to life at this stage. You may create these permeant sketches with the help of a software that you learnt, or you could do it with the conventional pencil-paper style, depending on your preference for medium. Many animation institutes today have dedicated courses that cover character design & development, with the help of relevant software.
This is when you start adding details. What is the eye colour of the character? What would the character wear? At this stage, your character may look like someone you know or you may have seen. Consider that person, image or idea as a reference to bring out the finer details of your character. Just like the earlier step, this step too can be completed using a digital medium or a more conventional medium, as the idea is what matters, and not what medium you use.
Even though designing a believable character may look challenging, it is one of the most interesting processes of animation. From understanding shapes to body languages and expressions, you get to play God of your own creations. All this can be learned through guided training. An institute that teaches anatomy drawing, character design & development as part of the animation process is ideal to start. So get going!