18 Top Character Design Tips for Animation Films

Character design is not that simple as it looks in cartoons, movies and animations. It takes long hours of designers to create a character for a particular story. Character designing may have complexities, but the designers always aim to keep them simple. It’s more than just readable features, clean lines that are needed in a character. It is also about where to emphasize and where to downplay based on the personality of the character in the story. We have seen Disneyland cartoons, Tom & Jerry, Ice Age movies, Jungle Book and so many more, and each personality in each one of the afore mentioned has made a strong influence in our minds to remain alive forever. To start creating a character is very complicated but if one has the idea of the character in the mind then following tips would be helpful.

01. Know the Audience

The audience of the any creative project is important in determining its framework. It should be the most significant step on the way to designing characters. The characters designed for kids are brighter in colours and have got very basic shapes. If one is working for clients projects then you need to follow the character specifications shared by your client.

02. Know the Positioning

In which position and how the character will be introduced in the story also plays an important role in character designing. In what medium character will be seen also has a part to show here. Generally small mediums like mobile phone do not need intricacies in the characters as the big screens need. Besides, whatever the medium is, character designing always starts with paper, pencil, lots of sketches, ideas and more.

03. Analyse Other Designs

You should make an analysis of why some characters are successful and some are not. Do a proper research and through study of the various characters appearing in cartoon channels, animation movies, advertisements, etc.

04. Your Character should be Unique

Whether its shape, its personality, its attire or its colour, animation characters must be unique to stand out in the crowd. It could be an animal or a human or beast, the character designs need to be interesting to draw the attention of the people.

05. Drawing Line and Styles to Emphasize

Lines whether thick or thin line should be even and easily sculpted to create a personality that is cute, approachable and influencing. People demand for accuracy in the creation and have become very watchful of the perfection of the personality that is projected in the stories.

06. Magnify the characteristics

If the characters area magnified then it captures the attention of the viewers as it appears larger than life. It also helps audience in identifying the character and recalling it forever besides enhances the personal traits of the character. It could include – big nose, bulging eyes, hands with 2 fingers, big head sizes.

07. Colours Make a Big Difference

Choose colours carefully; as colours make a big difference and help your creation become noticeable in the crowd. Colours like black, blue, grey projects negative intentions, while light colours – white, blues, pinks and yellows describes innocence and purity.

08. Attire and Accessories

Attire and accessories speaks about the traits of the character in the story, besides also about its social status. Lots of diamond and jewelleries stands for riches and untidy and messy cloths indicate poor lifestyle. Besides accessories like swords, flying tools just adds to the personality and the role of the character.

09. 2D or 3D?

You need to decide how you want to project your character and how it should look from different angles. 2D or 3D features adds a completely new look to even a flat picture. If your creation is going to run on 2D or 3D platforms then you need to plan the height, weight and shape of the character very carefully as even a small mistake would change the shape of the character and make it look very different from what you envisioned.

10. Personality & facial expression

Personality of the character is a very important rule to follow while creating it. How it reacts in different situations, how it changes its expression reveals the role of the character. Whether the character is dull or sporty or a genius or a friendly one or has a destructive and villainous nature. Facial expression says it all. Movement of eyes, nose or lips can tell whether one is explosive, irritating, jealous, sad, happy, worried or scared. One can read the emotions from facial expressions depending on its temperament.

11. Character with goals

Whether one is watching a movie, reading a story or watching an animation, the goal of the lead character is the driving force behind a character’s personality. To create a dramatic angle to the story, character should be given goals like – solving mysteries, helping needy people, protecting people from evil characters.

12. Creating a background

A story to back the character makes it more interesting. Where it came from, what are the life changing events in his life, what made it think about takin up a challenging goal, etc. can add interesting and inspiring angles to the story.

13. Investigate and learn

It is not necessary to follow the rule book every time. It also depends on the mood of the artist how the personality of the character will be created. You should be open to experiments that can lead to interesting results.

14. Using paper and pencil is not a bad idea

It is always good to draw your character on paper first. Most of the interesting characters of yesteryears were drawn when drawing with the help of software was a distant dream. While working on paper many interesting things happen, this may not be possible on computers. Besides, it gives a good feel to the artist of creating something with one’s own hands and a feeling of giving life to a picture drawn on paper.

15. Let people share their thoughts

This will help you in understanding if you character is able to interact with the audience or if you are able to put the personality you wanted to in your creation. Whether the character is able to express its traits as planned.

16. Think beyond your plans

It is necessary as an artist to envision your creation on different platforms. How it would look on 2D and 3D platforms. Which platform would enhance the traits better and on which platform audience would love to see it?

17. Right environment makes it popular

Environment in which the creation dwells and interacts is important to make audiences feel the character. It strengthens the life of the character in the viewers mind.

18. Breathe life into the Characters

Your creation should look a real life character. Its facial expressions, the environment it lives in and the personality traits in every situation that is close to real world characters make it accepted by the audience.

My Top Summer Anime Series

1. Alderamin of the Sky

This show really took me by surprise. It was suggested to me by my brother; not knowing anything about it, I simply sat down and watched it. Boy, am I glad I did. At this moment, it still has one episode left in the season and I am dying for it to come out. The progression of the story line can seem a bit slow, but fret not, every minute of it is amazing. The show has quite a bit of comedy in it, but dark times peer around every corner. Like a light switch, the show can go from making you laugh to making you almost break down in tears.

The main story mostly focuses around two main characters: Ikta and Yatorishino. They are childhood friends; Ikta was an apprentice of a scientist and Yatorishino is a child of the Igsem family, which is known for their exceptional swordsmanship. Ikta accompanies Yatori when she leaves to take her officer’s exam; however, they end up getting shipwrecked along with a few others and the princess of the kingdom. Behind enemy lines, the group finds a way to make it back safely with the princess. After returning, their “reward” is an officer rank, forcibly making them join the military, much to Ikta’s disapproval. From there, the adventure only continues to grow more and more complex and dark. Along the way, Ikta proves through his actions that he may be lazy, but he is the best commander this army has ever seen.

2. Orange

I’m on a roll with these slice of life anime series, and this one throws a little bit of supernatural stuffs into the mix. Like all slice of life anime series, the series itself lives and dies with the characters. Orange does a terrific job of getting you attached to the characters, especially the main three: Kakeru, Suwa, and Naho. Their friends, acting as supporting characters, also add a lot to the story line. This show will take you on a rollercoaster of happy moments followed by feels that are then followed by you yelling at your TV. Personally, I yelled at the TV for Naho to hold Kakeru’s hand several times.

Orange is an anime that holds a basis in alternate, or parallel, universes. A group high school friends, now adults, meet on the tenth anniversary of the death of one of their friends. The friend, Kakeru, died of suicide. The friends talk about their regrets in not being able to save Kakeru, and ultimately decide to chance their luck on writing letters to their past selves. They know it won’t affect the world that they live in, but maybe, just maybe, there is another world where they can save their dear friend. The story begins with the same group of friends, at high school age, receiving mysterious letters from their future selves.

3. Re:Zero

Technically this show started in the Spring, but it just finished up this summer, so it counts! Boy, was this show a rollercoaster. Every episode had me on the edge of my seat, it’s easy to see why it became so popular. The main character, Subaru, gets put through so much hell that you can feel for him. There are times where he is happy, and it makes you happy, and times where he is completely desperate, and it makes you want to cry. The show starts off kind of comedic, that’s before Subaru dies for the first time, and you realize that this show is a lot deeper than most of the shows in the same genre. This show is animated beautifully, has deep, loving characters, and just overall a terrific anime series.

Subaru is just your normal, run of the mill guy making his way through life. However, after exiting a convenience store, he is somehow magically transported to another world. As he figures out, he is able to communicate with people in this world no problem, but his clothes and items are mysterious to the people here. He soon meets Emilia after having a run in with a couple of thieves, who at the time introduces herself as Satalia. Emilia is a half-elf, one that resembles the late evil witch and strikes fear into peoples hearts. After meeting their untimely end later, Subaru then realizes that in this world he has a mysterious power. Whenever he dies, he returns to a specific point in the past where he can then do everything over again. How will he use this power? Will he be able to keep his sanity after seeing and reliving deaths over and over?

Well, there you have it. My top three anime series for this season! This season has a bunch of awesome anime shows and I am sad to see them go. I can’t wait for the last episode of Alderamin of the Sky. I don’t really see anything that peaks my interest for the fall season, but I’ll just have to wait and find out!

Weekly Review: Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash – ReVisited

General

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash, one of my favorite anime series. Lately, I’ve found myself going back and watching anime shows that I’ve seen before. Grimgar is one of them, and also others, like The Irregular. Going back and watching Grimgar again made me realize how much I really love this series, and even more now that I’ve watched the dub through as well. This got me thinking, what is it about this show that makes me like it so much? Well, a lot actually. The plot, characters, development, everything is well and good. However, there is also some bad, which many people point out.

Likes

Let’s start off with what this anime series does good and that I like. It’s pretty easy to start out with saying that the characters are quite amazing in this show. They are not your typical, over powered protagonist that you find in other fantasy-like anime shows. No, they are human. Breakable. Which also makes them relatable. Most of the time our protagonists go out and wreck shit as soon as they enter a fantasy world, but this show is different. We get to see the struggle of their survival, and also their struggle to adapt to this vastly different world. I mean, come on, they were thrown into a world and told to fight or die, it’s supposed to be a struggle.

I also love the way they develop the characters, for example Mary and Haru. Haru, the leader of the group, takes over the role after an untimely death. He doesn’t just become the leader, he has to work at it. He realizes his own flaws, and then tries to improve upon them. He messes up, again, and again, but picks himself back up and tries to do better. As for Mary, we get to see her transition from a solo, quiet girl to someone who openly trusts her party members. It’s quite amazing to see.

Dislikes

I, personally, don’t really have any dislikes as far as the story goes. However, there are a few things that bother me with the animation. Sometimes it just got way too sloppy. For instance, there is a scene where Yume and Haru are talking while Yume is throwing knives. She goes on and on about the knives and how her master bought her one, so she bought one just like it. So that means, one plus one equals two. Except… she’s throwing three knives; come on, man. Another example is when Ranta is running away from Death Spots, his helmet was left on the floor below, so he is running around without his helmet, no biggie, right? Well, except for one cut of his chase scene where he is clearly wearing a helmet. It’s little things like these that kind of take away from the overall experience.

Dub vs Sub

I know there are some die hard fans for either side of this debate, but I personally like both. However, if a good dub is available, you better believe I’m going to choose that over the sub. So what about Grimgar, is it good? Yeah, actually pretty damn good. The voices match up very well. The single complaint I have about it is the fact that Ranta’s voice actor changes mid-way through the show, which sucks. A lot.

Overall

All in all, through the love and the hate, I really love this series. It’s a twist on a already exhausted niche, so it didn’t get a whole lot of credit. I personally love the way they took something that has been done to death, and put a new spin on it. I can’t wait to get my hands on the light novels, if they are ever officially translated into English.