Difference Between Concept art and Character Design: Character Creation

The art of character creation has accumulated over the years the knowledge, techniques, and tricks that artists use today to bring a wide variety of ideas to life. Concept art&character design is two interrelated areas with the same goal – to create characters for games, movies, anime, etc. What is their difference, and what stages this path contains? We will now tell you.

Character Concept Art: What is It and Why is It Important

Concept art is a visual representation that tells a story, captures the atmosphere, and conveys the feel and emotion of a future film, animation, or game. For other project participants, he sets a benchmark.

In a word, it’s a sketch. Based on character concept art, artists create all the details of a future game or film. Imagine how many people are working on at least one cartoon. Large projects may bring together hundreds of artists because they need a common “narrative tone.”

Without a concept, you get a bunch of different styles and character concept art types: brutal knights to rainbow ponies in the steampunk world. The character designer has a wild imagination and can easily realize even the craziest ideas. Still, the general idea of the authors of the script and plot also depends on this.

Concept artist sketches are like a beacon to keep the whole team from going astray. But how many hours and labor are behind one sketch? Hitting the bull’s eye the first time is not easy. The conceptual artist bears the main burden of the creative process. It is a concept design that creates a platform for further actions.

Character Design: How a Unique Character is Created

One of the main things distinguishing one character from another is any detail. It can be an aquiline nose, an octopus on the head, messy hair, etc. Each such idea can tell much about who is in front of your eyes.

Proportions are another important factor in character design. A child’s head is usually larger, while adults have a smaller one. Huge eyes and a forehead are often made in weak people, and broad shoulders in strong people. Angular shapes are villains. Different facial features can also tell a lot. Have you noticed how it was already possible to draw some conclusion from one type of character? Perhaps this is the protagonist’s main antagonist or best friend, the most dangerous criminal, etc. 

This is the essence of the work of artists so that the character’s personality matches at least the appearance. By the way, this is one of the favorite tricks of screenwriters, who can also participate in the creation of characters to create an image of a good person or a villain, to make a cliffhanger in the plot.

Purpose of Character Design

Video games, TV shows, movies, or anime are based on the story. And stories are driven by character. Character design aims to make these characters attractive, visually stimulating, and memorable.

In fine art and animation, artists can create characters from scratch. This allows them to use every design aspect to create a unique character. Sometimes this stage is given to professional outsourcing studios so that, in the shortest possible time, it would be possible to determine the direction and features of the characters according to the concepts. As a rule, the character design studio considers all the wishes and provides the highest quality result to place the characters in the world that was created for them earlier. Watch the video below to understand how character design is more about storytelling than just making a great drawing.

Character design aims to create iconic characters that guide the story. Great character designs are memorable and iconic. Where do you get the basics and ideas for design characters? Concept artists took on this task, who provided dozens or even hundreds of options to choose just 1.

To draw an expressive and bright hero, you must consider the era, habitat, and much more. At first glance, this seems like an impossible task. But usually, concept artists are guided in several ways:

  • Appointment. Artists try with one sentence to answer the question “Who is this?”. What is the meaning and purpose of the character in the game’s universe?
  • History. Represent the era and world where the character lives. They think over good and bad traits, craft, past, and how they make a living.
  • Drawing Poses and Silhouettes. These two components should also reflect the essence of the characters.
  • Angle. If the character is visible to the player most of the time from the back, pay attention to the back. If in front, they work out the face and facial expressions.
  • Stylistics. They are determined so that this is a character for an indie game, anime, or, conversely, photorealism is needed. The main thing is that the player does not have a dissonance between the product’s design and the hero’s appearance.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the difference between concept art and character design lies in each process’s goals. On the one hand, concept art takes on a more philosophical part of the character – character, goals, motivation, etc. On the other hand, the design must convince viewers or gamers that they are watching the story of the right character in the right place. This is quite simple, but the modern world is filled with hundreds of thousands of characters, making it difficult to create unique protagonists (or villains) with their history, psychology, and goals.

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