Jump to content
Ottservia

What makes a good character design

Recommended Posts

Okay so this has been something on my mind a little bit. What makes good character design? Now I realize that this sort of thing is almost entirely subjective but I'd like to know everyone's thoughts regardless. Personally I feel good character design boils down to answering one simple question: "What can I tell about this character just by looking at their design/artwork/portraits/etc." and if the answer is accurate to what the character is actually like then I feel the design is a success.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What does the design/artwork/portrait say about the character?  More than that, what does it say about the world they are part of and their place in it?

It is very easy to tell the difference between something that feels it belongs in a narrative and exists in a living, breathing world and something that exists in a vacuum, purely for self-indulgence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the broadest sense, I think a design that's simple(In a more artistic sense, not like "Oh, this character was made only using 7 lines!"), appealing, and, as you said, says what the character is about.

Edited by Slumber

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bubba Jones sums it up pretty well. It's important for the character design to feel natural to both the world and their character.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like strong, distinctive silhouttes . Genereally, a lot of charathers with these will be simple, and retain a kind of shape-based drawing guide for them but this isn't strictly neccesary.

Uniformed charathers  belong in a special category - they can still be distinct from each other (any good war/cop movie 0r tv show, Legend of Galatic Heroes, etc), but if not designed well they can betray a feeling of "interchangable wigs" (in manga's case) or the impression that the main charathers are "generic soldier dudes". 

I don't like "over-designed charathers" in most cases, although I can appreciate something like "ironwork steampunk".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me, it's all about personality and color schemes.

IE: With my Homestuck oc Seeira, he's a purple blood, so he obviously has clothes of this color, and a doll maker so I gave him an apron. To keep with his caste theme, his apron is blood stained and filled with blood stained items and to finish the whole thing off, his eyes are very wide and expressive, to make him more innocent. 

 

A better example

Spoiler

Take for example Anthony (just roll with it for now). He's obviously in a lot of dull colors so it makes sense for him to be of a lower class. After all he is a page, and dyes were so expensive back then that purple is "royalty". His portrait looks kind of like a Kubrick stare and even when he's revealed to be evil, you can see the "Here's Johnny" in him. From what little we see of his full model, he is wearing gloves, similar to Mozu's design and fitting for a villager. 

 

Now let's go search up bad ocs. What do you get? Bright colors and such skimpy clothing that even Olivia is going wtf. Jumping back to FE, who else has an impractical design? Camilla. Her boob window is an obvious problem and could get her killed but she seems like she uses it for other means..... 

Imagine if you saw Anthony, who's like 12-13 years old (taking a guess here since FE's never been consistent on ages.) running around an in outfit like Camilla's, what would you think? That's all up to you

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It depends on a few things. Does it fit the character and their personality/backstory? Does it fit with the world the character is in? Does their design affect them and their being (Example Charlotte has big boobs to attract rich men, they aren't just there so she has big boobs Like Camilla). Etc.

Well, at least, that;s what matter to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Dreamyboi

Depends.

To me good character design is design that communicates who the character is while still making sense within the context of the world and story.

If you want my subjective picks I'd say Leo is an example of great character design while Nyx is an example of contradictory character design. Leo's appearance fits his personality and make sense for the setting, Nyx's doesn't because it clashes with her personality and is much too revealing for anyone who isn't a dancer. The prepubescent-like current state of her body is a reminder of her grave mistakes in the past which lead to many people dying and the last thing she'd ever do is show it off to anyone with a functioning pair of eyes. IntSys' need to pander to pedophiles might explain why it exists

Edited by Dreamyboi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Using Gintama logic, being able to tell who a character is based on their silhoutte.
Don't make the design too over the top.
What does the design say about the character? The clothing, posture, facial expression all tell you about something about the person

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my opinion, good character art represents the character themselves, is easily distinguishable from the other characters (unless any similarities are actually a focus on the character) and fits in with the story.

 

Good examples:

Dierdre (Genealogy): The messy hair and wrinkled dress shows her ditzy nature (as caused by the amnesia) and that fact that she joins face-down in the forest. Also, the light purple throughout her design is GENIUS. The light colours indicate purity and warmth, while the purple (a colour often associated with evil) shows that she hides a dark secret, which eventually manifests into Julius. Excellent art that tells a lot about the character without saying a word!

Charlotte (Fates). The devious grin, combined with fanservice immediately says a lot about who she is and what she does. Also, the white and gold palette is a good choice given her personality and status.

Garon (Fates):  Despite being a terrible character, his art is actually really good. The huge plates of armour, the massive axe, and the sheer size of the guy just screams "threatening". The relatively monochrome colour palette in an otherwise colourful game is excellent, as it manages to symbolise the darkness of Nohr, the loss of his former personality, and his evilness in one fell swoop.

Gray, Tobin, Kliff and Faye (Echoes): Their down-to-earth design and dulled colour palettes show that they are poor, relatively generic peasants. It also sets up echoes to be a more serious game (it is effectively an old FE, after all) in its contrast to the flashy, vibrant colours seen in the other 3DS games.

 

Bad examples:

Many offenders (the whole damn series): Impractical armour on a character who is supposed to be serious. The designs should be at least somewhat consistent with real physics, otherwise they're just not believable. We also need more ringmail armour.

Dragon Lolis (many games): The idea that the wisest, oldest beings, above our mere human perceptions actually takes the form of a small child is a trope that has been overused better elsewhere. It was cool the first time, but not anymore. Unless IS can actually make the manaketes' young designs symbolic of something (maybe the manaketes all get slaughtered before they can reach adulthood, so they evolved to be able to reproduce while not fully mature?) the trope can be retired, please. Also, thank you SO MUCH Corrin for bucking the trend on this one!

Henry (Awakening): A clean robe, combined with sensible hair and an overall formal look is in stark contrast to his chaotic character. He should have had a more 'messy' design in my opinion.

Camilla (Fates): Her design is trying to do three things at once, and fails at all of them. It wants to be aggressive like Minerva, fanservice-y like Tethys, and caring like Sumia all at the same time. Had they gone with just one of those options, it would have been great, but they dropped the ball in three places at once...

Many offenders (Heroes): Unnecessary fanservice that doesn't fit with their character. Looking at you especially, Catria!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To me, a good character design is unique, relatively simplistic, and fitting for both the setting and the personality of the character. The great thing about art is that you can make characters' appearances really stand out and leave a lasting image of that character in someone's mind. It always annoys me when a character has a design that contradicts their personality (Nyx)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Dreamyboi
1 hour ago, The_antithesis said:

Garon (Fates):  Despite being a terrible character, his art is actually really good. The huge plates of armour, the massive axe, and the sheer size of the guy just screams "threatening". The relatively monochrome colour palette in an otherwise colourful game is excellent, as it manages to symbolise the darkness of Nohr, the loss of his former personality, and his evilness in one fell swoop.

Yep, lazily written or not he definitely has a good design. I personally prefer his "young garon" cipher illustration though.Yoneko_Garon3.thumb.jpg.c4d3e5ba353453506139934bdf978aea.jpg

1 hour ago, The_antithesis said:

Many offenders (Heroes): Unnecessary fanservice that doesn't fit with their character. Looking at you especially, Catria!

Let's not forget Mae's weird ass breastplate Hidari drew that the Heroes artist later decided to inflate.

 340px-Full_Portrait_Mae.png.edd56dd42671761c270d1459a367d7ce.png

Sometimes I wonder why they even draw these characters wearing armor if the shit's going to curve around them like rubber. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess accessories maybe? Like weird looking staffs, things dangling off sword and belt. Just something that shows this guy or girl wants to stand out, and get killed by a sniper. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...