Ultimate Character Concept for Your Game to Hit the Market Running

December 30, 2021
We know well that every blockbuster game starts with an ultimate character concept art as a background of an eye-catching game design. Namely, video game concept art contributes to the aesthetic nature of game characters, helping to retain players and keep them engaged in the gameplay.

We know well that every blockbuster game starts with an ultimate character concept art as a background of an eye-catching game design. Namely, video game concept art contributes to the aesthetic nature of game characters, helping to retain players and keep them engaged in the gameplay.

Character concept art significantly contributes to the entire game development process. Specifically, it depicts a game hero in detail, outlining their features in such a way that everybody can understand and feel their nature. Two people can read the same hero description and imagine different pictures—concept art is about creating a single approach toward the character so that the players equally understand it.

In this blog, we are going to define the character concept art, uncover its peculiarities, talk about the stages of its creations, and provide the tips for developing worthy art.

What Is Character Concept Art and Who Are Game Artists?

Character concept art empowers the presentation of the game characters on the screen. Concept artists are responsible for the game style and look. Following the producer’s brief, art designers develop sketches that lead to the whole vision of the character for its further usage by game developers and 3D artists.

In other words, concept artists and character designers contribute to making the game stylish and capturing the attention of players.

David Cage, French game designer, concept artist, and plot writer, shares his vision in the TED Talk: “You may remember the moments while reading a novel when you were willing to change the narration or the character. Character concept art gives the possibility to create ever-changing characters with the possibility to modify their clothes, armour, and even change the narration.” As an experienced concept artist, David emphasizes that lively memorable character concepts turn the player into a storyteller, granting him or her the feeling of great involvement, commitment, and wish to play again.

Concept Art Empire blog, a platform of helpful tips for concept artists, states that character concept art is about:

  • Contributing to the entire character design from scratch in accordance with the game creator’s view;
  • Briefing the character image and discussion of its concept in detail;
  • Understanding there’s no “right way” to create the character, but the start is usually an outline of the character’s physical and emotional traits; and
  • Creation of the many views of the character as reference materials.

Of course, you can collaborate separately with the character designers and concept artists, then bring their vision to the game developers, but it can be more efficient to outsource the whole game development process from scratch to one company.

Innovecs, as a game development outsourcing company, follows the guidelines mentioned above, and applies advanced tech, unique art, and professional team expertise to realize your character concept vision for further fruitful game development. Our expert game development team is ready to collaborate on every stage of game design, including character concept design and video game concept art development for a top title release.

To dive deeper into the process of character concept creation, even under outsourcing the process, we recommend you to get acquainted with the Creating Stylized Characters book to be aware of the basic creative processes on the way of character model sheet completion. Here, you’ll see that character concept art is about “the processes of character research, thumbnailing, shape and facial expressions design picking the color scheme, and finalizing the character” being coherent with the whole game style.

To design a really engaging character, the artist needs to understand that a good concept not only depicts the desired character in detail considering the producer’s vision, but it contributes to game monetization heavily. Concept artists should perform the character expressively and catchy via styling, epoch distinctive features, and history details. Let’s follow some tips of 3D art pieces design for a deeper vision of what comprises game characters leading your game up to players’ favorites.

Character Concept Art Creation: Stages and Examples

In 2020, 10,263 titles were released on Steam, an online service of digital games sharing. You can imagine how many character concepts were developed and introduced on the market, either successfully or not.

Among all the diversity, you may know the examples of stunning character concept art from video games (Darth Vader from “Star Wars” or Steve from “Minecraft”). But to develop and release a game as a business, you need to learn the criteria of iconic character concept design.

You may ask what distinguishes a hero that can make a game profitable: an iconic character has chances to convert your game into a high-revenue project due to the fact it’s not just a beautiful piece of art, but it’s memorable concept making players stick to the gameplay.

Thus, for example, you know who Super Mario is even if you haven’t played “Super Mario Bros.” Holding this hero in our head as a key example, we can follow the options necessary to be considered for a complex character concept art process:

  1. History depicts a character’s good and bad traits, bringing to life every detail of its past and present, profession, and activities.
  2. Silhouette’s sketch delivers information about the hero at a glance.
  3. It has color and composition harmony.
  4. Accents: tiny features are essential because they build up a detailed character’s perception and make the hero closer to the player.
  5. Emotional impact: character concept should address the players’ feelings and reveal a certain epoch, surrounding, and narrative story.

Each of the points described is essential for memorable character creation. And while bringing your game concepts to life, Innovecs is continuously sticking to character concept design basics to perform really catchy artwork.

Video Game Character Concept Art

We’ve already mentioned in this blog that there are no strict rules of video game character concept design. But it’s helpful before completing a GDD (Game Design Document) to bear the basic tips for the better character design:

  • Keep the image clean (no extra weapons or unnecessary outfits).
  • Scaling is important as a proportion of every hero’s part (e.g., the head shouldn’t be smaller than the torso).
  • Make sure all the character’s features function and work—the fewer options not used in game narration, the better.
  • Fit the colors with the whole game style scheme (no cartoon stylish bright hero among the black smoky magic game woods).
  • Unusual shapes are helpful to make the hero extraordinary and memorable.

Experienced concept artists explain that your character concept art should be depicted in such a way that even if you have no possibility to communicate the peculiar features of the image, the client has a chance to perceive it, feel, and understand without additional words.

Posture, silhouette, mimics, clothes details, color scheme, and accents should contribute to the whole character image to present it fully and grant the sense of the game style. 3D characters in these terms have more possibilities to reveal a vivid and bright hero image in the players’ heads. But at the same time, 3D art pieces demand more team collaboration and deeper expertise.

3D Character Concept Art

3D character production is based on the three milestones:

  1. Complimentary artist’s skills
  2. Substantial communication capacity to deliver the hero in accordance with the game producer’s vision
  3. Number of professional tools to render the image

The process of creating a 3D character concept involves communication between 3D modelers, animators, and concept artists throughout the character design process. They decide collaboratively on every feature from the style choice (photo-realistic, semi-realistic, or stylish to cartoons) to depicting the hero’s behavior and character via colors, accents, and even silhouette.

3D character modeling follows the same stages as other types of character design:

  • Character concept design;
  • Ideas generation;
  • Modeling (blocking as shaping the hero’s body; sculpting as making a 3D model like from the real clay;
  • Retopology enables the figure’s movements; and
  • Unwrapping and baking as the completion of the moving character with its clothes and accessories, and only then texturing as the final process of cloning and details depicting).

After the basic steps described above, 3D character design follows animation. This stage takes the responsibility for the reflection of the hero’s character and style through its movements.

Either you plan to create a new game title beginning with the character concept art design, or you support a massive AAA production (further monetization of the existing games). Either way, we propose summing up all the introduced theory concerning game character concept art and outline the essential tips worth knowing for a game publisher who is planning to outsource game development.

Concept Art: Essential Tips for Building a Character Worth Knowing

Designing a character concept in game dev is a part and parcel of the whole game creation process, delivering value for further game success. Success very much depends on whether the players adore the character and like game narration. It will influence both game monetization level and downloads number. Beloved characters prompt gamers to retain playing, make in-game purchases to upgrade the character, and feel like storytellers while modifying the hero’s look.

Professionals identify the following essentials for character concept design:

  • Expertise in visual arts;
  • The more art creation tools are in a portfolio the better (e.g., not only obvious “must-have” programs like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop but such basics as Mari and ZBrush, bringing together 3D modeling and painting or Poser Pro for creating realistic 3D characters); and
  • Awareness of the design process stages: from telling and communicating the backstory to drawing, iterations, adding complexities to the character.

The styles of character concept design are changing dramatically over time, so it’s important for the experts you are working with to be able to blend the old techniques and main art principles with the modern ones. For example, Minecraft designers have revolutionized old pixelated graphics converting them into a 3D format. Here, not only the expertise and high professional level come in handy, but deep vision of human behavior, talent of mixing styles and genres, as well as ability to collaborate outside the artists’ team with game publishers, producers, marketers, and game devs.

Why Concept Art Is Important in Video Game Development

Whether it is Pixar or Disney-style animated heroes or Minecraft-inspired 3D characters, everything starts from drawing, detailing, background storytelling, and numerous iterations of the video game character concept design. That is where skillful drawing meets with digitized character movements and surroundings via a number of art styles and professional tools.

We can distinguish 2D and 3D modeling, but in spite of the fact the last one is more comprehensive, they follow the same stages of performing character visual image (posture and outfits, mimics, and silhouette), generating more ideas about revealing the hero’s inner world through visual details, unwrapping and baking, then animation to make the character move in accordance with the character concept art idea to fit it in the game.

At every stage of the character concept design in video game development, we come across the application of both hard and soft skills of the concept artists. They apply professional knowledge alongside their ability to listen, communicate, imagine, and collaborate.

Once you need memorable characters depicted in a stylish and state-of-the-art manner, tell us the details of your vision, and our expert team will leverage the expertise to create the game concept of your dream.

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