VISUAL CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

During my graduation project as a student at HKU, I focussed completely on the visual design and development of stylized 3D characters for videogames. By researching theory about stylization and analyzing existing games, I got to create a workflow for myself that makes the design and production of game characters fairly easier than the earlier workflows I have tried. 

Software:

BUNNY

BUNNY is one of the two characters I made during this project. Being the first character that was created, BUNNY was a good test subject for experimenting on sculpting and finding both a design and production workflow that works for me. 

BUNNY would be the main character of a game set in an Asian Cyberpunk city, where she is the navigator for a group of rebels aiming to take down the government: Andromeda Resonance. By controlling drones that carry bombs, BUNNY is responsible for carrying out missions that feature taking down important important facilities throughout the city. 

Important key points were:

  • Keeping the design as simple as possible: Cyberpunk themes always tend to go a tad over the top when it comes to visual design, always leaving me (personally) confused as to what function certain elements serve.

  • Creating a design that is both cute and cool, as to create the effect of surprise whenever the character does something that does not match with the usual characteristics of an "innocent kid".

  • Incorporating color into the visual design. Cyberpunk themes often depend on darker vibes with a few brightly-saturated highlights and I wanted to explore how much I could do with color. Since I am planning on making a kid, there is quite some room for that.

BREAKING BEAUTY

Working on BUNNY had taught me a thing or two on how not to approach my design and production process, which helped me greatly during the creation of second and last character: Breaking Beauty. 

Breaking Beauty is a more personal work than BUNNY, this being because they come from my own struggle with the creation of work that is 'good enough'. The idea behind Breaking Beauty is that they break free from the chains that have been holding them back for all those years, so they finally become free to show their hidden beauty. Inside a videogame, they would have the role of an enemy who gets defeated by the player. This triggers their freedom.

Key points for this design were:

  • Having a good balance between grace and tragedy. The character has been through a lot of pain and is breaking free from that, showing their true colors. This is an important factor that determines the visual design of the character.

  • Not going overboard on details you do not need. The theme 'extravagance' is quite an elaborate theme and can be described as 'a lot'. Keep the amount of stylization in mind while designing and ask yourself whether or not certain elements are really necessary.

  • Maintaining the usage of color, as done in the design of the previous character.