How to Design a Video Game Character

Want to start working on your video game characters? Take a look at some of our favorite ways to design video game characters easily.

Artist: Lake Hurwitz, Concept Design Instructor 2021

Artist: Lake Hurwitz, Concept Design Instructor 2021

Now is the perfect time to create a portfolio that will jump-start your career in the entertainment and concept art industry!

CREATE A BACKSTORY

Nothing helps create more well-rounded characters than creating a backstory. Video game characters begin with the building blocks of the storyline to better inform their design and look. Some things to think about when you are creating your game characters are what world are they from? What defines their look and feel, as well as the game character’s personality. You will be working side by side with animators and storyboarders for your video game character, so make sure you nail down their backstory to better inform your designs. Most characters begin as sketches and move through thumbnails, color drafts, and photoshop renderings before their final look. Be sure to keep your video game character designs rooted in the world they will be interacting with. Game designers will also be a great resource for inspiration on the look and feel of your game characters.

WHAT EFFECTS DO YOU WANT TO USE?

Game designers and character designers will want to use special effects to enhance the game. Start thinking about how these effects will affect your game character design. Using 3D character models, 3d models, Maya, and Photoshop to render these effects are important skills to master. The backstory of your character will also inform what these special effects will look like. A good character will mesh well with effects. Start looking at other game characters during your character creation development. ArtStation, Trickster, and Mage are great resources! If you are going for more retro designs inspired by Super Mario or Overwatch, look for robot and cyborg designs.

WHAT KIND OF WORLD IS YOUR CHARACTER FROM?

With your backstory now underway, your video game design and video game character design are now ready for the world they live in. Good character concepts are not complete without the storyline and gameplay created in the world they live in. Make sure your character designers know exactly what environment their game character design will be living in. The design process will bloom from the world you create, so think about every tiny detail you want to include!

WHAT FEATURES DO YOU WANT TO HIGHLIGHT?

Game artists and game development will center around your character design. Let’s highlight the concept features you are most interested in! Gamers will want to see the best armor, weapons, and spells you create animated with the help of 3D models and animators. Does your game center around RPG? Make sure that you have thought of every scenario and movement that your video game character will create. Do those movements need special designs and traits?

START BIG AND FILL IN THE DETAILS

When you begin your character design with overarching character traits, character creation gets a lot easier. Start gathering inspiration from places like ArtStation, go through your favorite gameplay scenarios, look back at historic video game development and character designs, and immerse yourself in the game world. Once you’ve narrowed down your video game character design, start to fill in the details like colors, traits, and animator details. What movements will your game character make? Is it tall or short? Work with fellow game artists to finalize those details.

WANT MORE TRICKS FOR YOUR OWN VIDEO GAME CHARACTER DESIGN?

Now is the perfect time to create a portfolio that will jump-start your career in the entertainment and concept art industry! Mentorships at Visual Arts Passage are the perfect place to start. You’re paired with industry experts who know the ins and outs of video game design, character development, and gameplay. Concept Art classes are enrolling now!

Artist: Lake Hurwitz, Concept Design Instructor 2021

Artist: Lake Hurwitz, Concept Design Instructor 2021