Intro to Character Design
A 10 week course where you learn a step-by-step method for developing top quality character concepts that evoke the desired emotions
Student Artwork by Sida Guo
Intro to Character Design
Do you feel your characters lack personality? Do you wish to create characters that are distinct and believable? Top concept artists create iconic and convincing characters that enhance the storyline and strike an immediate chord with the audience.
In this introductory class, you will learn a step-by-step method for developing top quality character concepts that evoke the desired emotions while integrating seamlessly with the overall art direction. At every step, you will receive feedback from the instructor to help refine your character design process.
You will gain expertise in applying essential design principles in your workflow so you can create characters that are of the highest quality. Reference boards act as a source of idea generation and inspiration during any artwork creation process. You will develop the skills required to efficiently gather your own references and create your own reference boards so you can continue to generate more ideas and use it to guide you as you design your characters. You will acquire the skills required to create thumbnails to explore multiple compelling options for your characters so you can arrive at the best possible final version of your concept.
Shape language plays an important role in determining your character’s physical and personality traits. You will become proficient in shape language so you can determine and effectively communicate your character’s personality to the audience in the most efficient manner. You will also gain expertise in creating multiple interesting colour variations so your characters can appear vibrant and stunning. In addition, you will develop an in depth understanding of posing so you can establish your character’s signature pose, qualities and personality traits. Finally, you will gain expertise in modifying behavioural traits, costumes and accessories and physical features so you can customize your character to suit any era, genre or timeline.
By the end of this course, you will have learned a powerful set of methods and techniques that will allow you to create original, iconic and convincing characters to fit any story. Furthermore, you will learn to work within constraints and follow art direction like a pro in addition to creating portfolio worthy character designs that you can be proud of!
- Course Type Concept Art and Illustration Courses
- Duration 10 weeks
Level 3Level 3
These courses are for people who can already draw and paint realistically and can create complete digital illustrations.
Level 3 classes will help students to give a new edge to their images, properly render their digital work, and bring them closer to a professional level.
- Language English
Note: This class will be offered online only
Class Timings: Sundays from 3 PM to 6 PM, Eastern Standard Time (EST or UTC-5h)
Date of first class: January 17th
Duration: 10 weeks
If you are unable to attend the class during the times listed above, you will still have access to video recordings of the class lectures and will still receive personalized feedback from your instructor.
- Proficiency with all basic Photoshop tools.
- Should have completed the Digital Painting course or equivalent practice/experience.
- Some intermediate drawing and basic painting skills (use of proper perspective, proportions, shading and colour).
- If you do not have the necessary skills please consider taking some intermediate level drawing classes such as Analytical Sketching and Drawing the Human Form.
Language requirements: You need at least intermediate level English to take this class.
*Note that the students at Syn Studio are mostly all adults and you should be 16 years or older to take any classes here.
You also need to have a laptop with Photoshop installed and a tablet sensitive to pen pressure (such as a Wacom tablet). Or you need a tablet-computer with Photoshop installed that is sensitive to pen pressure (such as the Cintiq Companion). And you need to have some basic skills in Photoshop and be comfortable drawing and painting in Photoshop and know how to use layers and the basic tools (all things you can learn quickly with free tutorials online).
Tech Requirements for Attending Syn Studio Online Classes
- A strong uninterrupted broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE) connection with a minimum 600kbps bandwidth (up/down).
- A Laptop/Desktop computer equipped with a single core processor (at least 1 GHZ processing speed) or a smartphone/tablet with equivalent processing capabilities
- Good speakers/earphones to listen to the classes
- Browser - IE7+, Safari 5+, Firefox, Chrome
- Operating System - Windows XP, Mac OS 10.6, Linux distro based on 3.0 kernel, Android 5.0, iOS 10
Syn Studio Recommendations
- A strong uninterrupted broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE) connection with a minimum 1.5Mbps bandwidth (up/down). You can also connect to the internet directly using your ethernet cable to improve your experience.
- Laptop/Desktop computer equipped with a dual core processor with at least 2 GHZ processing speed and a 4 GB RAM
- High Quality speakers/earphones to listen to the classes
- Browser & Operating System - We recommend using the latest version of the browser and operating system for an optimal online classroom experience.
*Please note that this outline is from the last time we held this class and we may make some updates and improvements for the coming term.
Week 1 - Learn the essential character design principles of cohesiveness, balance, contrast, visual rhythm and sizing so you create high quality, vibrant and engaging characters. Become proficient in efficiently gathering reference material and creating your reference boards so you can generate ideas and use them for guidance and inspiration during your character design process.
Week 2 - Gain a deeper understanding of all the steps involved in the character design process. Learn how to quickly create multiple interesting silhouette and 3-tone studies of your character so you can choose the best option for your art director and develop it further.
Week 3 - Learn how to transform the key shapes and forms from your reference into into actual features on your character such as body shape, clothing, tools, weapons, etc., by using the correct values to create the desired forms so you can depict believable characters with multiple attributes.
Weeks 4 - 6 - Become proficient in colour theory and posing so you can design multiple vibrant colour variations, establish the signature pose and add subtle personality traits for your title character. Learn to properly indicate material textures so your character looks realistic and believable.
Weeks 7 - 8 - Gain the skills essential in indicating the timeline, styling and behavioral traits of your character so you can design characters for all eras and genres. Learn how to compile an effective visual library that can be used as a reference to establish and refine all aspects of your character’s look, signature pose and unique personality.
Weeks 9 - 10 - Learn to create professional character sheets and turnarounds for your concept so it can be properly integrated into an entertainment product. Become proficient in rendering, polishing and adding the finishing touches to your character concept, paying special attention to values, edges, colours and details of materials. Finally, combine all that you have learned to complete a stunning portfolio piece and learn how to present it in a professional way so you can showcase your skills and get noticed.
"I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do."