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Designing an underwater warrior

Learn how to design a character for a video game, from thumbnail sketches to a final rendered design, with Mike Corriero.

Take a step back for a minute and study the world around you. If you’re going to succeed as a concept designer you need to understand how elements in this world work. It’s this awareness of tiny details – such as the texture of a rock, feathers of a bird or motion of water –  that will feed your imagination and help breathe life into your concepts.

In this case you’ll learn about some elements that help to sell the idea of a crustacean-like warrior yielding weapon that contain the colours and textures of a deep-sea ocean theme. It’s the bumps and scratches, the torn edges and texture that will help sell your ideas and give the CG modeller the information they need to realise your design.

The technology used for creating games is becoming increasingly advanced, enabling each element in the game to become fully functional and filled with a vast amount of detail. This is why it’s so important that you learn how animals and people function, so you’ll be able to portray these same behaviours and motions through your own character or creature designs.

You need to think beyond what looks good on paper and picture your design in a 3D environment from all points of view; with characters capable of jumping, eating, breathing, fighting and swimming. As an artist you need to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible so that your concepts make sense not only to yourself but to your viewers – and in this case video game players as well. I find that taking the time to study animals and the way they interact with the world around them as well as owning a few anatomy and animal reference books really comes in handy during the early stages of design. You’ve also got the whole internet at your fingertips, so don’t hesitate to use it.

From issue 10.

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