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The unusual suspects

Jonny Duddle explains how a ‘line-up’ can help the games industry size up new characters before 3D modelling begins.

This workshop will focus on producing a ‘line-up’ of characters. The majority of my work involves creating character concepts for the games industry, and there have been numerous occasions where I’ve been asked to produce a line-up to help an art team evaluate the height and size relationships of a game’s characters. Putting the characters together on a sheet at the concept stage promotes discussion of how those characters will relate to each other on screen before significant time is invested in building 3D models. 

This character sheet isn’t for a ‘live’ project, so I’ve plucked the subject matter from an old illustration of mine, and plumped for a circus. The characters will be painted on a sheet with height lines.
When you use height lines on a concept sheet, there are two main options. The first is a proportional method using ‘heads’ as a unit. For example, the human figure is often said to be eight heads tall, so there would be eight divisions and a standard character’s head would be the same height as one division.

The alternative is to use real units of height, such as centimetres, or feet and inches. On this sheet I’m going to use feet and inches because I find it’s often easier in art meetings to discuss a ‘real world’ measurement. People relate to a character that’s quoted as six feet tall more readily than a design that is eight heads tall.

From issue 13.

Click here to download the full workshop for free (PDF)
Click here to download the support files (18.78Mb)
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