Sunday, 3 April 2011


Hey people,

So when I first saw this blog was about character I initially thought of myself. People usually say I am quite the character...the word 'eccentric' or even 'idiot' has been thrown around; but what makes me that character? Say we're making 'The GA from the Saff' the motion picture and I have to cast myself? Just what would I be looking for? (apart from someone taller and way more stunning - I'm thinking Megan Fox).

This is just what this blog is about. We need to define just exactly what makes a character, and just how to go about designing one. In acting, a discipline I used to cover, the first step was visualising that character, everything from their job and natural processes to their feelings and situations. It is pretty similar in the world of gaming and film. 

"Issues that you’ll work to define:
  • The character’s natural activities, as part of his or her job.
  • The challenges that these sorts of actions suggest.
  • The character’s primary emotional attitude, and how that is displayed visually and in language.
  • The character’s visual appearance and movement animations, both voluntary and involuntary.
  • Attributes and powerups that might affect the character’s abilities, and how they grow.
  • The character’s natural environment, and enemies that may be found there."

When creating characters a lot of different techniques are used to make them more believable, genuine characters although I think a lot of it depends on the genre. For example the lead slasher in a horror film isn't going to be coloured pink and have a cheery disposition, but with moody lighting, intense music and rough stylisation he becomes the dark Freddy Kruger we all know and love.

I think an easy example of the design of characters is within the movie 'The Chronicles of Narnia:  The Lion, The Witch and The Wardobe." Here we see the evil witch and the heroic Aslan in ways which don't really depend on the script or much of the acting (Aslan being just the voice of Liam Neeson). The stylisation of both characters from the shining lion to the cold witch, even imprinting on the scenery around them suggests their characters. For example the witch is bathed in ice and her costume also suggests this. Everything about her is telling the audience she is evil whereas Aslan is a golden, shining lion and his setting (following the books Christian theme also) is always sunny and like spring. In the film they have played up to this brilliantly, I can't think of a bigger contrast. 

^ pictures from the Chronicles of Narnia - the lion the witch and the wardrobe. notice how everything on the witch's picture is cold and sharp whereas the lion Aslan uses warm colours predominately orange.

In visual design, the amount of drawings and research we've done for projects like 'reef' have also extended this. If i make a swamp like creature with gloopy, dreary colours it will express the character as such, whereas my final piece was a colourful coral based lady which immediately suggests she is good. Techniques as simple as this create compelling characters which ultimately create a realistic game world.

"To create a truly immersive game experience with a compelling fantasy world, you have to populate that world with real characters. Not just characters that behave realistically on the screen, but characters that ARE real to you, the game’s creator. The more you know your own characters, the more real they will become, and the more they will help draw the player into your game’s imaginary world."

So there you go! characters are very important within the game and film world. without believable characters we'd all just be down the the stick men...


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