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  1. #1
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    Jul 2009
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    Talking New to Character Design? Start Here!

    Hey guys, just wanted to let you all know that the, more, in depth rules have been updated. Please review the thread, thanks!

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    Last edited by Quinn Simoes; April 18th, 2013 at 04:57 PM.

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  4. #2
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    What is design and what are we looking for in ChoW?

    "To decide upon the look and function of (a building, garment, or other object), typically by making a detailed drawing of it." That is a basic definition of the word, but let's apply it to characters. For simplicity's sake, lets assume that characters are always humanoid in nature, unless specified otherwise.

    ChoW was created to help artists become better by giving them a description of a character and a time frame as motivation to complete the character. It was not created to make elaborate illustrations which tells a story of the character you are designing. This is not against the rules by any means, but if the story telling is distracting you from the whole objective of this, then you are doing it wrong.

    You must convey a message through the design of a character, to tell the viewer what it is. You have to ask yourself, "does this portrait the given description, if there was no title to this piece?" Many new artists don't step back from their work to ask this question and the end result is something from their head that doesn't work.
    Of course, all designs won't always convey the message of what the design goal is, but that is where the combination of character attitude, posture, mood and movement comes into play. These are just as important as the design because they can also convey a message.

    • When designing a character, the goal is to be unique and non-generic. That is the hardest thing about being a character designer.
    • Accuracy and believable are the next hardest things, because we want our characters to be convincing.
    • Research and reference are key when it comes to designing a character, because without either of these, the first two goals become negated and the design usually falls apart or isn't as interesting as it could be. Never be afraid to use reference, all professionals use it at least part of the time. We are in the Information Age, so obtaining any visual help is as easy as going to Google and typing in some key words.
    • Observation is a huge factor. Find artists that influence you, study from books that are published to teach anatomy. These are all resources to help you become a better artist. Study from life as well. You will learn more if you build your foundation skills from studying from life.
    • Study, practice and improve. You MUST do all of these to get better. Skill is not handed to you on a silver platter, you must earn it and to do so, it requires hours upon hours of your time and dedication. Ignore distractions of entertainment, like video games, television, facebook (a serious offender). They will all hinder your progress. Embrace the fire of your passion to create and do your self a favor of feeding that fire by learning.

    What we want to see:

    A developed character. Apply these requirements to your routine. It will reflect in your work and you will see how much you can really do. Don't settle for generic; again, many new artists don't go out of their way to use reference to help their design. The hardest thing for the Mods to do, is to cut someone due to a lack of quality or design. Read the briefs carefully, they are there to help inspire your ideas and to keep the designs on track. Before you start sketching a final version, you should always map out some quick thumbnails, go online to research possible design influences and apply them to your character.

    What we don't want to see:

    We are all artists here and drawing the nude figure is something you must do to learn the body structure, it is all part of the process. But don't stop there and call it finished, that is not a character design. Throwing on some jewelry over a nude figure is not acceptable either. The work you do on here should be fit for your portfolio.

    Keep the nude figures, in provocative poses, to your self. This is a professional environment we are trying to uphold.
    What is provocative? There is a thin line between clean seductive and dirty provocative.

    Female Sensitivity: The biggest offender...
    Dirty Provocative: Though the goal is the same, to be seductive, it doesn't portrait the female sensitivity.
    New to Character Design? Start Here! New to Character Design? Start Here!

    Clean Seductive: The whole point of being seductive is the suggestion, not the flat out flashing.
    New to Character Design? Start Here! New to Character Design? Start Here!

    So when you are thinking about the design, you must really think about these things. Is there enough to the design to convey what the character is? Is the design clean enough for most audiences? Is it unique and non-generic? Does the anatomy look correct?
    Of course, not everyone will be spot on in all of these areas, but we want to see that you are trying, learning and improving.
    Last edited by Havok Reed; March 10th, 2013 at 09:46 AM.

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  6. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Photo Paintovers, The Guidelines, & WIPS

    Yet another entry for everyone to read! I have included user images as examples, but not the names for a little privacy just in case.

    In the professional industry, one of the big stresses for concept artists is they are occasionally expected to pump out a design at the speed of light. We are all human, not androids capable of processing quadrillion problems at once. So making a design from thin air, with a vary vague idea and limited time is very difficult. At this point they will take a photograph of something in it that they need, and paint over top of that. The end result can be a very beautiful concept piece that looks clean and crisp.

    A participant of ChoW was creating this amazing piece by taking a photograph of a horse and painting the human part over it and overall making it all look united as one. Unfortunately he wasn't aware that this was against the rules (as well as my self >.<) and is unacceptable for the ChoW poll entry, but I hope he keeps it! Again, really great work.

    New to Character Design? Start Here!

    As a mod and participant, we have to remember what the ChoW challenge is all about. Though it is acceptable in the industry, for ChoW it is considered cheating. Don't think for a second that we are heartless and just trying to piss members off. It's hard to tell someone who makes amazing work that they have to start again or that their image doesn't follow a small rule. But they are there for a reason.

    The guidelines are a form of direction, put into place to guide you with your design. Sometimes it may be vague so that you can go crazy with it and sometimes it will be very specific, with certain details it must include. Every day the Mods are testing the participants to see if they are paying attention to the details on the outside. As the ChoW community grows, more people are missing the small requirements. When you design a character, you must make sure not to think outside of the rules and guidelines.

    Now I'm not saying you can't think outside of the box. There was a ChoW topic, The Starbound Outlaw, which gave a very nice description and a specific required detail, to include a cybernetic implant/enhancement and it must be human. There was one in particular that went overboard with the cybernetic design and missed one of the other guidelines. The design of this piece is really good and well thought out. But the guideline to make sure it is human was missed. The only "human" part to this is the abdominal area, but that doesn't make it human.

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    Posting WIPs in the WIP thread is very important, so that you may get early feedback to avoid missing things or not following the guidelines. There are people that are NOT posting in the WIPs thread and then post to finals without anyone knowing they have been working on it. This creates a few problems. Many times when this happens, they will submit something that doesn't meet the requirements.

    So when the poll goes up, and they aren't included, they are all "WTF? Why wasn't mine included?"
    "Well this, this and this was missing" or "You didn't include any WIPs, you didn't label it correctly or at all, or the quality is unacceptable...." And then, you know, we get this (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ (WELL F THIS PLACE THEN!)

    Another reason why the WIPs thread is there, isn't only to provide you with the description of the current week's challenge, but there are very talented artists that many new artists may benefit from, just by looking at the process. It can also come off as an arrogant "Oh I know I'm good and I don't need crits from anyone" type of attitude. Of course, I'm sure that isn't the case, we are all busy and may not have the time, but I'm just making a point. It's more of a courtesy thing to provide some WIPs in the WIPs thread for everyone to look at, not just to benefit yourself.
    Last edited by Havok Reed; March 10th, 2013 at 09:52 AM.

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