Mini Brief – “Where & When Did They Come From?” – Games Design/Animation

Suitable for a wide age range of students from visiting “taster-day” students, through to Year 1 BA (Entertainment Media, Games Animation, TV & Film and even Performing Arts/Acting) students.

This brief looks at the development of unique characters that step away from the “safe” character tropes and cliches that students often fall back on, it also could remove some of the “Super-powered/Wish-fulfillment” versions of themselves that often appear when first approaching Character Design.

The project looks at research outside of typical student comfort zones as inspiration.

While adding an element of Chance/Alea into the decision making – brief development process.

[It is also a great way to “uplift” the general-knowledge of the group…]

The brief is divided into four basic sections:

  1. Establishment of Existing Knowledge (Constructivist Assessment).
  2. Chance Selection of Brief Elements (Game Theory/Mechanics, Alea/Caillois, Professional Detachment/Adaptability).
  3. Research (Self-Motivated Learning, Solid Design Process, Reading/Investigation).
  4. Character Development and Presentation (Design Practice, Professional Presentation Skills, appreciation of Industry Conventions).

Part 1a – The World Map.

As a group, the students are asked to add the names of countries to a world map drawn via projector on the wall in the studio. The students efforts can then be assessed when the projector is turned on with the actual results.

--- 0 Projector

See some fun (if at times a little “colourful” in the language dept)  online examples with these >Americans try to label European countries – HERE< or >British people attempting to label the US states – HERE<

Part 1b – History and the World.

Students are then asked to pin or place figures of historical figures and characters onto a historical timeline (this can be rolled out on a table top, with mini stand-up figures, or pinned above the world map projection).

The time line should go from pre-history through the various epochs and eras to the the current century.

--- 0 timeline

…this can then be taken further by asking students to show on their world map where historical events took place.

This fun activity should be followed by a discussion of strengths and weaknesses shown and possible ways to address them.

Part 2 – Drawing Lots.

The next part of the project sees the students drawing lots to establish the basic parameters for a short Character Design project.

The three columned list below (a basic concept generator) shows…

  Column 1                                  Column 2                             Column 3

Basic Historical Periods  –  Country/Region/Place/City  –  Regular Jobs/Occupations

(…ideally, not obvious places

like USA, England, France etc.)

Chracter by Dice Roll Sheet

If looking at this as a brief there is nothing to stop you creating a range of characters to satisfy the brief. At least one of your characters should be “humaniform”, meaning you must consider human anatomy and various costume designs as part of your character design.

Your design sheets could/should include: rapid pen/brush pen thumbnails, silhouettes, pencil thumbnails, head shots, variant costume designs, multi-angle views of the figure, marker sketches, watercolour and pen and ink renders, digital renders inc. photoshop sketches and full colour artwork, and perhaps if appropriate 3D digital models and fimo/clay maquettes.

Don’t forget. the columns set out in the “concept generator” above can, as always, be redeveloped by either the lecturers involved or the students themselves.

For example a student with a specific interest in creating some medieval RPG characters for their project might replace column one with:

  • Medieval Fantasy – Aged 70+yrs
  • Medieval Fantasy – Aged 60-70yrs
  • Medieval Fantasy – Aged 50-60yrs
  • Medieval Fantasy – Aged 35-50yrs
  • Medieval Fantasy – Aged 25-35yrs
  • Medieval Fantasy – Aged 17-25yrs
  • Medieval Fantasy – Aged 0-17

Column two could be replaced with:

  • from The City
  • from The Coast
  • from A Pirate Island
  • from The Country
  • from The Mountains
  • from The Forest
  • from The Dwarf Kingdom
  • from The Elf Kingdom
  • from The Giants Valley

…and Column three could remain the same in this case.

(Or an acting student looking to create improv’ characters for a party setting might choose from a Column one containing:

  • Character born in the 30’s
  • Character born in the 40’s
  • Character born in the 50’s
  • Character born in the 60’s
  • Character born in the 70’s
  • Character born in the 80’s
  • Character born in the 90’s

Column two might contain…

  • From Scotland
  • From Wales
  • From Ireland
  • From Manchester
  • From London
  • From Birmingham
  • An American

And column three? Well maybe that could stay the same again).

Part 3 – Historical and Cultural Research.

Students should then take time to look up the historical era they have chosen, and the cultural aspects of the country/area they have chosen, and look into attitudes and examples of the professions/types they have chosen..

Part 4 – Character Sheets and Beyond.

From there Games and Animation Students are to develop a Industry Convention based Character Sheet, that shows front, side and back views of their character, facial expressions, colour and texture swatches and perhaps some reference regarding scale and an action pose.

(Performance Students might simply choose to record their performance instead of producing artwork, whilst Costume Designers for theatre, might wish to produce design sheets in keeping with their profession).

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~ by hesir on December 12, 2013.

3 Responses to “Mini Brief – “Where & When Did They Come From?” – Games Design/Animation”

  1. […] Concept Art Mini- Brief 012 – “Where and When Did They Come From?” – Character Design […]

  2. […] following “sketch concept” was developed through the use of a simple dice based, three column Brief Generator based around character design (I rolled 16, 19, and 3). These “brief generators” are […]

  3. […] (ACTIVITY TIME!) …and then MINI-BRIEF! […]

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