A silhouette is the exact shape of a form when represented as a solid shape of color, typically black. As we tend to read shape before anything else, starting with the silhouette and keeping it in mind as you develop your character helps to maintain that first impression made by the overall shape. You’ll learn from lead character designers how to see the shape of a character and understand how to “read” different character types through silhouette alone.
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- One of the core elements of character design…comes from our first impression.…The first thing that people tend to see and read…is the overall shape of the character's form and silhouette.…A silhouette is the exact shape of a form…when represented as a solid shape of color,…typically black.…According to Lesley Padien, when designing…a character lineup, it's essential to make sure that…each character has its own unique silhouette,…so that you can identify the character in a crowd.…The silhouette and the shape of a character…needs to stand out from the rest.…
It should be unique and should portray an emotion…within the character lineup.…No two characters should have the same silhouette.…In a similar fashion, Carlos Grangel relies on…defining his characters initially with silhouette,…as in the examples of the characters…from "Hotel Transylvania."…Each personality is designed based on the…arrangement of shapes in each form,…and the way that they contrast each other…from one character to another.…The personality of each is instantly clear,…
Mary Jane explains how the components of good character design can be broken down into concrete elements. She shows how body shape, posture, anatomy, facial expression, costume, color, movement, and abstract aspects like archetypes and environment bring a character to life. The lessons are illustrated with examples from Mary Jane's books, as well as famous, heart-warming characters created by a group of extraordinary character designers.
- Capturing the heart and soul of a character
- Using the right tools
- Relying on archetypes
- Adding motion
- Painting shapes and silhouettes
- Understanding anatomy and proportion
- Creating easy-to-read facial expressions
- Coloring your character
- Designing a cast of characters
- Making fantasy creatures believable
- Going from 2D to 3D