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Academy of Art Character and Creature Design Notes: Creature Design for Video Games
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AcademyofArtCharacterand
CreatureDesignNotes
Discussion,inspiration,notesandlinksforonlineAAUstudents
Saturday,February19,2011

CreatureDesignforVideoGames
Asthetechnologyinvideogamescontinuestodevelopandexpand,thepossibilitiesofwhat
conceptartistsarecapableofproducingalsobecomesopentoabroaderrangeofdetailand
functions.Still,evenasfarasvideogameshavecomesincethedaysofSuperNintendoand
Sega,theInGamedesignandmodelsfallshorttothefluidmovementandamountofdetail
youmayseeinliveactionfilms(whereanythingispossiblebuttheyneedtomorestrictly
obeythelawsofnaturebaseduponthesubjectmatter).

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PlanettoPlanet:Creatures
andStrangeWorlds
"Mike'ssketchbook,Planetto
Planet,isfresh,innovative,and
inventive.Itisliberallyfilled
withexoticlocationsand
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drawninanabundanceof
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view,sparklewithlifeand
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2012(1)
Afewkeyelementsofdesigntokeepinmindforgamedesignsareastrongsilhouette,
recognizablecolorschemesforthecreatureorcharacteranddistinctproportionsinanatomy.
It'sjustasimportanttoknowthebasicsofanimalandhumananatomywhendesigninga
creatureforavideogameasitwouldbeforanythingelse,soyoustillneedtostudyreal
worldanimalswhetherfromlifeorphotos.IwouldrecommendvisitinglocalZoosorevenpet
shops,studyingyourownpetsandanimalsoutsideaswellaswatchingdocumentarieson
TVandpickingupphotoreferencebooks.AfewbooksIrecommendforanimalreference
http://www.characterdesignnotes.blogspot.mx/2011/02/creature-design-for-video-games.html

2011(23)
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Academy of Art Character and Creature Design Notes: Creature Design for Video Games

aretheSmithsonianInstitutionAnimal:TheDefinitiveVisualGuidetotheWorld'sWildlife&
NaturalHistory(Smithsonian)TheUltimateVisualGuidetoEverythingonEarth.Whileyou're
atit,pickupavolumeortwoonhumananatomyaswell.Thosecontainingphotosandone
thatishanddrawnandcapableofshowingthemusculature,skeletalandorgansystems
suchasClassicHumanAnatomy:TheArtist'sGuidetoForm,Function,andMovement.
HumanandAnimalanatomygohandinhandwhenmoldingandtransforminganimals,
humans,creatures,humanoidsandeverythingbeyondandinbetween.

February(7)
Overcomingan
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WorstAnimated
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(andothergo...
HandReference,
PartFour
KeiAcedera
2010(41)

Theprimarydifferenceyouneedtokeepinmindwhendesigningforavideogameisthat
therearemorelimitationsastotheamountoffunctionsandfluidmovementordetailsthat
willbevisibletothegamer.Withthatinmind,youneedtoutilizeotherwaystomakeastrong
impactonthegamerevenifthecreatureisseenfromafaroronlyataquickglance.Game
designsespeciallyifit'safastpacedactionshooteroranisometricRPGareallabout
"Concept"andiconicdesignsratherthanfullyrenderedandpolisheddrawingswithtiny
detailssincemostofthatwon'tevengetachancetobeseen,orinthecaseofanisometric
RPGthemodelwillbesosmallitwouldn'tbeworthincludingcertaindetailsasitwouldgoto
waste.Inanisometricgame,detailssuchasfurandhairareoftenjustpaintedintothebump
andtexturemapsaswellasalotofotherfinedetailsthatwouldtakeuptoomanypoly'sto
bothermodelingatsuchsmallscales.
TakethegameseriesMonsterHunterforexample.ThisisaPlatformRPG.

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Academy of Art Character and Creature Design Notes: Creature Design for Video Games

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Someofthebetterdesignsarethosewithuniquebodystructuresandproportionsthatmay
lookawkwardiftheyexistedinaliveactionfilm,buttheyleavethebiggestimpacton
gamers.Sotheanatomyofcreaturesinvideogamesprovidesalotmoreleewayand
freedomforcreativity,sincelessadherencetothelawsofnatureisexpectedinagame
world.You'relesslikelytoquestionwhyacreaturewiththebodystructureofahippocanfly
withwingsthesizeofahawkbecauseyouknowit's"justagame"andyou'remorewillingto
suspendyourdisbeliefthanifitwerealiveactionfilm.Thisopensupahugearrayof
possibilitiesandwaystodesignauniquecreaturewithouthavingtoexplaintoomuchabout
thefunctionofdesignchoices.
Alotofthiscomesdowntopureaestheticandeyecandyoverplausibledesign.Still,even
thenit'simportanttoknowthebasicsofanatomyandhowyourdesignisintendedtofunction
inthegame.You'lloftenworkbackandforthwiththeCGmodelertofixmistakes,orexplain
thingsthatmightnotcommunicatetoowellin2Donceit'stransferedoverinto3D.

Action Lines (1)

Anatomy (12)

AndrewLoomis(1) Animal Studies


(4) Animals (7) Animation (1)
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animation (1) Digital Art (4)


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drawing (2) Environment (1)


Exaggeration (2) Expression (2)
expressions (2) fabric (2) Famous
Artists School (1) Fantasy Art (2)
Felix Yoon (1) Feng Zhu (1) Figure
Drawing (5) Film (1) folds and

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Academy of Art Character and Creature Design Notes: Creature Design for Video Games
drapery (1) Foot Reference (2)
Freebies (1) Genndy Tartakovsky (1)
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Broadmore (2) hand


reference (4) How to Train your
Dragon (1) Howto (5) Iain McCaig
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Greg

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Corriero (4) Mike Yamada (1) Milt

Kahl (3) Model Sheets (3) Mort

Whenyoudesigncreaturesforavideogameit'snotimportanttoplaythegame,asyoumay
nothavethetime,butitisimportanttoresearchandwatchingametrailersandtakenoteto
whatisandisn'tpossible.Ifyoutakealookatthegame
MonsterHuntertheseriesyou'llcomeacrossaverybroadrangeofcreaturedesigns.The
mostimportantthingtokeepinmindisthefirstimpressionthecreaturewillmakewhenseen
ingame.Afewofthedesignsbelowareconceptsthatsucceedverywellinthatcase.They
havestronganduniquesilhouettesandexaggeratedbodyproportions.

Drucker (1) Newt (1) Nico Marlet (1)


Onlineresources(2)Onlinetools(1)
Paint Tool SAI (1) parallels (1) Paul
Rudish (1) Photoshop (1) pinups (1)
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Reference(8)RobinHood(1)Rune
Bennicke(1)RyanWoodward(1)Scott
Robertson (1) sculpting (1) sculpture
(1) Shane Glines (1) Silhouettes (3)

Sketchbook inspirations

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sketches(1)StarWars(3)Tarzan(1)

Terryl Whitlatch (2) The Iron Giant


(1)TonyCipriano(1)twinning(1)video
gaming (1) Wallace Tripp (1)
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Academy of Art Character and Creature Design Notes: Creature Design for Video Games

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Varioustypesofgamesrestrictdetailsevenfurther,andthisiswhenyoureallyneedtofocus
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identifiabletothegamer.ThesetypeofgamesareIsometricRPG'ssuchasDiablo3.Now
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focusmoreonhowitwilllookata3/4topdownviewandatathumbnailsize.Thisiswhere
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makeyourcreaturedistinctfromadistance.Inthissortofgameplatform,you'llrarelyifever
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http://www.characterdesignnotes.blogspot.mx/2011/02/creature-design-for-video-games.html

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Academy of Art Character and Creature Design Notes: Creature Design for Video Games

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Academy of Art Character and Creature Design Notes: Creature Design for Video Games

Thisiswhyit'simportanttolearntodrawyourdesignfromvariousangles,overhead,from
behind,ata3/4backviewandsoforth(thisiscalleda"turnaround").Inthistypeofgame
youmayendupexaggeratingproportionsofanatomy3or4timesgreaterthanthatofa
gamelikeMonsterHunter,sincethedesignisseenatabirdseyeviewinmostcases.It's
alsoimportanttorecognizethenthattediousdetailsarenotquiteasimportant,sinceskin
textures,littleimperfectionsofscars,bumpsonanoseortornearsmayneverbevisibleto
thegamer.Thosearethingsthatcanbepaintedintothebumpandtexturemaps.It'salso
importanttotakeintoaccountwhattypesofactionsthecreatureorcharactermayperform
ingame,whetherthecreatureexplodesinto50tinyeellikesubformsorwhetheritneedsto
becapableofexpandingitsbodyto10timestheinitialsizelikeapufferfish.
Sodon'tjustproduceaprettylookingcreaturethatisappealingtotheeyefromoneangle
andlooksgoodatastandstillstaticpose.It'syourjobastheconceptartisttocomeupwith
possibleattackactions,walkcycles,deathandorbirthcyclesandhowtheseactionsare
possiblebasedontheanatomyanddesignofthecreatureaswellasvariouscolorschemes
andcolorreactionstowhathappensingame.

Youshouldbeabletoidentifyacreatureinagameaseasilyasyoucanidentifythetypeof
animalsimplybasedonitssilhouette.That'swhenyouknowyou'vesucceededindesigning
acreaturethatwillleavealastingimpressiononthegamer.IntheisometricstyleRPG'sthe
creaturesoftencomeandgosoquicklyandarebunchedtogetherinhordesthatyouhardly
havetimetorecognizewhattheylooklike.That'swhycolor,silhouetteandexaggerated
proportionsarekeytoasuccessfuldesign.

http://www.characterdesignnotes.blogspot.mx/2011/02/creature-design-for-video-games.html

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Academy of Art Character and Creature Design Notes: Creature Design for Video Games

GuestbloggerMikeCorrieroisacharacter,creature,andconceptualdesignerand
illustratorlivinginNewJersey.SincegraduatingfromPrattInstitutein2003,Mike'sclientlist
hasincludedBreakawayGames,FantasyFlightGames,AlliedStudios,Kingsisle
Entertainment,Radicalentertainment/VivendiUniversalGames,LiquidDevelopment,Zynga
Inc,ChallengeGames,PaizoPublishingandHasbroInc,amongothers.Mike'sbook
"PLANETtoPLANETcreaturesandstrangeworlds"includeshundredsofhissketchesof
creatures,robots,alienlifeformsandtheirenvironments.Irecommenditforstudents
focusingonvisualdevelopmentforgames,oranyonewholovescreaturedesign.J.G.O
PostedbyMikeCorrieroat7:08PM
Recommend this on Google

Labels:CreatureDesign,MikeCorriero,videogaming

4comments:
Thitaya(Tee)Pahsukkul February19,2011at10:30PM
Thankyou!
Reply

DreeH February20,2011at7:56AM
Awesome man, I loved the examples !! I totally agree that one thing who impact
playersit'sbefreefromthelawslikeanatomy,it'sevenbetter(inmycase)whenyou
drawfreefromitbecauseyoucanget"high"inyourideas.GreatPost!!
Reply

takeshi007 December26,2012at7:48PM
The most important in creating game is creating good characters and creatures
especiallymonsters.
Playzombiegames
Reply

WallyH April20,2013at1:45PM
Wow,thesedesignsaresimplyamazing.
Reply

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