18 Top Character Design Tips for Animation Films

Character design is not that simple as it looks in cartoons, movies and animations. It takes long hours of designers to create a character for a particular story. Character designing may have complexities, but the designers always aim to keep them simple. It’s more than just readable features, clean lines that are needed in a character. It is also about where to emphasize and where to downplay based on the personality of the character in the story. We have seen Disneyland cartoons, Tom & Jerry, Ice Age movies, Jungle Book and so many more, and each personality in each one of the afore mentioned has made a strong influence in our minds to remain alive forever. To start creating a character is very complicated but if one has the idea of the character in the mind then following tips would be helpful.

01. Know the Audience

The audience of the any creative project is important in determining its framework. It should be the most significant step on the way to designing characters. The characters designed for kids are brighter in colours and have got very basic shapes. If one is working for clients projects then you need to follow the character specifications shared by your client.

02. Know the Positioning

In which position and how the character will be introduced in the story also plays an important role in character designing. In what medium character will be seen also has a part to show here. Generally small mediums like mobile phone do not need intricacies in the characters as the big screens need. Besides, whatever the medium is, character designing always starts with paper, pencil, lots of sketches, ideas and more.

03. Analyse Other Designs

You should make an analysis of why some characters are successful and some are not. Do a proper research and through study of the various characters appearing in cartoon channels, animation movies, advertisements, etc.

04. Your Character should be Unique

Whether its shape, its personality, its attire or its colour, animation characters must be unique to stand out in the crowd. It could be an animal or a human or beast, the character designs need to be interesting to draw the attention of the people.

05. Drawing Line and Styles to Emphasize

Lines whether thick or thin line should be even and easily sculpted to create a personality that is cute, approachable and influencing. People demand for accuracy in the creation and have become very watchful of the perfection of the personality that is projected in the stories.

06. Magnify the characteristics

If the characters area magnified then it captures the attention of the viewers as it appears larger than life. It also helps audience in identifying the character and recalling it forever besides enhances the personal traits of the character. It could include – big nose, bulging eyes, hands with 2 fingers, big head sizes.

07. Colours Make a Big Difference

Choose colours carefully; as colours make a big difference and help your creation become noticeable in the crowd. Colours like black, blue, grey projects negative intentions, while light colours – white, blues, pinks and yellows describes innocence and purity.

08. Attire and Accessories

Attire and accessories speaks about the traits of the character in the story, besides also about its social status. Lots of diamond and jewelleries stands for riches and untidy and messy cloths indicate poor lifestyle. Besides accessories like swords, flying tools just adds to the personality and the role of the character.

09. 2D or 3D?

You need to decide how you want to project your character and how it should look from different angles. 2D or 3D features adds a completely new look to even a flat picture. If your creation is going to run on 2D or 3D platforms then you need to plan the height, weight and shape of the character very carefully as even a small mistake would change the shape of the character and make it look very different from what you envisioned.

10. Personality & facial expression

Personality of the character is a very important rule to follow while creating it. How it reacts in different situations, how it changes its expression reveals the role of the character. Whether the character is dull or sporty or a genius or a friendly one or has a destructive and villainous nature. Facial expression says it all. Movement of eyes, nose or lips can tell whether one is explosive, irritating, jealous, sad, happy, worried or scared. One can read the emotions from facial expressions depending on its temperament.

11. Character with goals

Whether one is watching a movie, reading a story or watching an animation, the goal of the lead character is the driving force behind a character’s personality. To create a dramatic angle to the story, character should be given goals like – solving mysteries, helping needy people, protecting people from evil characters.

12. Creating a background

A story to back the character makes it more interesting. Where it came from, what are the life changing events in his life, what made it think about takin up a challenging goal, etc. can add interesting and inspiring angles to the story.

13. Investigate and learn

It is not necessary to follow the rule book every time. It also depends on the mood of the artist how the personality of the character will be created. You should be open to experiments that can lead to interesting results.

14. Using paper and pencil is not a bad idea

It is always good to draw your character on paper first. Most of the interesting characters of yesteryears were drawn when drawing with the help of software was a distant dream. While working on paper many interesting things happen, this may not be possible on computers. Besides, it gives a good feel to the artist of creating something with one’s own hands and a feeling of giving life to a picture drawn on paper.

15. Let people share their thoughts

This will help you in understanding if you character is able to interact with the audience or if you are able to put the personality you wanted to in your creation. Whether the character is able to express its traits as planned.

16. Think beyond your plans

It is necessary as an artist to envision your creation on different platforms. How it would look on 2D and 3D platforms. Which platform would enhance the traits better and on which platform audience would love to see it?

17. Right environment makes it popular

Environment in which the creation dwells and interacts is important to make audiences feel the character. It strengthens the life of the character in the viewers mind.

18. Breathe life into the Characters

Your creation should look a real life character. Its facial expressions, the environment it lives in and the personality traits in every situation that is close to real world characters make it accepted by the audience.

Illustration Techniques for Designers

There are several techniques or styles of making an illustration. Each of these techniques has its distinctive process and media specially used for creating the illustration. The graphic artist must therefore familiarize himself well with a particular technique before adopting and using it for the production of a graphic design product. Examples of some of the techniques in illustration are:

1. Pen and wash- This illustration technique involves the drawing of the outlines of the illustration in pencil. Ink is used to go over the drawn outlines in pencil. When it is dried, a small quantity of the ink is diluted with water in a lighter tone. Brush is used to apply the paint at the darker areas of the drawing. The painted areas are washed to create various tones to bring out the forms of the illustration. The outlines are made stronger by the use of pen lines. It is used for catalogues, village and market scenes, fashion design magazines, book covers etc.

2. Pen and ink- This is the use of pen and ink to draw the outlines of the drawing and using any of the shading methods to bring out the forms in the drawing. It is used for illustrations in books, newspapers and magazines.

3. Flat colour painting- In this technique, the colours are painted flat with no gradation in tone. The edges of the sections of the painted drawings are sharp and distinct, setting the difference in the various parts of the drawing. It is used for illustrations in story books, road signs, greeting cards etc.

4. Realistic painting- This is the drawing of objects to show great details as they actually appear in nature. It is used for advertisement, fashion magazine and illustrations in books.

5. Silhouette- This is the creating of the outlines of a drawing in pencil and filling the inner part uniformly with black paint or ink. Silhouette drawings do not show details just the outlines that define the objects are shown. They are used for road signs, package symbols, illustrations in fashion magazines etc.

6. Cartooning- This is the creation of humorous or satirical figures with exaggerated forms. This illustration technique is used for illustrating children books, newspapers, magazines etc.

7. Photography- This is the taking of shots of real objects and scenes by the use of a camera. It gives the exact likeness of the objects and scenes. Photographs are used for posters, magazines, newspapers etc.

5 Tips for Creating an Effective Whiteboard Animation

Whiteboard animations require many innovative ideas, careful decisions and gutsy implementations. Developing a script and the entire pre-production planning stage before the creation of any type of creative work is one of the most important things that one must ensure to work on. Below are a few important tips for an effective whiteboard animation. These tips will enable you to create a great impression in the minds of your audiences and fans.

1. A great script is a must

As far as whiteboard animations are concerned, an average script will not do much favor to you. You need a great script and a one that can help you to create a major impression in the minds of the people or your audiences to keep it simple. Your story must be bought to life in an extraordinary manner.

2. Having a believable flow

Just like it happens in real life, your whiteboard animation should have a story line that is quite distinct in the middle, beginning as well as ending. This means that the videos should be short in order to keep the attention of the audiences. Your story must be told in such a manner that does not take very long to unfold so that the viewers can get a grasp of what you are exactly saying.

3. Having a powerful imagery

Powerful imagery and dynamic illustrations are always at the heart of a successful whiteboard animation. This means that one should ideally spend most of the time creating the images for the whiteboard presentations.

4. A captivating audio

Soundtrack is the heart of a film and same goes to a whiteboard animation. The audio tracks should be captivated in such a manner that they are able to create a very positive impression in the minds of the viewer or a normal audience. There are also a lot of character voice- overs that should be extremely believable and dynamic and this means that they should enhance and not detract from your work.

5. Concentrate on the background music

Background music can also be described as an essence to your whiteboard animation. This is because the viewers will be able to connect emotionally to your content. This means that the will be able to create a great memory as far as your animation is concerned and as a viewer this is what we require. It is one of the important things to remember.

Anime Vs Cartoons: What’s the Difference?

In the “Anime” community, for most fans and followers, “Anime” is “Anime and “Cartoons” are “Cartoons”. For them both of the things are really different from each other.

First of all, many people get confused between an Anime and a Cartoon, just because both are animated that doesn’t mean that they both are same. There are so many differences in Anime and Cartoons. While both are caricatures that may be animated, anime usually has visually distinct features for characters. So, here I will now explain the difference between these two. Anime are Japanese animated production, that come in different formats like, television series such as dragon ball z, Naruto, one piece etc., animated short films, and full-length movies. But cartoons are two-dimensional illustrated visual art, non-realistic or semi-realistic drawings.

Anime characters have distinct facial and physical features that are very similar to reality, their big eyes and small mouth are created because of cuteness. On the other hand, cartoons physical features are very far from reality than anime. Anime characters also show different kinds of distinguishable facial expressions whereas cartoons don’t.

Cartoons are generally made to make people laugh, so the genre mainly is comedy. But there are also many cartoons that are educational, teaching something good to mainly toddlers and kids in a fun, interactive way. For example, mickey mouse, Donald duck, bugs bunny etc.

Unlike cartoons, anime doesn’t stick to only one or two genres. Anime shows and movies are all based on some kind of plot which continues through the entire series, for example, bleach, one piece, Naruto, etc. Anime is based on real-life issues or something that are closer to human emotions and have many more genres than cartoons such as, drama, school life, slice of life, romance, action, etc.

But if you look at both of them as separate entities, or as same, you won’t be able to find a clear difference between the two, and that is why most of the people get confused between the two and end up calling anime and cartoons are same.

The first cartoon was said to be produced in 1499. It depicted the pope, holy Roman emperor, and the king of France and England playing the game of cards. However, Japanese animation began in the early 20’s, when Japanese filmmakers were experimenting with different techniques. By 1930s, as an alternative to the live action industry, animation was established.

As cartoon are two-dimensional figures drawn and used in animations, as caricatures in newspapers, and books. If we were to define what Anime is then the general idea of some of the common and agreed upon notions would be “Japanese, animation, vivid designs, and hand-drawn” would be predominant buzzwords.

Today, Anime only seems to refer “animations only from Japan” to make it more understandable for people. After all this is human nature to like the things which are easily understandable and easily categorized.

To make the distinction clearer, let’s take the example of the tom and jerry and dragon ball z. So, you may think what’s the difference between the two when they both are animated and have good visuals, backgrounds, sound effects and even the animated drawings are nice. But, there are many differences in them which differentiate them from anime to cartoon. Like, their concepts are totally different, as you know every episode of tom and Jerry is different and is not related to any of the previous episode or continuing some kind of story from a point but in dragon ball z every episode is related to the previous one, and continue the story from where it stopped in the previous episode. And their genres are different too, as tom and Jerry is purely based on a cat and mouse fight and made to make people laugh and their watch time fun. On the other hand, dragon ball z is kind of a journey of a saiyan to save the Earth and the universe from several threats, he fights for saving everyone, with the help of his family, friends and fellow saiyans. Dragon ball z is can be categorized in many different genres, like action, adventure, comedy, super power, etc.

Another thing in which some people may distinct anime and cartoon would be that cartoons are for kids whereas reach of anime can be extended to many other age groups and other areas.

But what I think is, cartoons are not just children material, because as we can see in the newspapers, and on television too, there are many cartoons containing and targeting many political, religious views. Most of these messages are hidden and unrecognizable for children, so that adults can enjoy watching them with kids. Whereas some of the anime contains high adult content and thus are not safe or good for little kids to watch. Those kind of anime are made entirely focusing on adult audience. But there are also some anime series which are absolutely safe to watch with kids. But nowadays, even normal anime’s may have some scenes which are not supposed to be watched by children.

So, I think, where cartoons are safe for kids to watch, anime shouldn’t be considered safe enough for them. But no matter how old you get, you can still enjoy it as it is.

I feel that, anime has deeper thought in them, well developed characters, broad story-line, a solid theme, realistic background animation, real life situations, dialogues, expressions, etc. all of these things bound us together to watch all the episodes (whether there are 12 or 24 or more than a hundred of episodes) of the anime series. Whereas on the other hand, cartoons, regardless of whether they are telling a story or just aiming for comedy, have shallow characters and themes.

Cartoons doesn’t look that creative compared to anime, as anime characters are so different from each other and very well developed too.

There’s one more thing which we can say that differentiate anime and cartoons, that is, for example, in the Simpsons, Bart is the class clown for the entire show but in most of the anime the character’s traits change dynamically, like in the starting they may be kind of shy, or maybe considered as weak or harmless, but later on they become stronger than most of the other characters.