Character design for Trip the Ark Fantastic

This is how we create characters for Trip the Ark Fantastic

Following a groovy interview with Matija about the sound design in Trip the Ark Fantastic, Serena is now taking the helm to talk about the character design process.

Serena, our esteemed character designer will tell us how is she designing the characters for the game, and how fun it is to do! Serena, GO!

Character design: It all starts with the character personality

Hi everyone! My name is Serena Vanic, and I’m the character artist for Trip the Ark Fantastic. This is my process of making characters for the game. Hope you’ll like the article!

First I get a description of a character or a short dialogue from the writer to get the idea of the character’s personality, then do some research on how the given animal works (anatomy, fur colors, size, etc). Research takes a few hours and consists of searching for references from pictures and videos.

Next stage is basically brainstorming – sketching out some ideas which would best communicate the given character’s personality. These usually don’t make it to the final design but help me clear my mind of them.

I usually take parts of sketches and combine them into the final sketch design which is then sent for reviews and then fixed according to feedback.

Cleaning the sketch up

After the final design is agreed upon, I start to clean the sketch up, do lineart and choose colors while having the background (colors) in mind, where the character itself will be stated.

Yolanda process from sketch to finished design

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Animation sheets

Upon finishing the main character art design, I start doing the animation sheets which consist of a turnaround and key animation frames.

In this stage, I work closely with the animator (Ivana) to review any mistakes which could get in the way when in animation.

Turnaround helps the animator to get the idea of character’s proportions when animating, and keyframes help greatly in positioning when animating and communicating with the animator how the designed character moves.

Yolanda Turnarounds

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And another Yolanda Turnarounds

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Prior joint anatomy research of the animal is helpful when making key frames, because it makes movement of the given character more believable.

Rabbit miner hopping keyframes

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When animation sheets are done, animator starts making the magic happen, or well, make the designed character move. In the meantime, I start working on the character’s portrait.

This stage usually takes 3-4 or more hours depending on the character’s complexity. This stage usually goes like the character design itself: sketch, review, digital cleanup & design, colors and editing.

Nicolas tiger portrait process from sketch to finish

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And voilà! The lovely Ark character is done!

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