Pixar’s Character Design Tips

Research and evaluate
It can be helpful to try and deconstruct why certain characters and their characteristics work and why some don’t. 
 Study other characters and think about what makes some successful and what in particular you like about them.

Who is it aimed at?
Think about your audience. Characters aimed at young children, for example, are typically designed around basic shapes and bright colours.

Visual impact
Whether you’re creating a monkey, robot or monster, you can guarantee there are going to be a hundred other similar creations out there. Your character needs to be strong and interesting in a visual sense to get people’s attention.

Exaggerated characteristics
Exaggerating the defining features of your character will help it appear larger than life. Exaggerated features will also help viewers to identify the character’s key qualities.

Colour
Colours can help communicate a character’s personality. Typically, dark colours such as black, purples and greys depict baddies with malevolent intentions. Light colours such as white, blues, pinks and yellows express innocence, good and purity.

Conveying personality
Interesting looks alone do not necessarily make for a good character; its personality is key as well. A character’s personality can be revealed through animations, where we see how it reacts to certain situations. The personality of your character doesn’t have to be particularly agreeable, but it does need to be interesting (unless your characters is purposely dull).

Express yourself
Expressions showing a character’s range of emotions and depicting its ups and downs will further flesh out your character. Depending on its personality, a figure’s emotions might be muted and wry or explosive and wildly exaggerated.


Goals and dreams
The driving force behind a character’s personality is what it wants to achieve. TOften the incompleteness or flaws in a character are what make it interesting.


Building back stories
If you’re planning for your character to exist within comics and animations then developing its back story is important. Where it comes from, how it came to exist and any life-changing events it has experienced are going to help back up the solidity of, and subsequent belief in, your character. Sometimes the telling of a character’s back story can be more interesting than the character’s present adventures.


Beyond the character
In the same way that you create a history for your character, you need to create an environment for it to help further cement believability in your creation. The world in which the character lives and interacts should in some way make sense to who the character is and what it gets up to.


Fine-tuning a figure
Question each element of your creation, especially things such as its facial features. The slightest alteration can have a great effect on how your character is perceived.

References

Character Design (2017) PIXAR. Available at: http://pixar-animation.weebly.com/character-design.html (Accessed: 1 May 2017).

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