The character designer is, above all, an artist ! He is inspired by a universe and an environment to sketch coherent characters for an animation, a comic book or a video game project. Just as comfortable with a pencil as with a computer, the character designer works in a highly creative environment.
THE CHARACTER DESIGNER’S MISSIONS
Thanks to his pencil stroke, the character designer graphically expresses the identity of a character, based on a precise scenario and frame. Curious, he relies on references that will allow him to better understand the environment, and thus proposes concepts that are as close as possible to his client’s expectations.
Once the sketch is completed, he starts working on CAD (Computer-Aided Design). The idea is to really bring the character to life, so that he can integrate the graphic environment he is intended for. There, a more technical phase of work begins, where the character designer aims at getting his character to move, and to have a realistic appearance and acting.
He will have to go through various stages, modelling, sculpting, texturing and rigging, which will allow him to give volume, structure and physical reality to this character.
His work is very precise : facial expressions, mimicking, hair color, clothing, postures, equipment…
HIS KNOW-HOW, HIS SKILLS
One of the main qualities of the character designer is his imagination. Although the profession benefits from a rather laid-back image, it still requires rigour and organisation, as well as efficiency.
The character designer makes sketches before using specialized software, which requires good drawing skills, a good perception of space and perspectives.
Inventive, the character designer must be able to step back from his own creations, and show a beautiful cultural curiosity.
The technical aspects obviously require a perfect mastery of the computer tool and CAD software (2D, CG).
Character designers must also enjoy working in a team. In direct collaboration with 2D and CG graphic designers, but also with programmers, they are part of a team focused on the success of the same project.
To give yourself the best chance, it is recommended to be fluent in English in order to benefit from a wider perspective.
CAREER DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES
In addition to his artistic and technical skills, and whether he works in a creative studio, a video game studio or as a freelancer, the character designer must be very attentive to the artistic director’s needs, with whom he exchanges a lot.
A beginner can start at the minimum wage or earn a higher salary depending on the company in which he works.
When the character designer works as a freelancer, his remuneration depends on his number of clients, his experience and his good reputation.