Dear Character Designer,
Sometimes finding the right visual references for a character you’re designing can be a daunting task…
You want to stay focused on designing but waste precious time finding the perfect visual references and inspirations.
This can interrupt your flow of creativity and even burn you out on the project. Character design should be enjoyable and productive but you need those references, right?
Sure, there are a ton of great sites out there for stock pictures, pose references, and ideas for clothes or hair. You could even search some books for what you need…..
But what if you had a reusable and convenient library at your fingertips that was ready to go and packed with the perfect reference material for your character?
You could probably save yourself a lot of time and frustration,right?
Best of all you wouldn’t have to waste time searching and take away from creating!
What you need is a character kit!
Character kits are an innovative approach to how character artists gather and use references.
Character kits take everything you need and combine them into a convenient and organized PDF resource that you can actually reuse.
- High resolution turnaround sheets of 3D models in different body types and shapes
- High resolution views of the parts you need to see detail on like the face, hands,feet, and even things like wings on non-human characters
- Pose and expression sheets beautifully rendered in 3D and may I just throw in….hand and foot poses too.
- Design sheets to streamline your process so designing things like hair, and even body or nail art is easier than ever
- A unique fashion croquis for each body type so you have the perfect base for wardrobe design
- Ideabooks filled with character samples,hairstyles,props,outfit ideas and more so you have inspiration at your fingertips
- A coloring guide to assist with creating color schemes to get different effects
- A mini guide with tips for development and adding variation so you can create a unique and well-rounded character
- Profile sheets so you can go beyond visual and develop your character down to the last detail in writing too
The character kits are an idea I developed to address the issue of not always having or easily being able to find the right references or ideas when in the process of designing a character. The core concept of the project is to provide character designers with an organized library of quality references and tools. That means no distractions searching and less interruption to your creative process.
My main goals are to eliminate the frustrations I found in my own processes like trouble finding non-generic body type references,issues finding good ethnic references, and trouble working out finer design details. I often found myself scouring multiple sites to gather a hodge podge at best folder of references that ended up being kind of hit or miss. Even then I’d still not find everything I needed to eliminate guesswork. I realized I was spending too much time searching for references and not enough time enjoying the creative process.
My design process on the idea for the kits was that people typically have a certain type in mind to start out with like a certain race,genre,archetype etc. and if I could gather a mass resource fit for a certain type I could have an easy to reference guide to use and reuse when I was designing characters but as I worked more on them I realized how much better that would be with design aids,help with coloring and other things that could be tailored to suit a certain character type. Finally I realized the best thing and that was how great it would be to make that a shared resource.
How do Character Kits work?
Character Kits are made to be thorough and convenient above all.
Each one will be developed one at a time and crafted with care,made to act as a helpful and inspiring reference that can be used and reused many times for multiple characters.
Each Kit starts out with 3D models carefully sculpted in Iclone’s Character Creator Add-on that will be exported to Daz3D for further customization,posing, and rendering.Models in the actual kits will be nude to ensure they are of best use for reference but if there is a demand for it a general audience version of the kits will be made as well.
All the references will be carefully selected to suit the particular character type the kit is for so every kit will have exactly what it needs and just a little more to suit that character type.
Some kits will have more sections than others or vary a little but you’ll be guaranteed….
- At least 3-5 unique body type representations
- At least 25 expression examples
- A representation of the different face shapes for each unique body type
- A minimum of 20 poses mixed with basic and special ones best suited for the character type
- Hand and foot related poses
- At least 10 sample characters per kit
- At least 5 hairstyle suggestions carefully picked to suit the body types and character type
- Example outfits for different categories such as evening wear,sleepwear,work uniforms etc. tailored to suit the character type
- Special sections for non-human characters to show references for wings,tails,horns etc
- At least 5 prop suggestions including common props,medical aids,weaponry, and electronic accessories
- A mini development guide with tips and suggestions on developing that particular character type and what projects they work best with
- A coloring guide with suggestions and tips to aid with creating a color scheme for the character
The models will be not only shown in a full turnaround view in the kit but each pose will also be rendered from multiple angles to make it suit any perspective you have for the project.
Each kit will have the close views you need of detailed areas like hands,feet, and faces as well as extra appendages like wings,horns and tails for non-human kits.Each kit will also have visual samples of different skin and facial features.
Each kit will have face shape variations as well as a wide range of body types you can reference. The main downfall I wanted to address here was that stock sites have models and not everyone has a model’s figure. Sometimes you want a character to have more unique body shape and finding the right reference for that can be hard to do.
The Basic Human kit has three varieties to represent the three anthropological classifications. This was done so the unique features and variations within the races would be well represented in the kits and models.
The kits are split into adult and child kits so a wide range of youth models can be represented instead of just crammed in as an afterthought to the kits. The adult kits will also have elderly references in them because I felt this was a type of reference that needed some good representation. Stock sites are full of young attractive people but often lack good content to help artists reference for child and elderly characters.
The other part of the kits will be PSD design sheets to help streamline character creation. The design sheets are made to address being able to work out finer details of the character in the most efficient way possible.
Some but not all of these sheets will include….
- Nail art design
- Makeup palette design
- Body art and tattoo design
- Prop design
- Turnaround sheets with head measurement guides
- Color palette planning
- Unique fashion croquis that represent different body types so you can design in a way that suits your character and not be stuck with a generic fashion figure
In addition you’ll have all the sheets you need to profile everything from their appearance and backstory to their attacks and personality.
The main goal of the character kit is to act as a reference but a smaller goal is to also educate and inspire.Each kit will have an Ideabook and Mini Guide.
- The Ideabooks will have references and ideas for things like props,hairstyles and even sample wardrobes as well as an array of sample characters to inspire you. The sample characters will be created with the use of the E-pic Character Generator.
- The Mini Guide will have tips for development,coloring and project application so you can have a well-rounded character,on-point color palette and possibly learn a little bit about character design as well.
Please Note!: E-pic Character Generator doesn’t have child bases at this time so sample characters for child kits will most likely be done in Autodesk Character Generator or Iclone.
The primary kit will be in a convenient and organized PDF catalog.
- Easy to display off to the side while working
- Easy to navigate to what you need in the kit
- Easy to open everything you need in one convenient file
- Printable for personal use as a traditional reference
- Easy to transfer to a mobile device for references on-the-go
Design aids will be conveniently placed at the ends of each kit for easy printing from the PDF but also in a separate folder so you can access the full resolution files and open them in a compatible program as a high resolution PSD file,ready to go for your designing needs.
Please Note!: All kits will have a license that allows only for referential usage by the purchaser. This means they can’t be resold as a standalone product,redistributed,or shared. They can only be used as a reference product by the person tied to the original purchase for a commercial or non-commercial creative project.
Kits will be developed and released one at a time. That way I can fully focus on doing the best job possible on every kit and ensure the best quality.The kits will be released through Gumroad and retail between $9.99-$29.99.
While each kit will have essentially the same content types the amounts of each content type will vary between kits. Some kits may need more content and work than others.Presentation might also vary slightly between kits depending on how much material is going into it.Graphically speaking I want the kits to all share similar menus and guts but I’m going to adjust some of the presentation as needed if it benefits the kit.
But let’s get to the gritty details on the kits that will be available!
There are 110 single character sets planned kits in Series I
- Basic Human (female and male variations in child and adult,each with a caucasoid,mongoloid, and negroid variation)-12 kits
- Basic Elf (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Vampire (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Demon (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Angel (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Fae (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Orc (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Naga (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Troll (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Anthromorph (female and male variations in child and adult,each with a mammalian,avian,cold-blooded, and insect variation)-16 kits
- Basic Merperson (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Deity (male and female adult variations)-2 kits
- Basic Mutant (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Alien (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Djinn (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Bots & Borgs (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Humanoid Monster (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Ogre (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Zombie (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Dwarf (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Halfling (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Pixie (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Balljoint Doll (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
Other kits and variations of the kit I’m working with to further expand this product are..
- Group Kits
- Couple Kits
- A version of the kits tailored more for tabletop RPG character creation
There are also some other series planned if funding holds out and the campaign for series one goes well.
- Series II:Fantasy,Horror & Mythology
- Series III:Western,Steampunk & History
- Series IV:Manga,Comic Book & Sci-fi
- Series V:Misc.,Toon & Contemporary (incudes animal kits)
So that’s the nitty gritty of what you need to know about Character Kits.
Series I is going to be live on Kickstarter later this month. The campaign page still needs some sample graphics and videos which I’m working on now.
But you can preview what’s there and leave some feedback if you like at:
You can also check out the Facebook page for the project at: