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Character art for games.

What is a Character?

There are playable and non-playable characters (NPCs). Hero characters, which are typically provided extra visual fidelity, and characters which are deemed less important. There are animals, invented creatures, monsters, minibosses, and final bosses. Basically, if it moves and it isn't a vehicle, weapon, part of the environment or the user interface, it's probably a character.

Character Process

Characters for games are usually created as a group effort, involving an Art Director, Concept Artist, and at least one Character Artist. Concept art is almost always used as the starting point because it's a more loose, fast, and efficient way to iterate and find the best character design than 3D.

For most modern game characters, a high poly model is first created using a combination of modeling and digital sculpting software. These high resolution models are later modeled over, or retopologized, into the game resolution, or low poly model.

The surface details from the high poly model are transferred to the in-game model using textures and Shaders though a process called baking. This baking process can generate a variety of texture maps that help fool the eye into believing the in-game model has more modeled detail than it actually has. The most common of these texture maps are Normal map, and AmbientOcclusionMap.

Character Examples

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