When the Lead Designer and I started working on the concept of the game Tamarrion, the entire essence of what the game was supposed to be was born out of an image in our heads. That image was of a woman in full black armour with long, bright orange hair.
So we knew that we wanted a female character, that she should have a long orange/red braid flowing behind her and that she needed to have black armour that would create an awesome contrast to her hair. We also knew that we wanted her to have a full suit of armour which should make her look badass.
Paladin Concept Art #1
Before actually going into production a couple of explorations were made in her appearance. The very first one was a closeup of her face. With this I wanted mostly to explore the artstyle that we were to be going for with a fantasy theme and big armour pieces. Even though the armour would not work in 3D this image has laid the groundwork for the character in her face and the colours that have been used on the finished character.
The second one was instead an exploration in how her armour would look and showcased one of her most prominent character traits, her spell casting. The idea was to picture her in her armour, riding into battle, raising her hand over her head and light would flow from it across the entire battlefield. We wanted to have medieval style armour, this concept turned out far too realistic for the artstyle though.
Paladin Concept Art #2
When actually starting up the proper concept phase and starting to explore the character further, I created a very muscular base on which we experimented with different armour types. The problem was that it was still too realistic and we realised that instead of trying to create a full medieval suit of armour it would be a better idea to give her fewer pieces of armour that were really big and giving the impression of her being fully armoured.
First Concept Test
At this point I also did some explorations of the hairstyle, the team voted which one they liked better and that one actually stayed through the development.
Realising that we had to throw everything that we had done so far away was a relieving experience since we did not like it at all, but it also left us with not knowing exactly where to go. What we needed to do was to create a more stylised look with fewer and big armour pieces. We wanted to play with contrast in size, working a lot with small and big next to each other to make the armour look even bigger and the character more interesting. A lot of research was made before one little paper sketch showed some promise, it was from this sketch that the final character was created.
The design of the initial sketch was iterated upon several times, testing different variations of armour before deciding upon one to clean up and continuing working on.
By picking and choosing what we liked best, elements of several of these iterations were combined into one design and a complete turnaround of the character was created.
Character Turnaround for 3D Modeling
After completing the turnaround we started thinking about colours, this turned out to be quite a challenge. The main issue we faced were that she needed to have few colours that were typical for her that we would not use on any of the bosses. The problem with this was that we wanted her to have black and orange as her colours, colours that would normally be used on the antagonist. This forced us to play with colour combinations that the audience are used to seeing as we used “good” colours on the boss (blue and gold) and “bad” colours on the main character. The first iteration looked very plain and boring so I played around a bit with the colours and found a combination that we really liked, with reddish pants and a blue tint on her armour.
Going with the blue tint we felt was the best decision as we were worried that she might else look like a bad guy and it looks a lot better in 3D than just plain black would do. It was far too light though, as we still wanted the impression of black armour, so I darkened it down quite a bit. I also reused materials and colours, for instance pants and gloves are the same, so that she would look cohesive and not like a christmas tree, with the bonus of having many colours left to use for all the boss characters that we are going to make!
Final Colour Design
There was a lot of thoughts going into the process of designing the character and we threw everything away and started from the beginning several times, which I feel was one of the best decisions we have made regarding the art so far. I could go on and on forever about this character concept, but I think this is enough for one day. 🙂