Character design is perhaps a tricky foe to deal with. A great deal of creative thinking is required to create your animated character from scratch.

A considerable lot of the classic characters familiar from cartoons and movies look simple. However, a vast amount of effort and skill has made them compelling.

One of the vital skills that you need to acquire to create a mind-blowing animated video is animation character design. It is a challenging task to come up with compelling characters for your video. Thankfully, you have a lot of resources available to help you on your journey. 

One can use an animated explainer video for both business and social causes. Check out one of our amazing explainer videos for Uber. It helped them increase their subscribers for Inter City rides and got 800k views in a week.

Step-by-Step guide to design awesome characters

The skill to create an animated explainer video is an excellent asset for any business. One survey reported that 93% of companies who used explainer videos in their campaign were able to make customers understand better about their product/service.

Behind the creation of any animated cartoon character stands a thoroughly scrutinized concept, a great deal of discussion, study, and key decisions, so the ideas come to life in the best way possible. So, without wasting a minute more, let’s move on to the ultimate guide to creating the best animation character design.

Whether you are interested in 2D animation character design or 3D animation character designyou will find this article helpful. These are the steps you need to follow for designing animated characters:

1. Ask some vital questions to yourself 

Researching a project is necessary, whether you are creating a housing architecture or an animated character. Here are some questions that you need to ask:

  • What kind of audience am I targeting? Does my target audience prefer funny, serious, or other characters?
  • What kind of characters match the persona of the brand?
  • What kind of lead character will best serve the purpose of the business? Should I go with an icon, a symbol, or some average person on the block?

You must have a clear answer to these questions before moving ahead. The answers to these questions will tell you how to move forward, and these answers will also decide the nature of the project. After noting down the answers to the questions, you should write down the types of characters that you want in the video. 

2. Understand the types of animated videos

You can move to the next steps with a firm understanding of your needs. You should now know the popular types of characters designed for the animation to decide what best serves your project.

Iconic design

The iconic animated characters are less fancier. These characters are usually faceless and blocky. With that said, these characters are also impressive. It can penetrate the minds and hearts of people, regardless of their class, gender, religion, and so on. 

An iconic video is excellent for a corporate video that aims to inform complicated concepts to the audience. This type of video design communicates the information without any specific characters getting the limelight. 

Editorial Style characters

I’m talking about the type of characters we usually see in publications like “The New Yorker.” These characters are clean, realistic, and highly stylized. An editorial style character is useful if you aim to portray elegance and a sense of presence.

Pop Style characters

We commonly find pop-style characters in comic books and cartoons. These characters are expressive. These characters are for catching the limelight and dominating the screen. The audience feels the energy within them while watching them in action. 

Check out our amazing comic book video.

If your brand is associated with fashion, entertainment, and humor, using these characters can be great for positioning your brand among your targeted audience. 

3. Start sketching and experimenting

Now that you know about the popular types of animated characters and how to select the best kind of character for you, you should start experimenting.

Use a pencil and paper or use software to sketch the attitudes and expressions of those characters. However, you must never be emotionally attached to those characters.  You can also play with photos of your friends and try to create your character by turning the photo into a cartoon with BeFunky to have more ideas about the future character.

Use the characters you sketched and try to fit into the story. Get some feedback. If it does not match, get over it and start experimenting again. Even great designers go through trials and errors before creating a masterpiece. You must make sure that every character serves the motto of the video. 

The study shows that more than 75% of users prefer sharing branded videos if they find it entertaining. 

4. Come up with crucial poses for your characters

You’re dealing with the character in many phases of the story if you design characters for a video that exceeds 10 minutes. Draw your characters, portraying various emotions they must represent in different video stages. These images should breathe life into the video.

There is a chance that some characters may not fit in many video scenarios. If you find so, try adjusting, or you should consider opting for an alternative personality. 

5. Animate your characters

The final task in your hand is to animate your characters. You need to perform motion tests to approve your characters. You will be amazed to see how much you can learn by observing your animated characters' movements. You can also give life to your characters using character animation After Effects tools.

Don't miss to see this compelling 2D Character Animation Explainer Video for Remote Office by webdew.

Thankfully, there are plenty of great pieces of software in the market that can help you do 2D and 3D animation. You can see some tutorials and start using this software.

For 2D animation, here are some of the favourite tools that you can use for animating 2D characters:

  • Animate CC: Animate CC is a simple tool that lets you start immediately. It is great software for beginners as the learning curve is shorter than other pieces of software.
  • Toon Boom Harmony: This software caters to the needs of advanced animators who want to do some complicated animations. It is capable of doing almost all the things that 2D animators want to do. That said, beginners can also enjoy this tool and play with its essential features. 
  • Adobe After Effects: It is a popular tool for character rigging, lip sync, etc. You can start using After Effects after spending some time learning its basics. There are third-party plugins that you can integrate with this software to enhance its functionality.

Here are some decent pieces of software for 3D animation:

  • Blender: Blender is an open-source and free software capable of modelling, video post-processing, animation, lighting, and more. 
  • Autodesk Maya: Autodesk Maya is a powerful app for professional animators. You can use it for motion graphics, modelling, 3D animation, rendering, virtual reality, and more.
    Check out our Character Animation detailed blog to know more about it.  

All set to create character animation design?

Take this guide as a blueprint for creating a fantastic animated character. It does not reveal every detail you need to design animated characters. However, I’ve shown you what kind of knowledge you should have to move to an advanced level of character design and animation. 

I hope you have found valuable information in this article to clear up your confusion. Leave your thoughts below if you want to add more insights to this material.

Suppose you are really in a hurry for an animated explainer video. In that case, you can always outsource the project to a reliable agency webdew that can do the task for you. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Designing an animated character involves several steps. Begin with a concept that defines the character's personality, traits, and role in the story. Sketch rough ideas to explore different looks and features. Refine the design with attention to proportions, details, and unique traits that make the character stand out. Consider their silhouette, colour palette, and how they convey emotions. Iteration and feedback are crucial in creating a character that fits the animation's narrative and visual style.

A good character design in animation should effectively convey the character's personality, role, and emotions. It should have a clear silhouette that makes the character easily recognizable. Strong character design often includes attention to detail, consistency, and unique features that set the character apart. Additionally, it should be adaptable for different poses and expressions to ensure versatility during animation.

Designing a character for 3D animation follows a similar process as for 2D animation but with additional considerations for the three-dimensional aspect. Start with a concept sketch and then create a 3D model using software like Blender, Maya, or ZBrush. Pay attention to the character's volume, proportions, and the practicality of their design for movement and animation. Rig the character with a skeletal structure and controls to enable movement in 3D space.

Character style in animation refers to the artistic approach used to depict characters within a particular project or animation visually. It encompasses choices like the character's design, colour palette, and overall aesthetic. The character style helps define the look and feel of the animation, setting the tone for the storytelling and creating a cohesive visual world. Different animation projects may adopt varying character styles to suit their themes and target audiences.