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Alive Character Design for Game, Animation and Film: Character Design Course [Anglais] [Broché]

Haitao Su

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Alive Character Design Follow this lively and entertaining book as it illuminates the basics of effective character design. Whether male or female, animal, monster or alien - certain rules apply that animate the figure and elevate it from a two-dimensional plane. Knowledge of a Full description

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Amazon.com: 4.2 étoiles sur 5  16 commentaires
23 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Good as an Art Book, not a Character Design Book 5 mars 2012
Par CreativeBooksReviews - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
When I first got my copy of this book I was really excited. The cover artwork looked beautiful and the preview pages on this site did as well. Once I opened it, I was pleased to see that the artwork that sold it to me in the previews was equally as beautiful on the inside. That being said, while that artwork is beautiful, that's really all this book is. Good artwork.

There isn't much in way of character design except small paragraphs to the side every few pages with a few notes here and there about different aspects of what goes into a design. It's not really as full of information as it could be. Also I had a very big problem with the different sections that focused on Women and Men in this book. Particularly with the way it talked about designing women. The opening of the section focusing on women has a caption that says, "Creating Distinctive Sexuality and Beauty". On it's own this statement isn't bad. Most designers want their female characters to look visually appealing, however that is all this section focuses on. There is nothing that talks about anything more besides how the female character looks. I was expecting a section on the kind of character the woman is supposed to be affecting her physical form, what clothes she wears, accessories she might have, ect. But there's none of that. There advice is basically make the girl look pretty and to look through women's fashion magazines to get an idea of what a woman should wear. There's nothing about the kind of role the girls play or how they should be dressed or posed based on their role in the game, or film. Also they adhere to only one physical type. If this was an art book that wouldn't have bothered me. But because it's supposed to be focused on designing characters in the plural sense, it made no sense for them to all look the same. But they did. They basically said that the women should have thin shoulders, thing waist and wide hips, and of course through showing rather than telling, a huge chest. There wasn't any kind of talk of different body types, or showing girls that had more muscle when they were carrying huge guns. On top of that, there weren't very many different ethnicity's in this book either.

There were a few images in which the characters had different skin tones, but all their other features including facial ones were exactly the same. This is the same for the section on men as well. However with section on males which starts off with a caption: 'Highlighting your characters heroism' there is at least more information on actual design. Here it goes a bit into personality, and what makes your character tick and how one character would be different from the other. They even have several different body types of men as well from some with a gut, to a well toned surfer. Overall though, the information is lacking.

There's a good collection of villains and anthro characters to, but overall the book just really wasn't that good on design elements. It seemed more like a collection of nice artwork than something that could really help people become better designers. For that I would recommend two other books. Creative Character Design by Bryan Tillman and Creating Characters with personality for Film, TV, Animation, Games and Graphic Novels by Tom Bancroft. These books do what this book should have. They go into what actually makes a character and focuses on how who they are plays into what they look like. They also have assignments and character sheets as well in their books to help get the creative juices flowing.

Overall I was pretty unhappy with this book. The only reason I didn't send it back was because of the artwork and the handful of good advice. But if I had to do it again I wouldn't have spent the money and definitely don't think it's worth the current asking price.
13 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 A narrow and biased view of what constitutes as good character design. 10 juillet 2012
Par C.J. - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I wanted to like this book. I really, really did. There is some great information and illustrations in here that are educational and worthwhile. What puzzles and frustrates me the author's bizarre and narrow take on character archetypes, including sections like 'Female Character Design: Creating Distinctive Sexuality and Beauty'. I have no problem with characters being sexy, but this book is ridiculous in its portrayal of female characters. This section, and indeed anywhere in the book where a woman is featured, depicts each character with slim shoulders, huge breasts, waists that are literally the width of my pinky finger and large butts (no, seriously, the subtitle of Physical Features of Females is "thin shoulders and big butts"). If one of the authors is truly a veteran with over 20 years of experience under his belt, they should be well aware of body shape variation, height, weight, posture, personality through body language, facial expression, clothing, and the functionality of that clothing based on its purpose. This book's idea of female clothing is varying states of bikinis, short shorts, tight pants and halter tops ("a designer is advised to choose costumes revealing the back and part of the breasts in order to highlight the character's sexual appeal").

Next, "Male Character Designs: Highlighting the Character's Heroism". According to the authors, female characters are meant to be nothing but vacant eye candy ("the ultimate objective of female character design is to capture a feminine sexuality and beauty that appeals to human's primitive consciousness") and the male character must be a jacked up power fantasy with muscles bursting at the seams ("men are expected to be trusted with important tasks, which has determined that they have to look serious in the first place.") I can't even begin to depict all of the sexism running rampant here, for men and women both.

Are these traits the status quo? Absolutely. Should they be, and should that status quo be encouraged? Absolutely not. Character design should be as varied as possible to express the personality of the character and the desires of the intended audience, whether that character is an old crone, a battle scarred warrior or a lanky academic. Heroes can be anything, and so can villains, regardless of their sex and gender. The book puts emphasis on characters needing to be memorable, and yet describes character archetypes that are unoriginal and forgettable.

An excellent example of good character design is Avatar the Last Airbender and its sequel, The Legend of Korra. These series contain popular, well executed characters designed in a way that are eye catching, expressive of their personalities and suitable for the intended audience. I highly recommend Avatar: The Last Airbender (The Art of the Animated Series); it is not intended as a how to guide, but the included character designs are informative and far more imaginative than what is included in this book. I'd also recommend Okami Official Complete Works, another good example of character and environment design and a wonderful lesson in taking inspiration from objects and mythology and turning that inspiration into a viable, good looking design.

Don't get me wrong, there are sections that are educational and worth reading, such as What Is Character Design?, the Basic Principles and Procedures of Character Design, Q-style Character Design, Monster Character Design, Animal Character Design, Inanimate Character Design and Mechanical Character Design. The illustrations included in Supportive Role Design are great, but again the authors narrow the archetype down to "defined by ordinary, lazy, careless, stupid and gluttonous, etc." The same applies to the section on villains; the idea of what constitutes as a villain is very narrow.

At the end of the day, I regret buying this book and I will be returning it. If the authors wanted to make a reader feel uncomfortable and frustrated, they certainly managed it.
12 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Marvelous character design book 1 novembre 2011
Par Parka - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
The author Haitao Su has been creating character design, cartoons and illustrations for nearly 20 years. It's a privilege to have a character design book written by him. Good character design books are rare, and this is a wonderful book.

The book starts with the definition of character design, basic principles and procedures for character design, sources of inspiration, concept development, techniques and even talks about the handling of proposals. The latter half of the book looks at nine categories of characters:

Female
Male
Q-Style
Monster
Animal
Supportive Role
Bad Guys
Inanimate
Mechanical

The amount of character designs featured are immense, beautiful and incredibly varied. The pages are packed with unique and expressive characters which are a joy to look at. The physical form of the characters can be felt and that really adds on to the believability.

Almost all examples are drawn by Haitao Su himself. They are all accompanied by insightful commentary and really gives you lots to think about when designing your own characters. Lots of individual characters that he drew for commissions are analysed. There's even a chapter on inanimate character designs which gives tips on how you can turn static household objects alive.

The book ends with interviews with five top character designers, namely Dean Yeagle, Stephen Silver, Florian Satzinger, Francisco Herrera and Ben Caldwell. There's also an interview with Haitao Su himself.

This is a inspiring art book on its own, made even better with useful information that's shared.

Highly recommended to character designers and art book lovers. This should be one of top 2011 art books.

(There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Analyze the Pictures - Ignore the Text 30 novembre 2012
Par caj - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
*** Pros:
The artwork is nice, and the painting is beautifully done. Some of the characters are really interesting, and there is a nice range of styles within the book. :)

*** Cons:
However, the text was rather painful to read.

The terminology used was really strange and confusing (ex: "magic band" tool instead of "magic wand" tool), which may or may not be due to translation issues.

And while I can't speak for other people, I, personally, found the explanations to be slightly insulting and grossly overly-generalized. A good equivalent would be to say that white people are rich, and people in California are surfers or movie stars. It isn't necessarily wrong, but it only works for specific circumstances, and assuming that it's right all of the time results in rather boring and two dimensional characters (no pun intended).

Even if the character designs are interesting, cliche characters are still cliche characters. Side characters aren't always bumbling idiots, women don't all have to be bombshells, men are not all superheroes or secret agents, and combining anatomical parts from different creatures just because you can is not necessarily a good reason to do so.

Character design is about making each character visually unique, and characters with no depth will visually reflect that as well.

*** Conclusion:
If you want a reference book with a couple of different styles and artwork that is well-painted and [mostly] well-designed, then this would be a good book for you.

If you're looking for a book to teach you how to design characters, unless this is the first day on your character design journey, you should probably look elsewhere.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Grab it, but only if it's cheap 4 février 2013
Par Grant Beaudette - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Reviews on character design books basically amount to a review on the designer and his ability to explain his methods. And in that vein, this book is... fine.

This book is far too verbose, and the fact that English isn't the author's first language doesn't make it better. Throw in a really tiny font, and it's pretty easy to just tune out and look at the pictures.

the authors work is very appealing and he has a descent variety of style, though not of approach. The section on females is all half-naked pin-ups, and the males are all brick-chinned hero-types.

Physically, it's a very nice book with strong art, and having profiles on some other designers is a great addition.

If you're looking for a book on character design, get Creating Characters With Personality, but if you can happen to find used copy of this really cheap, go ahead and get it for the pictures.
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