We are not reinventing the wheel if we say that character creation is an art of its own that is valued in a special way. Of course, all kinds of art are important in a video game, and the environment always sets the right mood and atmosphere. But the character is the player’s avatar, this is the point of contact between the player and the game, this is a temporary virtual incarnation of a person who has decided to spend some time in a radically different world.
A well-developed character is a person with his, her or even its own past, temperament, characteristics, pains, fears, preferences, advantages and disadvantages. And if writers outline the image of a character with the help of words that evoke images, then a character artist outlines the image of a character with the help of images that evoke (in a successful scenario) words.
If writers outline the image of a character with the help of words that evoke images, then a character artist outlines the image of a character with the help of images that evoke words.
What is a good character artist? Someone who was able to tell the story of a character through the smallest details of his or her appearance. The main weapon of artists is the visual, and it depends on how they know how to manage it, whether this character will fall directly into the player’s heart or be forgotten in five minutes.
Drawing a character beautifully and realistically is not all. The character’s appearance should not be silent and demand admiration only for its gloss, polished to perfection. The character’s appearance should speak, and speak a lot. The more thoughts, associations, guesses and assumptions a person has when looking at a character, the better this character is worked out. So this character is really alive.
What is a Character Design Company?
Characters are expectedly created by character artists. The habitats of such artists can rightfully be considered game art studios or companies completely focused on creating characters.
It must be understood that although we are talking about game characters, they can be created for other purposes and directions. Characters are also created for the film industry and advertising goals. There is such a thing as a mascot – a character personifying a brand and presenting its products and services to customers.
Creating a character for a movie, commercial, or game are completely different things. Therefore, when choosing character design studios, notice in which direction they work and what kind of characters they are creating.
Why Choosing Character Design Services is so Important?
Character creation is not cheap. This requires a thorough study of the concept, background, temperament, unless, of course, you want to get an impressive result that will work. Therefore, before starting this business, you need to understand exactly what result you want to get, what emotions the character should evoke, what his or her role in your product will be.
The choice of the character design company plays an equally important role in this. Even if you have thoroughly thought out the biography and history of the character, this does not mean that the first studio that comes across will be able to implement it. The artists there may simply lack experience or inspiration and passion to fill a character with them. The latter is no less important than a high drawing skill – an impeccably drawn character without a soul embedded in it will look like a bright wrapper with nothing inside.
How to Choose Most Reliable Character Design Studio?
A good studio is three key factors:
The first can be verified by examining the company profile on its website and third-party platforms such as Clutch or GoodFirms. There is always the year the company was founded. In addition, on the company’s website, there is always a list of services that it provides and a portfolio showing work in different areas.
The second is not as easy to check as the first, and there is always an element of certain risk. But you can always go to the same independent sites like Clutch or GoodFirms and read the reviews of previous clients of character design studios. If a company has problems with timing, communication or understanding with a client, most often such nuances are indicated in reviews. If a company does not have a single review, this is a reason to think. But if you liked it so much that the lack of reviews does not bother you, ask its representatives for comprehensive information on the structure of the work process and warn them in advance about strict timings or special requirements.
Checking the third may seem like an unrealistic task, but in reality, it is not that difficult. In a sense, this is even easier than checking discipline. Just look at the portfolio. There you will see the characters created by the company. Based on what we talked about above, you should at first glance feel whether the artists put some of themselves into characters or whether they created empty glossy dummies. If you want to look at the characters, delve into their facial features, make assumptions about where this scar or this bitter curve of the mouth comes from, then everything is fine. And your project is in good hands.
The list of character creation companies that we suggest below is based on research from independent resources such as GoodFirms, Clutch and DesignRush, as well as companies’ websites. We selected companies with more than 5 years of experience in creating characters, a thematic portfolio of characters that allows us to assess the level of skill of artists, and reviews from previous clients describing the process of cooperation with these companies.
Character Design Companies That Do Not Just Create Characters, But Breathe Life Into Them
Kevuru Games is a large game art and development company with many divisions, among which you can easily find character design services. There are separate departments dealing with 2D and 3D characters. Each of them is perfectly oriented in its direction – the 2D department creates characters for mobile and PC games of such genres as casual, hyper casual, HOPA and others, and the 3D department makes characters for AAA titles.
The feature of the company is the creation of characters specifically for games – the team adapts them to any game engine and ideally optimizes them for flawless display in the game. A separate advantage of Kevuru Games is that they are equally expert in working with both stylized and photorealistic characters. Among the company’s clients who have appreciated the company’s dedication to the creation of characters, you can see Lucasfilm, EA, Epic Games, Goodgame Studios, Socialpoint, Nanobit and others.
Dream Farm Studios
Dream Farm Studios is a Canadian animation studio specializing in the creation of 2D and 3D animation, from full-length animated films to commercial videos. The company also provides services for the creation of game art, in particular characters.
The company’s portfolio contains a large number of striking characters, most of which belong to the stylized direction. Character design teams are also experienced in creating so-called mascots – characters that represent a brand and introduce its products and services to customers. The company has partnered with clients such as Valnet, Firefox, Flaregames and others.
Room 8 Studio
Room 8 Studio is an outsourcing company offering services for the creation of AAA class game art. The team of artists has enough technical resources to create photorealistic 3D characters for games or animation.
The company has collaborated with many well-known gaming publishers – Activision, Ubisoft and others. In addition to the 3D direction, the company can also take on the creation of 2D art and characters, but they put less emphasis on this. The studio’s portfolio is full of various interesting projects and cases that will help form an opinion about their skills and expertise.
N-iX Game & VR studio
N-iX is one of the oldest Ukrainian game art outsourcing studios. Among other services, you can easily find 2D and 3D character designs here. The team focuses on both simple art for mobile games and more advanced art for rooftop PC games.
Among the studio’s clients, there are such companies as Wargaming, Paradox Interactive and Trese Brothers. Fantasy motives prevail in the portfolio of 2D characters, and among the 3D characters, you can find different styles and directions. The team is made up of mostly senior-level professionals with extensive experience and versatility, so they can easily adapt to the style and setting you want.
It’s an award-winning American animation studio that knows how to create characters that tell the stories you want and deliver the messages you develop. The company does not work on purely game projects, but mascots, characters for advertising or design purposes are their cup of tea.
The studio has partnered with clients such as Nickelodeon, Riot Games, Panasonic and Microsoft. This is your choice if you need bright and memorable characters for advertising that will communicate with your customers and introduce your products and services to them.
AAA Game Art Studio
Although the company has only been in business for 5 years, its senior art team can boast over 20 years of experience in the gaming industry. This American outsourcing studio provides a classic package of art services, including the creation of 2D and 3D characters.
AAA Game Art Studio has worked with clients such as Ubisoft, Playrix and Bandai Namco. In the portfolio, you can see that their strong point is fantasy characters. Despite its name, the studio not only works with AAA level art, but also casual and hyper-casual games and related art.
Stepico Games is a Ukrainian art outsourcing studio that creates game art, games on the Unity engine and AR/VR-based applications. The company’s clients include Rovio, NBC Universal and Section.
Among other services, the company is engaged in the creation of 2D and 3D characters. The team is experienced and professional enough to work both on simple characters for mobile games and on three-dimensional characters for larger projects. So far, the team has implemented more than 25 successful projects.
Starloop Studios is a Spanish game development and game art company. Many diverse artists of different styles work here. The number of them may vary depending on the chosen cooperation model and the scale of the project. If necessary, the team can be scaled up literally in a couple of weeks to the number of specialists up to 500 people.
Notable clients of the studio include Disney, Ubisoft and Blizzard Entertainment. The art team is working on 2D and 3D characters for mobile and PC games. Styles and directions can be very different since the company has a lot of experts in different directions of art.
If you are interested in character design studios that specialize exclusively in character creation and do nothing else, then Mortar Studios is your choice. It is an Australian outsourced character and animation video company. Although this studio is not represented on independent platforms, its website contains enough information, customer testimonials and links to third-party materials with case descriptions to be included in our list.
Among the main services of the studio, you can find the creation of character concepts, modeling, rigging, animation, creation of hairstyles based on 3D scanning and characters for augmented reality. The company has an impressive portfolio of realistic and stylized characters with projects ranging from simple cartoon designs to hyperrealistic renderings of humans and insects, as well as many positive customer reviews.
Another company not represented on independent platforms, but having too impressive portfolio to pass by. Airship Images is a UK based character design outsourcing studio for the gaming and film industries. It employs strong character artists who created art for games such as Forza Horizon 4, Hitman 2, Battlefield V, and Baldur’s Gate III.
A scrupulous approach to character hair design can be called a separate pride of the company. Many clients come here with just such requests. The studio prefers 3D projects of the AAA class – with such projects, the team can demonstrate all their skills and strengths.
How Kevuru Games Will Help You Achieve the Best Results
Character creation is extremely challenging, be it a character for a video game, commercial, movie, or mascot role. Therefore, you can only trust it to professionals, whose expertise is beyond doubt.
Of all the listed companies, it is Kevuru Games that has the greatest resources for creating memorable characters. The company has separate teams specializing in 2D and 3D characters, which in turn are divided into sections specializing in realistic or stylized characters. The artists of Kevuru Games have experience in creating characters for games of different genres, so upon receiving a request for creating a character, the company selects the optimal composition of the team containing specialists who can best cope.
Kevuru Games many times has proven its status as one of the most trusted character design studios, collaborating with Lucasfilm on 3D characters for Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge, working with Nanobit on 2D characters for Tabou Stories: Love Episodes, and developing character concepts for the legendary Fortnite by Epic Games.
The company’s portfolio is replete with characters for all tastes, so you just have to study it and make your choice. The artists of Kevuru Games will create for you living, unique and self-sufficient characters that will favorably distinguish your game project from others and focus the attention of the players on you.
At the same time, artists not only blindly follow the instructions, but, thanks to their colossal experience, can give recommendations regarding the stylistics of the main characters and NPCs, advise to add or remove certain nuances, and even offer ideas from scratch if you dream of an interesting character, but have not yet come up with concept.