Dry Goods Cheats: The original designer of Netease game “The Shore of the Earth” shares creative and design experience

This article is first published in NetEase Game Academy, and GameRes is authorized to release.

“Xituobin” is NetEase’s flagship sand table strategy mobile game. It has been actively exploring new ways of inheritance. Recently, the original painting design competition of Xituobin College is being held. It is hoped that through the game as a carrier, more players and cultural lovers will understand Three Kingdoms Culture. For this reason, we specially invite the original designer of the land of Hama to share the design experience with you, a total of 3 periods:

1. How to use props to express the character’s characteristics & reference for stand drawing
2. How to extract character characteristics from the background story
3. How to break through the traditional image in character design

Next, let’s learn the 3 dry goods cheats!

“The Coast of Shutu”: How to use props to express the character’s characteristics & reference for erecting drawings

Author: Designer of Original Painting by A Nishi Tanahama

“Having its own characteristics” is the core of the character design of Shido-no-hama, and the use of appropriate props is an important way to shape the characteristics of the character.

Let’s talk about the source of props, functionality, recognition, and uniqueness. How do we use props when designing with features?

1. Source of props

Props are used to express the character, experience, status and professional characteristics of the character. Props should not be forcibly added solely for visual effects. The source of props can be considered from the following aspects:

1. The visual expression of character or concept after condensing.

For example, the design of Zhangjiao flame blade is inspired by torches and ancient cultural relics. In our setting, this weapon is a concretization of the concept of Zhang Jiao, which represents Zhang Jiao is the leader who holds a torch to illuminate the dark age, and also represents his philosophy and the anger of the common people, holding the torch to burn the world.

There are similar cultural relics of the seven swords in Japan, and they also appear in the portraits of the Han Dynasty. According to textual research, they were introduced to Japan from China. The following figure is a process diagram of some designing angled staff. We removed the complicated plan, thought about which features belonged to the angled angle, and finally got the flame bladed staff after simplification and refinement.

2. Refinement and redesign of historical records.

For example, historical materials and novels such as “The Romance of the Three Kingdoms”, “The Romance of the Three Kingdoms”, and “The Book of the Later Han Dynasty”. This requires us to read relevant literature and conduct certain research before designing. It is not necessary to copy historical materials, we recommend to do some artistic processing and interesting refinement in the design.

For example, in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Sun Quan bestowed the sword on Lu Xun. We regard this sword as a symbol of the bond between Sun Quan and Lu Xun. Lu Xun carried it with him, but he would not pull it out for use easily, or even never pull it out. As his unique feature.

3. The attributes and professional characteristics of the role.

Zhang Ji’s professional feature is a doctor. The medicine box is very suitable for visual presentation as a professional feature. Considering the needs of combat and making it more interesting, we also designed the medicine box with a weapon storage function.

2. Functionality

Generally speaking, the existence of props should be meaningful. After considering the reasonable expression of the source, it also needs to have a certain degree of functionality. For example, Zhang Ji’s medicine box can be used for both medicine and weapons.

Especially for realistic games, there are very few designs that are purely decorative and do not have any functionality. If you want the design to be solid and reliable, then it should be logically self-consistent, with certain uses and functionality. It is also possible to make some more decorative designs, provided that the character itself is a character and positioning that loves to dress up and love to decorate, and is logically self-consistent.

For example, Yuan Shao, a wealthy prince born in the fourth generation and three masters, is arrogant and admires vanity. He likes to use some gorgeous accessories to show his power and position, so we can add some decorative elements to express him when designing. The character and decoration are also a kind of function.

3. Recognition

Prop design should not only achieve logic and rationality (appropriate design + meaning), but also pay attention to visual presentation and expression.

When the props are displayed on the screen as a stand-up painting, can players recognize them at a glance?

For example, if a character loves money, is it feasible for me to design a string of copper coins around his waist as decoration? Logically speaking, it is okay, but from the perspective of picture recognition, there is almost no difference between wearing a coin and not wearing a coin on the waist. Such a design is meaningless for game character design. If you have made some interesting characteristic designs, you must ensure that the design is visually recognizable and cannot be high.

For example, Gan Ning’s golden scarf + explosive hairstyle is more visually recognizable. Even if you block your face, everyone still knows: golden scarf, explosive head-that must be Gan Ning.

Four, uniqueness

The last step is to consider whether the design of the props can withstand repeated logical scrutiny. For example, does the design of this prop match the character’s temperament and personality traits? Is it suitable for other characters?

If other roles are also suitable, they will not be unique, indicating that the character extraction and induction are not enough. At this time, you have to consider whether you need to rethink and refine. For example, the design of Zhang Jiao’s flame blade is in line with his identity as a peasant uprising, and incorporates his personal ideas. This prop is only suitable for him. If you try to change it to Liu Bei/Cao Cao/Sun Quan, you will feel a sense of violation. This shows that the flame blade of Zhang Jiao has a very strong unique characteristic.

Reference for the erection of “The Coast of Litu”

Big Joe

Yuan Shao

Zhou Yu

Zhang Fei

Han Wang Zhaojun

Guan Yinping

Cheng Pu

Cao Zhang

Cao Cao

Pang Tongfazheng

“Situo Beach”: How to extract the character characteristics from the background story

Author: Kaza, the original designer of the original painting of Shido No Hama

Extract the character’s identity, personality and other characteristics from the background story, and then substitute yourself into the role, diverging thinking, making the role both reasonable and unique, and striving to impress people.

1. Dig into the background story of the characters and refine the characteristics

(Example: Yuan Shao)

Based on the character’s experience and performance, analyzing the characteristics that are different from other characters, allows us to accurately grasp the core theme of the character when designing this character, not easy to deviate, and at the same time break through the traditional image and get design innovation.

01. How to extract keywords based on historical background

In all kinds of Three Kingdoms themed games, Yuan Shao has been marked as a “clown”. Historically, he was judged to be self-serving and not good at saying words. In the battle of Guandu, he had the martial artist, Xu You, and Tian Feng under his leadership. It is a pity that Yuan Shao lacked the strategic vision that a commander should have, and could not adopt good words, which led to the great situation in vain.

However, the book “The Biography of Yuan Shao” in the later Han Dynasty records that when Yuan Shao was young, he had good manners, had a very good appearance, was kind to scholars, and paid great attention to fame. He also recruited talents from all over the world to discuss Dong, showing that he has his own persuasive power.

Why is Yuan Shao so contradictory? This has an important relationship with Yuan Shao’s background and experience. Yuan Shao was born in a noble family, and his ancestors were four generations and three males. On the surface, he is polite and generous. But in-depth communication will discover his shortcomings: look down on people. I can always feel his condescending appearance, that is a sense of superiority carved in his bones.

Sima Guang quoted Fan Ye, the author of the Book of the Later Han Dynasty, to summarize Yuan Shao’s character:

“Shao is generous and elegant, he has a certain degree, and his emotions are not in color, but his temperament is arrogant, shorter than good, so he is defeated.”

“Sexual self-exaltation is shorter than goodness,” Yuan Shaogang is saying that he is self-sufficient and cannot accept the opinions of others. So when we design a character, we must first have a deep understanding of the character’s background, so that you can refine more accurate keywords.

Key words:

Aristocratic family (high status)

Self-contained (character)

02. The visual performance of core keywords

a) Head design

The head design is the key to highlighting the character’s temperament. For example, when designing a brave general, we can think that his expression may be fierce, his face is scarred, he is often in a state of fighting, and his hairstyle may be rough and not hit much. Reasonable; if we design a handsome character, we can think that he should have a handsome face, elegant hairstyle and other key words.

Ancient men like to wear a beard, and the shape of the beard also expresses their personality. For example, people with wicked eyebrows and squirrel eyes have slender beards on their upper lip, and many violent generals have beards.

The picture comes from the 1994 TV series “Romance of the Three Kingdoms”

Yuan Shao is such an ambitious and suspicious person, so he designed a long white upturned beard and a white hair on his head, which represents his arrogant and noble temperament. When we extract the characteristics of the character from the background story, we also need to associate the character with the character of the character to suit his visual performance.

b) Apparel design

The costume of a character can reveal his class status. In ancient times, the color and material of the clothes were strictly graded. The styles of noble costumes, the fineness of patterns, and the quality of costumes were completely different from those of ordinary people. From the character’s clothes can reflect his social status.

The picture comes from the 1994 TV series “Romance of the Three Kingdoms”

Yuan Shao was born into a famous nobleman and a family of officials and officials. Based on Yuan Shao’s origin, he focused on Yuan Shao wearing a dress when designing the appearance. At the same time, he designed a tassel coat with strong decorative elements. The emphasis is on his arrogance and love for vanity, and he likes to use gorgeous accessories to highlight his image of power and position, which distinguishes him from other generals. At the same time, the dress is used for the upper dynasty and ceremonies. It is rich in decoration, but relatively light. It is the clothing for generals to show their achievements.

Yuan Shao’s design

c) Card design

The card drawing of Yuan Shao mainly shows that although Yuan Shao seems to be banqueting guests, he always has a lofty attitude. Although Yuan Shao is sitting at the same height with everyone, the table is much more gorgeous, and the wine glasses he uses are also much more gorgeous. Both the design drawings and the cards show Yuan Shao’s arrogance and love to show his own power and status.

Yuan Shao Card

2. Divergent thinking, strengthen characteristics

(Example: Cheng Pu)

01. How to take on the role and strengthen the characteristics of the role

In order to design a more distinctive character, it is often not enough to simply extract the character’s characteristics from historical materials and film and television dramas. We need to think divergently and substitute ourselves for this role. Ask yourself: What would I do if I were him? How would I dress if I were him? If I were him, what weapon would I use? Let’s take Cheng Pu as an example to talk to you.

Cheng Pu is the oldest figure among Jiangbiao’s twelve tiger officials. This old comrade has gone through three dynasties, from official to general to Dangkou, and is considered highly respected. According to the “Jiang Biao Biography” record: Cheng Pupo insulted Zhou Yu several times because of his old age. Zhou Yuzhe kept his tolerance and did not care about Cheng Pu. Cheng Pu later admired Zhou Yu and became more affectionate. He even said to others: “When you have a relationship with Zhou Gongjin, if you drink alcohol, you will not feel drunk.

Key words:

Three dynasties elders


Glorify one’s own experience

Substitute the role, divergent thinking, so that the role is both reasonable and at the same time highlighting its uniqueness.

Suppose I’m Cheng Pu and I’m a veteran. Will I modify my equipment to make it suitable for actual combat and portable? So I strengthened the protective function of his left shoulder in the design. Rolling up the sleeve with his right hand is convenient for wielding weapons, and it also gives people a capable feeling. Cheng Pu should pay attention to the functionality of the equipment, without too many decorative elements, so he designed a small shield to prevent damage from swords, spears, and arrows.

Cheng Pu design drawing

02. Based on realistic style, reflecting rationality

Select reference materials that are close to the world view of the game in the background of the times, and carry out secondary design to strengthen the characteristics and enhance the credibility.

The design of Situ is more realistic, so the reference should be around this era. Cheng Pu’s arm armor is one of his major characteristics. His reference comes from the second design of the arm armor style of the Spring and Autumn Period and Warring States Period. The first version of the design simply applied the style of the reference picture to Cheng Pu’s body, and it also had certain characteristics (simple extraction of elements for use). The second edition of the design is to strengthen the extracted armor features, and then combine Cheng Pu’s actual combat and capable personality for a good integration.

03. Avoid similarity and reflect uniqueness

It is worth noting that most of the weapons used by ancient characters are similar. Zhang Fei and Cheng Pu, both holding snake spears, should be designed to be more in line with the weapons that this character should carry? That’s right, it’s what I said before: substituting yourself into the role.

Therefore, compared with Zhang Fei’s Zhangba Snake Spear, Cheng Pu’s Iron Spine Snake Spear is simpler. In order to make it more convenient for Cheng Pu to use, the length has also been shortened.

Cheng Pu card

Summary: When designing a character, the first step is to carefully analyze the background story of the character. You can analyze the character and characteristics of the character from “The Romance of the Three Kingdoms”, “The Romance of the Three Kingdoms”, “The Book of the Later Han”, “Heroes” and other materials, and analyze the differences between them. Traits of other characters. The next step is to take on the role, diverge thinking, and strengthen the characteristics of the role. Finally, a character that is very distinctive, well-crafted, authentic and credible is created visually.

“The Coast of Shutu”: How to Break Through the Traditional Image in Character Design

Author: Nagasawa, the original painter of the character

The character image of “Rituo Beach” is different and impressive from most of the works of the Three Kingdoms. Let’s talk about how the character design of “Rituo Beach” breaks through the traditional image based on the materials.

In film and television dramas, Dong Zhuo’s traditional images are bullies and butchers, and early designers also followed the traditional images. When designing the new image, the art team of Shitu Zhibin positioned Dong Zhuo’s image as the hero of the Western Regions.

Before talking about the method, first prepare the required knowledge.

Character image and traditional image

What is a character image?

In my opinion, the character image is the character of the character and the external characteristics of the character. It can be historical images recorded through official history, literary images described in literature, or folk images in folklore, etc.

What is a traditional image? Traditional image refers specifically to the character image that appears in entertainment media such as movies, games, animation, etc. as carriers.

“Character image” is similar to a synthesis of all images, which also includes traditional images, which is a generic reference to all characters. The “traditional image” refers to it. Compared with the previous image, it has a clear role positioning. For example, Zhang Fei’s traditional image positioning in “The Romance of the Three Kingdoms” is “black face butcher”.

Black Face Butcher Zhang Fei

Picture source, left: 1994 TV series “Romance of the Three Kingdoms”; middle: Wang Kewei’s oil painting “Meng Zhang Fei”; right: 2010 TV series “Three Kingdoms”

How does the character design break through the traditional image?

Let’s talk about “how to break through the traditional image in character design” from the perspective of motivation and method.

Why should character design break through the traditional image? (motivation)
How does the character design break through the traditional image? (method)

1) Understand the role positioning of the role image and the traditional image

2) Looking for new roles

1. Why should character design break through the traditional image?

Game art is one of the important game experiences. The Xitu art team hopes to bring players a non-traditional and rigid character image, which can bring new visual stimulation to the players without jumping out of the player’s expectations for their own character image.

2. How does the character design break through the traditional image?

(Example: Cao Cao)

01. Understand the role positioning of the role image and the traditional image

The character image can be found through the information. Here we know from the historical records and “Three Kingdoms” that the image of Cao Cao includes a passionate youth who loves the motherland, a man of strategy, and a talented man full of economics.

The traditional image can be understood through modern games on the theme of the Three Kingdoms and the classic TV series “The Romance of the Three Kingdoms”. Therefore, we know that Cao Cao’s traditional image is an ambitious politician and his role positioning is “a hero”.

“Ambitious” Cao Cao’s traditional image. Picture on the right. Source: Movie “Red Cliff” poster (Korean version)

02. Looking for a new role

In the last step, we learned about Cao Cao’s character image and his traditional image. We can use simple logic to think about how to design the character image.

The traditional image comes from the positioning of the character, so the key to designing the character image lies in the positioning. Therefore, by digging for new positioning, the new character image designed can break through the traditional image!

How to find new positioning?

The source of the designer’s motivation is unlimited creativity, but we need to converge in the search for a new position in the design of the character design, because each player has a certain range of expectations for a certain character image. So we need to find a new position based on the role image. The new position should have a certain logical connection with the traditional image. In addition, we must also pay attention to whether the new position can satisfy Xingtu’s worldview.

Going back to the case of Cao Cao, I learned that Cao Cao has an image of a passionate youth who loves the motherland, and the crusades carried out by his early leaders also laid the foundation for becoming the “King of Wei.” In this way, the new image of Cao Cao is connected with the traditional image of Cao Cao, and it also satisfies the temperament of the character in the world of Xingtu. Therefore, we position Cao Cao’s new image as a “patriotic, passionate youth”. From this we design.

According to the previously shared two phases of character design methods:

Cao Cao’s new image design draft

Cao Cao’s new image illustration

Summary: How does the character design break through the traditional image?

When designing a character, it is necessary to dig out a new position on the basis of inheriting the original character image, and finally the character image designed by the new positioning can break through the traditional image.

03. Project case

The following will use the project process to demonstrate

Example 1: Opening angle

1. Understand the role positioning of the role image and the traditional image

The image of Zhang Jiao’s character comes from the Internet

Zhang Jiao’s traditional image on the right. Source: TV series “Romance of the Three Kingdoms”

2. Find new roles

In most of his works, Zhang Jiao’s traditional image appears as a magical “monster” image. When considering the image of Zhang Jiao, our art team believes that the early position of Zhang Jiao as a “leader” can better convey the temperament of Zhang Jiao in the world of “The Land of the Land”.

Zhang Jiao’s new image design draft

Zhang Jiao’s new image illustration

Final image comparison, the left is the traditional image, the right is the new image

Example 2: Cao Zhang

1. Understand the role positioning of the role image and the traditional image

The image of Cao Zhang’s character comes from the Internet

The traditional image of Cao Zhang on the right. Source: TV series “Romance of the Three Kingdoms”

2. Find new roles

Cao Zhang appeared in the public as a “general” in a large number of film and game works. We noticed the story of his unofficial anecdote “Love Concubine Changing Horses” and thought that he was a “weapon house” who loves weapons, so we used “weapon collector mania” as the new role of this character.

Cao Zhang design draft

Three armory horses following the battle

Cao Zhang’s new image illustration

Final design comparison, the new image on the right

Original: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/AbIa4snvMxJCgQDZ0ggCQw


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