Creature and Character Design has existed since the advent of film and television. Whether it was Frankenstein, Jurassic Park or any Disney character, we have been delighted or scared — and even inspired — with the unique appearance and personality of these characters. The professionals who work to breathe life into our favourite characters are exceptional artists in makeup, styling and fashion.
Now, Creature and Character Design is recognised as an independent specialization allowing these artists to plan and create a full-fledged career in this field. The program offers you a unique opportunity to set your imagination wild, and create your own legendary characters that can perhaps one day inspire future artists.
But are artists creating movie creatures the same way as in the past? Not necessarily. The growth of 3D printing technology and digital makeup effects has made it feasible for artists to bring their imagination to life more easily, and in different ways than before. The industry has changed, and that means a program of this caliber can be important to focus your skill into a career.
What does a Creature and Character Designer do?
A Creature and Character Designer is a key member of the visual effects team. Their primary task involves conceptualizing a character and modelling it using animation, 3D printing, sculpting or drawings. An ideal candidate has a powerful imagination, expertise in the tools and technology, and the ability to mould characters and creatures of fantasy and fiction. He is also knowledgeable about related fields such as animation, comics, gadgets and computers, science fiction and fantasy, etc.
Where can I take the program and how long does it take?
Makeup Art, Animation and Design colleges in Canada offer this course. Most of them are diploma programs spanning a year or less. The program includes courses in Figurative Drawing and Sculpting, Photoshop, Digital Sculpting, Life Drawing, Digital Character Design using ZBrush Sculpting and Photoshop. Some schools also have a week long course in career planning and portfolio creation that complement the technical or software knowledge.
What is the career outlook after finishing the program? What industries can I work in?
Armed with a College Diploma in Digital Makeup for Creature and Character Design, a talented candidate can work in an independent studio or pursue creative endeavours in various formats of the art industry. Creature and Character Designers are most sought after by film, television, animation and video gaming companies.
What other Designer Careers are out there?
Creature and Character Design is a specialization program. If you are keen on pursuing something more generic so that you have a broader range of job opportunities, a complete Makeup Artist Program would be an ideal choice. This program includes Creature and Character Design as a six week course. Other components of the program include Prosthetic Makeup, Film and Television Makeup, Photographic and Studio Hairstyling, Facial Hair Knotting for Film & Theatre and Fashion Photographic Makeup. Some colleges and institutes also offer Cartoon Character Design course, Video Game Designer course and other specialized courses.
About the Program
Creature and Character Design is an intensive design course which offers hands on experience with state-of-the-art tools and technology required to build a successful career in this profession. It marries traditional character design like those found in comics and cartoons with modern technology such as 3D modelling, Digital Sculpting, and so on.
Students use the ZBrush software to create 3D characters, creatures and visual storylines. They also learn about workflows, concept creation, anatomy studies, scanning and printing processes all in a 3D setup. Students also learn Animation — setting motion to characters and creatures creating an illusion of thought, feeling, emotion and personality. A two-week course of Digital Sculpting in Photoshop teaches image manipulation, painting texture maps for 3D work, photo retouching and special effects.
The increasing popularity of digital animation, 3D and 4D technology, augmented and virtual reality has transformed visual storytelling. These technological and creative developments have set the stage for Creature and Character Design as a lucrative career option. The demand for these professionals is expected to rise tremendously as the creative industry is always seeking new combinations of art and technology to excite and entertain. Successful professionals in this field are constantly reinventing their art, experimenting with new mediums and learning the latest technology and software to keep themselves relevant and resourceful in this field.