Here at Happy Hour Productions we’ve created a wide range of 2D and 3D animated characters for a variety of different projects; ranging from TV opening title sequences to corporate videos. During the animation production process, there is an obvious need to give these characters the ability to jump off the screen and be immediately accepted by those watching, and this involves them having certain traits.
Although each character will be different and original, they should all possess particular distinguishing features, both physical and personality based, that allow them to reach the hearts of the audience.
So what makes a great animated character? Here are a few things every mascot and cartoon figure should have.
Image Attribution: Dan Diemer
The Ability To Be Instantly Recognised –
If you think about the most famous cartoon characters, they are all pretty easy to recognise as soon as they appear on your screen. Sometimes this can be done by just catching a glimpse of one of their features, such as their crazy hair or unmistakable clothing, and most of the time they can even be distinguished when presented in silhouette form.
This helps to make them memorable to anyone watching. As soon as someone sees this character, they instantly know who they are and can recall the company or programme that they are connected too; helping to create great awareness for the brand. A recognisable character also means that they can be used across multiple platforms and even to help sell products devoted to them personally.
If you want your audience to really connect with your character and take the message they are delivering to heart then they need to be likeable. If the people watching cannot relate to your animated figure then it will be difficult to accomplish the goals that the production aims to achieve. Even so called ‘bad’ characters will have redeemable features which give them an air of likeability. Whether it’s Dick Dastardly’s inability to ever pull off one of his evil plans or the Grinch’s endearing soft side which is eventually uncovered; the ultimate anti-heroes all have a reason for people to like them.
Likeability also involves them portraying the morals and ideals of the brand in the right way, too. The character’s personality and actions need to be in line with those of the company which they are representing and the brand needs to be happy to be associated with the animation that is produced.
A great way to make an animated figure leap off the screen is to make them colourful. Not only does this help to make them memorable but it also draws your eye to them as soon as they come onto the screen. Think of Shrek and The Incredible Hulk for example, they can be instantly identified because of their unusual green skin. Even the villain cartoon characters we all know and love have striking colours such as reds and purples on them, rather than just being dressed in black or grey.
Different colours can also be used to denote different characteristics or to suit different circumstances. For example, bright colours such as blue and yellow are often used to depict children’s characters, whilst other figures are coloured in a way that denotes trust and reliability which can then be projected onto the company they represent.
Every character brief is unique, but there are a number of similarities that can be found across the board. Ultimately the character created will have many defining traits, but there’s a few things to be thinking about.
If you’d like more info about our character design process, animation production or any of the other things we get up to then call us in Bristol on 0117 929 9797 or get in touch via our contact page.