Characters are not just there to be seen, they often come with voices, sounds and music. But how much of this vital dimension do character designers actually take into consideration? This question recently led to an interesting discussion in our Linkedin group "Characters".
According to one group member, who is a character IP developer, sound is crucial to his character creation process. Once he has come up with an idea, he selects music, and listens to it over and over again, during much of the writing phase. This artist went on to say that introducing music to the development process was like coloring a line drawing. He relies on both sound, and music, to set the tone for his projects.
A character designer called such accoustic characteristics, "Sound Silhouettes". He said that with certain characters, such as "Buggs Bunny", "Elmer Fudd", and "Daffy Duck" all one needed was, "One listen and you know who it is", due to their distinctive sounds and voices.
According to a Dutch group member, the look and voice of a character should indeed be developed together, but all other sounds were environmental and related to things like character's moods, for example.
This point was picked up by a composer who wrote the score for a high profile show for Cartoon Network. Sharing some of his professional expertise with the group, he said that scores are written for the first, second, and third person. When it comes to character-specific music, the perspective changes, depending on whether the score underlines what a character thinks of themselves, or a situation in which the joke is on them, for example. In that case, the perspective shifts to the third person.
In response to an earlier point, he added that artists who listened to specific music, during the character development phase, were getting themselves "into the zone", by focusing in on the musical tone color.
This discussion has raised a number of such interesting points, so far. But what are your thoughts on character-related sound, music, and voices? Why not join us and add to the debate here.