where the character driven industries meet

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

In the last issue of the year, the Characters Engage team would like to wish all of our readers and contributors a very merry Christmas and a great start for 2012. We hope the new year will bring success, happiness and joy to you and your families.

We would also like to thank our readers for taking the time to check out the wonderful work of our featured contributors. We are committed to presenting as many inspiring character professionals, from as many character-driven industries, as we can.

The new digital transmedia landscape requires us to look at all aspects of characters, across all platforms, and in the new year Characters Engage hopes to play its part in shaping a bright future for the one thing we are all passionate about... characters.

We want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support, wonderful contributions, and feedback for CharactersEngage.com, and for taking part in our Linkedin forum "Characters Engage".
 
Season's greetings, your Characters Engage Team

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Characters Engage Showcase

Leroy Simpson

Even as a kid, Leroy was interested in art, but when his parents bought him a C64 and an Atari 2600, it put him on a path that led straight to the games industry. Starting out with 3d Studio (DOS), he modeled his first character and immediately knew that he wanted more.

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When Leroy started working in the games industry, he had yet to learn about the pipeline of getting a character into an engine, BSP trees and triangle stripping. At first he helped out with things like environment art and particle FX, but quickly realized that what he wanted to be was a character artist.

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He soon began working for Lionhead Studios, a time which he fondly remembers. He was initially hired to do concepts for creatures and human characters for "Project Ego", which eventually became "Fable". For "Fable 2" the team had to change, as they were moving into the Next-Gen (now Current-Gen) era. The introduction of ZBrush into the pipeline fascinated Leroy and he was soon nominated to give a demo to help the rest of the Character Artists use the program.

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Leroy left his native England and moved to Montpellier in France, where he became the Senior Character Artist on Beowulf, the video game (at the time, this part of Ubisoft Montpellier was still Tiwak). He then relocated to Canada to start working for Ubisoft Montreal, where he learned alot of new skills, while working on a whole number of exciting titles, such as Lost: Via Domus, Rainbow 6: Vegas 2, Far Cry 2, Splinter Cell Conviction and the yet to be released Rainbow 6: Patriots.

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When Characters Engage asked Leroy what his plans for the new year were, he replied that he wanted to be a valuable resource and contributor at a great new studio, and further develop his skills as a Character Artist. If you are looking for an outstanding Character Artist, please check out Leroy's blog.

http://lsimpson3d.blogspot.com/

Character Topic

Do villains need a traumatic past?

Do villains need a traumatic past, or should they simply be bad? These questions are currently hotly debated in our Linkedin group "Characters". Very early on in this long discussion thread, an American group member said that if you wanted a villain to be able to turn into a good guy, a past that negatively impacted on his personality would help. According to him, this kind of villain could see the error of his ways and change.

A true villain on the other hand, he said, needs to be relentness, callous,
and stop at nothing to achieve his aims in order to qualify as being truly evil.

These bogus reasons only heighten the menace he exudes, according to this group member. He went on to say that giving him a backstory would only have lessened his impact and he advocated to only give villains backstories, if they have real meaning.

A European IP developer agreed and said. "True evil is an absolute value that is needed to define goodness. True evil is unfathomable. When it is needed to tell a story, when it needs to be embodied, then I suppose a villain does not need to be relatable, he/she/it simply fulfills a function."

He went on to say, "Other than that I would be on the side of relatability, even if negative relatability, otherwise a villain can easily deteriorate into a cardboard cut out scarecrow". In response the American writer who posed the original question said, that he had once read that the audience needs to know that a villain is capable of anything.

This fascinating debate is still far from reaching a conclusion. Why not join in and tell us your thougths... here.

 

A Maya generalist then stated that heroes are only as good as their villains. According to her, weak villains make for bad stories.

She also thought that a traumatic past had become a bit of a cliché, and that villains who were bad without reason could be too one dimensional.

A senior 3D artist disagreed and said that it was quite possible to create a good evil villain without an explanation for his nature.

He pointed to "The Joker" in "The Dark Knight", who acts out of an evil intent to cause chaos. He gives false
reasons for his nature, only to amuse himself.

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Oscar Sanchez Erosa

From an early age Oscar was educated in classic art techniques such as oils, acrylics, and watercolors, which finally culminated in earning him a graphic design degree in his native México.

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After finishing his studies he decided to travel in order to gain professional experience, and he ended up at ELISAVA, the Escola Superior de Disseny, in Barcelona. Here he was given the opportunity to immerse himself more deeply into the world of art, and to explore a number of different artistic fields and techniques.

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While in Barcelona, Oscar worked as a designer, but he eventually returned to Mexico where he joined an animation agency in Jalisco.

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Currently, he is taking a digital animation master course at Animation Aiskool. He also works as a senior concept artist for Dream Sky Animation Studio, where he develops sketches, characters, environments, and props for the movie and series for the Pan American Games 2011.

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Oscar is always open for new opportunities, and is willing to relocate. Please check out his portfolio... here.

To suggest books, email...

info@charactersengage.com

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