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Anadu Kune

MLP Brilliance in character design

23 posts in this topic

One thing that caught my attention directly after watching the first episode of MLP was the way the characters were designed. One thing you may notice is that they all have the exact same body type. This was done to save time in having to create 6 different puppet rigs. However at the same time the characters are unmistakably distinct. A key thing I was taught to focus on was the silhouette. The outline of a character being distinct will really help your overall design stand out. I think MLP does this very well.

 

Can anyone who watches the show really tell me you cant point out who is who?

ManeSixSilloette_zps6c36d837.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

The colors are also extremely distinct, so much so that entire art pieces's composition have been designed around it.

ManeSixColor_zps1ef2cfa7.png

 

It just struct me as brilliance. The show creators managed to cut on some production whilst managing to create distinct characters. In fact I would say its pretty impossible to mistake them.

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Im not going to knock the previous generations because MLP has been around since the 80's. Personally i like the design because they dont look so "feminine" anymore. They look much more approachable. I love the show's animation and writing. I didnt know it was a result of budget and time constraints. If thats the case that makes MLP that much better. Because there are animated shows on right now that cost twice as much to make that arent half as good or interesting. I am one of those people that crave uniformity so i guess thats another reason i like them so much. I cant watch anything on cartoon network because none of the characters look like people O.o. I love how all they have to do to make another character is pallete swap and eye swap. I never noticed Daring Do was just a pallete swap of Rainbow Dash until i actually paid attention to it. :D Clever observation though.

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Im not going to knock the previous generations because MLP has been around since the 80's. Personally i like the design because they dont look so "feminine" anymore. They look much more approachable. I love the show's animation and writing. I didnt know it was a result of budget and time constraints. If thats the case that makes MLP that much better. Because there are animated shows on right now that cost twice as much to make that arent half as good or interesting. I am one of those people that crave uniformity so i guess thats another reason i like them so much. I cant watch anything on cartoon network because none of the characters look like people O.o. I love how all they have to do to make another character is pallete swap and eye swap. I never noticed Daring Do was just a pallete swap of Rainbow Dash until i actually paid attention to it. :D Clever observation though.

Its not so much that the budget and time constraints forced them to this design, but the fact that this method of design allows them to focus on the animation more. It eliminates some of the tedious features of animation.

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Its not so much that the budget and time constraints forced them to this design, but the fact that this method of design allows them to focus on the animation more. It eliminates some of the tedious features of animation.

Well then less truly is more here then. Because i have never really been into characters that were very complex. Aside from Yu-Gi-Oh maybe. That hair! Hmmmm Thats a potential Mane design right there....

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Well then less truly is more here then. Because i have never really been into characters that were very complex. Aside from Yu-Gi-Oh maybe. That hair! Hmmmm Thats a potential Mane design right there....

Indeed less is more. Its one of the first things my 2D animation professor taught us. Youll also notice that many if not most remembred characters are more simplistic. Pikachu, Mickey mouse(most Disney characters), Astro Boy, Sonic the Hedgehog, Felix the Cat, heck even batman isnt that complicated. 

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Yeah, Lauren Faust is amazing. It's simple but great. I like it. :P

The other thing that amazed me is the character's personality traits and backstories. 

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I forget Lauren Faust also did Powerpuff Girls. And they Powerpuff Girls were insanely simple. Their eyes were like 90% of their face but still adorable. :)

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It is pretty amazing how they are able to create such different ponies from basically the same character model.  There design added to all the different personalities they have pretty much shows how great the design of each character is.  

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Oh man, this show got me hooked since the first time i watched because of it animation! So gorgeus  :wub: ! I must say the same of the soundtrack. I don't say that the old MLPs are ugly looking, but this one in particular has some old-school detail into it that makes it wonderful.

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Silhouettes are deceptively critical in character design. They help the audience readily draw a connection with characters even if colors or other distinct features are obscured. For all the jokes which have been made about the old TF2 in-game tutorial ("WELCOME TO TEAM FORTRESS 2."), they did have a section where it was explained how unique character designs and silhouettes were essential to giving the game the kind of atmoshpere they intended. The same can be said of My Little Pony. It's a case where the body shapes are similar while the manes and tails are distinctly unique. Unless you're dealing with background ponies, no one design is a complete duplicate of another one.

 

The colors are of course the defining features of the ponies. The color palettes leave no confusion as to which pony you are watching. In shows with particularly large casts, this is extraordinarily helpful. The colors and silhouettes combine help stave off the "same face" effect which often crops up in web comics and flash animations. Both are really simple yet essential aspects of having aesthetically appealing characters.

Stellafera, Blue and Dark Qiviut brohoof this

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I agree....it's not just the looks, either.

 

 

What I like about MLP is that it's not like those cliche' little girls show, where all of them have the exact same likes (such as the color pink, and butterflies). They all have their own, fun personality, and despite their differences, their all really good friends. We all can describe each of the mane six into 3 words or more. Their character traits are a really good keypoint of the show, and it's fun to see how they interact with one another. :) 

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Absolutely, it's even more interesting when you consider the characters are exactly the same except for eyes, mane and tail. Beauty in simplicity. Combined with the actual personalities, writing, voice acting and animation equals brilliance.

Edited by Jessper
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The simplicity of the characters are one of the best things about My Little Pony as a series and a franchise, I know that some people were actually brought into the show because of the simplicity and the brilliance in character and as somepony has already said it's brilliantly simple.



The simplicity of the characters are one of the best things about My Little Pony as a series and a franchise, I know that some people were actually brought into the show because of the simplicity and the brilliance in character and as somepony has already said it's brilliantly simple.

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When you said character in the thread title, I thought you ment psychological character.

 

But yes, I can agree with you. I think the size was designed so that it could give the viewer a kind of subtle recognition that these characters were all related in some way.

 

Something else I noticed was that all of the other mares in Ponyville are similar in height, so it may be a correlation in size for all mares, and a different correlation for stallions.

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Reminds me of the description of this wonderful video:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kCvUAcbriY

 

"Without their manes, tails, eyes, etc. to identify them, each of the mane six are built on the same stock model. So how are they so vividly, unmistakbly unique in all our minds?

Twilight, the powerfull yet neuotic bookworm, Rainbow Dash, the brash cocksure speed demon, Fluttershy's gentle shyness and overall fear of being noticed, powerful Applejack, party-time Pinkie Pie, Rarity's love of the spotlight... Charaters all brought to life so vividly through animation and personality. Personality I tried to emulate through the basic shapes and elements that make up each character.

I wanted their personalities to read though the shapes, and really a thank you to the animators for putting so much heart into these stupidly cute, scaled-down horses."

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 I think that the G1 ponies had too much detail put into them, trying to make them look like actual ponies. I like G4 character designs  are better than the other generations because they're are more cartoonish and aesthetically pleasing to the eyes of the viewers. 

Edited by ~Vallo~

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I enjoy the fact that they made them more sleek in some cases, but I still hold the round and cutsie retro ponies to heart, I mean, they ARE supposed to be ponies.

I think the biggest plus of the new generation would be the hair, it's nice to see a differentiation between almost all the ponies.

 

Should also mention, I REALLY wish they kept the sparkle/crystal eyed ponies they way they were back in the day, that idea was pretty awesome. (but than again they did make the crystal ponies eyes a bit shaped...)

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The real brillance of FiM's character design is that even at glance, someone who has never seen the show before can easily idenify who's who with just a brief description of that pony's personality. You can tell Rarity is the fashionista, or that Pinkie Pie is the party animal without already knowing. Even without her hat, you can still tell Applejack is the cowgirl, just by the subtle details in her design. The creator's even used the opposite approach with CMC, intentionally making them less instantly recognizable to drive home the fact that they haven't found their calling yet.

 

It's genius I say.

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Silhouettes are deceptively critical in character design. They help the audience readily draw a connection with characters even if colors or other distinct features are obscured. For all the jokes which have been made about the old TF2 in-game tutorial ("WELCOME TO TEAM FORTRESS 2."), they did have a section where it was explained how unique character designs and silhouettes were essentialy to giving the game the kind of atmoshpere they intended. The same can be said of My Little Pony. It's a case where the body shapes are similar while the manes and tails are distinctly unique. Unless you're dealing with background ponies, no one design is a complete duplicate of another one.

 

After nine years in development, hopefully the world's most straightforward and triumphant example was worth the weight.

tf2silo.jpg

 

Art development is incredibly difficult, but if someone is a visionary and has a great look that can work from the word "Go" (like Faust did) then the show can drive itself visually. The rest of the work falls on the design and writing, and so far that's been pretty orsome.

Stellafera and Yellow Diamond brohoof this

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After nine years in development, hopefully the world's most straightforward and triumphant example was worth the weight.

img-1035973-1-tf2silo.jpg

 

Art development is incredibly difficult, but if someone is a visionary and has a great look that can work from the word "Go" (like Faust did) then the show can drive itself visually. The rest of the work falls on the design and writing, and so far that's been pretty orsome.

A most excellent example of the point I was trying to make. I should have thought to include it. I need to make some time to play that game again.

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I always found it amazing how even their eyes define them, if even just a little. Now that's effort.

 

I mean, Rainbow, being the biggest tomboy of the group, is the only one with straight lashes, no curling for her. And she and Applejack, the second biggest tomboy (Is she? Well, close enough) are the only ones with just the one set of lashes. AJ's lashes are curled a little, but apart from that, she needs no further effort put into her appearance, fitting of her role. Pinkie's got two sets, both curled, with oval eyes; bright and happy, ready to party. Fluttershy's eye shape make her look cute and shy and, again, she has curled lashes to give a girly look. Twilight's eyes are pointed at the bottom, with curled lashes; a good student who wants to look her best but doesn't waste too much time on her appearance. And, of course, Rarity. Pointed eyes, light blue eye shadow and those false eyelashes, she certainly takes her time in the morning.

01000111 01101111 01 and Stellafera brohoof this

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They definitely are really different. On top of the fact that they also made all those BG ponies using mostly different designs, it just makes the show that much more epic.

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