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Chara-design, choosing colors…: the stages before actually making an anime

What better opportunity than Animé 100 and the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Japanese animation to learn a bit more about making an anime? We’ve started this fascinating story a few weeks ago and here’s what’s coming next!

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After tackling the subject of the project launch, the writing of the script, and general points about model sheets in a previous article, we’re going to come back over the latter more precisely, with sets and chara-design, and talk about colors, all essential before the actual making of an anime.

Artistic model sheet: creating the universe of the anime

The artistic model sheet contributes to building the world where the anime characters will be living: home interiors, the outside and urban design, the geography, many parameters on which the staff in charge of sets needs to see eye to eye.

Once researches and place identification are done, the original sets can be created: this is the artistic model sheet. It is the reference from which art boards and then final sets are created. 

Chara-design, mecha, and props model sheets

Many thanks to Nobuyoshi HABARA, our guest for the 18th Impact, for drawing an illustration of chara-design featuring our mascot Chibi Dino!

The chara-designer uses the project launch documents and the script to start sketching the characters, their expressions, and poses. The characters are among the most important elements in an anime, so chara-design requires much work before reaching its final aspect. A few explanations about costume changes, accessories, or body language are added. The characters are lined up on a board to help respect proportions.

The main items featuring in the anime are set the same way, and robots and machines as well, though for the latter a specialist is often in charge, the mecha-designer.

Color research and coloring

When the model sheets are done with, the characters’ colors are chosen, all specified on a color board. The shades used mirror the psychology of the characters and are an important part of the anime universe. The person in charge of researching colors decides of the colors to be used in collaboration with the director and animation director, and in accordance with the sets as they appear in the artistic model sheet.

After the colors have been decided, the characters are colored on samples, according to different lights, like in the evening or in the moonlight. This way the color artist will know what colors to use but he will still have to decide what colors to use on characters or items that appear only once or twice. Contrary to the person researching the colors who work beforehand, the color artist works during the making of the anime, with strong time constraints.

See you soon with more!

We’ll tackle the storyboard and next stages of making an anime.

 
 
 

Japanese animation is 100 years old: come celebrate with us! 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE ABOUT ANIMÉ 100

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