WIP: Ellsee, Fighting Game Character

A little background:
I and three other students are making a little fighting game, and I'm providing [most of] the art, concentrating on the characters and animations.

My forte is definitely in animation, but I'm doing lots of figure studies and have been doing a lot of work in Maya and ZBrush, and I've started this character. I posted a bit about it in my sketchbook, but since this is now my "full time" project, I'm really looking for feedback.

Concept art:
Concept art for Ellsee.

Her role in the game is a Zoning character [throwing around her locket like a ball&chain] that can transition into a rushdown [wrap the chain around her gauntlet and give some super heavy punches.

Trying to hybridize the fighting game character archetypes is important because we may not have the opportunity to create very many characters, so giving the few characters we have a lot of options for play will help keep things fresh and interesting.

Also trying to keep the designs simple because there will be a lot of movement and keeping things recognizable when they're basically a blur is ideal. Taking a lot of reference and notes from SSFIV and their extremely effective character design.


In case you can't already tell, I did a lot of changing to the face and stuff. Mostly because I'm bad at concept art and how her face [and hair] came out isn't what I envisioned it to be, but I'm the only one I need to work with on the art, so I just let it be and moved on.

The hair will be built separately as planes after I retop, it just has base hair sculpted in right now so there aren't any "holes" in the hair after I put on the planes.

So please, give me crits, suggestions, advice, etc. as you see fit.


  • Texelion
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    Texelion polycounter lvl 6
    The proportions looks good, but the head and the boots are bad. Try to use some refs. You can load a ref image in zbrush background if you want, got to the texture menu, Image Plane sub menu and load your image. Then you can pan it as you want with the sliders and reload it a different sizes. It helps a lot.

    I don't know in which engine you will do that, but this chain thing will be a pain to animate imo. I did a fighting game demo at school it was really hard.
  • nkonstantino
    Thanks for the ref background tip! That'll help tons.

    Is there anything specifically about the face I should focus on, or should I just junk it all and start over?

    We're using Unity, and I've already tested a rig for the chain that I think works pretty well, but I'll get into it when I've actually rigged her up in a week or so.
  • nkonstantino

    Cool! Fixed the shape of the boots. Now I'll start to tackle that face...
  • Jigsaw
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    Jigsaw polycounter lvl 10
    I'm a fighting game nut, so it's always fun to see someone doing these types of projects :)

    The boots look much better, but I think there's quite a few issues with the anatomy.
    -The arms look thin and noodly, her shoulders don't seem to connect to her breasts and the shoulder blades seem like they're almost missing entirely.
    -Her hands look too thin, and lacking in definition.
    -Her torso is a bit boxy and formless. Her spine does have a bit of an S-curve, which is good, but it's almost impossible to tell where her ribcage is. It doesn't have to be super chiseled or anything, but it should be discernible where the ribcage is, from any angle, not just head-on. The stomach looks pretty flat too, which adds to the boxy impression. The shape of her breasts is pretty confusing too. Even if you're going for a more realistic look than the "painted-on" one in your concept, the upper body anatomy has to be more defined, I think - the breasts kind of seamlessly blend into the shape of the ribcage, creating a bit of an amorphous blob.
    -The hips are not as problematic, but watch your silhouette. The hips should be at their widest around the level of the crotch, on your model it looks like the silhouette is at its widest a little too high up, then becomes slightly narrower before becoming wider again at top of the thigh. It's a little hard to tell from the angles you're showing, but it doesn't quite look natural.
    -The legs in general look a little lumpy, and her calves look very thin.

    Her head looks quite bad to be honest, but not necessarily beyond salvaging.
    -The most glaring problem I think is her jawline. Her chin is extremely pointy, it seems as if seen from below, it would be shaped like a rather narrow V, whereas it should have more of THIS shape. It looks like the lower half of her face is suffering from this pointiness as well.
    -The way the head sits on the neck doesn't look right. Again, it's not all that easy to tell from the angles you've shown, but it looks like either her head is too far forward, the neck is too far back, or perhaps more likely, some combination thereof. The back of the neck also looks like it's too wide, something that's also carried through to the entire back of the head. It seems like her head would be kind of egg-shaped when viewed from above, with a pointy face and a fat backside (then again her brow seems to be sticking out quite far in the back view you posted, so I dunno).
    -It looks like you've carved the shape of the ear out of the skull rather than the ear actually growing out of it. This whole area of the head is perhaps the most problematic, but the sheer fact that the ear looks completely glued to the head still manages to stand out.

    Some more general notes:
    -You might well be better off by focusing on her anatomy first, and worry about the outfit later. The outlines of her outfit on her shoulders and back look lumpy and imprecise - creating a separate mesh to sit on top of the body will most likely not only look a lot more natural, it'll also save you a lot of trouble getting that outline to look right.
    -The general concept for the character looks pretty cool! However, aside from the hair (which looks very cool, btw), her silhouette looks quite boring, even moreso in the 3D model. She doesn't necessarily need a bunch of junk stuck onto her, I understand (and agree with) the value of having a simple-looking design, but I think you should consider adding some dimension to the few embellishments she does have; her boots, belts and the gauntlet. You might also benefit from giving her a more distinctive physique - looking at the model in its current state the anatomy looks completely generic. It doesn't necessarily have to be stylized to the extent of Street Fighter, but preferably looking at the body type should be able to tell you something about the character. Exaggerating the physique (not necessarily giving her bigger muscles or more T&A - simply pushing the contrast between thick/thin, hard/soft, round/angular etc) could probably make her silhouette more distinct and interesting in general, though.
    -On a related note, I think her colour scheme is a little too monochromatic. I would definitely consider integrating a secondary colour in some way. Give her gloves and boots a different colour, give her hair a different colour, add a trim of some sort to her outfit, something like that. Getting that "iconic" look down is HARD, agreed, but I think you can afford to add some dashes of colour to this design without compromising the simplicity too much.

    Wow, er, I didn't really mean to write such a huge wall of text, but I hope you appreciate the feedback. :)
  • nkonstantino
    Jigsaw - Wow! Thanks for all the feedback! I can definitely work with a lot of this. A lot of the problems I'm having with the face/head area is stemming from bad topology I have there so I think I'm going to have to retop [play with Q-Remesher] to get things moving again.

    I'll work on it some more and try to get a better silhouette and post it later today.
  • nkonstantino
    So I did some modification to her body and fixes to her face and all that stuff. I really like how it has shaped up. A lot more curvy and that kinda goodness.


    I'm still brainstorming ideas of what to give her to make her more interesting though.

  • nkonstantino

    This isn't the most up-to-date render, but it shows a good deal of progress I'm making (For instance, I made her feet longer because those shoes looked cramped). Currently blocking our her gauntlets and then making her weapon.
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