Silhouettes: Their Importance in Games

silhouettes in design

Knowing silhouettes and their importance within games

Silhouettes are images of an object, person, animal, or scene represented usually in a single black tone. A character designer, whether consciously or subconsciously, will always attempt to create with the use of dominant and peculiar shapes that work well together. A silhouette helps the designer identify these so that the intended audience can easily recognize what is being portrayed from a distance.

Producing silhouettes are a not a necessity in design, but it can possibly be one of the most useful methods of creating a strong shape for your character. Typically, the silhouette process is something that is done during the conceptualization in pre-production and is not usually shown to any more than the art director or the artists themselves. Silhouettes are used as a quick process of finding design solutions and doesn’t necessarily need to be clean or intricate.

It is important to realize that the readability of the silhouette can help create an effective character and can provide a striking impact on the viewer if it is considered from multiple angles. A character with a good silhouette can tell its audience about its gender, costume, action, age, and many other aspects even with the total absence of any color, volume or detail. In saying this, it is not graphically possible to make a strong silhouette for every frame of animation but rather we can create strong key poses instead so that the audience can easily recognize a good gesture.

Thus silhouettes are a quick and simple way of creating an effective and striking pose or shape for your character. It is a process in the pre-production phase that may not always be considered, but is definitely highly useful for the character designer.

Corriero, M. (2011) Character and Creature Design Notes. Awesome Inc. [Date Accessed: 13/02/2015]

Sharing Ideas and Tips from Artist to Artist (2015) The Art Center. [Date Accessed: 13/02/2015]