Illustration –Character design – Concept Art

The Shaman

This project is the result of my bachelor thesis at the Münster School of Design, which deals with the creation of different character designs for a small RPG game. The main protagonist is an extremely ambitious young shaman.

The background story is inspiration from elements of the shamanistic world and takes place in the early Middle Ages. The shaman often sneaks deep into an ancient magic forest for forbidden magical experiments. On a magical journey to the afterlife, however, her soul is shattered in two by the accidental action of an ancient powerful spell. The light part of her magician soul returns to her human body in this world, while the dark part unleashes a reign of terror in the otherworld. Her dark self slowly occupies the earthly world and goes here with dark spirits on soul-catching. The Light Self, supported by its Auxiliary Spirits, is trying to free the cursed souls, eliminate evil spirits, and stop their dark soul in order to save both worlds. The main characters, such as the shaman, her helper spirit, an example of a dark spirit, a petrified victim and the ruler of the afterlife, were developed from illustrative 2D concept art to 3D models.

In addition to experiencing a deep backstory, the player has the opportunity to further develop their character, solve magical tasks, travel to the “afterlife” and summon various helping spirits in the fight against evil.

The Shaman

The main play figure

The shaman has plunged her surroundings into chaos due a mistake of lust for power and is now trying to fix it. In that sense, she’s not the typical perfect hero who saves everyone. She comes from a poor family and discovered accidentally her magical talent. Her interest in magical experiments steadily increased and crept unnoticed into her everyday life.

When her soul was shattered by a failed experimental spell that can also destroy souls, she robbed herself of all her magical powers. To defeat the dark part of her soul and regenerate her powers, she must return to the secret place in the forest where the disaster began. Since her powers are not complete, she has to use various items such as herbs and potions, even though she did not need them in her normal state. Armed with her staff, she can fight against dark spirits while she can use her drum for protection. She must help the petrified victims return to their physical bodies and accompany those whose bodies are lost to the afterlife. The design of the shaman consists of many items and details with different functions.

5th phase: draft

The process of sketching and continuously improving the sketches at various stages was helpful in finding the best solutions for the design.

4th phase: Development of the character designs

3rd phase: portrait

2nd phase: Selection of the idea and design of the figure

1st phase: idea

In my study focus of 3D character design, which was also the main topic of my bachelor’s thesis, the conception of the video game developed from 2D concept arts to 3D character designs. All 3D designs were digitally sculpted using Zbrush and final rendered in Cinema4D.

The bear helping spirit

The companion of the main character

The shaman has a helping spirit at her side in the game, who supports her in the fight against the dark spirits. The relationship with the helping spirits is of crucial importance for a shaman and is characterized by personal sensitivity. When the shaman accidentally plunged the world into chaos, her helping spirits turned away from her. After a certain amount of time in the first level, they forgive her as she tries to make things right again. The player can choose helping spirits from several magical animals.

The DARK RULER

The main opponent of the main character

The dark ruler was created through dangerous experiments by the shaman. One day the shaman discovered a special spell in her ancient book that would make it possible to kill a soul. She reversed this spell to create a soul. In doing so, she threw the worlds out of balance, as only the gods can have such power. In a massive explosion, her own soul shattered, leaving the dark side in the afterlife, where the shaman was at the time of the explosion. Only the light side returned to her body on earth. Over time, the dark part of her soul took control of the underworld and gathered dark souls around herself through magic and violence. She sent them to the middle world to kill people and torment their released souls and transform them into evil spirits. So she continued to expand her power and expand her dark army.

4th phase: draft

3rd phase: Development of the character designs

2nd phase: Selection of the idea and design of the figure

1st phase: idea

The DARK SPIRIT

One of the main character's opponents

One of the main tasks in the game is to kill dark evil spirits, which become more dangerous and powerful with each level. These spirits present a constant disturbance to the player as he attempts to complete game objectives such as saving souls and regenerating the forest in the afterlife, as well as transforming enchanted animals and people back.

Many different types of ghosts appear in the game’s backstory. One of these types of spirits belongs to the army of the dead and the dark souls of the underworld, mostly consisting of angry dark souls. The dark ruler expands her army by sending her dark spirits into the middle world, where they kill the physical bodies of souls. These souls are now condemned to remain in the middle world and are at risk of suffering and turning into dark spirits.

4th phase: draft

3rd phase: Development of the character designs

2nd phase: Selection of the idea and design of the figure

1st phase: idea

Victims

One of the game tasks

Games often focus on a fundamental problem that the player has to solve. This problem often claims victims or threatens the existence of the human, animal or plant world, requiring the player to intervene. In the game, children and adults from a village with a magic school have been missing for some time now. However, at this point it is still unclear what happened to them and why they disappeared.

As soon as the shaman goes into the forest and fights off evil spirits and enchanted animals, she learns that the missing people from the village are either only dead bones or some have been completely petrified. These petrified victims represent the members of the magic school, including teachers, teaching assistants or students. These were not completely destroyed, but were able to defend themselves with their magical powers and can be disenchanted again. Their souls are bound to their former physical shell and suffer as a result.

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