New Skin Tones and the Future of Character Tech


#1

Hey Episodians,

With this post, we wanted to take a step back and show you what we’ve been up to with our character creation tech, and how that led us to make the skin tone changes that we did.

It all started with our belief that great storytelling includes having memorable characters that leave a lasting impression on our readers.

As we began to explore how we could create more visually unique characters on Episode, and we became super excited about the possibilities, we also started to see the limitations of our current tech. Here are some character concepts that our artists mocked up during this time:

In order to create unique characters like these, we had to find a way to give our characters’ faces more form, dimension, and structure – and the only way to do that was to deepen our shadows and brighten our highlights to work within the limits of our existing color shading technology. With the additional color range, we can now add new features like freckles, scars, beards, and more that would be able to show up on various skintones.

When we originally set up the new skin tones, we actually kept the core colors the same. All the changes went into adjusting the shading on the body, and the specific color highlights and shadows to better reflect the contrast we needed to achieve.

However, we were a bit too drastic with our changes to the body shading, and the release didn’t go as smoothly as we’d hoped for. So, we went back to the drawing board, and so here’s where we’re landing after some more explorations based on your feedback:

We’re now in the process of testing these out (and finalizing the updates to the character creator – including fixing our naming convention inconsistencies), and plan to launch these updates early next week.

Once this shading update goes live, we then plan to spend time focusing on the rose and gold families to finalize those looks there.

Unfortunately, at this time, we are not planning on bringing back the original colors because of the challenge they pose for us in supporting a wider range of unique looks. We hope you can understand this decision as we pursue the opportunity to help you make the most memorable characters possible.

With our next update, we should be closing the gap between the original set and our final colors on Limelight, and appreciate your feedback and patience through this process.

As always, please let us know your thoughts below.

Love,

The Episode Team


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#2

I just hope people can understand why you can’t bring back the old skin tones and not be too upset about it. These new features are nice and unique, I’m sure a lot of people would support these looks and face modifications you’re working on.


#3

I trust your wisdom and I believe you’ll do an awesome job :smiley::heart:


#4

Honestly, I love the new skin colors. At first, I didn’t enjoy it that much because my character’s skin color was really different than it was before, but I saw how many new (and better) skin colors were released and I just fell in love. Those character concepts are SO beautiful and realistic. Good luck to the Episode Team and I know you all will make an amazing job!


#5

Just one question @Jesse - Does that mean that this “new” current skin colors will be renamed again? :smiley:


#6

There will be some that are going to be renamed to help with consistency in naming conventions. We learned our lesson from last release, so we’ll make sure to announce the changes before we release them.


#7

I’m ok with renaming how ever it pleases you :heart:

Be sure to rename also: Beige Green Light - it’s the only tone name standing out at this moment :smiley:


#8

But wow look at the first three images though! Those look really great! I’m glad you guys are trying to work on skin details and such. I’m excited for the possibilities!


#9

This is really a lot of work, and it will allow us to create a lot of different characters. Thank you for all the work you’re doing! Until now people had to add overlays to have freckles, scars,… And own you’re working I adding it.

In one word: “Yay!!!”


#10

To be honest, I wasn’t bothered by the change in skin tones, probably because I don’t have any published stories that would be affected by it. I am super super excited for the feature changes, and I think they’ll be great! Thank you so much. Also, those female hairstyles, especially the two braids, I think should definitely be added to the hairstyle selection, if it’s possible!


#11

Wow! Definitely looking forward to the update!


#12

I am so excited for the new features!!! When will they come out!!!


#13

I really love the samples, they look so realistic and I believe this will enhance the stories, and how much more readers could relate to it. I do have two questions, @Jesse

1: All the new characteristics mentioned and the hairstyles the female have, will they be available for everyone or just some of these new features?

  1. Are they going to be more drastic skin changes? I don’t mean for this to become a sore subject, but with the contest coming up, I worry about more skin changes. If it’s only the name that’d change, will they be updated on the character customization template as well?

#14

She said that they’re planning to launch these updates early next week :blush:


#15
  1. The concepts we listed are things that we’re currently testing out. We’ll likely have things that are similar to them featured in a story first then released to everyone later on.

  2. The changes we’re making will mostly be to the shading/contrast of the character bodies. Faces will actually remain the way they are now due to their intricacy. The gif in the OP should show the difference you can expect between all of the skin tones. The naming conventions were a bit off so we wanted to fix that as well, we should be updating that in our character creation templates as well.


#16

Thank you for your quick answer! I guess is understandable that the characteristics will be used on feature stories first. Hope it doesn’t take long to be release to everyone, they are really great and we really needed that beard look :eyes: Alright! I guess it’d be best if we wait next week to resubmit the limbs overlays, just in case :thinking:


#17

INK is canceled hello Limelight daddies :heart_eyes:


#18

I know, right? :grin::smile::smile:


#19

Oh my God!! Beards for male characters? Am I dreaming?
orig


#20

BEARDS!!!