Part of the Animat Habitat studio workshop: Character Design for Animation.
Authored by Dane Aleksander.
Continued from The Context.

The History

We explore the history of a character to further its existence in its context. We outline the world in which a character exists, where the character comes from in that world, and its life-changing experiences that help support the authenticity of, and subsequent belief in, the character in its story. We examine dependencies between a character and its story, and see that the driving force behind a character is demonstrated in the aim of its action. We see that character flaws are often what make a character appealing; the discovery of incompleteness, or of goals, helps to create the dramatic thrust behind the adventures that a character embarks upon. Character is a measurable journey; we can measure a character's sacrifice at the end by a choice at the beginning. And we want a character in a story to appear to exist outside of the time present in story.

a/ Up. (2009) Pixar.

The story of Up (2009), another by Pete Docter, has a great example of a character arc overlaid on its plot: the inner journey of Carl Fredricksen is layered within major plot points, and by hinging internal conflicts on external decisions its story forces the character to grow.

© PIXAR, The Art of Up (2009) | Carl Fredricksen timeline