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Midjourney Character Design: A Guide by Etherion Designs

In the realm of 3D art and design, efficiency and precision are as vital as creativity. At Etherion Designs, we’ve navigated through a series of trials and errors to seamlessly integrate Midjourney into our concept art creation process. This journey, filled with both challenges and victories, has significantly refined our workflow and elevated the quality of our designs. We’ve learned valuable lessons along the way—about tool optimization, prompt crafting, and workflow integration—all of which have transformed our creative output.

We believe these insights shouldn’t just benefit us but the wider community of artists and designers. That’s why we’re committed to sharing our journey, offering a transparent look at all the knowledge we have gained over the years. We’ve compiled these learnings into a detailed, free document for you to enjoy! We hope to equip you with the knowledge and tools you need to harness the full potential of Midjourney in your own creative endeavors, paving the way for a more informed and efficient design process.

Character Reference Requirements

When generating a character reference, certain specifications must be met to make the output useful for the 3D artist who will be creating from it.

  • It needs to show the entire character (and not cut off any part when generating)
  • It needs to be well-lit to show the shape and form of the model for easy 3D replication
  • It needs to be in your chosen style (realism or cartoony, etc..)
  • It needs to have multiple views (preferably, front, back, and side)

SHOWCASING THE ENTIRE CHARACTER

Midjourney is an art software, so naturally it will produce art that looks the best it can. And lets face it; artwork often looks best when the camera angle is done artistically. We don’t want this, because it involves cropping out character. To ensure the whole character is visible, you can use the following prompts:

  • Full body
  • head to shoes
  • helmet to boots
  • Standing

An example prompt using this method might look like: scifi soldier, full body, standing, helmet to boots

MAKING IT WELL-LIT

This part is super simple.
All you have to do is add one or two of these prompts:

  • Studio Lighting
  • Ambient Lighting
  • White Background (optional)

An example prompt using this method might look like: scifi soldier, standing in studio, studio-lighting, ambient light, white background

STYLING

In 3D design, the goal is often to visualize how something will look in-game or in a real-life scenario. Therefore, at Etherion Designs, we focus on two main styles: Photorealistic, Cartoony-style, and Poly-Style. Here’s some prompts that we use with each style:

PHOTOREALISTIC PROMPTS:
  • Photo-realistic
  • Hyper-realistic
  • Canon
  • HDR
  • Photo
  • Award-winning
  • Realism
  • 4k

An example prompt using this method might look like: scifi soldier, full body, hyper-realistic, Canon, HDR, 4k

STYLIZED PROMPTS:
  • fortnite style
  • Overwatch style
  • Simple
  • Cartoony
  • Stylized
  • Pixar

An example prompt using this method might look like: stylized scifi soldier, fortnite style, overwatch style, pixar

POLY-STYLE PROMPTS:
  • low-poly
  • poly-style
  • stylized
  • 3d
  • very simple
  • polygonal

An example prompt using this method might look like: scifi soldier, low-poly, poly-style, stylized, 3d, very simple, polygonal

Generating Multiple Views

Midjourney, by default, doesn’t provide multiple views of the same character. While it currently doesn’t have settings for this, certain key prompts can help generate these kinds of results. It took us a long time to figure this all out, but we are happy to share some of our favorites at Etherion Designs:

  • front, back, left, right, forward, behind
  • 2 views
  • 3 views
  • multiple views
  • character sheet

An example prompt using this method might look like: scifi soldier, 3 views, front, back, left, right, forward, behind, character sheet

Speeding up the Workflow

Efficient prototyping is crucial to speeding up development. At Etherion Designs, we utilize three main methods of doing so:

Reference-Based Prototyping:

If you have an idea in mind, try your best to find a similar online reference, like an image from Pinterest. Insert the image link at the start of your prompt followed by your descriptive prompts to ensure that your result will be more similar to the reference image. Adjust similarity with the end prompt “–iw 2.0 to get as close as you can to the reference style. An “–iw 1.0” is the default setting. If you want the reference image to have less influence on the generated image, you can lower it to “–iw 0.5

For example, we used the Breton Knight from The Elders Scrolls Online concept art as a reference to generate the image on the right, with the following prompt:

stealth ninja assassin, elders scrolls, black and red, full body, studio lighting, high-detail, high quality, shot with canon, 4k, 32k, octane, 3 views, front, forward, left, right, back, behind, rear, standing idle, full body, head to boots –ar 3:2 –no cape

Faster Screenshotting for References:

For quick link sharing and prototyping, we use ShareX. It’s a tool that automates the process of screenshotting, uploading, and sharing image links from any source on your screen, including sites that are hard to get links from like Pinterest. After installing, simply set up an automatic upload to a site like Imgur, and then when you press CTRL + SHIFT + PRINT SCREEN, you can select a region of your monitor and it will turn it into a link that you can paste into Midjourney.

Download ShareX
Repeating Generations

To further streamline prototyping, use the –repeat # function at the end of your prompt. Replace # with the number of repetitions you want.

For example, if we wanted 5 repititions, we would use something like: scifi solider, standing –repeat 5

Batch Generation:

Simply including a prompt such as “5 designs” to your generation will instantly add 5 characters instead of 1. This can greatly increase the speed in which you can prototype your work. If you also widen the aspect ratio with a prompt like “–ar 16:9“, you can more easily ensure that the characters fit on your canvas. Once you choose the design you want, you can use ShareX to screen-grab it and paste the link into your next generation, removing the “5 designs” prompts to focus purely on creating variations of your chosen design.

MAKING VARIATIONS

Sometimes, you might get similar results repeatedly. To encourage diverse outcomes, request different colors or minor variations of the same character. The images below used the same prompts, except one had “Brown paint” and the other had “Red Paint”

Combining What We’ve Learned

In the following section, we’ll showcase examples of character art generated with the correct prompts. This visual guide will demonstrate the power and simplicity of using Midjourney for concept art creation.

character wearing military body armor, tall and athletic, full body, front back, forward, behind, 2 views, photorealistic, helmet, badass, blue red paint

dirty mud golem, twigs, horrifying, fantasy, realistic, cool, amazing, good design, front, back, 2 views

nordic warrior, heavy armor, standing, full body, front back, forward, behind, 2 views, photorealistic, hyper-realistic, high-detail, badass, studio lighting

anthropomorphic female wolf warrior, fantasy character, standing, helmet to boots, 3d cartoon, overwatch, fortnite-style, studio lighting, full body, front, back, left, right, forward, behind, 2 views

Conclusion

At Etherion Designs, Midjourney has transformed our concept art creation process. By understanding and utilizing specific prompts, we’ve increased the speed and quality of our workflow, allowing our 3D artists to work more efficiently and creatively. The right tools and techniques can significantly enhance the design process, and Midjourney is at the forefront of this revolution, helping us bring our most ambitious projects to life with ease and precision. As we continue to explore and innovate, we’re excited about the future of 3D art and design, and we’re proud to be at the cutting edge with Midjourney by our side.

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