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Viewpoint FCs and character appearances

grimlincore

New Member
I rarely ever participate in the discussions myself, but I do want to put out the idea of not using face claims (FCs) and seeing the thoughts it brings up. I actually used to love FCs, but now I don't want to re-appropriate other peoples' art, and I feel like I'm back in middle school when I fiddle around with doll-makers. I don't know if anyone else feels the same way, has no strong opinions on the matter, or strongly disagrees. If you do disagree, and find FCs a driving point, what do they add to RP that isn't made up for in writing?

I'll add a more general question: what do you think is necessary to visualize a character? Ignoring images. Hair color, ethnicity, what they smell like?
 

John Wellington Wells

Dealer in magic and spells
I just find CS to be a bit of fun. I also find that they can help add a bit of personality to a character as well.

Plus, not everybody pictures the same image when given a description. I've had a few instances where people ended up having a bunch of different ideas of how each character looked which made it a bit awkward when they had to describe other characters in their post.
 

Melpomene

Destroyer of Worlds|Art by WLOP|
Supporter
I like this discussion!

I can see this benefits and cons of FCs. Personally I tend to not care either way. If my partner wants FCs I use them, if they prefer description I go that way. As a writer I like writing out the description for my character because... Let me be honest finding a piece of art that exactly represents them is hard. Usually I have a particular idea of what my character looks like, and being that I don't really like drawing, well... I won't be drawing it myself haha.

If I REALLY like a character I make or they are the MC for whatever novel I a working on then I usually actually get artwork of them commissioned to give others a visual idea, but other than that I think description brings everything needed to the table. Especially if you give a vivid description that utilises all of the senses (except for taste... Please don't cannibalize anyone).

The color of their skin, eyes, hair, nose, cheeks. Their shape, their presence, the sound of their laughter. The warmth in their voice. Their calloused fingers and how they always smell of steel and sweat. The works, I love it all!
 

nerdy tangents

super nerdy
I use a lot of visuals for settings. So I understand the need to have some kind of picture to help keep things clear in your mind.

For appearances I don’t really care what characters look like. I tend to not focus on appearance when reading and will only do a basic description for my own characters.

Hair/skin/eye color, height, body type.

But if my partner wants a visual I don’t mind using one.
 

Crayons

Iconoclast
I like having an image/images of some kind to represent my character even if it isn't 100% accurate. The idea of claiming a face struck me as pretty weird when I first heard of it back in the day, but to me it's like imagining what actor would play your OC in a movie. Even if I didn't show the image to anyone else I would still use one in my mind ... so why not show my partner/s so they get a better idea of what the character looks like?

I do draw characters but tbh my drawing style is more cartoon/anime adjacent which is fine for that kind of RP, but I find it hard to get more realistic likenesses so I often look for art online.

I wouldn't mind if my partner just used a written description, but I would find it harder to visualise them from that alone.

As far as other sensory info probably just the sound of their voice. (I'm basically a visual person, and smells in particular are kind of meaningless to me.) But I think describing mannerisms and body language is equally as important as a run down of their looks.
 

Jules8008

Not returning.
I personally like both, but I do tend to use FCs. I absolutely SUCK at describing my own characters - always have, always will.

When I can, I use a faceclaim of one of my OCs - which all have commissioned art, so art I paid for.
 

Idea

The Pun Tyrant The Gif Hydra
I do want to put out the idea of not using face claims (FCs) and seeing the thoughts it brings up
To me the answer to this is pretty much the same I give regarding BBCode or using 1st person. I like to use these things, and I don't like it when a partner imposes arbitrary restrictions on me using them. It's not absolutely impossible for me to let go of them, but I have more than enough on my plate that I can afford to choose partners who will let me engage in them.

At the same time, however, much as I enjoy my partners letting me decide on these things I also like to respect their preferences regarding how they roleplay, at least as far as these aesthetic aspects go (though I do have my limits, photos are not something I can go along with). I want to use BBCode, and 1st person and I like to use faceclaims- but if my partner prefers not to use any of those things, I won't ask that of them, nor am I that bothered by their absence (so long, again, as they don't try to impose those same restrictions on me).

If you do disagree, and find FCs a driving point, what do they add to RP that isn't made up for in writing?
While I do disagree, that's a rabbit hole I'd rather not get into, though if you insist my PMs are open for such discussions.

That said, I would like to use this question as a prompt to answer that second part- what does a faceclaim provide? Why do I like to have them?

Well, the main reason is simply, I like to look at them. I just think the faceclaims look really neat, or cute or whatever else, and having them associated with a character brings some of that joy into them. Some eye candy while reading also helps the experience feel more pleasant to me, not because writing can't be amazing in it's own right of course, but images just draw the eye a lot more so there's always at least some benefit there.

Another reason is an easier and more complete visual reference. Yes, you can visualize a character with description alone, and the imagination is a powerful thing, but an image is an image is simply a lot more direct and has details you might not have thought about. This makes it simpler for the other person to properly remember your character especially if you're in a big group but also just in general, and for both people to visualize the scene / characters.

The last reason is that character images have become part of my character making process. Sometimes the image is what creates the character "prompt" for me, and other times I build a character, find an image I find fitting, and then by looking at that image I get a visual that helps me fill out more details about a character, such as the image's mood helping me add more small details to the character's personality or something the character has on them helping me fill out their likes and dislikes.

Long story short, I think the advantages of images are these, summarizing:
1. They complement the writing either as inspiration, a reference and/or as eye candy
2. They are very practical, efficient and simple to use

what do you think is necessary to visualize a character
First, I'll get the boring answer out of the way: It depends on the person. What a person needs to visualize a character depends on their perception of the character and what visualizing entails. To some people, visualizing a character means making a picture in their head for instance, while others want more dimensions such as sound or motion to properly feel like they visualized the character. Furthermore a more active imagination might be able to construct a whole person from a few simple prompts, whereas a less active one would require a fully detailed inventory of everything the character looks like and is wearing (I'm exagerating but you know what I'm getting at). Lastly, the person's memory is also key- A visual learner will need an image reference, but might be able to make more out of a simple image than a non-visual leaner.

For my part, I like to imagine characters through scenes and actions, meaning I need to be able to picture their motion. I need to get down their general mannerisms and personality, and any particulars of their motion. Broad strokes details and comparisons are also better for me to visualize things, as well as how the character moves, as opposed to fine small details of their body which aren't particularly prevalent, though this last part is more related to my more limited vocabulary in those aspects.

-----------------------
And that is all for now. Hope you enjoyed the read.
 

Syntra

Baba Yaga
A radical opinion incoming: I actually don't care about a character's appearance at all. If I could get away with it, I wouldn't use a CS nor would I describe them. Like, I don't see the point? I am not a visual person at all and never visualize anything, so I guess that is what informs my stance. I am not militant about it, however, and if my partner wants a FC, I'll find one. Actually, if I have to communicate what mc looks like, I prefer a FC because writing descriptions is the most boring thing ever to me.
 

Onmyoji

HanGuang-Jun
Moderator
Supporter
As a (mostly) fandom roleplayer, I have it easy if I play a canon character - the face is right there and everyone knows it! XD

With original characters it's different. I'm not used to looking for images at all. Usually just describe the appearance. Sometimes I use dollmakers. And in those rare cases when I like the character and the rp is lasting for a while (or I like it so much that I'll re-use it for more rp) I commission an artist to draw it.
 

Brimstone

Memento Mori

I’m pretty open minded when it comes to FCs. I don’t have a personal preference if they decide that they’d like a visual representation, I’d happily oblige. If not, I’m happy to translate the image that I have in my head into words.

In terms of descriptors, I tend to focus on the facial features. Hair colour, eye shape, lips/expression. I also usually tie in something deeper than just the physical attributes themselves into the mix. For example, calluses on the finger of a guitar player. It reveals something about the character and can be effective in further embodying the person.
 
I prefer descriptions. I love making up a unique appearance and describing it with beautiful prose. I'll sometimes link photos that show a certain hairstyle or eye color, but I don't do face claims.
 

FlameAriiDrayceon

Used to be a people-person; then people ruined it
I'm gonna write this out, but this is a me-specific thing, so like... eh

I'm Aphantasic. And what that means is; I'm completely mind-blind. My imagination graphics-card has nothing in it. This makes me quite partial to art, as IRL people's faces look very similar to each other (to me) at times, and I have a lot of trouble with descriptions for obvious reasons; it makes the character feel a bit more tangible to me.

That being said, I have to say this, as an artist.

If someone used my art for an OC faceclaim, I'd be fucking furious. Because, when portrayed in art, my characters are special to me. I draw, largely, from my own worlds and stories, removed from rp. But if someone took one of my images without my permission, and used it, saying that this character, who I poured my heart and soul into, looks exactly like their character... yeah. I'd be pretty pissed. I pride myself in simple, though recognizable and generally uncommon designs. So, I don't like it when someone takes my art—and especially if they base their character off of it.

I get that not everyone can be an artist, but it wouldn't hurt to ask permission from some of these artists, as I know many are uncomfortable with their characters—or people who look exactly like their characters—being used in rps.

Oh.

And you people who use filled-out character reference sheets for characters and basically copy down the character? You're a disgrace to the rp community. That is not your character, so don't use it.
 

peritwinkle

♠️your local Raphael♠️
Helper
I think the most fun is implementing small information about your character throughout the story.

Joan’s pale fingers trailed over the spine of the tome.”

“His muscles rippled beneath his shirt.”

“Her hair looked like honey in the sun.”


To me this is so much more interesting than face claims, and most of the time with new characters, I can’t even visualize my OC well enough to make use of a doll maker or a site like artbreeder. And whatever you use, I don’t think any image could really be 100% accurate to how you envision your character anyway.

Therefore, to envision a character I think it’s most important to know:
- ethnicity
- skin color and hue (olive? rose? amber?)
- eye color (pale blue? dark green? black?)
- height and build (a MUST)
- what they would smell like naturally (without perfume, because everyone has a scent and it says so much about them)
- how they move, and this one is particularly interesting because it gives so much subtle information, especially if they have little recurring tricks throughout the story: it tells whether a character is hasty and nervous (“He gave her a brisk nod and cleared his throat.”) or slow, calculated (“His fingers tapped in waves over the counter.”)
 

grimlincore

New Member
Coming back to ask: how do people feel about describing what a character wears as par for their appearance? I've looked at some sign-ups here and so far I don't really know if they paint the characters in-question any better (I'm assuming it's mostly for fun.)
 

Melpomene

Destroyer of Worlds|Art by WLOP|
Supporter
Coming back to ask: how do people feel about describing what a character wears as par for their appearance? I've looked at some sign-ups here and so far I don't really know if they paint the characters in-question any better (I'm assuming it's mostly for fun.)
I actually think what a character wears is pretty important when describing their appearance. The type of clothes people wear can tell so much about their socio-economic class and personality. I do a lot of historical roleplays and I study a lot about what class would have worn what. I think it is both an important part of their appearance and their personality. As knowing what they wear will likely give other characters a first glance into their lifestyle.

For example, I once RP'd with someone who wrote a Victorian Lady and how she always tried to wear nice dresses but they were always out of fashion if you looked close at them. And this was genius! That perfectly encapsulated what a lower-class Victorian woman trying to at least pretend to be high class would look like. Lower-class is not rich enough to always have new dresses whenever trends change. Little details like that make the story feel richer.

More than class and personality, the way of dress can also describe the culture they come from! Do they have to cover up for their culture? I have characters who are always covered, neck to ankle, because of the religion or culture they belong to. Others only wear a loin cloth!

Honestly I could go on for hours about how important what characters wear can be to their appearance haha, so I'll stop now.
 

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