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Calling all game developers, creators and artists. Are you ready to take on the challenge?

Do you fancy winning an All-Access Pass to GDC in 2024? Dove, The Centre for Appearance Research and Unreal Engine Education Team at Epic Games are calling on all gamers, creators and artists - using their unique and valuable creativity - to take part in their new course Real Virtual Beauty Training and put their new-found knowledge to action. This is literally a game changer.

May 15, 2023

4 Min Read
A group of women from different backgrounds, abilities, and of different sizes.

Author: by Dove

Presented by Dove

Gamers, creators and artists, listen up! Put on your thinking caps and creativity capes because we need your help in making the virtual world a representative and truly diverse place. Dove, in teaming up with the Unreal Engine Education Team at Epic Games, Women in Games and the Centre for Appearance Research (CAR), has launched ‘Real Virtual Beauty Training’ to tackle the ongoing issue with representation in gaming.

This is an epic opportunity to help make a real change for the 1.3 billion women and young girls who are a vibrant part of the world’s gaming community – but experience little by way of realistic representation of and for them in virtual worlds. This is your chance to be a hero, helping to tell better stories with diverse and authentic characters in all environments.

You don’t have to play by the rules!

A woman in a tank top and a virtual avatar designed to resemble her.

This training course is not just any ordinary course; it will teach you how to design more authentic and realistic characters in video games, with a focus on self-expression, storytelling and understanding character design principles. By being part of it, you can empower yourself to diversify the appearance and functionality of your characters, allowing for better and more authentic stories to be told. You don't have to play by the rules of traditional beauty standards, and with the skills you'll gain, you can create something refreshingly new.

Did you know that 60% of girls feel misrepresented by video games?

Dove has always championed Real Beauty – breaking unrealistic beauty standards and putting real women and realistic body types at the heart of what we do. Since 2004, our Dove Self-Esteem project has inspired confidence in 94 million young people worldwide. However, the virtual world is lacking realistic representation of women and young girls. According to research by Dove, 60% of girls feel misrepresented by video games and this lack of diversity in avatars has also negatively impacted over a third of young girls' self-esteem.

A woman using a wheelchair and an avatar designed to look like her.

That's why Real Virtual Beauty Training is so important. By designing a broad range of characters, we can achieve greater originality, creativity and innovation in character design reflecting all types of beautiful.

Follow in the footsteps of industry-leading experts

Real Virtual Beauty Training is led by some of the best in the business, including Dr. Phillippa Diedrichs from the Centre for Appearance Research, and industry expert Raqi Syed. They will guide you through the course, covering everything from capturing the unique and idiosyncratic elements of the human face to telling powerful stories through digital costume design. You'll even learn technical tips for character design using the MetaHuman Creator installment.

Dr. Phillippa Diedrichs leads the first module, Defining Real Virtual Beauty. She outlines the current state of play for appearance diversity in the games industry for women and girls and examines why it's worth investing in more varied and original character design.

Next, industry expert Raqi Syed, a writer, tech artist and instructor, guides you through the second module, Frameworks: Introspection and Co-Design, focusing on respectful design to help answer the question: ‘How do we design authentic characters?’

For the third module, Technical Tips: Character Design, you will be working with the MetaHuman Creator installment. This module looks at how to design and represent a character's appearance more realistically using real-time tools. It focuses on preserving the unique and idiosyncratic elements of a character's appearance and creating authentic, diverse characters.

Lastly, in the fourth module in the course, Technical Tips: Costume, designer Heli Salomaa explains how to design and represent costumes more authentically to reflect a range of body sizes and avoid gender stereotyping in character development storytelling.

Get the chance to go next level: we’re giving away 5 All-Access passes to the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in 2024

Once you have completed the training, and you're designing your unique and diverse characters, make sure you upload them onto Game Developer, for a chance to win one of five All-Access passes to the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in 2024. With GDC being the games industry's premier professional event, championing game developers and the advancement of their craft, you will be showing up in the spaces that matter.

So seriously, what are you waiting for? Join us!

This is your chance to have a real and lasting impact in the world of gaming. Join us in the Real Virtual Beauty Training course, and let's make the virtual world a more inclusive and diverse place!

Thanks to the course's support from Unreal Engine Education, you'll be ready to achieve greater originality, creativity and innovation in character design and support the wellbeing of gamers everywhere.

Dive into the Real Virtual Beauty Training and start designing more diverse and authentic characters for your games today!

Sign up to Real Virtual Beauty Training here.

And to have a chance of attending GDC in 2024, upload your characters here.

P.S. Don’t forget to tag your creations with #RealVirtualBeauty so they can be a part of our growing global character art collection.

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