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Interview: Magna Carta's Kim Talks 'Tug Of War' Between Realism, Exaggeration In Art

Popular and distinctive Korean game artist Hyung Tae-Kim says the beauty of his character designs are all about body fat, yet the clash between exaggeration and
Even before his games launched outside of Korea, War of Genesis and Magna Carta artist Hyung-Tae Kim had already drawn a significant global fanbase thanks to his rich, distinctive style. His female characters are popular subjects for fan wallpapers, renowned for their beauty. And refreshingly, he favors softness, not unrealistic thinness, in the way he depicts them. Speaking as part of today's Gamasutra feature, Kim says it's his attention to body fat that make his characters so beautiful: "The most important part of the character is actually fat," he tells us. "If you focus more on the fat of a character, and then you sort of create a flow into the chest and the hips and form the body around it, how force and physics can change a body, including fat, it becomes more beautiful for people who can appreciate that innate nature," he adds. "In books that explain the body, there aren't that many explanations of fat, so it's really hard to find this kind of information actually." That's not to say Kim at all focuses on realism -- another feature of his characters, whether female or male, are the subtle exaggerations of their frames. There's a limitation on this, however. "I do try to exaggerate my characters, but only to the point of still being able to perceive them as human," he says. "But then I try to exaggerate those parts that people will find most attractive, like when a man looks at a woman, or a woman looks at a man." "One problem that I have through this process is that when I exaggerate this to the maximum, the character starts to become inhuman," Kim explains. "And then there's a clash between the two thoughts of what I'm trying to draw. I'm constantly having this tug-of-war between these two ideas when I'm making new characters." In today's feature interview with Kim, he describes how his style of exaggeration makes the transition to 3D graphics, as in upcoming NCsoft MMORPG Blade & Soul, more challenging -- and yet it remains an important goal. "By moving my art from 2D to 3D, I open up the audience for my work," he tells us. "In the past, my true artwork was only on the cover of the game -- inside it wasn't necessarily my work. Now, I have larger audiences through actually representing my characters in my own way in 3D." "I've been thinking of different ways to express my 2D art. One of them, of course, would be a 2D game. But I'm also thinking of what else I can do. I can't mention anything in detail though," he teases. "Right now, the first objective for me is to shape Blade & Soul in my own style."

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