Designing Characters

Player Guides

Useful Links for Understanding the Design System

Souls-Between hass a very robust design system, and as such we have a lot of guides that will be helpful in creating your characters! this guide stands to give you a basic overview of what you will need to do to make your character, and how our design process system works. More indepth information can be found in the links below, including our genetics guide and more. You can also find many of the links necessary in designing a character via the Genotype's profile page!

*At this time (9.22.2023) we are aware of many images and ranges not available in the genetics guide. This is something we are tackling as quiclly as we can, but it is an immense amount of work! For designs that are utilizing guides that are missing ranges/images we tend to err on the side of the player and will not often send you back unless it is something very much out of range! Some guides below are not completed.

 

DESIGN APPROVAL Vs DESIGN UPDATES

 

Help I forgot an item during my design approval! 
You have 24 hours from approval to submit a claim or design update to get this item added! 
Design Approval

Design approval is where you will go to get your design reviewed by our design staff. We do this because many markings have dominant ranges or effects, and what this means is if you have a gene that is dominant, you get more freedom to design the gene on your character. Staff will review it and make sure you are within the rules of that gene. If your design is returned to you, it will have a list of ways to correct it which much be completed and then resubmitted.

Add this form into your design review/updates comments tab! It is mandatory to include this form!

Character Name:(Remember to keep these respectful and pg-13)
Dragon's Blood Added(Only one can be applied on intial approval.)
Free Markings Added:(Accents, Birthmark, Blush, Freckles, Minimal Mark, and Tips)
Adornments/Items(You are only allowed to apply Large Item Kits for wing type changes, Small Item Kit for removing Horns, Dragon Tears, One Dragon's blood on upoad, Reaver's Essence and Backgrounds)
Design Notes:(If you have a really complex design, we recommend filling this out and providing any breakdown images you may have)
Extra Images:(This is useful for things like chimera and tobiano, etc.)



Note:

When submitting a design for initial approval please note the following items and statuses that need to be added in design updates instead. Submitting an approval with these changes will cause you to be rejected for corrections (with the exception of Advent designs). 

  • Reaver's essence - you can apply the mutation as is, and then modify it after!
  • Aberrant/Corruption States - if the corruption effects alters line art, it will need to be submitted in design updates!
  • Adding Breath Elixirs with Art. 

If you are applying skills and breath elixirs - or other items that will not change the design (i.e adding a marking to an albino but having it not show) please submit a Claim to do this!

These items are allowed to be used in Design approval for modifications: 

  • Large Item Kit to swap wing styles on dragons (that aren't Feathered. Feathered are allowed to choose without a large item kit.) 
  • small Item kit to remove horns and ears.
  • First Dragon's Blood voucher
Design Updates

Design updates is where you will go to update your character's design. This will cover only updates that change the design itself. The system is similar to design approval. You will submit your design and a staff member will approve it. Like Design approval, your design may be returned for corrections. When you submit a design update you will want to fill out this form:

Adornments/Items:(Large Item kit, Small Item Kit, Dragon Tears, Backgrounds, Reaver's Essence, Aberrant Tincture, Paint, Nail Polish, Shampoo, Touch up Kit, Do Over Kit)
Dragon's Blood Added:(One can be added per level with only one rarity of each being added and only two are allowed to be markings. Up to 4 in total can be added.)
Detailed Changes: Tell us what you are adding/changing.
Extra Images:(This is useful for things like chimera and tobiano, etc.)

Just like design approval, if you are adding anything that is not changing the design, please submit a claim!

Updating an Advent Dragon 

If you own an advent dragon and wish to update it you can do so but must first abide by these rules and regulations.

  • The main rule is if the design is NOT by you, you must keep the intial theme as close as possible! You cannot redo an advent from the ground up UNLESS you have permission fro mthe original artist.
  • You can remove markings from an advent with dragon's tears, so long as it does not alter the design too drastically. - unless you have permissin from the original artist.  
  • You can redraw the pose. 
  • You can alter the design slightly. 
  • You can add new markings/mutations with dragon's blood. 
  • You can move over to new lines or legacy lines. 
  • You can use item kits/etc to modify the design.

 


Submission Process
How to Submit

When you are ready to submit your genotype design, you will go to the page for that genotype and select the "Submit Genotype Design" button. It's going to take you a new page where you can select "Create Request." If you do not see this, you should see a link to view the current design pending submission if it exists. After you select the Submit genotype design you will see a list of tabs.

Status Page: This is the final submission page. You start here, but will return to it after you complete the other tabs. Once all tabs are saved, you will come back to this tab and select submit (or cancel if necessary).
Comment Page: This tab is used for filling out the applicable design approval or update form. Make sure you fill out all relevant information and select save.
Master List ImageThis is your character's design! You will notice an upload image button, this will be your main file that is 3000x2040. Then you will want to turn off the cropper and upload a second image of your design that is 300x204 size. If you are using the transparent background method on the site, you can upload the thumbnail with a background or without.
Add Ons: Here you can add any items you are using. You can only add things from your hoard, so be sure you have all you need or you will need to come back to add them. Any saved tabs will remained saved if you leave the page to get items from the shops or from crafting.
Traits This is where all of your traits are located for your geno. You shouldn't need to do anything here but save the tab.

Once you select the Submit Design button on the status tab, you will be able to review the design uploaded but not change anything. You can add any missing notes or forms in the feedback section. Your design is now pending approval.

Cancellations, Rejections, and Approval

Your design can be returned for differing reasons - usually it is returned for corrections, and very rarely is it rejected. If a design is returned for corrections, you will repeat the submission process for it to be reviewed after you made your relevant changes.

An important note: if you do not see the image change when you upload it, clear your browser cache (not cookies or history, uncheck these!) to refresh the image. Once done you will be able to see the new image. You can also hodl down the control key and press F5 to do a refresh.

There is no special queue for corrections! Instead you will just do the process of creating the request for that genotype/design once again. It will go into the same queue as all the other designs. Bear in mind, Staff is allowed to skip requests if you submit a lot of them at once, since there is no limit to the amount you can submit per day. It is at a staff member's discretion to go to the next person's design waiting if you have submitted a lot of designs at once.

Rarely is a design rejected - it is usually for returning a design because nothing is updated, such as adding skills or breath elixirs.

Once Approved, your page for your genotype converts to a character and will have new information and sections available to it. You will now be allowed to submit activities with them.

Approved dragons are then uploaded to the dA masterlist with very minimal information such as the link to the profile on the site. This schedule is not adhered to strictly, since all the information is generally on site anyway and we don't use dA beyond just exposure.

 

How Strict is too strict?

In Souls-Between we do our best to have fair and impartial judgement with each and every design. We strive to have a very relaxed system where players are not punished for trying to have creative liberty.

Individual admin review

All designs are reveiwed by at a minimum one staff member. Different staff members do have varying levels of strictness, however during training of our staff we make a point to let them know they can be relaxed, especially on designs that have only small mistakes. Sometimes staff might request a second look, or help on a design, so a decision might be the combined efforts of the whole design team, or just a few. 

For transparency, we will often train our design staff to let designs pass if they have only one or two small things as wrong, with the exception of any rules that should never pass. 

This doesn't mean every staff member is right every time! We make mistakes and depending on the severity of the rule broken, we may have to request you fix the error either on a design update or after approving the design. Though, this rarely happens. Additionally, sometimes our judgement on a design is wrong, and we do allow you to contest this by obtaining a second opinion, or simply discussing with the staff member!

obtaining a second opinion

Second opinions are allowed to be requested, however you cannot request a specific admin review your design. If you want a second opinion, simply reupload your design and request in the comments for a second opinion. 

As stated, staff isn't always right in their judgement of a design! Even Cryptid-Horror has made mistakes on design review. If you feel you are wrongly rejected for something because of a rule we encourage you to either submit a forum post, or resubmit and include an explanation! Sometimes Staff might leave a comment on your design approval without canceling it out right so that we can ask a question regarding your design. 

The more information we are given on how your design works (especially for the more complex ones!) the easier it is for staff to judge your design with little to no mistakes. 

If you still disagree with the second opinion, another staff member can review, however generally speaking, in second opinions we tend to get the opinion of several, if not all, design and senior staff.

the three corrections rule

Souls-Between has a unique rule that we call "The Three corrections rule." We find there is very few things more frustrating than going through the design process for one thing, only to have a whole new issue appear that wasn't mentioned at first. For this issue we came up with a resolution that we felt was fair for everyone involved. 

If you have submitted three corrections, new issues cannot be brought to reject the design unless they are a result of the prior two corrections. To be clear as well, this does mean if you are rejected a third time for the correction made you can still have other things that might have been missed pointed out for corrections. 

However, in Souls, we like to be relaxed as possible and we will tend to let small issues slide by simply because Designing your characters should be fun for you. We don't see any merit or value in nit picking a design for markings being slightly out of range, or a little off color. 

 

What won't ever pass? Capital Rules.

There are a few things when it comes to designing that we simply will not pass, regardless how minor it might seem. Every staff member is trained to look for these specifically as well as the normal design rules. Even if you have nothing else wrong in your design, these are considered capital rules that will always return your design to you for a correction, no matter how minor it might seem. Please not this list is not exhaustive, and we do reserve the right to update this at any time!

  • Darkness/Value is below 7. we allow the darkest colors on a design to be 7 points and no lower on the value scale. This is to allow the readability of lines. The only time a value can dip below 7 is for flesh around the eyes. 
    • On an HSV scale the value is 7 out of 100 
    • On an RGB Scale, the value is 16 to 18 out of 255. 
    • These values can vary, so if you can show your proof that is not too low, please do!
  • Markings cannot be utilized to mimic other markings that you do not have on your character. While many markings have a lot of freedom, we do want to avoid markings appearing to much like other ones. For example, using minimal marked to create the appearance of masked. In some cases, this situation can be argued and we are willing to hear you out. 
  • Design edits should not create features that are not allowed on a species, without the proper items. Some items allow you a lot of freedom, and we want to make sure that those items are used in designing appropriatly. 
  • Changing the physical appearance of a character beyond limitations. In Souls we have Advent characters who are our special, often off base, or made with extreme edits/rules breaks. This is only for these special characters and cannot often be recreated with items. This could be things like adding canine or feline noses to a character who's species does not have it, or shortening/lengthening the face to such an extreme it stops looking like it's original import. 
Illegal designs

Souls has been around for a good few years by now, and because of this you're going to find illegal designs! We try to keep our design examples up to date, including the designs we put in the genetics guide, however sometimes things are missed or are just wrong. If you are basing an idea off of an illegal design, but do not know it, we will explain why it is illegal, or even give you suggestions on how to make your design not illegal while still being able to keep the look. 

For example, some old designs may have a mask-ish looking minimal mark, because in the past it could cover more range. We may suggest combining accents with minimal mark to achieve a similar look, or even adding masked with a dragon's blood item. 

Some designs are marked with an asterisk in their description which can only be edited by staff. This means they were passed with the three corrections ruling. 

If you have an illegal design, and are transferring the design to new lines, you are not required to correct the mistakes. You can keep your character as is or even update small things on it. Just let staff know it has illegal parts on the design so we are aware! 

The only time your illegal design might require you correct it, is if it breaks one of our capital rules.

Rule changes and you

Souls Between has a system of rule changes that occurs in our design team. All rule changes are voted on by staff, and given the time to be reviewed, modified, and either rejected or approved. The best part of our design system is that you as a player can influence how a rule might change. Be it for better or for worse! 

If you do something that the guides might not state is allowed or not allowed, we will review it and decide whether to add it or not. Depending on the situation, you may be allowed to keep the idea on your character regardless of our choice. This is usually due to rule clarification. 

If we allow an idea of yours to pass and be legal, it opens up that door for everyone to enjoy in their designs as well. 

If you previously had a design be rejected for something that was later added into the game there is a process for you to make a change. First though, our sincerest apologies. We are only human and what we might have found to be illegal in the past, or was not approved by a staff member, may be seen as something worth exploring in the future or approving later on and making as a full new allowed rule. 

You can submit a design with this fix to design updates, without an item, provided you show you were rejected for it in the past. Since everything in Souls is recorded, you should be able to look at your past submissions to find this information! 

 


How do you design?

 

Download the Imports

The first step in designing is to download your imprts! Each species has their own free import which you can use to design your character. You will want to enable any traits and mutations you have as well, and make sure you have the right coat build.

We have different types of files, and all are set up as Zip files for easier storage on our google drive. Be sure to unzip the files first! 

Files come in two types: Specific coat build and the Master file. Please be aware the master file is massive and some computers and programs may struggle or be unable to open it. 

If you are unable to open a file due to layer count (such as in Sai v1) we recommend using a program that allows you to open the file. There are free programs that will be able to open the files and not have a layer restriction. Additionally, some members of the game may be willing to assist you in getting a specific file for you!

Check out the Genetics Guide

The design guide is where you will go to learn all things markings! We have a few unique markings in Souls, as well as some standard markings. Because of this, we know it can be a lot to take in. 

Additionally, you might have a really old genotype that has old markings names, or merged markings. We recommend checking out our Genetic Changes guide as it is a living document of big changes we make like merging markings, or name changes to markings. It also includes traits, mutations, and skills and any other big genetic changes. We don't track changes to rules in this guide however. 

design your character!

Using your preferred program, go forth and design! However, if you simply don't want to for any reason, you can often reach out to the community. Folks will generally take design commissions or even in some case design a geno for free.

Have fun with the process and make sure you check your work with the design rules!

 

allowed import extras

We allow some special effects to be applied to your design to help spiffy it up! Along with free markings, this can make a plain looking genotype really shine! You can read about all import extras here, which goes over a lot of the color rules and the below concepts in greater detail! 

Line coloring

One of the features you can use is line coloring! This often softens a design up and allows for the harsher black lines to blend more with the body and colors. 

There is only one rule here: 

  • Lines must be darker than what sit over enough that they are visible.
color nuances and light shading

Color nuances are little shifts to the colors you use in a design. This comes in two forms: Nuances and the 20 point rule.

A nuance is when you have a very slight gradient on a marking, or feature. These are very very slight, generally 2-5 points in value difference, but never in saturation. It can help a design pop a little bit without bending any rules about mimicing other markings. 

The 20 point rule can be read here. It's a rule that allows markings to have a 20 point value gradient. This rule can be a huge game changing in taking a seemingly flat design and making it pop more! 

Light shading refers to lightly shading parts of the import. We allow you to shade the mouth, tongue, teeth, eyes, flesh, and things like claws and spikes. The main concern here is making sure you don't mimic the marking metallic by making things too shiny and metal looking! 

halos and shadows

Halos and shadows refer to when you give the design a backdrop that creates a halo or a shadow. We allow this so long as it is not overly large or overbearing. 

 

Chromatic aberration can also be used, but please make sure it is subtle to not harm the eyes of those who may be senstive to this effect!