Designing the New Outfits in RWBY Volume 7
Why hello there! I’m Kerry Shawcross, RWBY’s showrunner. If you can believe it, it’s been three years since the RWBY core cast got an outfit swap, so we thought RWBY Volume 7 would be the perfect time to update their looks. Join me, if you will, as I walk through some of the steps that went into designing the new outfits in RWBY Volume 7!
Why We Created New Outfits for RWBY Volume 7
First things first: why new outfits? Well, there are a few reasons. One, change is fun. I know everyone has their own favorite designs (I’ll personally never stop loving Ruby’s original outfit), but after three or so years with the same ones, it’s nice to change things up. It allows us to grow creatively, inspire some awesome new cosplay and fanart (hopefully), and let us look back at the different eras of the show.
Secondly, and probably more importantly, Atlas and Mantle are cold. We thought it might look a little silly for our characters to get to one of the four major cities in Remnant and not think about buying something a little warmer.
The Process of Creating New Outfits
What’s the first step in creating new outfits? Well, for Team RWBY, we decided to go to Ein Lee, the original concept artist for most of the main characters in Volume 1. She and Monty Oum worked together to create the girls’ original looks, so it seemed fitting to ask her to continue the process.
Before Volume 6 was even done with production, I hopped on a call with Ein, Patrick Rodriguez (Art Director), and Erin Winn (Lead Concept Artist). Together we threw around ideas and inspirations (what shows we’ve been watching), talked about the locations the characters will be in (did I mention it’s cold?), and discussed new ideas we want to try (haircuts!).
From there, Ein was off to the races. The way she works, which is typical for a lot of concept artists, is to start out with really rough, broad ideas. These can vary from loose sketches to fairly fleshed-out ideas. This allows all of us to start examining the silhouette, which is one of the most important things for character designs. Especially with action scenes, it’s so important that our characters are clear and iconic at a glance.
This process can go back and forth for a bit; honestly, it varies wildly. For this round, I remember all of us falling in love with Weiss right away. Ein nailed exactly what we were looking for: a Weiss that is focused on casting and also wanting to come into her own even more.
Yang, on the other hand, had more iterations than the rest. All of the designs were great; it just took a few tries to find the one that was perfect for now. It’s kind of like picking what flavor of ice cream you want. They’re all good and you have your favorites, but since you only get one, you tend to take it pretty seriously (or at least I do).
After working with Ein and finding a design we liked, we then worked with other teams, specifically Animation and Rigging, to see how they felt about the designs. This is where compromise starts to come into play. What good is a really cool looking outfit if it’s too complicated to animate during the time that we have?
An example of this is once again Yang. She has this awesome jacket that looks great, but is a little limited when fighting. We all talked and decided we could roll up her sleeves when she goes to fight, that way her rig still has the flexibility needed for more extreme motions. While we were creating that new “rolled-up sleeves” shape, we decided to go ahead and tuck in the straps that normally dangle from her arm. The straps looked great in motion, but that much additional animation during fights might slow the animators down and prevent them from focusing on what is most important.
Creating new outfits is an incredibly fun but also sometimes scary process. It’s a commitment. Seeing the fan response to the new outfits in RWBY Volume 7 has been really great, and I can’t wait to hear what you all think after seeing them in action in RWBY Volume 7, Chapter 3!