Character Design: Nova


Hey there! Welcome to the Character Design page for Parallax’s Nova. Below you’ll find details on the visual aspect of the character and their costumes. If you want to visit this character’s home page, please click here. For more information on other characters or locations referenced in this post, click their name or visit the Character Design or Map Design section.

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, business, events and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.



What made Nova’s design process different from other characters was the fact that Ace left me in charge of crafting her appearance. I already had a desired image back when Project Parallax first began, but certain aspects have changed over time.

Eleven from Stranger Things (S1) Nova

One of my biggest inspirations was Eleven from the hit Netflix show, Stranger Things. Although I haven’t watched the latest seasons yet (mainly because COVID delayed its release and I became busier over the years), I drew ideas from that lab-rat appearance. For example, just like Eleven, Nova is given a shaved head, specifically because of the experiments that Orion conducted on her.

Something that makes Nova different, however, is the fact that she has heterochromia.


Eye of The Beholder

Nova’s pixelated design

Most humans have homochromia, which means both of your eyes are the same color. In contrast, heterochromia occurs when your eyes are two different colors. I discussed the idea of a “false” or “blind” eye with the team back when Parallax was just a 2D Platformer. We wanted to give her a unique physical trait that both stood out from other characters and connected back to her origin story.

I used a free human sprite as the base model and drew the gown over it. As for her eye, I used photos of a condition known as corneal opacity for reference. According to UVAHealth, Corneal opacity occurs when the cornea of one’s eye becomes scarred. It results in a grey, cloudy look over the individual’s eye.


Corneal Opacity

I learned later on, though, that heterochromia can also be a result of an injury (not just genetics). I decided that the appearance of one grey eye and one blue eye would help me more in the long run when I animate her in cutscenes, since you can see the pupil clearer as compared to corneal opacity.

Additionally, we altered the scar around her eye. Originally it was a blood-red cut. Since it was pixelated, I had to make it more self-evident that there was a scar. But with 3D-based concept art, we can have more subtle hints. In the final design, I changed it to a series of veiny marks underneath her skin. This is to indicate that it’s an internal scar beneath her eyelid.


Character Design

Although I taught myself how to model 3D objects, I haven’t really learned in-depth character creation. Because of this, I started out by sketching Nova’s major details on to a piece of paper. Then I took a photo and redrew it on my phone using a stylus pen. This gave me a basic facial structure I knew I wanted to copy from. The only problem was modeling it into a 3D object. Instead of jumping right to Blender’s sculpting tools, I decided to use an iPad application called “Face Model -posable human head.”

Rough sketch Digital outline 3D Modeling Application

I played around with the base model till I found a close enough fit to the desired image. Then I took a screenshot and opened it in an program called Procreate. I used warping tools to edit the mesh in more precise detail, as well as add the scar and photoshop buzzed hair over her head.



I’m very happy with the result of this rough draft. I aim to use the same tools to create more finalized reference images going forward for when I begin modeling the characters in Blender. My goal is to get better at more facial features that make Nova look unique and different from other characters.


Thanks for Reading!

~ Atlas from Atomic Rush Studios

“Rushers Stick Together”