Case Study | Character Builder

Case Study | Character Builder


In this Case Study article, we will look at how to configure 'Character Builder' design functionality on a product - the aim being to offer the user with the ability to 'build' their own character from a preset range of options which is then printed as a design on the product.

This functionality is achieved by layering multiple configured image areas, all of which are linked to galleries of image assets.

In this particular example, we will be creating a Virtual Product from a Blank Tee Shirt, and adding the functionality to build a character from the parts.

This article will presume that you have familiarity with CPP and creating Blank and Virtual Products, specifically in relation to Image Area functionality. Before going any further, it would be best to go through the short Level 1 Level 2 and Level 3 Tutorials relating to IMAGE AREAS:

What do I need?

> Access to a Blank Product - You may have created your own on CPP, or you may have access to a Suppliers products

> Assets to add to your galleries - if used for a printed design these should be of sufficient quality.

To ensure that your gallery assets are positioned and scaled to fit correctly, the simplest approach is to save all files out from a single document as PNGs (with transparency), with each asset relatively positioned and scaled. 

How does it work?

Lets take a look at the Key steps in configuring character builder functionality on a Virtual Product.

1. Create your Galleries

In this example, we have 3 sets of assets that make up the 'character'; Skin colour, Hair, and Clothing.
This requires 3 Galleries to be created, and the associated image assets to be uploaded. It is best to 

Top Tip: To group your Galleries so they appear in searches, give them a relevant prefix, eg CB - Hair 

2. Create the Virtual using the Manual Option

Use the the manual option as this offers access to the more advanced configuration settings.

3. Configure Image Areas

In this example we are adding 3 image areas for each choice. The Image Areas need to be placed into layers using the Z-Index option to set layer order. Controlling the layers allows certain gallery images to sit above others. 

Image 1 - Skin Colour

  • Add an Image Area with a relevant name eg Skin Colour
  • The Image Area size should match the Aspect Ratio of the asset images in your gallery. 
  • Enable Gallery Only
  • Remove all interactive options - we want the image to stay in place.
  • Upload a Placeholder from the Skin Colour Gallery, and enable to use in Artwork
  • Link to the Gallery

Image 2 - Hair

  • Duplicate your Image Area and rename to Hair - this duplication retains all sizing and options.
  • Change the z-Index to 1, this higher value makes the layer sit above the Skin Colour 
  • Add the placeholder for the Hair and link the Gallery

Image 3 - Clothing

  • Duplicate your Image Area and rename to Clothing - this duplication retains all sizing and options.
  • Change the z-Index to 2, this higher value makes this the top most layer
  • Add the placeholder for the Clothing and link the Gallery

You can review your progress in Print Test to ensure that you are happy with the setup and layer order!

Top Tip - Load your Product into a Smartlink with a config that offers a better user journey - we recommend using ACP3_2 or Stepped3 with separate image menus - eg see:

What's Next?

You can use this setup to create any layered design functionality using preset imagery via galleries. One of the key benefits to this is that you can build upon your gallery imagery, and reuse them to create new products going forwards.

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