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Does anyone have any tips when designing your own characters? Specifically armor and sci-fi gear.
Maybe not armor specifically but silhouette is always important. Hit V and that should turn your model black. Also I turn the range to 0 from the documents tab to read the model better.
Looks good tho
Coming up with something original is the challenge.
Function makes shape.

Understand what each piece does and how it fits human anatomy the optimal way.

The rest is styling, not design.
Study real protective equipment and gear, historical armor, contemporary plate carriers, bike suits, sports gear, medical bracing etc.
Anything you can think of. Contemplate and study why they are shaped the way they are.
Building up a vocabulary knowing what parts covering different portions of the body are called will go a long way in helping you seek out interesting ideas.

Being familiar with real world robotics, NASA, Boston Dynamics (Metal Gear I'm looking at you) and stuff like that is also a goldmine of ideas for sci/fi.

Once you have rich mental library of believable designs to base your imagination around you can mix and combine these
and simply look at any concept art that fit the atmosphere of what you wanna make, to create a 'lore friendly' variation of armor that'd fit the setting.
Coming up with something very original is not as important as coming up with something refined and appealing that look like it should exist within the setting.
Having a deep understanding of anatomy might also help as a lot of cybernetic/sci-fi type design use a lot of semi organic shapes and mechanic muscles that sit ontop of a body.

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