You can spend 20 minutes building a perfectly nice-looking person in Mass Effect: Andromeda's character creator, only to discover that you've created a grimacing tooth monster once you get into the game. The Ryders don't always animate well, and facial anomalies you can't see with a neutral expression may accordion across their mugs at the first hint of emotion. That said, they can also look better in-game than they did in the character creator.
Every custom character is based on a preset—there are nine female, and nine male—which can be tweaked. However much you customize your preset, a lot rides on which one you choose. Some presets give better in-game performances than others, but you have to watch at least the opening cutscene before you know how your character turned out.
To help, I've started the game with all 18 presets and chosen the best. See them all in the video above—with minor changes, mainly to the hair and makeup—and my recommendations below. (The line "Pathfinder team, eh? The ones finding us a home" is going to live in my subconscious for the rest of my life.)
The best presets
My favorite female presets are 1 and 8, while my favorite male presets are 4, 6, and 7. This is obviously subjective, but those five seem to grimace less horribly than the others, whether expressing surprise, pain, or just existing.
I based my main character off of the first preset for Sara, and after making many, many more characters, I still think it's the best one—see below. And show us your characters if you're playing.