Introduction to 3D Character Modeling



The Art of Character Modeling – Maya to ZBrush

Whether you’re watching your favorite animated film, enjoying the next VFX blockbuster, or playing an action-packed video game, every character on your screen was created by a talented group of artists. It’s easy to overlook the incredible skill and hard work that goes into designing and realizing these characters, but there’s no doubt of the impact these artists have within the entertainment industry.

Studios need character artists with a strong understanding of polygon modeling workflows, digital sculpting techniques, and clean topology for downstream departments. Whether you’re carrying out an Art Director’s vision or bringing your own unique design to life, it’s thrilling to be part of that process.

What is Character Modeling?

Character modeling is the process of transforming a concept, essentially an idea, into a three-dimensional model. The character artist builds the model from the ground up using tools such as polygon box modeling, hard surface modeling, and digital sculpting techniques.

Think of it like the traditional art of sculpting a statue. In classical art this was done with clay, marble, and other materials. The artist would start with a large block of material and use additive or subtractive techniques to create their vision.

In our modern digital workflows we use software like Autodesk® Maya® and Pixologic’s ZBrush to get that same effect. This combination of tools is like working with digital clay—we are able to create a base model of the design and then sculpt on more complex details and anatomical notes. Once a character model is finalized it’s ready for rigging and the rest of the animation pipeline. This art of modeling and sculpting characters is a wonderful blend of the technical and creative sides of the brain and a highly rewarding profession.

What this Course Teaches

Introduction to 3D Character Modeling teaches beginner and intermediate modelers the best practices and workflows every character artist needs to successfully develop their skill set and portfolio of work. Students will develop core skills within the character creation pipeline, from base mesh to character sculpting, UV character mapping, functionality, texturing, and basic rendering for presentation. Register for this workshop and create your own high quality character model!

What is the best software for character modeling?

Maya and ZBrush are the industry standard choices, so we focus our workshop on the workflows, best practices, and modern techniques used within these software packages. To succeed in this workshop, students should have a basic understanding of prop modelling within Maya. ZBrush experience is welcome but not expected; we will teach you everything you need to know!