Character Facial Sculpting

A 10-week course in which students will learn the anatomy of the head and what makes the portrait tell a story and makes it "alive"

Course overview Course overview

Course Overview

Learn to sculpt the human face

During this course, students will learn what makes the face look as it does—the underlying structures of the skull, muscles, fat tissue, and other structures such as glands which create and affect the forms of the face. Without a basemesh, but starting from scratch to get a better understanding of all the layers laid on top of each other. Once that knowledge is established, we will go deeper into what makes the portrait alive and tell a story.


Course Format:   Standard
Lecture Type:   Pre-recorded
Feedback:   Individual recordings
Duration:   10 weeks
Assignment:   Due each week. Expect to spend 10-20 hrs/wk viewing lectures, q&a, and assignments
Q&A:   Once a week
Materials:   Zbrush, a graphics tablet with a digital pen — no mice allowed :)
Skills level:   Intermediate
Prerequisites:   Intermediate sculpting or drawing knowledge. Course Pre-req: Intro to Production Modeling, Zbrush for Concept & Iteration, and Anatomy for Production

Character Facial Sculpting WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

What you'll learn

The more you know, the better.

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Introduction | Going over anatomical references of the skull and neck bones, and explaining the benefits of learning what is "under the hood"
Further examining anatomical references of cartilage, eyes, glands
Adding muscles to the scene, and fat tissue
Building a generic face by laying the skin layer on top of the previously created layers
To get a better understanding of portrait sculpting, one portrait won't cut it, so we will create a new one.
Retopology of the bust and projecting back the details onto the new topology mesh. Clean topology will enable more efficient detailing, and later posing and expressions.
Final touches and tweaks of the portrait
Polypainting the color map
Sculpting the hair (or fibermesh or xgen)
For this lesson, retopology will have a big impact, as the head will be much easier to pose. Rendering different passes in Zbrush and bringing them into Photoshop for compositing into a final image.

Bringing out the best in talent

Lectures by Dmitrij Leppee

Laura Gallagher is currently Lead Character Artist at Guerrilla Games in Amsterdam. She studied 3D at the renowned Canada-based NAD Centre before joining the ranks of Eidos Montreal where she worked on titles such as Deus Ex and Tomb Raider. An industry veteran of 10+ years, she also has four years of experience as a Character Art teacher from her time in Montreal. On the side, Laura has collaborated with partners such as Prime 1 Studios on the production of collectibles and Open Bionics on the production of real prosthetics. She’s always eager to help her students develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills in order to overcome any difficult 3D production and design challenge.


July 19th!

summer TERM Registration

May 6, 2019 - Jul 22, 2019




July 19th!

Pricing & Schedule

Even though our courses are the most affordable for the quality of education.

These Finance Options allow you to focus on your goals instead of the barriers that keep you from reaching them.

Employer Reimbursement

Animation Guild CSATTF

Payment Plan

Companies that hire our students

  • Naughty Dog
  • Luma Pictures
  • Google
  • EA Games
  • DreamWorks Animation
  • Blizzard Entertainment

environment design Benefits


What makes this learning experience unique?

Personal Feedback

Receive personal individual feedback on all submitted assignments from the industries best artist.

1+ Year Access

Enjoy over 365 days of full course access. This includes all lectures, feedback, and Live Q&A recordings.

Certificate of Completion

Earn a Certificate of Completion when you complete and turn in 80% of course assignments.

Flexible Learning

Learn anywhere, anytime, and at your own pace with our online courses.

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