Sculpting Anatomy: From Animal to Creature

A 10-week course using anatomy foundations and design principles to model animals and create creatures

Course overview Course overview

Course Overview

Understand creature anatomy thru digital tools

In this course, students will create their own animal anatomy study in ZBrush. They will learn how to construct a model from the inside out, starting by building the skeletal system and adding muscles and skin later on. This course will also focus on portfolio by covering how to light and render a beautiful study in Maya and Photoshop. In the second part of the course, students will jump from the study to the creation process by learning how to build up their own creatures. They will create the anatomy of their own dragon and discover the workflows to sculpt details and paint accurate skin colors in ZBrush.


Course Format:   Standard
Lecture Type:   Pre-Recorded
Feedback:   Individual Recordings
Duration:   10 Weeks
Assignment:   Deadlines Each Week
Q&A:   Once a Week
Materials:   Zbrush, Maya, & Photoshop (or equivalent software)
Skills level:   Beginner to Intermediate
Prerequisites:   Knowledge of ZBrush and digital sculpting strongly recommended; basic knowledge of Maya and ZBrush is required; basic knowledge of Photoshop strongly recommended; course pre-reqs include Anatomy for Production

Environment design WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

What you'll learn

The more you know, the better.

expand all
collapse all
Introduction to the jierarchy of animal anatomy. Motion: skeleton, muscles, articulation, direction Will learn a basic understanding of design: carnivore vs. herbivore. Will be studying anatomy designs and paint-over in Photoshop
Introduction to animal face anatomy, descriptions of the face, and skull sculpting.
Basic understanding of the body structure and connection. Students will gain a deeper understanding of the anatomy of the spine, from the scapula to the fingers, standing on the legs. Students will be creating the base of our animal in ZBrush.
Understanding the role of a muscle. Learn the description of the head anatomy. the spinal column muscles, and continue ZBrush sculpting.
Understand the fat presence on the body, the skin's appearance. Students will learn to use the écorché in ZBrush and have a better understanding of the anatomy of fur.
Put motion into practice. Studens will take a photographic look of an animal anatomy study and use a clay material to create a pose in ZBrush. We will be setting up our studio in 3D.
Interpreting anatomy, introduction to the dragon project and will be creating the base in ZBrush.
Continuing the dragon project. We will have a dragon skeleton draw-over. Use and study from Avatar's creatures. Continue building our dragon's écorché in ZBrush and add the wings.
Create details in ZBrush and use Photoshop to create details. We will start posing our dragons/
Students will have a better understanding of production needs. Complete the final Dragon project. Colorize your creature, From 3D to illustration.

Taking your skills to the next level

Lectures by Gael Kerchenbaum

Gael Kerchenbaum is a Freelance Creature Artist. Early in his life, creatures like King Kong, Godzilla and dragons inspired him and bring him to the world of VFX. Gael decided to dedicate his career to understand the mechanism behind animal anatomy. He worked at MPC, where he was part of the team who gave birth to the animals of Jungle Book. Then he became a freelancer and worked for many studios like Bacon Picture, Noemotion, Capsule Studio… Gael is currently working as a Creature Artist for Axis Animation on unannounced cinematic projects.

May 14th - July 23rd

Summer TERM Registration



Classes Begin

July 21st!

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

Speak to an advisor

Need guidance or course recommendations? Let us help!

Have you taken a course with us before?

Show us your skills

Not sure if you have the skills, or are you proving you do? Show us.

Have you taken a course with us before?