3D Character Arts Program

Master professional-level asset building and studio workflows in this training program designed specifically for a career as a 3D character artist

Courses start on Jul 23, 2018


24 months


Basic understanding of 3D modeling and texturing

Estimated Salary

$42.6 to $182K

Based on US job data

Foundations & Design Program overview

Program Overview

Understand the role of a Character Artist

Character artists are the engines that drive the world of 3D animation. In essence they are responsible for translating pre-production and concept art into a solid, workable 3D form for the animation team, but that barely scratches the surface of what’s involved. What’s remarkable about this job is the way it combines technical precision with artistic expression, providing a unique opportunity to build the characters and creatures that ultimately define a project. Little wonder the role of Character Artist is often regarded as the most coveted in Entertainment Design.

This intensive course is designed to take students through the entire process of character creation, developing the skills required required to become a character artist capable of producing work to industry standards. Along the way students will become fluent in human anatomy, familiarize themselves with professional character pipelines, and get to grips with the tools and techniques used by seasoned professionals when sculpting, modeling and finessing the surface detail on their creations. While some of the classes emphasize character arts from a games development perspective, the Character Arts program is equally valid for those eyeing a career in animation and vfx for film or television, where the scale and nature of the work typically requires larger teams of artists working in more specialized roles. For such students it provides a unique opportunity to gain a solid understanding of the entire pipeline while refining skills for their chosen specialist role, such as hard surface modeler, prop artist, texture artist, rigging artist, or creature designer.

Prerequisites Basic understanding of 3D modeling and texturing



This is the domain of the Character Designer, and the place where ideas are explored, references collected and the form and function of the character fleshed out (if not yet made flesh). Often this will all feed into a turnaround sheet, which portrays on paper enough three dimensional detail and outline information for the next stage of character development…


The modeling stage involves turning the evocative artwork from the previous stage into something solid, living and - almost - breathing. This involves more than simple translation, as the leap into 3D dimensions requires fresh creative decisions and the need for a fine degree of detail. The process typically involves some rough shaping, followed by more refined modeling/sculpting using tools such as ZBrush and Maya. Levels of required detail vary from project to project, but whether creating characters for film, games or other entertainment media, the basic process remains the same.


The crucial stage that determines a character’s final appearance, texturing is the process of taking an unpainted, unembellished (though sometimes retopologized) model and adding color, tone and materials detail to it. This can involve multiple sub-stages - such as UV mapping, shader creation, and painting - which all contribute to the final appearance of every surface element, including every inch of skin, the eyes, hair any bodywear.


Rigging is the stage that takes the character’s carefully crafted 3D form and transforms it into something that can be posed and animated. It’s the rig that defines how a character’s physical form holds together, how the various body parts interact and what controls the animators are given to work with. Requiring a fine balance between flexibility and efficiency, a character rig needs to work in concert with the model design while satisfying all the performance needs of the animation team.

Foundations & Design CURRICULUM

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