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3D Character Creation
Class 02: Rough Sculpting


  • Drawing
  • Rough Sculpting
  • Class 02 Lab

You stayed for class two!


Importance of Drawing:

The students that are the best artists tend to be the best modelers. You will have a better understanding of form and be able to replicate and enhance nature.
An astute drawer can make better observations that improve their animations.
You will take notes when doing research and development for your projects by drawing.

Programs are becoming more and more intuitive. Programs like Z-Brush, Mudbox, and Mari are making it possible for the traditional artist to create digital assets at higher quality than the technically inclined persons.
Programs and pipelines are constantly changing. It is your fundamental art skills that are applicable no matter what medium you are working with that will keep you hired and gain you promotion.

Tim Burton is renowned for his style and it shows in his films.
James Cameron can draw (he drew the drawing in Titanic).
The ability to draw is like the ability to write or speak; it’s communication.
The better you draw the better you can communicate.
So how did drawing in animation begin? Glad you asked.

James Cameron actually drew the drawing of Rose in Titanic.

Tim Burton has a strong style that he communicates through his drawings that directly affects the look of his films.

Practical Example: Disney

Before Disney made Snow White and the Seven Dwarves he produced the short film, The Goddess of Spring. This was meant as a test to see how well his animators could handle realistic characters and effects. The results were… disappointing.

After The Goddess of Spring disaster Disney realized that his animators were not prepared to make a feature film. Disney made a deal with the local college and made it mandatory for all animators to take drawing courses. The result is present in The Old Mill, for which Disney won an Oscar. The quality is night and day.

Drawing Anatomy:

Few things will improve your drawing skills more than drawing anatomy.

  • Forces Accuracy
  • Teaches drawing inside out
  • The foundation of many designs are anatomical
  • Non-technological skill that is applicable to many media

You can directly see how the anatomy relates to the final design.

Practical Example: Rob Liefeld

Rob Liefeld is an example of having no understanding of anatomy. His lack of draftsmanship has become something of legend.
You can view a fun (and ridiculous) article on his work here

I’m Convinced (now what?)


Like all the time. Just doodle sometimes. Other times be very methodical and exact. Treat it like exercise. You don’t become a body-builder from one day of working out. You have to commit to it.

You should draw the following:

  • Gesture Sketches
    • Quick drawings (60 sec) that you concentrate on the expression and proportion of the figure.
  • Long Form Drawings
    • Finished artwork that you really dig into. Concentrate on accuracy and anatomy.

This is a great tool for drawing. It is better to draw from life but on this site you will find a slide show that displays images base on your preferences. I highly suggest trying it out.

I found this youtube playlist presents a good intro to anatomy drawing if you want more direct instructions.

Richard Smitheman

Rough Sculpting

Dynamic Tesselation

Dynamic Tesselation is the method by which triangulated geometry is produced in real-time interactively. This method is an improvement from the older method of sculpting by which you must subdivide the model to increasingly higher resolutions to produce large forms or smaller details. The major setback of this method is that the results of the sculpture are not usable for production. This is however a great way to freely sculpt a base with a concentration on aesthetics.

When create sculpt this way you should concentrate on exploration and overall form. Do not get carried away with details since they will eventually be replaced with proper topology. You may sculpt the details later.

The program above is called SculpGL. It runs right in your browser. It actually leverages dynamesh itself. Try it out.

Class 02 Lab

Human Model (rough base sculpt) Lab

In the first lab series you will create a humanoid character. In this particular lab a rough sculpt is produced. You will follow the instructor in creating the base mesh and broad adjustments but you will develop your own design. The result of this lab will be used throughout the series and for the human model project.

You will be graded on the following:
  • Lab Requirements
    • Techniques and processes covered in the instructional material is followed and implemented.
  • Creativity & Craftsmanship
    • Excellent design choices, novel & appealing, and solid clean caliber work.
Assignment Video Tutorials
You may watch the tutorial videos below to help you complete your assignment.

Assignment Video Tutorials

Wait! Before you go!

Did you remember to?

  • Read through this webpage
  • Submit Class 02: Human Model (rough base sculpt) Lab on Blackboard