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3D Character Creation
Class 09: Surface Theory


  • Auto-Retopology
  • Surface Tips
  • Class 09 Lab

Class 9 is a killer



One of the newer developments of 3D technology is the ability to auto-retopologize the model. Instead of manually creating polygons over-top of the sculpt the program will automatically generate one based on the surface characteristics of the model. Guides may also be created to help direct the topology. Although this is an awesome feature it will never be as good as manual retopology.

Surface Tips:


As you progress you will become more adept at sculpting. Like other skillsets it involves practice. Nothing will help you more than iteration.

Think Through:

The surface is what the viewer sees. This is not what the figure is. It is the culmination of it’s parts. There is bone, muscle, fat, skin, hair, clothing, etc. that are all layered on top of each other to reveal a much more complex design. When drawing or sculpting think through the figure. Imagine what lies beneath. You are creating the superficial to imply what lies beneath. Your character is not skin-deep.

Conceptual Shapes:

When you draw or model you should look for simpler conceptual shapes in your design. This makes it easier to visualize as well as read better to the viewer. Look for simplicity to strengthen the form.


Look for planes in the figure. This will give your model more structural strength. The planes will catch light across the surface and create inner positive and negative space. 


Contrast creates interest. Push contrasting design elements. Push straights against curves. Place complex areas against simple ones.


Most are aware of contrasting characters (think tall/thin against short/squat) but the key to a good singular character design is too apply the same principle to each character themselves. An element is only as prominent as the elements surrounding it are subdued. To design a “strong” character, don’t apply large arms, make small legs.


Yes texture does refer to the physicall properties of a surface but more than that it involves breaking up space. Smooth designs are read more quickly. Apply textural techniques to increase the visual interest of the surface.

Class 09: Fantasy Model (hi-res sculpt & texturing) Lab

Fantasy Model (hi-res sculpt & texturing) Lab

In this lab you will complete the high resolution sculpt and digital painting. Once completed you will have a finalized character model.

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 09: Fantasy Model (hi-res sculpt & texturing) Lab