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Character Casting

A 10-week course focused on how to create compelling characters for use in games, animation, film, and TV by understanding foundations and studying of references

Course overview Course overview

Course Overview

Learn to sculpt the human face

This class focuses entirely on sculpting the human face. One of the most important things to understand when you are creating a digital star of a movie, video game, or animation is facial landmarks and proper edgeflow to maintain it. You will work alongside a senior character artist to help map out and sculpt the human face. A character's face is the most important area in which the viewer will instantly read, and this class will explore how to create compelling depth in your characters to achieve this look in 3D.


Course Format:   Standard
Lecture Type:   Pre-recorded
Feedback:   Individual recordings
Duration:   10 weeks
Assignment:   Deadlines each week
Q&A:   Once a week
Materials:   Maya (or equivalent) MudBox (or equivalent) VRay (or equivalent)
Skills level:   Intermediate
Prerequisites:   Knowledge of Maya and ZBrush; course pre-reqs include Intro to Production Modeling and Anatomy for Production

Character Casting WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

What you'll learn

The more you know, the better.

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We will analyze various head dimensions based on real world measurements and get Maya set up with proper scene units. We will focus on using the distance measure tools to measure out head dimensions and adjust the base mesh to fit average head dimensions. We will then move over into sculpting and get comfortable with sculpting and facial forms, and ultimately sculpt an average proportioned generic head.
This week will focus on the beginning steps of creating a digital double from photographic reference. We will look at image planes, focal lengths of cameras, and what to look for in reference and how it relates to sculpting and modeling. We will be working on the same digital double head for the next 4 weeks, focusing on anatomy and form of various parts of the face each week.
We will import the model into Mudbox and focus on sculpting the lips, neck, and nose. We will look at anatomical reference to better understand what is happening under the skin and apply that to our sculpt.
We will focus on the anatomy and forms of the eye region of the head. We will also look at modeling techniques for eyeballs for game assets and for rendered cinematic assets.
We will look at finalizing the sculpt, adding high frequency detail, and addressing how to add hair.
This week we will start a new head model from concept art. We will take a look at something stylized and figure out how to translate it into 3D. We will discuss the forms and features that should be adhered to as well as things that could cause problems. We will focus on blocking out the major features.
We will pick up where we left off last week by refining the sculpt further, adding details that stay true to the concept and add additional details like clothing.
We will finalize the stylized head sculpt. We will start by getting it setup in Marmoset Toolbag 2. We will add some lights to the scene to better gauge the surface and the mesh. There will be a lot of back and forth from Marmoset and Mudbox as we continue to refine and finalize things. We will output final presentation images.
This week we will take what we learned from the previous weeks and apply it to working from concept art. We will discuss the issues that arise from working from flat, 2D artwork and how to address the various issues while maintaining creative freedom. This week will combine everything we learned into one week. It will move at an accelerated pace to cover the entire process from start to finish.
This week we will do a brief overview of facial expressions. There is a lot to cover with face shapes so we'll discuss how they are used in production. We will look at reference imagery and analyze what is going on during facial animation. There will be demonstrations on sculpting expressions.

Bringing out the best in talent

Lectures by Pete Zoppi

Pete is a Los Angeles based senior character artist with both video game and film experience. His skillset revolves around high to low poly modeling, texture painting and look development. He is currently working at Treyarch on Call of Duty : Black Ops 2. His past work includes Call of Duty: Black Ops, James Bond: Quantum of Solace, Underworld: Evolution and Night at the Museum. His softwares of choice are Maya, Mudbox, Zbrush and Photoshop.


February 5th!

winter TERM Registration

May 14, 2019 - Jul 23, 2019




February 5th!

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


1+ Year Access


Certificate of Completion


Flexible Learning


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