Character artists face the unique challenge of translating 2D character designs into a 3D space, creating—and sometimes inventing—a character’s anatomy. Masters of proportion, likeness, and readability, character artists are tasked with ensuring that even a tiny in-game model is not only a believable form, but that it also captures the character’s fantasy.
In this video, you’ll get an overview of the character modeling workflow and learn about some of the character artists’ key considerations throughout the modeling process. We’ll also introduce the art of texturing—from hand-painting to using shaders—which is often part of a character artist’s role in addition to modeling.
Here are some resources and exercise ideas the character artists recommend.
Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators, Second Edition by Mike Mattesi
Harley Brown's Eternal Truths for Every Artist by Harley Brown
Figure Drawing: Design and Invention by Michael Hampton
Anatomy for Sculptors Understanding the Human Figure by Uldis Zarins with Sandis Kondrats
The Polycount Wiki is an extremely helpful learning resource built from contributions by a huge range of working professionals in the game industry.
Polycount also has a forum for character artists. t's a little crowded, but still a great place to get critiques and advice.
And of course, Artstation! Browse through the thousands of amazing artists who post there. It can help inspire you as well as help you understand where the professional bar is.
Exercises the Character Artists Recommend:
Figure drawing! Either attend live or find figure sessions on Youtube!
Sculpt a head a day for a year! Practice capturing likeness.
Try rapid prototyping: create quick models to try out different proportions.
Here are some League models for you to check out from the character art team, as well as the concepts they’re based on. We also threw in Willem’s zBrush cheat sheet to help you navigate that beast of a program. Good luck!