Kent Trammell (theluthier)

672 replies · posted

[ENDED] BC2-1803 - March 2018 Class Homepage - Creating Stylized Characters with Blender

[FINAL, FINAL] CLASS ANNOUNCEMENT #7 (Apr 11, 2018): Thanks to those of you who have responded to the Questionnaire. The feedback is extremely helpful. If you haven't responded yet and you participated in the class - or even if you didn't participate - please fill that out and I will gift you 20 Breath of the Wild screenshots from my Switch.

[FINAL] CLASS ANNOUNCEMENT #6 (Apr 9, 2018): We've reached the end of the homework extension period and this class officially comes to end. What a month! It's been a thrill to see each of you forge your characters, learn new things, share tips with each other, and offer critiques along the way.

This thread will be open indefinitely but it's officially at the end of it's "class lifespan" meaning I won't be able to commit weekly time to it anymore and I will unpin it from the forum topics list. I'll pop in occasionally if I see activity but you all are more than welcome to keep working on their characters here if you wish!

UPDATE: Closing post on page 44 and XP has been added to each participating account.

CLASS ANNOUNCEMENT #5 (Mar 28, 2018): Week 4's stream is archived and available via the Past Events button on the Live Event page. Also a reminder that I'm extending the 'deadline' of this month and will be keeping this thread alive through the end of the first week in April. Hopefully that gives you all a bit more time to get your characters done!

CLASS ANNOUNCEMENT #4 (Mar 26, 2018): Week 3, done! Thanks to everyone who submitted by Sunday. I'm quite impressed by the neutralization and retoplogy work I've seen. It's a lot of work and I can see that effort in the WIPs and especially completed submissions.

Week 4 - the final week - dives into adding color to our model, primarily in the form of creating textures. Check out this week's breakdown a little further down in this description and see you tomorrow at the Live Event!

CLASS ANNOUNCEMENT #3 (Mar 19, 2018): Week 2 is accomplished and I'm finally caught up on submissions! Thanks to everyone who submitted by Sunday. We have some impressive character concept sculpts underway. In fact, I have yet to bestow a grade lower than an A this week.

Week 3 continues our 3-week character building production. Specifically we're going to look at pursuing an animation friendly version of our character - both how and why we would do this. See you tomorrow at the Live Event! Don't forget to RSVP.

CLASS ANNOUNCEMENT #2 (Mar 12, 2018): Week 1 is done! Thanks to everyone who submitted by Sunday. It's been a lot of fun seeing your caricature work and concept art choices.

Week 2 begins the 3-week process of building a character based on the concepts we choose. Don't forget to RSVP to the Live Event tomorrow - See you then!

CLASS ANNOUNCEMENT #1 (Mar 5, 2018): Class is in session! Today officially begins the BC2-1803 class. Please check the syllabus below for Week 1's focus and assignments. Begin watching the pre-recorded courses if you haven't already and begin looking for a cool, stylized character design for creating in 3D this month. The first Live Event is tomorrow at 2pm EST - SEE YOU THERE! 😎


Welcome to the CGCookie Class: Creating Stylized Characters with Blender! This class is designed to teach you everything you need to know about building stylized 3D characters. If you’re diligent in watching all content and hitting homework deadlines, by the end you will have a modeled and textured stylized character! It’s an intermediate-to-advanced class which means you’ll do best by having some experience with Blender and 3D modeling before committing to this class.

This is the second "Class" format where Citizen members are invited to focus together on a particular topic/skill for a month. Participation looks like this:

  • RSVP and attend the Live Events
  • Watch the courses outlined below
  • Ask questions
  • Submit homework
  • Generally be active in this thread

WHEN? The class will take place from March 5th through March 31st

✅WEEK 1: Understanding Character "Stylization" (March 5-11)

Abstract: Stylization is any deviation from realism. Thus it’s a broad spectrum from slight liberty away from reality to extreme abstraction of reality. This week we're going to sift through various examples of stylized characters, noting their qualities, and categorizing a spectrum of stylization.

Goal of the Week: Train your eye and mind to stylize your perception. Practice simplifying and exaggerating reality. Loosen up your sculpting approach (gestural sculpting).

Pre-recorded course to watch: Art of Sculpting: Caricature Chapter

Week 1 Live Event (Already happened and archived!)


  • Sculpt a caricature bust [post a screenshot, render, or sketchfab embed]
  • Choose/create concept art for your character. [post an image of your chosen concept art]

✅WEEK 2: Character Development & Sculpture (March 12-18)

Abstract: Story plays a big part in stylization. Not necessarily ‘narrative’ but background, personality, and purpose. The success of a character is strengthened by its developmental arc. The best artists create characters that are more than the sum of its pixels; more than the sum of its brush strokes and polygons; more than its final render.

Goal of the Week: Develop a story for your character; one that can fuel your creative workflow for the rest of the month. Then channel that story into the first stage of sculpting.

Pre-recorded courses to watch:

Week 2 Live Event (Don't forget to RSVP)


  • Write a background for your character at least 2-3 paragraphs long (200-300 words) [share as a Google Doc if longer with a TL;DR summary at the top]
  • Sculpt your character. [post a screenshot, render, or sketchfab embed]

✅WEEK 3: Production-Friendly Character Models (March 19-25)

Abstract: At this point a decision needs to be made about our character sculptures: A) Leave it as a sculpture or B) optimize it for ‘production’. Leaving it as a sculpture means it’s a static sculpture that can be painted, rendered, or 3D printed but not animated. Optimizing it for production means you turn your sculpture into a model that’s easiest to work with up to and including animation. If you opt for optimization, this week is mostly a technical and problem-solving task. We need to both retopologize our mesh and also neutralize it if the sculpt is posed.

Goal of the Week: Understand the concept of “production-friendly” and practice retopology.

Pre-recorded courses to watch:

Week 3 Live Event (Don't forget to RSVP)


  • Do the Robo Orb Retopo Exercise [post link to your submission]
  • If you’re maintaining a static character sculpture, just focus on polishing it to perfection.
  • If you’re retopologizing your character sculpt, retopologize and neutralize it.

✅WEEK 4: Painting Our Characters (March 26-31)

Abstract: Like Dorothy, our characters have so far lived in a black and white world. This week we’re leaving Kansas and adding color. There’s many methods for creating our character texture(s) including hand-painting, baking maps that accent the painting process (great for the less painterly character artists), as well as photo-sourcing. There's also a couple different formats: Vertex Colors and UV/Textures.

Goal of the Week: Get comfortable with painting textures.

Pre-recorded courses to watch

Week 4 Live Event (Don't forget to RSVP)


See you in March!

This thread is reserved for CG Cookie Citizens that are participating in the "Creating Stylized Characters with Blender" class. Its purpose is to serve as central communication for all participating Citizens (excluding Hobby plan Citizens) to ask me and each other questions and to post homework. As the instructor of the class, I will be monitoring this thread on a daily basis (especially Mon-Thurs) throughout the month of March to review homework and answer questions.

Free members are welcome to observe the thread but please respect that communication is reserved for Citizens.

  • Going to use this as concept art to build a character from...

  • this week was amazing ! i love the class system , it was a great experience for me , and i am happy to meet u all , following ur progress and reading ur feedback was priceless !

    i personaly never follow any art class , i know now what i was missing !

    thank u all , thank u Kent .

  • Homework Submission Week 1

    Hopefully, I'm not too late to submit the homework for the class. I decided to do the character with one of my close friends from college. I would have liked to spend more time on it but I became very busy with school and had to make due with what I had done. Overall I feel that the sculpt went fairly well. Getting the eyes, ears, and cheeks exaggerated was difficult at first but then after re-watching the tutorials, I understood how to do them. The hair was the most difficult part of the sculpt to get how I wanted. I had another idea in mind, however, I began to run out of time and decided to derive from the reference picture a bit with the hair.

    For the concept art, I decided to go with one of the characters from one of my favorite mobile games. A scythe wielder named Alice. 

    • I can totally see the similarity. Too bad you ran out of time and thinking of the hair before starting made me choose a bold person :)

    • crew

      Nice job on your caricature rrichm! I can definitely see resemblance to your friend. The only note I'll give is that the exaggeration appears more subtle than extreme. Maybe 20% exaggeration. I would have liked to see 50% or more exaggeration for the challenge of the exercise. But still, you've certainly accomplished the homework.

      It's a B+ in my book - good stuff!

      Your character concept choice is a good one 👍

  • crew


    CLASS ANNOUNCEMENT #2 (Mar 12, 2018)

    Week 1 is done! Thanks to everyone who submitted by Sunday. It's been a lot of fun seeing your caricature work and concept art choices.

    Week 2 begins the 3-week process of building a character based on the concepts we choose. Don't forget to RSVP to the Live Event tomorrow - See you then!


    • Kent theluthier before of anything - thank you very much that you had a consequent positive and encouraging word for everyone on Week1. The grades were objective and fair, good to see again that the class system works.

      Checking the statistics anyway it is amazing that again a big number of 26 homework submissions arrived with completing a really not easy task.

      It is also interesting that in the March class 21 new members posted homework in comparison to the January one, while 5 members participated in both January & March classes. The short conclusion seems from that there is quite a big percent of people on CG Cookie who are quite advanced and especially interested in sculpting :-)

      That was a real fun so let's continue it starting with the Live Event tomorrow :-)


    From Week 2 on we are going to work on our own character.

    On my level (which can be seen below). Is it better to work with the own concept, even if it is very rough. Or is it better to search for a character from a "real" artist, which is more refined. I know I have to practice drawing, what I do, but what is better for this class?

    Concept1: Drinking Women Concept2:Big man who likes do paint small things Concept3: Simple mining Worker

    • crew

      Honestly, I would recommend choosing someone else's concept art. Not that your illustrations are poor by any means! But just that they're maybe not quite as high quality as what you can find from more established concept artists online, ya know?

  • Another quick sculpture ! i love this assignment !

    hopefully the likeness is here

  • My giraffe character has too big distance between of the front and back legs in Right view, could you please someone advice with which technique that box selected part could be pushed left?

    I thought that maybe simply in Edit mode could move it left, that anyway sure would mess the topology, although with Dyntopo could fix it after

  • I know I'm super late but I still wanted to submit this. I shouldn't miss anymore homework hopefully.

    It's not done but it still fills the requirements, plus the next class starts in an hour lol. Here it is. I also practiced modelling hair at the same time, two for one.

    concept by @poiya_png

    • crew

      Sorry for the late reply purpleant - I've got some catching up to do in this thread. I like your character bust! It reads quite true to the art and the hair is well done; really helps to sell the likeness. Only thing I wish was there was some color to represent the eyes and soe geo for the teeth/tongue. Those seem important to me for establishing full likeness.

      Is this part of your week 2 homework; the conceptual sculpt?

  • Week 1: Homework

    I had a hard time finding features to exaggerate.

    • Make it so, number one.

      Overall, I'd say that this is a great likeness. Only thing I noticed right off is that Patrick Stewart has a rather pronounced jaw angle back by the ear. More so than many. So not seeing that makes this feel a little off.

    • crew

      While I agree that this doesn't feel overly exaggerated, I totally see Jean Luc Picard in there. The squinty/slanted eyes are great, the forehead slope into the nose feels recognizable, the expression, the hair... Nice job getting a likeness without exaggerating much. I agree with Grady's note about the jaw line missing the corner(s) below the ears.

      In achieving a good likeness but without much exaggeration, you've earned a solid B+ in my book 👍

  • Sorry to have missed the stream.  The thread is getting so long! Is there an easy way to check for an archive later? Is there any homework?

    • hey there ! it was nice stream ! the homework for this week is to write some line of backstory to the concept art u chose , the sculpting it gesturaly ( in pose !!! )

    • Hi @Hypester77 Paul,

      if you mean the archive for the stream, yep you can watch it again.

      After 24/48 hours it is generally available, if you look at the events page, and select the past events.

      once it has been archived in a day or so, it will appear there and you can rewatch.

      the homework that I'm aware of is also listed at the top post of this thread under week 2.

      hope that helps a wee bit.


    • Maybe in the weekly update to the description we could put a line about "This week's comments start on page 14." theluthier ?

    • crew

      This thread is getting lonnnnng. It's [painfully] obvious that we need a custom system for classes to be built into the site ASAP. Perhaps a thread per week.

      Thanks for dealing with the 'beta-ness' of the current system. Suggestions are very welcome for what the official system could be.

      And thanks for the assist with the timely answers stonewing oboshape mmalhomsi 🙇🏻‍♂️

  • Week 1 Homework Submission

    It's late, but I had a go at sculpting Bubbles during the livestream today. It was my first attempt at any sort of likeness, and while it's not quite there, I'm pretty happy with the result. Let me know what could be improved :)

    Edit: now that I look at it again I'm getting a bit of a Jay Leno vibe haha

    • Well done Matt! I think it really looks like him, i like how you exaggerated the jaw to make him more angry (angry is not quite the word i was looking for but i don't know enough english for it :( ), and those big starring eyes as well!

      One thing i would add is more of a rectangular shape to the face with a bigger forehead, in the scultpure it looks a little bit smaller than in the picture in my opinion.

      You certainly did a better homework than me though! Good work!

    • I love that you exaggerated tucking his glasses behind his nostrils. Great job!

    • crew

      Wow, this is an incredible result for a first-time likeness/caricature sculpt! You've done a great job exaggerating key features, like the eyes, the chin, and the frown. Recognizable without a doubt.

      Well done! It's an easy A in my book.

  • not bad at all Matt , u got the likeness well and the exageration is obvious!

  • Just wanted to let you know I do intend to participate in this course.  I have had 60+ hour work weeks for the last 6 weeks. I went on two out of town trips. I moved, and my new place probably won't have internet for a couple weeks.  But i should have some time to jump in to blender from here on out.  My assignments may be a bit late to the table though.  Everyone's submissions look great thus far!

  • I enjoyed last weeks assignment so much I went ahead and did Patrick Stewart as well before starting on next weeks. This one was much more difficult to get a likeness and find what to exaggerate. I focused on the flat nostrils, the shape of the bridge of the nose, the smaller squinty eyes, and his somewhat pointy bald head.

  • I'm still working on a very late week one submission. Would anyone care to comment on what they think are some of my distinguishing features? 

    Other than my eyes being farther apart than the Average Caucasian Male, I'm really struggling to find features to exaggerate.

    (Aside from my hair, which, to quote my favorite author Brandon Sanderson is "Slovenly, but not dirty.")

    For context, I'm a "year-one Blender hobbyist".


    • Hi Ryan. It's a good start, you've got the roundness keyed in nicely. I'm not seeing a lot of distinguishing features that would be easy to focus on for caricature, but there are a few. You have a slightly crooked smile and prominent, asymmetrical laugh lines. I would try pushing the crookedness and the crease of the laugh lines, and puffing out the cheek bone close in under the eyes. Try starting out with a base head shape that is really exaggerated like the one's in the photo below, probably something with most of the weight on the bottom (this is something I didn't do well on mine).

      I'd focus on small eyes with big cheeks, nose and mouth. I think it'll be tough to get both likeness and caricature on this one. Off to a good start though.

      Also, did you take one of your references while driving down the highway? Haha

    • crew

      Solid feedback from Matt. Even for a WIP sculpt, I think you're very much headed in the right direction. The crooked smile, generally round, potato-like head, big eyes - they're working well imo. I honestly think if you just continue to flesh out all the pieces (glasses, hair, ear details) it'll be a solid caricature.

  • How's this for a story?

    Kilyn is a tall, blonde haired half-elf with purple eyes and mocha skin.  The daughter of a blacksmith, she never wanted to pursue the same trade as her human mother.  Her father is a well known dancer in the village and the surrounding lands.  Since her father travels often to perform, Kilyn dances while he is away to better connect with her father during the down times of helping her mother fix farming equipment and militia gear.

    Visiting the local library run by her friend Roscoe, Kilyn asked if there were any books on different dance styles.  One style spoke to her dream of following her father, a style that blends swordplay, arcane arts, and graceful dancing: Bladesinger.  She devoted all available time learning the ways of the Bladesinger, scouring as many books as she could.  Despite doing the best she could, she could never quite reach the level of Bladesinger.

    One day, there was a call to adventure in the town.  An adventure like this would be the perfect chance for Kilyn to bring her dancing to the people and be known just like her father.  Maybe she’ll find a Bladesinger to teach her what she was missing, too.  Before leaving on the adventure with her friends, her mother gifted Kilyn with an elegant longsword forged in her fires.  Her father gifted a beautiful set of blue and purple leathers fit for a dancer.  Donning her new equipment, she hugged her parents one last time before venturing forth.

  • Wow... Seems a week went by already and I forgot to do my caricature. Guess I'll have to work on that when I get back home from vacation. 

    As for my character for the rest of the month, I think I'm going with my old, grizzled medieval knight for my knight and dragon image. I know the pose I want from a previs I did... Have an idea on the basic body type from a reference pack I have. Just need to find the face.

  • crew

    Whew - I have some catching up to do in this thread! Real quick, here's a WIP of my John Dunne sculpt:

    Today I worked on the head and polished the legs and feet - of course, my affinity for feet... A helpful note perhaps: Don't be afraid to separate your sculpt into multiple pieces. I do this in the Wrangler course as well, but as a reminder, it can make the concept sculpting phase much easier to work with. I separated my feet, head and mask so far.

    Also about the head, I decided to sculpt with mirror on (correcting the separated head's orientations) to get the human facial features correct. Now that I've done that I'll sculpt the separated mask object according to the art.

    • nice Sensei , u r going fast ! i m stil working on my base mesh !and checking proportions and anatomy !

    • I can already see some John Dunne in there :3.

      I'll only have time to start my sculpture tomorrow, but until now i've been developing the story. I'm kind of struggling to make a short and yet appealing story that captures the most of the features in the concept art! I really want to make my very best to get at leat a B+ :3

    • I'm still confused as to how you will bring it all back together to retopologize, etc.  to get the character in an A (Or T) Pose.  How do you plan to do that?

    • Starting to take form. It's pretty cool to see how the pose has evolved when the starting point was (of course) so weird and awkward. Can't wait to see this finished and ps. the shoes look pretty neat

    • crew

      ddarrinalder My suspicion is that you're not the only one wondering about the posed concept sculpt -> retopo & neutralize workflow. I'll take some time to explain that better during next week's stream.

      Basically, this approach is what I learned working at Reel FX as a character artist. The crux is that to get approval in 3D from the art director/director, it's best to sculpt a super-authentic iteration of the 2D concept first. Then the art director/director can most clearly understand the 3D version, rather than interpreting a neutral 3D version. Once this initial 'concept sculpt' is approved, the technical phase of retopo and neutralizing (which the director/art director doesn't care about) can be executed. Oh and the concept sculpt by itself is typically much faster than sculpting neutral + retopo + posing.

      My plan with my John Dunn concept sculpt is, once finished, I will focus on neutralizing the least extreme side of his body into an A pose (this will be his left side) Then I will retopo that neutralized side with a mirror modifier. Then possibly, for a final showcase render, I may quickly rig and pose the retopo'd model back into the original art pose.

    • crew

      swikni I'm glad the pose is feeling better! Yeah, it was definitely awkward starting out. I've learned that just being patient and trusting the workflow, in time the pose (and everything else) usually turns out ok.

      Being diligent to address every part of the character, adjusting each part according to the art (also filling in the gaps by posing myself) and eventually I'll take a step back and think "yesss, it's coming together!"

  • Taking a quick break on my sculpt to take a look in here now that I'm home :D

    As for my story for my character, he's an older, medieval style knight.  After losing his family to what appears to have been a dragon attack, he began a career hunting them down. At long last, he thinks he has tracked down the dragon responsible.  But years of battle have left his armor dented and his face and body scarred. When he finds the beast, he intends to slay it, but a curious gesture by the magnificent creature has him rethinking everything that he has been through.

  • Note myself, save frequently..

    lost 2 hours of sculpting ..couldnt recover a was stupid have to start all over ..

    wish u r having better luck here !