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How to make a Creature with Character

with Ian Joyner


This three-hour workshop teaches how to create a creature design with the kind of character and personality traits that can evolve with a story throughout a movie or game. With over 15 years of industry experience designing characters and creatures for Marvel Studios and many more, Ian Joyner presents his complete design workflow with a focus on the importance of believable anatomy, history, and story.

The class begins with the all-important reference-gathering stage using the free online tool, PureRef, as well as how to create a character synopsis that can help focus and guide efforts. Deciding on a space-pirate, bounty-hunter-style character for this workshop, Ian kicks off the sculpting in ZBrush, working from a simple sphere. Fusing animal and human elements as he sculpts, Ian discusses his most-trusted tools and brushes, and shares notes and industry tips as he builds out the character’s head and torso into a fully realized model.

Moving into Photoshop next, Ian shows how costume designs can be explored in 2D before sculpting them in 3D. Using masking techniques in ZBrush, Ian builds up armor over the character as one piece. He also details how KeyShot can be used as part of the pipeline to render images that can be painted over in Photoshop for further design and color exploration. Blender is then taught as the main tool for retopologizing the hard-surface armor parts as well as how to use ZBrush’s own retopology tools.

Once satisfied with the final pass on the sculpt, KeyShot is used to render out the character before taking it into Photoshop for the last time. Here, the final paint-over takes the design through to a film- or game-ready concept ready to present to a client or director.

Duration: 3h 02m

Format: HD 1920x1080

Ian Joyner

Freelance Character & Concept Artist

Ian Joyner specializes in crafting conceptual character artwork for a variety of films, games, products, and commercial illustrations. Having worked on a plethora of top movies and games over the last decade, including The Amazing Spider-Man, The Avengers, and The Hunger Games to name a few, he has helped many directors and creators bring their visions to life, from pitch to completion. Ian worked for six years at Legacy FX (formerly Stan Winston Studios), and prior to that, he worked at Blur Studio creating characters for everything from film pitches to critically acclaimed video-game cinematics. Ian feels lucky to be able to live his dream creating monsters, superheroes, and fantastic new worlds!