Advanced Character Creation With Ben Erdt

Join senior Blizzard character artist Ben Erdt and learn to build advanced characters for game cinematics! You’ll learn to analyse a concept sketch, sculpt your character in ZBrush, create materials in Painter, light and present your work, and much more.

After completing the course, you’ll have a deep understanding of how to create your own world-class character art.

Cinematic Character Workflow

Starting off in ZBrush, Ben will teach you advanced techniques for building your 3D character from scratch. When concept sculpting the model, we’ll block in both the anatomy and hard surface mesh. Once the high-poly is done, we build the actual render mesh using clean and industry standard topology, built for animation and performance. The entire render mesh is UV mapped using UDIMS.

In Painter, we’re creating the materials step by step. We’ll set up basic shaders, build a color hierarchy and focus on storytelling by adding aging, wear and tear, and dirt to the textures. Finally, we’re lighting and rendering our character to make a stunning final image you’ll be proud to put in your portfolio.

Hard Surface Modeling

We’re covering how to build the character suit and armour from scratch, and have packed the course with an abundance of advanced hard surface techniques. The entire suit is sculpted in Zbrush up to a rough state, and then cleaned up using three different techniques: Manual cleaning with Dynamesh, regular sculpting using brushes, sub-D modeling with Zremesher, and sub-D modeling in Modo. The finished result is a clean model ready for texture baking.


In Substance Painter, we’re texturing the character using a combination of hand painting and procedural techniques. Covering both the hard surface and organic skin texturing, you’re getting a full view of the whole texturing process. Adding wear, tear, and grime is clear focus during texturing, and is what makes the character feel alive and believable.

Your Teacher

Ben Erdt is a veteran games artist with more than 9 years of experience in the AAA game industry. He’s currently working at Blizzard as a Senior Character and Creature Artist, having previously worked at Guerrilla Games. Ben has worked on games like Diablo IV, Killzone: Shadow Fall, Horizon Zero Dawn and the Netflix show Love, Death & Robots. Safe to say, you’ll be learning from a true master in this course.

Recommended Skill Level

This course is designed for artists with an advanced skill level who are ready to push their character art to the limit. The course does not spend time covering the basics, and assumes ample knowledge of the pipeline and software involved in creating 3D art for games. We’ve packed the course with advanced workflows and techniques, so if you’re ready to push yourself and learn from the very best, this is the course for you.


  • Know how to use the 3D software listed below.
  • Advanced skills at texturing, sculpting, baking and modeling.
  • Not recommended for beginners to character art.


  • Blender 3.3
  • ZBrush 2022.0.5
  • Substance 3D Painter 7.4.3
  • MODO 15.2v1


  • 29 HD videos
  • Substance Painter starting point files

Chapter List

01 – Concept Talk and Ref – 37 min
02 – Sculpting Body: 1-4 – 2h 22 min
03 – Sculpting Armor: 1-7 – 6h 27 min
04 – High Poly Cleanup: 1-4 – 3h 25 min
05 – Building Rendermesh: 1-4 – 2h 51 min
06 – UVs and Surfacing: 1-8 – 6h 21 min
07 – Rendering and Presentation – 49 min

More Character Training and Resources

Credit: Background environment created by Reece Parrinder

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