Modeling Characters for Games

Modeling Characters for Games

In this game art tutorial, you’ll learn everything you need to know in order to model high-end characters for games. Gavin will take you through all the steps and will guide you on your journey to becoming a better game artist. There’s more than 5 hours of quality training in this series, covering everything you need to know in order to get started with modeling for games.

Character Design

One of the hardest aspects of any character is the character design phase. Gavin covers his entire thought process when it comes to the character design – from creating a backstory, to in-depth sculpting techniques.


Learn how to do efficient face topology using Topogun. Gavin goes through all the steps, showing you how to make clean and good topology – which is ready for AAA games.

Clothing and Costume

Making clothing and costumes is always incredibly tricky to get right, but after watching this series, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable starting your own costumes. Learn how to use Insert Mesh Brushes in ZBrush to speed up making zippers and buttons.

Presenting Your Work

At the end of the series, you’ll learn how to present your work in a professional manner, using Marmoset Toolbag. A good presentation can really make a huge difference, and the skills you learn will make your work shine.

Final Character Included

Get a unique look into an industry standard character – ready for an AAA game. One of the best ways to learn is to look through scene files where you can reverse engineer the choices made. You’ll have access to all the final files created by Gavin Goulden –  including the final low poly character, the generic base mesh and the high poly ZBrush file.

Industry Veteran

Currently working as a Lead Character Artist at Insomniac Games, Gavin Goulden is one of the most veteran game artists out there today! He worked as a lead artist on Bioshock Infinite and has a heavy resume under his belt. Check out more of Gavin’s amazing work on his ArtStation page.

Software Used

  • ZBrush 4R8
  • TopoGun 2.0
  • 3ds Max 2016
  • Marmoset Toolbag

Files Included

  • Final ZBrush Project File
  • Low Poly Final Model
  • Generic Base Mesh
  • Marmoset Project

Chapter List

  • 00 – Intro
  • 01 – Working From a Base Mesh
  • 02 – Additional Base Mesh Work
  • 03 – Sculpting the Face
  • 04 – Sculpting the Arms
  • 05 – Sculpting Clothing
  • 06 – Sculpting Armor
  • 07 – Detailing the Model
  • 08 – Hair Sculpting
  • 09 – Retopology of the Vest
  • 10 – Retopology of the Face
  • 11 – Topology Discussion
  • 12 – Presenting your work in Marmoset

More Game Tutorials

Learn more about making Characters for Games with the other series from Gavin Goulden. These will really take your game art to the next level!

Take the character you modeled in this series and finish off the textures in Substance Painter, and render it in Marmoset Toolbag.

Get a solid overview of the entire character process, where Gavin takes you through his workflow for creating characters for games.


Skill Level

Modeling Characters for Games is a great series for artists who has an understanding of basic 3D and wants to take their game art to the next level!


Average rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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  • A little disappointed

    This is a pretty decent tutorial, but I wouldn’t call it a “Step by Step” walkthrough of the pipeline.
    Honesty some of the information you can find in other free sources. I believe theoretically, the majority knew the process of making game characters. And this is more theoretical than practical. I am afraid if you don’t have basic knowledge of how low-poly and high-poly works this course isn’t for you. Overall there a lot of theoretical stuff that is really useful and nice to have under the belt. But, again it isn’t a complete walkthrough whole process of creating a character. So there are some questions left without an answer.

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  • Intermediate to Advanced

    This was exactly what I was wanting. I have been a character sculptor for a few years and wanting to lean the workflow and technique from a experienced artist in the industry and that is exactly what you get with this course! This course is not a “click by click” way to get a result, so if that is what you are looking for or if you are a beginner than I would start with other tutorials that are in the store here and then come back latter once you have an understanding of the sculpting process.
    He does explains anatomy and the sculpting process very well and does go into detail on a lot of it.
    I would definitely recommend this course to anyone who wants to get into the game industry as a character sculptor.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Great for intermediate artists

    Really solid tutorial which covers how to do good models for games. Its not for beginners, as you have to know basics of how the software works, but if you know the tools, youll learn a lot about character modeling. As an intermediate artist, I needed to know to know how the steps were connected instead of technically how to model, so this was useful.

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  • Great but lacking

    This is a great tutorial, but it’s not in-depth, or a complete walkthrough of the pipeline. For instance when Gavin ends video 2 the character is still being roughed in, and only has a few pieces of clothing extracted in zBrush. Video 3 starts with the characters body and clothing really cleaned up in Max, and he explains in the past tense, how he exported a base mesh to clean up the edge flow so he can keep working in zBrush. It’s unclear if this was how Gavin filmed these, or if it’s just the editing of the final product, so I’m not placing blame on anyone, it’s still a good tutorial. I’m still working through the videos, but they’re really difficult to follow if you’re actually trying to learn the process and refine your skill based on how Gavin sculpts (for instance it wasn’t covered how he did the eyes and teeth, they just appear). These are good mainly for an overview of what he does, and his commentary. I wouldn’t recommend this for an in-depth tutorial for modeling a game character.

    Thank you for your feedback.

    • Thanks for this feedback, I was thinking of purchasing this but I’d rather have a more complete course than you are describing. It’s a shame he has done these “time jumps.” I think a lot of online tutors don’t realise how useful just adding a screen capture of them working in these time gaps is for students trying to learn.

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