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Advanced Character & Creature Creation (18 weeks)

Course details

Location

London campus or live online

Start date

23rd September 2024

Duration

18 weeks

Mode of study

Full time

Fees

London campus (UK residents): £16,850

Live online: £13,200

Top 10 Rookies award for creative schools in the UK

Course overview

Learn how to master the art of characters and creature creation. 

With this advanced course, you will learn how to design, model, texture and present your creations to a portfolio-ready standard. The practical course will also cover the technical character pipeline, including rigging, Python scripting and the simulation of cloth, fur and muscles, ready for a diverse range of technical roles in production. 

By the end of the course, you will have a developed a portfolio of character and creature creation work, as well as the skills and connections to kick-start your creative career, with help from our Talent Development Team and industry-experienced tutors whose credits include The Lion King, Godzilla and Doctor Strange.

See also MA Character & Creature Creation or Character & Creature Creation (12 weeks) 

See more student work

Why choose this course

  • Based in London – home to some of the best animation studios in the world

  • Industry feedback – you’ll receive industry-standard critique from an expert in their field. Previous studio partners for our character and creature creation course have included VFX and games studios like Framestore, Rocksteady and Improbable 

  • Professional input – our advisory board of experts, from the likes of DNEG (Fantastic Beasts and Stranger Things), Framestore (His Dark Materials, Thor: Love and Thunder), Rocksteady (Archam) and MPC (The Lion King, Pinocchio) help keep this course relevant

  • Successful alumni – you'll join our community of thousands of Escapees, many of whom have gone on to work as Character Technical Directors at some of the world’s top studios including Framestore, MPC and Blacklist Creative.

  • Aftercare package – we'll help you polish your showreel and find the right job, with access to our studios and showreel clinics for 12 months

  • Industry-standard facilities – you'll work in a studio environment that mirrors current industry practice, using professional software such as Maya, Zbrush and Unreal Engine 

  • Fast-track advanced learning – our advanced short courses allow you to go deeper into technical and software skills for a quick springboard into your next creative career step 

  • Strong portfolio – along with an Escape Studios Certificate of Completion, you'll leave with strong creative and technical skills and great pieces for your portfolio 

  • Small class sizes – a convivial environment allows students to assist and inspire one another and benefit from personalised feedback from tutors.

Course modules

The first 12 weeks of these modules are common with our 12-week Character & Creature Creation course and the first 12 weeks of our MA Character & Creature Creation.

  • Character and creature design theory

    • Moodboards

    • The importance of research, body language and expressions

  • Tools and techniques for creating character and creature concepts

    • Colour and background

    • Beat boards

    • Light and shadow

  • Using anatomy of characters and creatures in design choices

  • Analysing an established style to create character and creature concepts

  • Functional fashion in character and creature concepts

    • Costume design

    • Costume language

  • Establishing new styles

    • How to prepare a character or creature design bible for animation, outsourcing and videogames, and a pitch for comic publishing

  • Introduction to ZBrush

    • Character and creature anatomy

    • High-detail sculpting

  • Introduction to Maya

    • How Maya works

    • Retopology

    • Anatomy

    • Asset setup

  • Introduction to texturing

    • Introduction to Substance Painter and Mari

  •  VFX and games pipelines

    • Differences and similarities

  • Lighting and rendering

    • Rendering in Arnold and Unreal Engine

  • Presenting characters and creatures for portfolios

    • Introduction to rigging for creating character poses

    • Directed project time

  • Character rigging in Maya

    • Creating advanced character rig setups

    • Introduction to python

    • How Maya really works

  • Creating cloth and soft surface simulations in

    • Maya and Houdini

    • FEM and Vellum workflows

  • Creating muscle systems in Maya

    • Advanced anatomy

    • Character FX pipelines

  • Fur and hair groom

    • Long and short hair/fur with dynamics

  • Creating character cycles for presentation

    • Walks and runs ready for final showreel presentation

  • Project catch-up week

More information

  • Maya 

  • ZBrush 

  • Houdini 

  • Substance Painter 

  • Mari 

  • Unreal Engine 

  • Adobe Creative Suite

To apply, complete the relevant online application form linked below:

If you have any questions about your application or our entry requirements, get in touch!

As part of the application process, you will need to agree to our terms and conditions for your place on the course to be secured.

Minimum requirements

We welcome and encourage applications from students with a variety of backgrounds, experiences and perspectives.

To study this short course, you must:

  • Be over 18

  • Have a good understanding of written and spoken English

  • Feel comfortable using a computer.

If you’d like to discuss your circumstances before applying, contact us!

Non-UK students

We accept international students for our short courses, with no difference in course fees or administration costs. 

The Standard Visitor visa allows students to come to the UK to study for a course of up to six months at an accredited institution. Depending on your nationality, you may need to apply for a standard visitor visa prior to departure from your home country. For more information visit:  

Contact us on courses@escapestudios.ac.uk or +44 (0)203 441 1303 for any questions.

We can provide remote access to our workstations during teaching time. Due to availability restrictions, we highly advise you to have your own set up at home to study in your own time.

More things you’ll need:

  • A strong internet connection

  • An external hard drive (minimum 2TB) to back up your work during the course

  • A three-button mouse (or optionally graphics tablet)

  • A computer microphone (and optionally a webcam)

  • Note-taking materials

If you have any questions about learning online or if you need help with what to buy, get in touch at hello@escapestudios.ac.uk.

Fees 

London campus: £16,850

Live online: £13,200

Payment plans

We offer a range of payment plan options for all courses. Following an initial deposit at registration stage, your chosen payment plan will break down your remaining fees into up to six equal instalments, to be paid over the course length.

Contact us or visit our admissions page for any questions about fees, funding and payment plans.

“Animation in the UK has a strong track record in character development and storytelling. It also leverages the UK’s global leadership in the artistic and technical aspects of the visual product.” (source Animation UK)

Along with an Escape Studios Certificate of Achievement, you'll leave with strong creative and technical skills and great pieces for your portfolio, which you can then finesse with help from our Aftercare programme. Ready to apply to start your career in the industry!  

Some of the opportunities you can consider once you’ve finished your studies include: 

  • CG Generalist 

  • Character Artist 

Our students have gone to work as both specialist and generalist artists in creative studios, across films, TV, games and visual effects. Read some of our Escapee success stories.

Check out our Careers Guide for more information about career opportunities and progression routes.

Profile picture of Klaudija Cermak
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Meet our industry-experienced tutors

They all have industry experience and are experts in their fields, including certified trainers for Unreal Engine, Autodesk and Houdini. They've worked at studios such as Walt Disney, EA and Framestore, on credits including Doctor Strange, Kingsman and Bond: Spectre.

Meet your tutors

Student showcase