Character & Creature Creation (12 weeks)

Course details


London campus or live online

Start date

23rd September 2024


12 weeks

Mode of study

Full time


London campus (UK residents): £11,950

Live online: £9,350

Top 10 Rookies award for creative schools in the UK

Course overview

This practical course will teach you how to design and create your own characters and creatures before bringing them to life. 

Over the course of the programme, you will learn how to design, model, texture and present your creations to a portfolio-ready standard. 

This course has been developed with industry input from professionals and our industry-active tutors who’ve worked on the likes of The Lion King, Godzilla and Doctor Strange. At the end of the course, you will have a portfolio of character and creature creation work, as well as the skills and connections to kick-start your creative career. 

See also MA Character & Creature Creation or Advanced Character & Creature Creation (18 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 learning - studying a short course allows you to learn new skills quickly, in a fast-paced environment, so you can start applying for jobs as soon as you’ve completed the programme 

  • 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

These modules are common with the first 12 weeks of our 18-week Advanced Character & Creature Creation course and 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

More information

  • Maya

  • ZBrush

  • Substance Painter

  • Mari

  • Unreal Engine 5

  • Adobe Creative Suite

  • Reality Capture

  • SpeedTree

  • Quixel Mixer

  • Substance Painter

  • Substance Designer

  • Substance Sampler

  • Photoshop

  • DarkTable

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 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


London campus: £11,950 

Live online: £9,350 

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)

You’ll leave with an Escape Studios Certificate of Achievement, along with strong creative and technical skills and some great pieces of work for your portfolio, which you can add to with help from our Aftercare programme. Ready to apply for jobs 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.

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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