5 Best Sculpting Courses and Certificates for 2024

Published: April 3, 2024

Key Takeaways

Which is the best sculpting course?

The Ultimate ZBrush Guide Course stands out as the top-tier choice due to its comprehensive approach to sculpting tailored for beginners.

A step-by-step structure empowers students to master detailing, posing, and rendering techniques, building confidence in creating their artistic masterpieces.

The course’s workflow emphasis equips beginners with the skills and knowledge to tackle any project easily.

3D sculpting is both an art form and a technical skill that allows artists to create stunning digital sculptures and characters.

3D sculptor artists drive the world of game animation and movies, offering an exciting avenue for self-expression and career advancement. The average annual salary of a 3D Sculptor in the US is $78,472.

With the increasing popularity of industries such as animation, gaming, virtual reality, and 3D printing, the demand for skilled professionals in 3D digital sculpting is growing.

As with anything rewarding, this also requires a lot of hard work. You must have a solid foundation to be a successful 3D digital sculptor artist.

Whether you’re a beginner looking to become a 3D sculptor artist or you’ve been trying to learn it for a while and have yet to make progress, you’ve come to the right place.

This blog explores the five best sculpting classes, each offering comprehensive instruction and guidance from industry experts.

List of the 5 Best Sculpting Classes

Here’s the list of our five top-pick sculpting courses:

  1. The Ultimate ZBrush Guide Course: This step-by-step sculpting course is for beginners, helping them become super comfortable with detailing, posing, and rendering and enabling them to create their own art. The course content focuses on workflows to give beginners the confidence to tackle any project.
  2. Sculpting the Portrait: Over 3 hours on sculpting expressions with 18+ hours of instruction through a logical approach to learning to model the portrait in clay and practice intensively in an organized method.
  3. Intro to ZBrush: Most affordable online sculpting classes are designed to help intermediate- and advanced-level learners create stunning and high-quality sculptures. It helps you to switch from a different sculpting software to Blender.
  4. Introduction to 3D Modeling – Blender Beginner Course: With years of experience, the instructor has designed this course to teach aspiring artists a strong foundation and understanding of 3D modeling, using the software, UI, 3D space, and the tools in Blender.
  5. How to Make 3D Characters: Learn from an expert 3D character artist with personalized mentorship to help you develop character creation and modeling skills.

Our Course Selection Criteria

Through research and review, we have curated a selection of the finest 3D sculpting classes. We aim to help students learn from industry experts while ensuring comprehensive coverage of topics and software proficiency.

The following are the selection criteria for these courses:

  • Course Content and Curriculum: We evaluated the depth and breadth of the course material, ensuring it covers essential sculpting concepts, techniques, and tools. Courses with well-structured modules, comprehensive tutorials, and practical exercises were given preference.
  • Instructor Expertise and Experience: We assessed the instructors’ credentials, industry experience, and teaching style. Preference was given to courses led by seasoned professionals with a proven 3D sculpting and teaching track record.
  • Hands-on Projects and Assignments: Courses offering hands-on projects and assignments were prioritized as they provide practical experience and reinforce learning. We looked for opportunities for students to apply theoretical concepts in real-world projects to enhance their skills.
  • Student Feedback and Reviews: We considered feedback and reviews from past students to measure their effectiveness. Positive testimonials, high ratings, and reviews from the 3D sculpting community were factors in our selection process.
  • Flexibility in Learning Options: We examined the learning options provided by each course, including self-paced learning, live sessions, and access to course materials—courses offering flexible learning formats to cater to diverse student needs and schedules.

With this, let’s explore each course.

1. The Ultimate ZBrush Guide Course

The editor’s perspective on this course

The Ultimate ZBrush Guide is one of the best 3D sculpting courses designed to equip students with the necessary skills to master ZBrush.

The course consists of 56 video lessons, divided into seven core modules and four bonus modules, covering a wide range of topics essential for ZBrush proficiency.

The course is suitable for beginners with little to no experience in ZBrush, 2D artists transitioning into 3D, and those seeking to advance their sculpting skills.

Initially, the lessons include concepts and features of ZBrush, providing a solid foundation for beginners. Students can learn the initial sculpting stages, including blocking out shapes and designing characters or models.

As the course progresses, you can explore advanced modeling techniques for creating complex forms and structures. It also offers strategies for adding intricate details and refining models to perfection.

The bonus modules cover techniques for painting, posing characters, and rendering final images, using FiberMesh to create hair and fur, and additional resources and insights from past live workshops.

Most importantly, this course gives students the knowledge and skills to tackle any project in ZBrush confidently.

What topics are covered in this course?

Here’s the list of topics categorized within different modules covered in this course:

  • MODULE 01 – The Fundamentals
  • MODULE 02 – Blocking and Design
  • MODULE 03 – Sculpting
  • MODULE 04 – Modeling
  • MODULE 05 – Topology & Polish
  • MODULE 06 – Detailing & refinements
  • MODULE 7 – Additional Detailing features
  • BONUS MODULE 1 – Polypaint
  • BONUS MODULE 2 – Posing & Rendering
  • BONUS MODULE 3 – Working with FiberMesh
  • BONUS MODULE 4 – Recordings of previous live workshops

Who is the instructor of this course?

Pablo Munoz Gomez is a 3D concept and character artist based in Melbourne. He founded ZBrushGuides and 3Dconceptartist.

His work involves visual development and sculpting in both 3D and traditional media.

Pablo has extensive experience in the entertainment industry, including contributions to video games, films, and collectible figurines.

Through platforms like YouTube, ArtStation, and social media, Pablo shares insights into his workflow, techniques, and artistic process, inspiring a new generation of digital sculptors.

He is also an instructor who has created many ZBrush training resources.

Does the instructor offer more courses?

Yes. The other courses offered by the instructor include:

  • The Extra Mile Course (TEM)
  • The Asset Library Workshop
  • ZBrush end-to-end Creature Workshop
  • ZBrush for illustrators intensive Course
  • ZBrush Clothes & Drapery Course

Does the course offer hands-on projects or assignments to reinforce learning?

Each module ends with specific exercises or challenges for students to apply the concepts learned.

Students should follow along with the instructor as they create a complete character or scene, implementing various techniques taught throughout the course.

Also, the students are encouraged to document their work, and the instructor provides feedback that helps them improve.

What are the prerequisites to study?

You don’t need any prior knowledge of ZBrush; this course is designed for beginners. However, if you are already familiar with ZBrush, the various workflows and the modules’ structure greatly help refine your sculpting workflows.

What does social media sentiment tell us?

Positive comments on YouTube reflect that the course content is engaging and adequately fulfills the requirements of beginners and intermediate-level students.

Source: YouTube

Moreover, on Reddit, users have recommended this course based on the concepts, techniques, and lessons covered, which helped them become professional 3D sculptors.

Source: Reddit

2. Sculpting the Portrait Course

The editor’s perspective on this course

Sculpting the Portrait is best for advanced topics, enhancing portrait-modeling skills.

The course includes portrait sculpting, facial features, anatomy of the skull and facial muscles, planes of the head, neck, male and female hair, sketches from life, sculpting expressions, aging process exercises, and mold making.

Each module progresses logically, building upon the previous one to deepen understanding and skill development.

The bonus episodes offer additional valuable information such as specialty tools and stands, types of modeling clays, common mistakes, daily exercises focusing on gender and ethnicity, optional skin texture techniques, hollowing a bust, and controlling moisture, drying, and firing.

The course follows a systematic approach through exercises and techniques. The video lessons help with visual demonstrations and explanations.

Learners can access reference materials such as diagrams, images, or downloadable resources to supplement their learning.

Overall, the course is detailed but demands patience and access to specific materials or tools required for certain exercises.

What topics are covered in this course?

Here’s the list of topics covered in this portrait sculpting course:

  • Introduction
  • How to Use This Course
  • Module 1: Facial Features Exercises
  • Module 2: Planes Masks Exercises
  • Module 3: Anatomy-The Skull
  • Module 4: Anatomy-Facial Muscles
  • Module 5: Planes of the Head
  • Module 6: Neck
  • Module 7: Male Hair
  • Module 8: Female Hair
  • Module 9: Sketches from Life
  • Module 10: Portrait from a Live Model
  • Module 11: Bonus Episodes
  • Module 12: Sculpting Expressions
  • Module 13: Aging Process Exercise
  • Module 14: Mold Making
  • Mold Making Part 1: Materials and Rubber Layers
  • Mold Making Part 2: Mother Mold and Plaster Cast

Who is the instructor of this course?

Philippe Faraut is a figurative artist who specializes in life-size portraits and monumental stone sculptures. He received his degree in woodcarving and the construction of fine French furniture in Annecy, France.

After relocating to the US, he transitioned to sculpting in 1993. His sculptures range in size from six-inch porcelain figurines to over-life-sized monuments in stone and bronze.

His work is characterized by his focus on the human form, which he sculpts in a realistic and expressive style.

For over twenty-five years, Philippe has traveled throughout the US and abroad to teach sculptors and aspiring sculptors how to render portraits and figures in clay at private studios and institutions, including the Grand Central Academy in New York, Ringling School of Art in Florida, and Pixar in California.

Does the instructor offer more courses?

No.

Does the course offer hands-on projects or assignments to reinforce learning?

Based on the detailed breakdown of the course structure provided, hands-on projects are incorporated into the course, such as:

  • Module Exercises
  • Live Model Sculpting
  • Daily Exercises
  • Mold Making Practice

What are the prerequisites to study?

Basic artistic skills, familiarity with sculpting tools and materials, and a passion to learn and practice.

What does social media sentiment tell us?

The comments on Reddit provide positive sentiment toward Philippe Faraut’s traditional clay sculpt study materials.

Learners highlighted that this course taught them how to rotate models to inspect from different angles and learn piece by piece.

Source: Reddit

The comments on YouTube reflect that learners and artists with extensive experience commend the course for its depth, explanation of concepts, and the improvement it brings to their skills.

Learners appreciate the convenience of the online platform, allowing them to access the course easily and practice at their own pace.

Source: YouTube

3. Intro to ZBrush Course

The editor’s perspective on this course

As we reviewed this course, we found it to be one of the most affordable digital sculpting courses that offers a logical approach to learning 3D sculpting in Blender, with attention to detail and practical exercises.

The course covers essential topics such as sculpting workflows, base mesh creation, retopology, high-resolution detailing, shader creation, presentation techniques, and in-depth exploration of sculpting brushes, tools, and settings.

The course videos are well-produced and informative, providing clear demonstrations and explanations of sculpting techniques in Blender. Students can expect high-quality visuals and audio.

As the course progresses, students are introduced to concepts such as drawings, sculpting exercises, shader setups, and lighting setups.

Most importantly, the course offers sculpting challenges across the classes and helps learners apply their skills and creativity.

What topics are covered in this course?

Here’s a list of topics and chapters covered in this course:

  • Part 1 – Sculpting Fundamentals
    • Chapter 1 & 2 – Getting Started & Fundamentals
    • Chapter 3 – Base Meshes
  • Part 2 – Cute Creature
    • Chapter 4 – Cute Creature Base Sculpting
    • Chapter 5 – Cute Creature Retopology
    • Chapter 6 – Cute Creature Details
    • Chapter 7 – Cute Creature Shading
    • Chapter 8 – Cute Creature Presentation
  • Part 3 – Brushes and Tools
    • Chapter 9 – Sculpting Brushes, Tools and Settings
  • Bonus – Sculpting Challenges
  • Sculpting Challenges – Practice your sculpting skills

Who is the instructor of this course?

Zach Reinhardt is a 3D Artist, founder, and Lead Instructor at CG Boost.

The CG Boost provides Blender tutorials and resources for 3D artists to make creating passionate 3D projects achievable for anyone.

Over the years, he has cultivated his skills through freelance projects and teaching experiences, honing his ability to tell stories through 3D creations.

In 2019, Zach founded CG Boost, an educational platform that provides Blender tutorials and resources to aspiring 3D artists.

As the Founder and Lead Instructor at CG Boost, Zach brings his experience to crafting Blender courses that offer an immersive learning experience for students.

Does the instructor offer more courses?

Yes. The other courses offered by the instructor include:

  • Blender LaunchPad
  • Cubic Worlds
  • Master 3D Sculpting in Blender
  • Creature Forge
  • Blender Beginners Course
  • Blender Sculpting for Beginners

Does the course offer hands-on projects or assignments to reinforce learning?

The course offers hands-on projects through practical exercises and sculpting challenges; students create base meshes and retopology sculptures, sculpt high-resolution details, create shaders, and present their work effectively.

These hands-on activities provide opportunities for students to apply the concepts and techniques taught in the course, enhancing their skills and confidence as Blender sculptors.

What are the prerequisites to study?

Some basic Blender knowledge is recommended for having fun with this course. However, no previous sculpting experience has been required since we started at the very beginning.

What does social media sentiment tell us?

Learners appreciate the course’s comprehensive, the technical aspects of sculpting in Blender, and the use of artistic skills.

Reddit comments indicate that this course helped them understand the fundamentals of sculpting with additional resources to practice the skills.

Source: Reddit

4. Introduction to 3D Modeling – Blender Beginner Course

The editor’s perspective on this course

As we researched this course, we found it best for self-paced sculpture learning for beginners and intermediate artists looking to sharpen their skills.

The course covers technical aspects and emphasizes building a strong foundation in 3D modeling, including understanding terminology, topology, and retopology. Students will be able to explore insights beyond basic modeling techniques.

As the course progresses, you’ll see that the major areas covered include Blender navigation, UI familiarity, tool usage, 3D terminology, and topology.

The video lessons guide students to understand the “why” behind techniques and workflows and how to tackle different modeling projects.

With clear explanations and demonstrations of Blender’s features and modeling techniques, students will find it engaging.

However, the generated subtitles may be flawed, potentially affecting some learners’ clarity of content comprehension.

While specific reference materials are not mentioned, the course supports practice and includes downloadable resources, such as project files and documents.

What topics are covered in this course?

Here’s the list of topics covered in this course:

  • Introduction to the 3D Modeling Course
  • 3D Modeling Initiation + (Scene Blend Files)
  • Introduction to Blender
  • Blender Interface
  • Workspace, 3D Viewport, Outliner and Properties
  • 3D Space Navigation
  • Introduction to 3D Modeling in Blender
  • Interaction Modes in Blender
  • Edit Mode in Blender
  • Modeling in Blender – Basics
  • Modeling Primary Toolset
  • Modeling Secondary Toolset
  • Modifiers in Blender – Basics
  • Curves in Blender – Basics
  • Introduction to Topology
  • Introduction to Retopology
  • Beginner Modeling Exercises (Barrel + Soda Can + Coffee Mug)
  • Intermediate Modeling Exercises (Ladder + Treasure Chest + Low Poly Car)
  • Advanced Modeling Exercises (Modeling Tedflix + Scene Blend Files)

Who is the instructor of this course?

Yanal Sosak is a dynamic character artist renowned for sculpting and character design expertise. He has completed his Master’s Degree in 3D and Visual Arts.

With a thriving presence on YouTube, Yanal Sosak runs a popular sculpting-focused channel where he shares his knowledge and insights with a global audience.

His engaging tutorials and insightful content attract aspiring artists seeking to enhance their Blender and character-sculpting skills.

Yanal’s creative process is characterized by intuition. He allows his artwork to evolve, guided by the characters themselves.

Drawing inspiration from various sources, he crafts compelling narratives through his character designs, each with a unique story and personality.

As an instructor, he brings years of practical experience and a deep understanding of artistic principles to his teaching. Through his Blender training courses, he helps students to learn character sculpting.

Does the instructor offer more courses?

Yes, the instructor offers a range of courses, including:

  • Master Sculpting Heads – 3D Blender Course
  • Introduction to 3D Modeling Blender Beginner Course
  • Anatomy and Form in Blender Sculpting Course
  • Sculpting in Blender for Beginners
  • Texturing in Blender for Beginners
  • How to Sculpt Hands in Blender Tutorials
  • How to Sculpt Arms in Blender Tutorials
  • The Witch – Character Creation in Blender
  • Jinx – Character Creation in Blender
  • Asuka – Character Creation in Blender
  • Tracer – Character Creation in Blender
  • Vi – Character Creation in Blender
  • Uraraka Ochako – Character Creation in Blender
  • Bakugo – Character Creation in Blender
  • Caitlyn – Character Creation in Blender
  • The Little Mermaid – Character Creation in Blender
  • D.Va Overwatch – Character Creation in Blender
  • Silco – Character Creation in Blender
  • 2B – Character Creation in Blender
  • Vivi from Final Fantasy 9 – Character Creation in Blender
  • Ahri K/DA – Character Creation in Blender
  • Ekko – Character Creation in Blender
  • Chun Li – Character Creation in Blender
  • Mela Arcane – Character Creation in Blender

Does the course offer hands-on projects or assignments to reinforce learning?

Yes, the course offers hands-on projects to apply techniques learned throughout the course and assess their skills, such as basic 3D models, navigating Blender’s interface, using modeling tools, and understanding 3D terminology.

By actively engaging with these exercises, students can reinforce their understanding, develop their skills, and gain confidence in their ability to create 3D models using Blender.

What are the prerequisites to study?

It is better to have a basic understanding of computers and digital software, familiarity with creative concepts, and a passion for art.

Since the course is designed to introduce Blender and 3D modeling from the ground up, no prior experience with Blender or other 3D software is necessary.

What does social media sentiment tell us?

According to the comments on Reddit, Yanak Sosak’s sculpturing course is a helpful resource for finding success with sculpting and retopology techniques in Blender for character modeling.

Source: Reddit

The YouTube viewers praise the instructor’s talent, skill, and sculpting quality. Many stated that the level of detail and technique explained in the video enabled them to improve their skills and feel enthusiastic about sculpturing characters.

Source: YouTube

5. How to Make 3D Characters

The editor’s perspective on this course

As we looked into this beginners’ 3D character sculpting course, we found that it offers a mentorship program led by an industry expert, providing invaluable guidance for aspiring character artists.

The curriculum is in-depth, covering a wide range of essential skills such as portfolio building, full character workflow, concept sculpting, anatomy, figure sculpting, UV mapping, and retopology.

The course videos are delivered in a structured format, with weekly exercises and personalized feedback provided by the instructor.

This feedback is presented through a detailed video, offering explanations of anatomy and sculpt-overs to demonstrate areas for improvement.

The instructor’s industry experience and expertise add significant value to the learning experience. The personalized approach, focusing on individual growth and skill development tailored to each student’s needs, makes it unique.

Under the mentorship, students can expect to progress significantly in their artistic journey and gradually become pros at work.

What topics are covered in this course?

This course is focused on character creation and the various skills involved. Here are the key topics you’ll learn:

  • Portfolio Building: Learn how to create a standout character portfolio with expert guidance.
  • Anatomy: One of the most common challenges for 3D artists is understanding anatomy.
  • Full Character Workflow: Gain a deep understanding of the full character creation workflow, from sculpting and retopology to UVs, texturing, shading, and rendering.
  • Figure sculpting: A strong foundation in figure sculpting is essential for creating great characters.
  • Concept Sculpting: Create an incredible character from scratch by learning to concept sculpt.
  • UV Mapping and Retopology: You will learn about correct edge flow, professional retopology techniques, optimized UVs, and more.

Who is the instructor of this course?

Henning Sanden, a co-founder of FlippedNormals, is a distinguished 3D character artist with an illustrious career in the film industry.

With credits in major productions such as “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Alien Covenant,” “Batman v Superman,” and “Pacific Rim Uprising,” his expertise and industry experience are unparalleled.

Henning has leveraged his extensive background to create nearly 30 FlippedNormals Exclusive courses, offering invaluable insights to aspiring artists worldwide. He guides students to refine their character art skills through personalized feedback and mentorship.

Does the instructor offer more courses?

No.

Does the course offer hands-on projects or assignments to reinforce learning?

Yes, the course includes weekly exercises tailored to each student’s skill level, covering various aspects of character creation, such as sculpting, retopology, UV mapping, and texturing.

These assignments provide practical experience and help students to apply the concepts and techniques taught in the course curriculum.

Additionally, personalized feedback from the instructor is provided on each assignment, offering valuable insights and guidance for improvement.

What are the prerequisites to study?

While prior experience in 3D modeling or character creation is beneficial, it is not strictly required.

Students should ideally have a basic understanding of computer usage and familiarity with digital art software; beginners can also enroll in the classes.

What does social media sentiment tell us?

The student reviews posted on the website course reflect a highly positive sentiment towards the mentorship program led by Henning.

Students state that they have gained theoretical sculpting knowledge through the program. They highlight the instructor’s feedback in facilitating learning and enhancing their skills.

Source: Henningsanden

Frequently Asked Questions

Is learning to sculpt hard?

Learning to sculpt can be challenging, but it’s a skill that improves with dedication and practice. While prior artistic experience can be beneficial, beginners can still learn sculpting with the help of online classes and other resources. Moreover, many sculpting software programs offer user-friendly interfaces and tutorials for beginners.

How long does it take to learn sculpting?

Learning sculpting takes time and practice. For beginners, it might take around 100 hours to understand the fundamentals. However, you need 200 to 300 hours of instruction and practice to become a professional.

Conclusion

Mastering 3D sculpting can open up exciting career opportunities in animation, gaming, visual effects, and digital art industries.

As we explored and reviewed the five best sculpting classes, you can choose the one that best suits your goals and schedule.

The Ultimate ZBrush Guide Course is the most popular and comprehensive among all the best sculpting courses. It gives beginners the essential skills and confidence to tackle sculpting projects easily.

It emphasizes detailed workflows and practical techniques, making it an ideal choice for those starting their sculpting journey.

Moreover, sculpting the portrait is another excellent option for learning using logical and organized methods. Intro to ZBrush by Pablo Munoz Gomez appeals to intermediate and advanced learners looking to transition to Blender from other sculpting software.

Introduction to 3D Modeling offers a strong foundation in lender’s tools, UI, and 3D space, making it an excellent starting point for aspiring 3D artists.

Lastly, How to Make 3D Characters offers individualized feedback and instruction to help learners, making it a valuable resource for artists seeking one-on-one guidance and support.

These courses cover everything from fundamentals to advanced techniques in sculpting characters. They can help you improve your skills in 3D model sculpting, from creating basic shapes to manipulating your characters’ most intricate features.