Realistic, riggable humans - are these tutorials the best out there?


I want to start learning how to model realistic human models, and I want to do it right before I pick up any bad habits. I’ve scoured the internet looking for tutorials, and I found these:

3 parts of:
This for rigging:

Also CG Cookie’s character modelling tutorial, but it’s not realistic, so I’d like to use it as a start to wrap my head around the basics.

I’d like to ask if these are current and if there are others you might recommend that I failed to find? I’m willing to pay for quality material, a good tutorial can save SO much time and grievances later (as I’ve learned by learning from Cookie!).

Also, one additional question - I’d like to model a character whom I’d render in different clothing later. Is modeling a naked human and then adding/changing parts of the body to clothing on top of him a good strategy? Or is that a n00b’s game and I should take a different approach? And what about removable bits of clothing like shoes, they would require a proper skin underneath, so I’d have to layer them still, no? Hm.

My apologies if the question is stupid, I’m a major greenhorn still. I’ve only done faces/super simple body/creature models before, and not in Blender :< Clothing is something I’m just approaching in my learning plan.

Thank you!

It’s such a broad topic. Start on something, post your progress, and we can focus on where you are at specifically, rather than the whole process at once.


First step: learn anatomy. You don’t have to know the latin word for every single muscle and bone, but you have to understand the “volume” of muscles under the skin and where/how they attach to the skeleton. You also have to learn basic anatomical proportions. Usually the “how many heads” method is a good method for length, and, in my experience, I actually found the “How to Draw Characters the Marvel Way” really, really, useful for blocking out dynamic and interesting poses, as well as how to “volumize” certain areas of the body (kinda like how long something is with the head’s method…but what ‘shape’ the area is instead). Confusing, yeah, it’s hard to articulate without a lot of visuals.

Second: Don’t focus on a “blender way” of modeling. Modeling a character (realistic or not), is a fairly structured thing. At its base, all human-like bipedal characters are “human”. Once you learn the methods of how to handle the polygon structure and loops around, say, the connection between the sides of the nostrils and the corners of the mouth, or the connection between the pectoral muscles and the arm pit and shoulder, etc… you can bring that to any 3D package. You can take all those “rules” of how to build it and then be able to break those rules when you need to.

Third: Expect to suck. For a long time. I still suck and I’ve been attempting to create body ‘parts’ (rarely do I even bother with trying for a full character) for…hmmm…it’s been years anyway. Ok, maybe I don’t “suck”, but when I look at what I can do, and how many times during my modeling I think to myself “What the hall am I doing again? Should this be one loop, or three? Does this work better going up and over, or around and under?”. In other words, you never stop learning and you never stop being your own worse critic. :slight_smile:

Fourth, and last: Look at naked people. Seriously. There are some decent sites out there specifically for artists (both 2D and 3D). Two of the best places I’ve found is: and .

Closing out… I’ve found the tutorials at Digital Tutors to be a literal godsend. You can go Basic ($30/mo) or Plus ($50/mo). I switch plans every few months. I can get away with the Basic for a few months, then find I really want to Download the reference/assets of a couple of tutorials so I up to Plus for a month or two. Then drop back down to Basic for another 3 or 4 months, then back up, rinse, repeat. Best of both worlds. And before you start questioning the $$$ expenditure (for DT as well as the two anatomy sites), if you are serious about really learning 3D and how to better your work, it’s worth it. Plain and simple. Yes, there are some stinkers out there (tutorials), but overall, the good outweigh the bad by a significant amount. And hey, I believe you can get a free trial of DT…so there’s nothing stopping you from taking a look!

Oh, uh, and lastly-last, :wink: , I’ve found trying to follow a tutorial for, say, 3DS MAX, but use Lightwave, to be very helpful for me in learning. It forces me to actually learn why something is being done over just parroting “Click this button. Now move that vertex. Now use this tool. Now click this button…”. So go through a Silo tutorial, but use Blender. Or do a Maya tutorial, and use Blender. Or any combination. Or, I suppose, you could do a Blender tutorial and use Blender…but where’s the fun in that? :wink:


Paul L. Ming