Character design for production with Martin Punchev

Bring characters to life for video games, animation or toys!



Martin Punchev
Learn all the basics that you need in order to start your adventure in the world of character design for production.

This educational program teaches you the 2D and 3D skills with which you can bring to life your characters as part of a computer game, 3D print for toys or animation.

10 exciting weeks of learning!

  Two options for studying:  


Lessons access
Each lesson includes video tutorials, homework assignments, practice demonstrations and useful files that will be helping your learning process.
Community accessGet in touch and talk directly with your mentor and people from the course in a group created especially to make communication easier.
Watch feedback recordingsWatch the feedback given to previous students on their homework.
Possibility to upgradeIf you want to receive feedback on your homework you have the option to pay and become a distance learning student.

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Critiqued Sessions

Lessons access
Each lesson includes video tutorials, homework assignments, practice demonstrations and useful files that will be helping your learning process.
Community access
Get in touch and talk directly with your mentor and people from the course in a group created especially to make communication easier.
Video feedback
For each homework you do you will receive a video feedback.
Videos by guest lecturers
Watch bonus lectures from professionals working in the field of design, game and film industry.
Archive from the live meetings
Watch the growing library of videos from the meetings and practice with the students.
Be part of an exhibition
The final student projects will be 3D printed and be part of an exhibition.
Portfolio project
Work on an additional portfolio piece for the exhibition for which you will receive feedback, advices and overpaint.
Payment made flexible
You can pay the course in 2 or 3 payments through the course.

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Запишете се за известия

Learn all the basics that you need in order to start your adventure in the world of character design. By watching lectures and doing you weekly assignments you will learn how to give visual shape to your ideas, starting from silhouette sketches all the way to finished design. This educational program gives you the 2d and 3d skills with which you can bring to life your characters as part of a computer game, 3d print for toys or animation. This is 10 weeks course with Martin Punchev, during which you will develop your confidence in drawing, painting and sculpting characters.

Learning plan

  • Week 1
  • Week 2
  • Week 3
  • Week 4
  • Week 5
  • Week 6
  • Week 7
  • Week 8
  • Week 9
  • Week 10

Week 1 – Character design from idea to a finished piece.

The design and visual communication of our ideas are the first steps from the exciting process of creating our own character.

The students are going to learn how to give life to their ideas starting from a silhouette, going through quick sketches and working with shapes, lines and graphic principles. We are going to talk about the thinking process behind the professional work that is connected to some sort of limitations like – technical requirements, restrictions and defining your target audience.

Some of the topics that are going to be discussed:
- research and generating ideas;
- designing with some sort of limitations – technical requirements and brief restrictions;
- sketching and designing using silhouettes;
- universal designing principles;
- language and hierarchy of the forms;

Week 2 – basics of visual communication.

If the character is supposed to be a 3D model for animation or a toy our goal is to communicate well its form and give it a three dimensional look.

The students are going to learn the basic principles for creating forms using planes and primitives, giving them a precise shape and working with lighting.

Some of the topics that are going to be discussed:
- visual communication;
- working in space and in perspective;
- working with primitive forms;
- creating a maquette using primitives;
- using lights, shadows and generating forms;
- how to give volume to our design;

Week 3 – Basics of digital sculpting.

A game or a toy design is completed only when it is 3 dimensional and has passed succesfully few iterations, tests and improvements.

The students are going to be introduced to the basics of working with the software for digital sculpting Zbrush.

Some of the topics that are going to be discussed:
- file managing in Zbrush;
- navigation in the workspace of Zbrush;
- introducing the main tools and brushes;
- working with dynamesh;
- basic principles in sculpturing;

Week 4 – 3D prototype and variations.

The ability to experiment, to evaluate the result and to build based on what we have created is an exceptional skill for any creative designer.

The students are going to learn how to create a 3D prototype of the character in Zbrush and after that they are going to create variations with which they can improve it and give it an even more unique look.

Some of the topics that are going to be discussed:
- creating a quick and efficient 3D prototype in Zbrush;
- making the forms balanced with good rhythm and conveying weight;
- creating variations in Photoshop by overpainting;

Week 5 – Detailed sculpture.

The final design has to become 3 dimensional where every line and shadow is going to be transformed into shapes and have depthness.

The students are going to sculpt a fully detailed model of a character in Zbrush. They are going to be introduced to more tools in Zbrush and learn techniques for modeling different details.

Some of the topics that are going to be discussed :
- creating a detailed model in Zbrush;
- retopology and working with the Zmodeler tool
- sculpting clothes and accessories;
- sculpting details and techniques for productivity;

Week 6 – Colour design and texturing.

The character gains its life just after the shape, texture and material work together. The students are going to be introduced to the basics of working with colour. After that they are going to create a colour scheme and colour design, that will get them ready for the next step. In the end they are going to texture the final 3D model.

Some of the topics that are going to be discussed:
- choosing a good colour scheme;
- hierarchy and proportions of the colours;
- highlights and principles of contrast;
- colour concept;
- texturing of a 3D model in Zbrush;
- techniques for detailing and finishing the texture;

Week 7 – First week for practice.

The seventh week of the course is the first one from the three weeks in which the students are going to be doing work on their own or in a team for their final project for their portfolio.

Each student is going to receive a task, according to his skills. During this first week the tutor is going to be helping and guiding them so that they can be successful in completing their project.

Week 8 – Second week for practice.

During the second week of practice the students are going to continue with the work for their projects. The tutor is going to be giving advice and guidance to the students, helping them to complete their projects.

Седмица 9 – трета седмица за практика, ревю и критика.

През третата и последна седмица за практика учениците трябва да завършат проектите си и да получат обстойна критика от инструктора, както и напътствия за корекции под формата на overpaint за всяка една ученическа задача.

Седмица 10 – В дивото.

“В дивото” символично отбелязва края на курса и началото на пътешествието на всеки ученик в търсене на професионална реализация.

Ученикът има една седмица да вземе предвид критиката и предложените чрез overpaint корекции от инструктора и да обнови своя дизайн. Това е шансът му да изведе работата си до още по-добро ниво и да включи резултата в своето портфолио.

Този етап приключва с онлайн “изложба” на финалните дизайни, в която учениците ще могат да се представят пред възможни работодатели.

Bonuses for the course!


This course aims to offer the best learning experience for the students! In the course we have included few surprises and extras, here are few of them:

* Guest instructors from different areas from the design, the film and the game industry who will be giving lectures for the students.

* 3D printing that is included in the price of the course. The finished designs and projects will be printed and made into a physical product.

Possible bonus lectures in the course::

“Tools for creating characters”Tsvetomir Georgiev.
Design for the big screen is a big challenge and it relies on a fast and efficient work flow. Tsvetomir will show the students his tools for creating characters.

“Live painting demonstration”Miroslav Petrov.
Miroslav Petrov is an illustrator and concept artist who works in the entertainment industry. He will talk about his experience and career and will do a live demonstration in front of the students.

“Material, light, shadow!”Kosta Atanasov.
Kosta Atanasov is a cg artist! He will be talking about the basic of drawing light, shadow and materials.

“Presentation”Svetlin Velinov.
Svetlin Velinov is a well known illustrator and concept artist, working for well known companies like Wizards of the Coast, Applibot, Blizzard Entertainment, Sony Online Entertainment and more.

“3D printing and the countless ways to use it”Stanislav Nanev, Shapers3D.
One of the possibilities for your characters is to make them a physical product – a designer toy! Stanislav Nanev will introduce the students to the basics of 3D printing.

A new way of teaching!


The course is going to be conducted following the newest method of training. Along with the work with the mentor in the classroom the students are going to work in a team or individually in order to complete a project for their portfolio and are going to be a part of an online exhibition where they will have the chance to show their work to a huge audience.

The incubator

The student will be able to watch the video tutorial from the comfort of his home, in the end of each week there is going to be a practice meeting in the studio with the mentor.

The video tutorials and the practice meeting are going to show the basics and demonstrate the creating of a real project step by step.

During this period the student is going to be learning while following the mentor’s steps.
Duration: 6 weeks.

The sandbox

The period of working on their own in which the students can either be in a team or alone and are going to be working towards completing their portfolio piece.

Each student is going to be given a task according to their level of skills and abilities. During the first and second week the tutor is going to be helping with advice and feedback.

During the third week the students are going to finish their project and receive final feedback from the tutor using overpaint.
Duration: 3 weeks.

The exhibition

The exhibition is the end of the course and the beginning of the journey for professional realization for each student.

The student is going to have a week to add changes to his work according to the suggestions given by the mentor using overpaint. This is going to be the chance to improve his work and to add the finished piece in his portfolio.

This step ends with the preparation for the exhibition that is following the course.
Duration: 1 week.

Students’ gallery


During the course each student will create a portfolio piece with the help of the tutor who will be giving him feedback and suggestions for his work. The best results are included in this gallery and after the course is finished they will be part of an exhibition as 3D printed figures.

Student works from character design coursecdp-student-quote-01

Click on the image or here to see our students’ works.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)


I have never worked on character design can I sing in for the course?

This course is suitable for both people who don’t have experience in creating characters and people who have some experience but would like to learn more. If however you have never been drawing or sculpting digitally or you don’t know how to work with programs such as Photoshop or Zbrush you can sing in for the course
Zbrush essentials“.

Are there any requirements before signing in for the course?

Previous experience with drawing, sculpting or working with digital media are beneficial but not necessary. In order to get the most from this course the student should be familiar with the basics of Zbrush and Photoshop.

What happens during the lesson in each module?

Each module starts with a lecture, a video material which the students can watch from their homes at any time they want. They are given tasks for homework who they need to complete before the next lesson. Students will receive feedback from the tutor on their homework.

What should I do if I have a question related to the learning material while I am at home?

We are glad you asked. There is a forum where the students can ask questions to the tutor and also communicate with each other.

Can I get my money back if there is a problem?

The quick answer is “Yes” but for more details regarding refunds go check the section with questions and answers on this site.

How can I receive more information regarding the course?

You can get in touch with us on or you can use the contact form.


More about the course


Artists community

participate in online community of artists and continue to learn and grow
The students are part of a community of artists and tutors who all share the same passion for digital arts. Even after the course is finished they will still continue learning and get inspiration.

Part of an exhibition

student projects participate in a gallery exhibition
The teaching in Cgzen uses the latest technology. The students will be introduced to the basics of 3D printing and their projects will be part of an exhibition for designer toys.
See photos from past ehxhibitions

Hearing difficulties

this course can be followed by people with hearing difficulties
The basic and distance courses are made in a way beneficial for people with hearing problems/hearing impairment. The video lessons have subtitles and the feedback for the homework is given in an appropriate format.
Ask for more details.

Information about the mentor


Martin Punchev

2D/3D character designer and sculptor.

Martin is artist specializing in character and creature creations. Started his career working for advertising studios, than made the transition into the game industry where he worked as a 3d character artists and later as a technical art director. His most recent endeavors are on a freelance basis, working on various projects ranging from TV series, illustration, toy design (Blizzard, Hasbro), concept art (VR projects) and game art( “Firefall”, “Wildstar”). Martin is founder of Cgzen and devotes lots of energy to teaching.

personal portfolio
Martin Punchev on facebook Martin Punchev on instagram Martin Punchev on twitter icon_mail_on

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