Creative 3D Characters with 3ds Max

A course by Laurie Rowan
Animator, Illustrator, and Director. Worthing, United Kingdom.
Joined May 2020
, Animator, Illustrator, and Director

Convert hand-drawn sketches into playful 3D characters and discover your own unique style

  • 100% positive reviews (31)
  • 891 students
  • Audio: English
  • English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Polish, Dutch

Convert hand-drawn sketches into playful 3D characters and discover your own unique style

  • 100% positive reviews (31)
  • 891 students
  • 29 lessons (6h 39m)
  • 20 additional resources (9 files)
  • Online and at your own pace
  • Available on the app
  • Audio: English
  • English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Polish, Dutch
  • Level: Beginner
  • Unlimited access forever

“I try to create joyful universal experiences with a sense of celebration,” says Laurie Rowan, an animator, illustrator, and director with a passion for creating surreal and playful 3D characters. The UK-based creator focuses on tactility, color, and fun in his work, blending inspiration from animals, folk costumes, ceramics, and dance to produce characters that are refreshingly original.

In this course, join Laurie and learn how to turn hand-drawn sketches into a 3D rendered illustration. Discover new sources of inspiration, how to explore your imagination through sketching, and the best way to showcase your unique style throughout the processes of modeling, texturing, and lighting in 3ds Max. Then, learn how to incorporate features of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to speed up your workflow as you continue to build your character set.

What will you learn in this online course?

Course table of contents

  • U1
    U1. Introduction
  • U2
    U2. Ideation and Preparation
  • U3
    U3. 3D Scene Construction
  • U4
    U4. Adding Details
  • U5
    U5. Finishing Up and Next Steps
  • FP
    FP Final project
View details

Get started by meeting Laurie and hearing a bit about his background as an animator and illustrator, including what he does and why he’s passionate about it. Go through some of his creative influences, see why it’s important to absorb a broad spectrum of inspiration, and delve into the specifics of what’s expected in this course.

Starting with a blank slate, begin gathering some inspiration and ideas, defining and focusing on what you’d like to achieve with your project. Then, grab your sketchpad and start creating by exploring your imagination until you have a final image to help guide the design process.

With the general shapes of your characters defined, it’s time to produce your character composition. Learn a quick and easy way of forming structures and see how to build characters in vector form using Adobe Illustrator. Then, step-by-step, Laurie teaches you how to design the basic shapes of your first character with 3ds Max.

With the foundational elements of your characters already created, you’re ready to get started with finishing touches like clothes, hair, faces, and other personality-adding details. Then, cover some of Laurie’s favorite tricks for working with texture and preparing your project for rendering.

Your characters are ready for the world to see! Laurie shows how he shares his work with his followers, as well as his tips for producing content that is refreshing and engaging. Finally, take a look at what can be saved and re-used for streamlining new characters and other future design projects.

What is this course's project?

Build a set of characters using a variety of techniques taught throughout the course, from sketching initial ideas to building and texturing in 3D.

Projects by course students

Who is this online course for?

This course is for anyone with basic 3D experience who would like to discover new ways of designing and creating characters. It’s also ideal for animators and illustrators interested in making the jump from 2D to 3D.

Requirements and materials

To take this course, you should enjoy drawing and have some basic knowledge of the following software: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and 3ds Max.

Your material list includes a pencil, a sketchpad, and a computer with Illustrator, Photoshop, and 3Ds Max installed.


891 Students
31 Reviews
100% Positive ratings

Laurie Rowan

A course by Laurie Rowan

Teacher Plus
Animator, Illustrator, and Director

Laurie Rowan is an animator, illustrator, and director specializing in creating fun and vibrant 3D characters. For over thirteen years, he has been animating in a technical capacity, and has developed his signature style more recently over the past few years.

His client list includes Oppo, MTV, Pictoplasma, and Microsoft, as well as direction work on behalf of Nexus Studios. His projects have been screened and exhibited internationally and he is a frequent speaker at universities and creative design events.


  • U1


    • Introduction
    • Influences
    • What Will We Do in This Course?
  • U2

    Ideation and Preparation

    • Gathering References and Inspiration
    • Free Drawing and Creative Play 1
    • Free Drawing and Creative Play 2
    • Finalising Reference Image
  • U3

    3D Scene Construction

    • Vectorising Your Characters
    • Prep 3DS Scene
    • Basic Modelling 1
    • Basic Modelling 2
    • Clothes: Simulation Prep and Modelling 1
    • Clothes: Simulation Prep and Modelling 2
    • Clothes: Simulation Prep and Modelling 3
  • U4

    Adding Details

    • Detailed Clothes 1
    • Detailed Clothes 2
    • Detailed Clothes 3
    • Hair
    • Faces and Small Details 1
    • Faces and Small Details 2
    • Faces and Small Details 3
    • Faces and Small Details 4
    • Texture 1
    • Texture 2
    • Texture 3
  • U5

    Finishing Up and Next Steps

    • Final Touches and Render 1
    • Final Touches and Render 2
    • Post Tweaks
    • Getting Your Work Out There
  • FP

    Final project

    • Creative 3D Characters with 3ds Max

What to expect from a Domestika course

  • Learn at your own pace

    Enjoy learning from home without a set schedule and with an easy-to-follow method. You set your own pace.

  • Learn from the best professionals

    Learn valuable methods and techniques explained by top experts in the creative sector.

  • Meet expert teachers

    Each expert teaches what they do best, with clear guidelines, true passion, and professional insight in every lesson.

  • Certificates

    If you're a Plus member, get a custom certificate signed by your teacher for every course. Share it on your portfolio, social media, or wherever you like.

  • Get front-row seats

    Videos of the highest quality, so you don't miss a single detail. With unlimited access, you can watch them as many times as you need to perfect your technique.

  • Share knowledge and ideas

    Ask questions, request feedback, or offer solutions. Share your learning experience with other students in the community who are as passionate about creativity as you are.

  • Connect with a global creative community

    The community is home to millions of people from around the world who are curious and passionate about exploring and expressing their creativity.

  • Watch professionally produced courses

    Domestika curates its teacher roster and produces every course in-house to ensure a high-quality online learning experience.


Domestika's courses are online classes that provide you with the tools and skills you need to complete a specific project. Every step of the project combines video lessons with complementary instructional material, so you can learn by doing. Domestika's courses also allow you to share your own projects with the teacher and with other students, creating a dynamic course community.

All courses are 100% online, so once they're published, courses start and finish whenever you want. You set the pace of the class. You can go back to review what interests you most and skip what you already know, ask questions, answer questions, share your projects, and more.

The courses are divided into different units. Each one includes lessons, informational text, tasks, and practice exercises to help you carry out your project step by step, with additional complementary resources and downloads. You'll also have access to an exclusive forum where you can interact with the teacher and with other students, as well as share your work and your course project, creating a community around the course.

You can redeem the course you received by accessing the redeeming page and entering your gift code.

If you're a Plus member, when you complete a course you've purchased, you'll instantly get your personalized certificate. You can see all your certificates in the Certificates section of your profile. You can download your certificates as PDFs and share the link online. Learn more about certificates.
Creative 3D Characters with 3ds Max. 3D, and Animation course by Laurie Rowan

Creative 3D Characters with 3ds Max

A course by Laurie Rowan
Animator, Illustrator, and Director. Worthing, United Kingdom.
Joined May 2020
  • 100% positive reviews (31)
  • 891 students