HUMAN: Realistic Portrait Creation with Blender

Kent Trammell

Achieving photorealistic 3D faces is among the most coveted skills in computer graphics

Just look at the curated community page or trending page of ArtStation’s "Digital 3D" category and count the number of realistic portrait and character renders. Whether for movie VFXvideo gamesNFTs, or simply for the love of the craft, realistic portraiture is a worthwhile and deeply rewarding pursuit.

Realistic hand-crafted CG portraiture is long overdue for demystification. There's too many courses that teach a small part of the process or summarize everything into a workflow demo lasting a few hours that only experienced artists can understand. HUMAN explains every single step of the process in detail for all skill levels to learn from!

Portraits are hard, though. Like, really hard, right?

There’s no sugar-coating it: yes, portraiture is challenging. However, like every creative process in Blender, creating a life-like human face can be learned. (And it has nothing to do with talent, by the way.)

HUMAN is here to prove that you, too, can create realistic human faces with Blender. This is a deep-dive course into the process of portraiture. In five chapters, I lift the veil on all of the workflows, tricks, decision-making and pitfalls that I encountered on the way - and I keep nothing hidden.

  • 100% Blender
  • Over 28 hours of video
  • Fully explained, step by step
  • Includes project files

If you follow along and put in the practice, the results will blow your mind.

Much more than just a step-by-step recipe, this course is a journey into the creative process. In HUMAN, you will witness the entire journey from the default cube - well, sphere actually - to fully-detailed photo-realistic portrait. Together, we will explore the depth of Blender's capability!

What skill level is this course for?

From the beginning, I designed this course with all skill levels in mind. However due to the advanced nature of this subject, an intermediate level of experience is ideal.

If you’re new to Blender, want to brush up your skills, or perhaps you're switching to Blender from another 3D app, I recommend watching this list of prerequisite courses to prepare for HUMAN:

  1. Blender Basics
  2. Fundamentals of Digital Sculpting
  3. Fundamentals of Mesh Modeling
  4. Fundamentals of Texturing
  5. Fundamentals of Materials & Shading
  6. Fundamentals of Digital Lighting

**For more info about HUMAN, some background, recommendations and FAQ, please see this community thread!

What do the Artists think?

"HUMAN is one of the most extensive and problably most newsworthy Blender paid courses out there..."


“Kent does a fantastic job of showcasing each step in the process of creating a digital human face in Blender. The user will be taken through the foundations of facial anatomy, texturing, grooming and lighting just to name a few. Kent has produced a lot of great educational material here and the "straight to the point" tone in the videos makes them easy to digest.”

    DANIEL BYSTEDT, Senior Character Artist

"Astounding! A masterclass in masterclasses! Pure gold! A brilliant method brilliantly applied! The descriptions are superb, the knowledge is deep, the presentation is done with such approachable ease and effortless expertise. A must-have! 

AIDY BURROWS, Digital Artist & Instructor

"3D realistic portraits are often the ultimate goal of wanna-be CG artists and one of the hardest exercises there is. Kent has been a master at it for years and he's now providing the most in-depth Blender course to create any realistic portrait from scratch. He shows how to get outstanding results through a very methodical process that you can easily follow along. Anyone knowing Kent's obsession for details and comprehensive teaching will enroll day one, and so should you."

    PIERRICK PICAUT, Digital Artist & Instructor

"An incredible one-stop-shop for learning how to breach the uncanny valley of digital portraiture in Blender. Kent graciously takes us through the wonderful, yet disciplined journey of turning a sphere into a fully actualized realistic portrait. Whether you're a beginner or seasoned veteran, there's something for everyone to learn and take away from this masterful course. It's the complete package, worth every cent and more!"

    CHRIS CHUIPKA, Lead Modeler at Tangent

"From proportion techniques from the old masters, to modern techniques to create realistic human portraits. The content that Kent put together on this course is phenomenal, a masterclass very well thought-out that will boost the learning speed of everyone who wants to jump into the subject or improve their skills."

    LUCAS FALCAO, Professional Character Artist

"Every video has a lot of good information. There's not one wasted video. It pushes Blender's capabilities to the limit. It's definitely one the best course on human creation in 3d out there."

    YUDITYA AFANDIProfessional Character Artist

Student Results

Do I need a supercomputer to achieve detail like this?

You don’t need a supercomputer but PC specs will make a difference with any high-fidelity projects like this. I'm not a hardware expert (even if I was there's way too much hardware variety to say definitively) but in general, I recommend a mid-to-high-end desktop or high-end laptop for effectively creating portraits of this caliber. In every way, we're pushing Blender to its limit from sculpting in the 10's-of-millions of polygons, hi-res texture painting, complex material networks, hundreds of thousands of hair particles, and large 2K Cycles renders. My wife's 2017 MacBook Pro does not do well here.

For reference: My PC used to record this course has the following:

GeForce RTX 2080 AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X
16-Core Processor (3.50 GHz)
32 GB of RAM

Do I need a drawing tablet to follow this course?

Technically you could use a mouse but it would be a challenge. I actually prefer a mouse for brushes like Grab and Snake hook most of the time (for more precise movements). Still a drawing tablet is highly recommended.

I can't say it's 100% required, but the pressure sensitivity and more artistically-inclined mechanics of a tablet make for far more enjoyable experience when sculpting and painting textures.

I wrote an article about tablets on our blog if you want more information.

Get this course and 261 others by joining CG Cookie

Awarded upon completion:
100xp +
Course Curriculum
5 Reviews
  • Dirk Bruins(dirkdirk) ·

    I agree 100% with the other 5 star ratings.  This course is amazing!

    The best part for me is Kent's presentation style.  It's personalized.  I really felt like he was teaching me one-on-one: I'd answer his questions out loud, literally LOL with him and since he is going through the steps "live" I see the pain points and how to overcome them.

    Congratulations, Kent ... you're a Blender master and a master presenter.  I look forward to taking many more of your courses!

  • rebecca ·

    Exceptional! Incredible masterclasses, expert workflow - every step of the journey is so well crafted, full of resources, clear and enjoyable. Kent Trammell is incredibly knowledgeable, supportive and humble too. The best investment. I learned so much and discovered a true passion for 3D portraiture while working through the HUMAN course - a huge thank you!!



    I simply cannot wait to finish the course before writing a review. This is the BEST course I have ever learned on the internet! Kent is not only perfectly knowledgeable about every aspect of what he's talking about, he is also a wonderful teacher, who knows how to teach, what to teach, etc.

    His steps are clear and sensible. The amount of knowledge and tips he provides are just right for that particular lesson and absolutely useful.

    As a seasoned learner about anatomy, I'm beyond impressed with how much he knows and how deep his observation is.

    I can't wait to finish the course and relearn it again and again!

  • j
    jeremyanderson ·

    Having been through several of Kent's courses in the past, I was ridiculously excited when I saw the promo for "Human" come out. I don't think people can possibly understand the amount of preparation, hard work, and meticulous attention to detail that clearly went into this. I've been through quite a few Blender tutorials in the past, and this is by far superior to anything else I've come across. As I'm diving into the CH3 test renders ("Skin Material II," currently), I'm seeing all of the effort pay off. Things are really clicking for me as I complete this course. I've learned more from this than I did in college (3D Animation). Kent is an absolute master of his craft, and the knowledge he shares is incredibly appreciated. Thank you for all you do, Kent, and keep up the amazing work! Can't thank you enough, man. 

  • b
    brianbuckman ·

    This course has exposed me to so many new skills and ideas. You can follow along easily and have great results. I definitely would recommend that you take the time to work on your weak areas as they come up in the course, and do supplemental work if you need to. I've already taken extra sculpting, texturing, and modeling courses to help me hone my skills before I try to incorporate them into my human project

In playlist: Road to HUMAN