Ajay Patel

Sculpting Thanos to Learn Blender
Projects · May 29, 2020

The recent Blender 2.80 release has finally come with a much needed UI overhaul that makes it easier to work through the different stages of 3D modeling and animation and access the various tools Blender has. And with Blender’s growing popularity in industry, I finally got around to investing some time into learning it.

While I’ve worked with 3D modeling and animation tools years ago, I never really did much beyond merging basic shapes together. I believe when I first started working with Blender in 2008 or so, sculpting was fairly new to Blender, and most people were still modeling character instead of sculpting them.

Sculpting programs like ZBrush, however, have become popular for creating a lot of the iconic characters in big-budget CGI films that have complex features that would be easier to sculpt rather than model.

Using these reference images of Thanos from Marvel’s Avengers franchise, I set out to learn sculpting without following any sort of step-by-step guide, but rather just learning how to use each individual sculpting brush.

Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War
Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War

Below is the progress of my very first 3D model at different stages during the sculpting process.


  • Starting out with a “digital ball of clay”

  • Sculpting to form the basic shape of a human head

  • Sculpting the basic head shape into a more specific Thanos head shape (wide and large chin, thick neck, etc.)

  • Symmetrically detailing the outer ears on both sides of the head (one of the most difficult tasks so far to get the creases and folds right)

  • Adding in rough facial details (forehead, eyes, nose, lips, etc.)
  • Defining the shape of the head and chin in more detail

  • Adding in the face and chin scars, wrinkles, and folds from the character
  • Applied a basic purple shade to the mesh for now to make it look closer to the real Thanos character. Planning to properly texture, render, and light at the end, but just using it as a stand in to get slightly closer to a final view.

  • Founder @ Plasticity (acq. 2020)
  • PhD @ University of Pennsylvania (est. 2025)
  • Y Combinator Alum (S17 Batch)

More on About  →
Currently in 🔔 Philadelphia, PA, USA 🇺🇸
Copyright © 2021 Ajay Patel. All rights reserved.