So I've been doing 3D modeling (and some animation etc.) on and off as a hobby for the last 4 years, but recently I wanted to start actually learning it and getting something done instead of just messing around. However, I keep having problems learning new things of the whole field of 3D.
Whenever I try to work on a project, either the model looks weird or just out of place, the textures don't fit the actual model or the normal map is a horrible mess. I've actually gotten to a point where I've failed doing normal maps so many times I've pretty much started to hate normal mapping, which isn't good as I feel they are required for a good looking model in this day and age (I recently spent a few days trying to get a good normal map out of xNormal for a relatively simple model without success, and I ended up trashing the whole project).
I feel like I should just go back to the basics and make simple models with just a diffuse map and maybe a spec map, and without anything else. If I recall correctly, I might 've skipped that phase completely and tried moving from below average modeling skills to using PBR and normal mapping.
If anyone has some tips or pointers on how I should approach this, I'd be glad to hear them!