How do one learn 3D?

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Udjani triangle
Hey guy, i've started to play around some weeks ago, untill now i was manly learning the tools, ''copyng small meshes from the internet'', reading and watching tutorials about topology and any other basic modeling related stuff, then i decide to do a fan art of a prop from doom, of course i enconter lots of problem and was searching for solutions, i did finish it, but you know, end up looking pretty bad. BUT, i learned some stuff, i think that if i will do another i will be a bit more prepared now.

That is what i should be doing? i think that is better to learn by doing small things, however some advises of what to do and in what to focus from people that have experience and already go through this processes could really help me now.

So if want to say about how was your learning processes too, it would be very appreciate too. 

(Talking about polymodeling and subdvi mostly, didn't get to the bake/texture part yet.)


  • JordanN
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    JordanN interpolator
    Have an idea of what you want to make. Also, don't be afraid to model ANYTHING.

    I feel like the above advice would have helped me greatly when I first started. Newcomers might think 3D modeling is about cutting corners, but that's actually the fastest way to limiting any growth or improvement.

    I would start modeling everyday stuff around me, like pencils or a pop can or a Cabinet. Then I moved onto something with a bit more complexity and depth like a CRT TV, Vacuum Cleaner or a Car. Then finally, I learned to model props that would be considered "Hero assets" or had a lot of detail that could be broken down into smaller props, so a Car Engine, Welding Robot or inside of a Camera.

    But again, I stress it's very important to learn how to model without skimping on detail. Especially as some models may require you to add detail that only comes organically. So a rock or a leather chair for example, could be modeled once as a base object, but then you further add all the surface detail and wrinkles through a digital sculpting program like mudbox/zbrush.
  • throttlekitty
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    throttlekitty Polycount Sponsor
    To me, that's the best way, and you've good a good attitude about it! Early on, it's going to be baby steps, using what you learned before gives you more room to explore the path ahead of you.

    I'd add starting threads with progress posts with images of what you're doing, and check out the threads from others. Getting feedback and maybe a bit of pressure to improve from people will also help you a lot.
  • kanga
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    kanga polycounter lvl 11
    I started off by trying to model characters in a spline modelling app. The first ones were really terrible but once bitten by the bug I could't stop and still can't. I eventually stepped over to a poly modeller (3DSMax) and then to ZBrush. The advice above is great but it wouldn't have worked for me. What worked was modelling something that inspired me. Doing that meant I never had to force myself to model. I guess if you want to learn 3d modelling quickly the advice above is the best, but if you want to spend your time doing what you love, do just that.

  • GrevSev
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    GrevSev polycounter lvl 5
    Model everything and draw. 

    I've cut back on my drawing as  I mostly sculpt now but it does help you visualize whatever object you desire. practice drawing form and perspective. 

    once you find your nice pour everything into it and don't stop having fun 
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi quad damage
    For me, starting small was working on handpainted assets.  Just needed to focus on low poly modeling and painting to get good results.
  • sacboi
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    sacboi greentooth
    Subd polygonal modelling (hardsurface) - I focused for years on optimising edgeflow and topology design for my hi-res meshes, which is essential when portraying complex mechanical objects.
  • Odow
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    Odow polycounter lvl 4
    Do small props and slightly for harder. the best way to learn is to make something you have no idea how you'll achieve it.
    At school, the first modeling intro class i had was 3 month, where we only focus on modeling, not the polycount not the uv etc, just modeling with no bug, and nice flow and normal.

    First month we did a picknick table, garbage can,street lamp in the first week, then we had to do a tie fighter and a  a WWII plane.
    Second month a chunk of a street ( 3 building + road, sidewalk, lamp bench etc) 
     Last one was a complete motocycle with all the motor part and cable and stuff.

    All that wild doing small object in class.

    the second semester was on the same thing but this time we focus on better geo, polycount, alphas and overall good mordling,
    -an exterior church
    - an entire scene in modeling with vegetation, a vehicule and a manmade construction (boat, house etc)
    -Intro to UV adn zbrush.

    Now i don't say this is the best plan, this is mostly just to get confortable with your tool, the workflow, bugs and thinking 3D. IMO a year for just that is too big, i would try to condensed it in way less time like 6month so you get to the important part faster: high poly, low poly, baking, and texture.
  • Bletzkarn
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    Bletzkarn polycounter lvl 2
    You are 100% on the right track. Set yourself challenges. I think I good place to start is find a piece of art you really really like and try to make it. Failure in learning is a good thing.
  • zetheros
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    zetheros polycounter lvl 4
    Hey dchani, I didn't start small when I started modeling. I started with a lot of ambition and ideas for huge elaborate projects, then learned from my many mistakes along the way. Don't feel afraid of failure; sometimes I think it's even worthwhile to set yourself up for failure and taking risks.
  • kanga
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