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(Two Topics) Textures that Mimic 3D?

I'm awfully new to the 3D Scene, just coming out of high school. I'm in course to learn these things through a local college, but I can't help to have many curiosities about this whole thing before starting. 

Two topics; one of the two, what can be my learning ground before going to college?
Any program is fine by me, especially ones I have free access to like Blender. Now, how the heck would I learn to flex what is in my mind? (Modeling, textures, architecture-- the creation basics)

Two, the topic in the title. I watched an animation made by someone on Blender, and I noticed through their behind-the-scenes video is that they did not need to model much, but when they switched to a texture view, the model looked like it had more poly counts than at first!
Can some textures imitate or create an illusion that there is a far more sense of 3d depth when applied to an object? 

video reference: 

Replies

  • kanga
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    kanga sublime tool
    1/ Youtube is your friend. Just start using it.

    2/ If it was an animation, then most likely a displacement map was in use.
  • lluc21
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    lluc21 polycounter lvl 3
    What you're looking for is either Displacement Maps, or more likely Normal Maps. A quick google search on those terms will clarify what those are about and the differences.
  • RN
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    RN sublime tool
    Two topics; one of the two, what can be my learning ground before going to college?
    Any program is fine by me, especially ones I have free access to like Blender. Now, how the heck would I learn to flex what is in my mind? (Modeling, textures, architecture-- the creation basics)
    Hi, some personal notes:
    - On YouTube, remember that you can increase the playback speed on the player to like 1.5x, this helps a LOT when it's a slow speaker. And don't rule out text material as it can be very helpful too, especially if it comes with animated GIFs like these: https://twominutetuts.com/tutorial/loop-cut-tool/

    - Took me a while to understand that we're actually trying to learn two different topics: 1) how to operate the 3D or 2D art software, and 2) how to plan and produce a project. If you want to make a character and the first thing you do is open up Blender, then you're not ready. You're forgetting the pre-production: you look for reference material, you go to the sketching board with pencil & paper to draw the concept art first and so on. Likewise, if you want to animate a character rig, don't just open Blender, but sketch a storyboard, get a camera and record yourself doing the action / look for reference videos etc. So the art software is only involved in the later steps of production when you're ready to plot pixels / polygons / keyframes.

    - Start with small projects that you can actually complete, instead of diving straight into your complex "dream" projects. So instead of making a full character / environment, make a prop that goes with it.

    - You can learn a lot when doing things outside of your comfort zone.

    - You can learn new things by watching others work even if it's not in a tutorial context. See if you can find any process / workflow footage from your favorite artists (and start making a list of your favorite artists, people that make art that you like or that inspires you).

    - Skills and knowledge you get in analog / traditional art can come back to help you in your digital work. Even if you want to be a 3D animator or modeler working in front of a computer, you will definitely benefit from learning one or more of: photography & lighting, traditional sculpting, color & vision theory, drawing lessons, puppetry, painting and others.

    - Also, while there's a lot of great free material online, there's a lot of great paid material too. Gumroad, books etc. People can help you curate a list of what to buy.
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