When it comes to 3D modeling, there aren’t any shortcuts to success. In addition to the talent and the vision you already have, it takes determination and hard work. To become a great 3D artist, you not only need the same artistic skills as a painter or sculptor you also need to have thorough understanding of the software. Here are some useful tips to help you with 3D modeling as a beginner:
- Don’t use tools you don’t need – It may be easy to assume that the more tools you use, the better your work will be. The fact of the matter is that you may end up overcomplicating things with too many distractive tools that you can do without. Keep it simple and go with the basics. You can create professional quality models with just a few brushes.
Image Credit: Mordachai_2006For instance, build the form and structure with Clay Tubes and then use a DamStandard brush to cut into the clay and define the shapes. It’s basically like taking some clay and then molding it into a defined shape as you do in sculpting or pottery. With 3D modeling, it takes a lot more effort and time to perfect the technique.
- Don’t be too ambitious too soon – While ambition can be a great thing to drive you towards better things, it needs to fuel you in the right doses. You may have had an image in your head for years but your technological and tool skills should first catch up in order to product something of that quality.If you’re thinking of producing a masterpiece quickly, that’s just going to leave you frustrated. As a result, you may end up with plenty of unfinished projects on your plate. Start slow before you’re able to bag top 3D modeling jobs.
- Set goals – The best way to avoid the issue given above is by setting goals. There’s no harm in setting a long term goal of producing a masterpiece. But make sure you set the pace with short term goals. You may start out slowly but you can set goals to eventually produce the same kind of work within a shorter period of time.A good idea is to choose one technique and set a timeframe to perfect that technique. Even if you’re unable to accomplish that goal during the first few months, don’t fret. Be kind on yourself and stay positive or you’ll end up getting frustrated anyway. If you’re working on a project that’s out of your comfort zone, make sure you push yourself to complete it anyway.If you keep doing this and continue challenging yourself with new goals, you will eventually be able to arm yourself with the right skill sets. This means that you will have more confidence in taking on new, more challenging projects. Eventually, you will know exactly how to create the image you have in mind.
- Make the most of tutorials – If you have a hard time with a particular technique or you’re experimenting with something new, tutorials can be of great help. Even the best 3D modelers sometimes check out tutorials from time to time. So there’s no shame in admitting that you need a bit of guidance. However, it’s easy to become too dependent on tutorials. Use them to show you the ropes when you hit a break wall. But learn to fly solo eventually and master the technique.
Screenshot Taken: 6th May 2016
- Don’t ignore topology – When you’re creating character models for animation, topology and edge flow are crucial. Topology is especially important when you’re creating organic models such as faces. The way you structure a mesh edge flow could help you with skin deformations on the character. Use the radical edge loops between the eyes and mouth as the main reference points on a face model. The nose and cheeks will be the convergence areas for the rings.Make the most of quads (four-sided polygons) to model your characters especially if you intend to sculpt using Mudbox or ZBrush later on. Quads can be a modeler’s best friend because you can easily subdivide them for sculpting or triangulate them for game engines. Keep triangular polys to a bare minimum and avoid N-gons altogether.
- Don’t always aim for seamless meshes – One of the biggest misconceptions among beginners is that the finished model should be a single seamless mesh. The truth is that you’ll only end up wasting time and effort if you always aim for this. Modeling your character using separate geometry will be much easier for you in many cases. However, the exception to this rule is with game art and 3D printing.
- Take the time to experiment – Sometimes, you can learn valuable lessons and skills when you’re just having fun experimenting with different features. Take some time to try out various tools and techniques without having a set goal in mind. Maybe you could set aside a few hours every week to experiment on features you haven’t tried before.
- Think ahead – A lot of beginners make the mistake of jumping into a project without a design in mind. You might think that it’s easy to design the character as you model it. But it’s often a good idea to first consider design and composition. If you have a good idea in mind, try sketching it out first. If it looks good, scan it and put it into the design platform as an image plane. Image planes are a major asset especially when it comes to designing complex characters and architectural pieces. This will not only allow you to work faster but also develop the model more accurately. With accuracy being essential for professional modelers, turn image planes into your best friend.
- Start off with minimal subdivisions – A lot of first-time modelers come up with models that are somewhat lumpy with irregularities in the quality. This is because they start subdividing their mesh too early in the process. The better thing to do is to first perfect the shape and silhouette using polygons and then add resolution only after that.You might find yourself having to modify the overall shape of the model after you’ve already subdivided it to a great extent. In such cases, you can make use of the lattice tool. You can also use the relax brush and smoothen out the lumps if there are any unsightly irregularities on the surface.
- Choose the right software – Software preferences can vary among 3D modelers. The important thing is to find one that fulfills your requirements and is easy to use without exceeding your budget. If you’re starting out, use free 3D modeling software to learn the basics and then practice more advanced features on a professional version.
If you’re a beginner in 3D modeling, you can make the most of the tips given above to help you on your way to success. Remember that you’ll need to put in plenty of hours before you can finally develop your first perfected model. Start slow and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.