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Where to go to learn 3D modeling...complete beginner


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#1 ramdacc   Members   -  Reputation: 134

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 03:47 PM

The title pretty much sums it up. I am looking for a book or books, tutorials, videos, anything I can get ahold of that teaches 3D modeling to the complete beginner. I prefer physical books to having to chase down several small tutiroals all over the net from multiple different authors. Can any of you recommend a book like that in particular? I'll be using Blender and do not have access to 3DSMAX, Maya, Lightwave, etc.



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#2 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4538

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 04:07 PM

Blender is confusing, so I wish you luck with that.  But they have an official set of tutorials you should check out, you can find info about them on blender's website and wiki.  Books are specific to the software, so a book wouldn't do you any good unless it was specifically for blender, and one which wasn't too many versions old.  Honestly books are not the way to learn computer-relates subjects any more; no one wants to print or sell them because they go out of date so fast.  Youtube is the main place to find instructional videos other than the official blender ones.


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me.

#3 jwezorek   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1606

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 04:13 PM

Just to stress a point that sunandshadow touched on ... when trying to learn Blender from an online tutorial make sure the tutorial you are following specifically targets the version of Blender you have installed

(or that the two versions are equivalent UI-wise, which is a hard thing to figure out. Basically the executive summary on Blender versions is that if you have Blender with a version >= 2.5, don't bother with any reference material targeting versions earlier than 2.5).

Edited by jwezorek, 02 January 2013 - 04:16 PM.


#4 Andrew Kabakwu   Members   -  Reputation: 650

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 05:06 PM

Blender is great, I love the workflow.

 

If you are interested in Blender, may I suggest

http://cgcookie.com/blender/

http://www.blenderguru.com/



#5 Daerst   Members   -  Reputation: 227

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 05:14 PM

Blender is confusing, so I wish you luck with that.

In my experience, Blender isn't more confusing (or easy) than any other 3D modeling app. I started out with Blender, and Maya still is a closed book to me. Think the same applies vice versa for a Maya guy :-) I'd say Blender is perfectly okay.

 

You might wanna take a look at the Blender e-Store. They got a bunch of training DVDs there, but as jwezorek pointed out, make sure it's targeted at Blender 2.5 or a later release. I never picked up a book on Blender, so I am of little help there, sorry.



#6 ThePiixelMonster   Members   -  Reputation: 155

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 05:27 PM

Well if you're after books, there are a few but you will find many more video related training material for the software than books.

I will list a few below but to be honest, once you get a grip of the software (know the ins and outs of the interface and such) you will be able to follow along with any Maya/3DS Max tutorial on modelling within Blender. Some things will be different but you will be able to replicate and learn the modelling techniques from them inside of Blender. Just a heads up for once you get to know the software a little better!

Video training:
Blender DVD's - http://www.blender3d.com/e-shop/default_dvds.php
CGCookie - http://cgcookie.com/blender/
BlenderGuru - http://www.blenderguru.com
BlenderNerd - http://www.blendernerd.com/
CG Boomer - http://www.cgboomer.com
BlendTuts - http://www.blendtuts.com/blender_tutorials

Books:
Blender Books - http://www.blender3d.com/e-shop/default_books.php
An Introduction To Blender 3D: A Book For Beginners - v 2.54+
I haven't really bought many books for Blender, so I can't really suggest any other than the ones listed on the link above, but a small search on Amazon under the Books section should yield all of the results you need. Make sure to check reviews on the book and you will be sorted. :)

Alternatively if you have any trouble and cannot find a solution from a Google search, you will be able to get in touch with the HUGE Blender community and I am sure somebody there will at the very least try to help you. :)
http://www.blender.org/forum/
http://blenderartists.org/forum/forum.php


Other Blender Communities:
http://forums.cgsociety.org/forumdisplay.php?f=91


Also... It might have helped if you specified what you would like to get into within modelling, organic character modelling and environmental modelling although are considered 3d modelling use different techniques and such so somebody else may have better resources for you to get going over, but my links and such are pretty much aimed at general Blender learning.

There are more resources here!!
http://www.blender.org/community/user-community/



BUT, YOU could have found all of this with a little Google search...






Kind Regards
The Pixel Monster




[EDIT]
Sorry, I was typing this post up before the two replies above mine, so there may be a few things mentioned form those in my post... I didn't steal there info and put it into my post though! lol I hope the info helps you and I agree with the above comment!!

Edited by ThePiixelMonster, 02 January 2013 - 05:29 PM.


#7 3Ddreamer   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2902

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 06:07 PM

Added to all this and much more, YouTube has thousands of tutorials, many step by step.


Personal life and your private thoughts always effect your career. Research is the intellectual backbone of game development and the first order. Version Control is crucial for full management of applications and software.  The better the workflow pipeline, then the greater the potential output for a quality game.  Completing projects is the last but finest order.

 

by Clinton, 3Ddreamer


#8 MrDaaark   Members   -  Reputation: 3535

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 09:29 PM

Just follow along with the tutorials at BlenderCookie.com. They are the best out there.

#9 johncmurphy   Members   -  Reputation: 319

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 05:46 PM

  For the past year or so, both Autodesk Maya and Maxon CINEMA 4D have been offering "student" versions for free. I don't have a link, but I see this mentioned all the time in my son's minecraft forums, where there are a number kids making YouTube videos with Maya or C4D.

  As someone who is proficient in both of those programs, I will state flatly that there are no good books for learning CINEMA 4D. For years, I have been buying books in English and German in an effort to learn the program, and none of them are particularly good. (If anyone wants to recommend one, I will buy it and read it.)

  On the other hand, I was able to learn Maya within a month or two using a combination of YouTube videos and the two most popular books on Autodesk Maya on Amazon. (I forget the names...) It's not that Maya is so much easier than C4D, it's just that the teaching is done by professional educators, not 3D artists who fancy themselves teachers. It seems that Autodesk is involved directly in their training...

  I would also add that you can buy a lot of 3D models for cheap on the web nowadays. That way, you only have to know how to make modifications to existing models, which is much easier than doing the modeling yourself.



#10 DaveTroyer   Members   -  Reputation: 1052

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 03:50 PM

Hi there!

 

One thing I would suggest is to start simple. Don't think about creating a high-poly, cinematic-quality character model right out of the gate. I've seen folks get frustrated and give up because the idea they have in their head doesn't just spill out on to the screen with a couple of clicks of the mouse. It takes practice; lots of practice.

 

Instead, start with something simple like a crate. You can start that with a cube, unwrap it, create the texture, and see how it lays out on your model. From there, add detail to your crate. Add individual boards, then go back to unwrapping it and see what you can do with it. By adding to your base model, you won't create a game ready asset, but you'll learn how to create more detail in a model using the geometry you're given

 

As you learn more and more about basic geometry in the software, you can start thinking of larger, more complex objects. Take a car for instance. You have the body, frame, engine, drive line, interior, suspenssion, wheels, tires, lights, fuel tank, etc. If you create all of the parts needed to make a recognizable car, you'll notice that they all can be made by starting with simple objects, sub-dividing, moving vertex and boom! you've got yourself a shock! Everying is made up of basic shapes when you really look at them.

 

I'd say getting acquainted with the software is a good thing, but whats more important is learning how to break objects down into their base shapes. It'll help make the process easier, in my opinion, for a beginner.

 

Eventually, you'll move on to patch modelling, which will give you more dynamic and organic shapes, but it isn't for everyone. I know a guy that is a decent enough artist, but takes him months and months just to make a basic character model and it usually comes out way too high of poly, looking pretty "off" or "broken" and bad geometry all over the place.

 

Hope that gave you something to work with. Sorry I don't really know of any good books for 3D modelling; like many have suggested here, I learned from getting my hands dirty and watching a couple tutorials online.

 

Good luck and keep your head up!


Check out my game blog - Dave's Game Blog


#11 jwezorek   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1606

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 05:58 PM

One thing I would suggest is to start simple.
Yeah, this is about the best advice that can be given.

I think beginners trying to learn programming often focus too much on tutorials -- many tutorials teach bad practices, or are just wrong or out of date -- and focusing too much on them tends to miss the point that you learn to program by programming and cutting-and-pasting code from a tutorial is not programming.

Anyway, I think that this attitude toward tutorials does not carry over into learning 3D modeling. Following a tutorial and just performing every step that the tutorial author describes is actually very helpful. Especially tutorials about doing really basic things like modeling a low polygon spaceship or whatever and then texturing it.

But yeah my advice is to get a bunch of tutorials about really basic stuff and just work through them and try to use hotkeys and so forth as you work to build up muscle memory.

Edited by jwezorek, 09 January 2013 - 05:59 PM.


#12 3Ddreamer   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2902

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 08:36 PM

There is a lot of good advice here.  

 

Keep yourself satisfied with daily results and progress.  Appreciate that mistakes are part of everyone's process of growth.

 

I like one time period for my serious achievements (for a simulation) and end the day with things purely for fun and learning.  Its a good strategy which will have you reaching goals and making it enjoyable everyday, too.

 

Much of where you go is exploring in your 3D program and related tools.  The best place is right there.


Edited by 3Ddreamer, 09 January 2013 - 08:37 PM.

Personal life and your private thoughts always effect your career. Research is the intellectual backbone of game development and the first order. Version Control is crucial for full management of applications and software.  The better the workflow pipeline, then the greater the potential output for a quality game.  Completing projects is the last but finest order.

 

by Clinton, 3Ddreamer


#13 Reavermyst   Members   -  Reputation: 133

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 10:49 AM

One website I can recommend to you for Blender, is the BlenderCookie division of CGCookie. They have many modeling tutorials available for free and many more if you're willing to go into a subscription program. The tutorials available for subscribers are pretty top notch, but the free ones will give you a basic idea to the functions of Blender.

You can find them at http://cgcookie.com/blender/

Edited by Reavermyst, 13 January 2013 - 10:50 AM.


#14 GMuser   Members   -  Reputation: 210

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:28 PM

The #1 thing you need to know is that no matter how much you know or how good you get, art takes time. You may see artists who get awesome results in a matter of hours, but even they had a newbish beginning. Practice makes perfect, that kind of thing.

 

There are a lot of helpful youtube tutorials for blender. You should look into 'b surfaces', it makes life a lot easier.



#15 DaveTroyer   Members   -  Reputation: 1052

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 12:39 PM

... Following a tutorial and just performing every step that the tutorial author describes is actually very helpful. Especially tutorials about doing really basic things like modeling a low polygon spaceship or whatever and then texturing it.

But yeah my advice is to get a bunch of tutorials about really basic stuff and just work through them and try to use hotkeys and so forth as you work to build up muscle memory.

 

I think this is excellent advice!

 

While some tutorials may not be the best for beginners, I think going through and completeing every step there is in good tutorials will help to teach good work flow and nifty short-cuts that one may never have discovered otherwise.

 

Oh and

 

The #1 thing you need to know is that no matter how much you know or how good you get, art takes time. You may see artists who get awesome results in a matter of hours, but even they had a newbish beginning. Practice makes perfect, that kind of thing.

 

There are a lot of helpful youtube tutorials for blender. You should look into 'b surfaces', it makes life a lot easier.

 

Is also excellent advice.biggrin.png


Check out my game blog - Dave's Game Blog


#16 kibikichu   Members   -  Reputation: 109

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 07:34 AM

I would advise going to thenewboston.org a lot of good tutorials

#17 deekr   Members   -  Reputation: 191

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 01:48 AM

You'll be fine with Blender. IMO, it's amazing to have software like that available at no cost.

 

I'm the type of person that loathes tutorials. In general, I just want to read it, concise and lucid, in text, and then apply it. HOWEVER, when it comes to learning about how to use Blender, the BlenderCookie tutorials are far superior to any textbook. IMO, don't even touch a book, just check out their tutorials.

 

But I'm only saying this for learning Blender's UI and how to get it to do interesting things (how to make rope/shoe laces, polygonal/subdivision surface modeling, sculpting, rigging/skinning/animation, etc...). Though you could probably learn a lot about how to create art from those tutorials, that's not really what I used them for.

 

The first thing I ever did in Blender was subdivide the default cube a bunch and started sculpting. I ended up making a troll head, but there was no plan for that. I was just sculpting. I recommend just diving in and making some practice stuff. Don't be too precise and take lots of time (unless things are starting to really turn into something), but instead try to play it quick and loose. Try to move stuff and cram things together so that it looks right. Later on, you'll learn how to do things clean and with more intent. Also, you want to focus on the real "problem" here, getting things to look right. That's what you want to learn.

 

However, one thing I wish I knew before I started playing with modeling apps was the whole workflow thing. Basically: what is the "big-picture" that you're working towards, where does appX fit in, and will I need an appY, appZ, etc... to finish? I'll explain my workflow with Blender. (Note, people have different workflows, where they do things in their own order and use their own preferred collection of tools)

 

Say I want to create a high-poly looking character that I can animate and put in a game.

With Blender, I can:

  1. create a base mesh for the character, apparel, extra parts, etc..
  2. sculpt it (high-res)
  3. retopologize it
  4. transfer my high-res detail to the retopo and touch it up
  5. bake maps (normal, ao)
  6. texture it (diffuse)
  7. create a rig for the model (a collection of bones that have various relationships and constraints with one another)
  8. skin the model to the rig
  9. create multiple animations
  10. export the result (I can also create my own export script in python, to target my game engine directly)

So, Blender is pretty much all you need. In reality, I'll sometimes use sculptris or zbrush for 1-2, but I'll usually use xNormal for 5. In steps 1-2, I'm trying to figure out what the character looks like. In steps 3-5, I'm trying to make it look good, but with far fewer polygons. I'm also arranging my polygons in certain ways, in anticipation for animation. In 6, I'm coloring it. In 7-9, I'm animating it. In 10, I'm done and sending it to the engine. Anyways, that's one example of a workflow.

 

Just for note, Unity 3D can read .blend files. Basically, do steps 1-9. At 9, remove all the intermediate/beginning stuff from the scene that you don't need. Just keep the final work and the animations. Then, drag and drop the file into Unity. This will create a separate copy of the file that unity will keep in the assets folder (if I remember the names correctly). Want to add an animation? double click the file in Unity, Blender launches, then create your new animations. (when I was playing around with it, there were a couple of small bumps here and there, but it was still pretty smooth and quite usable).



#18 F4lc0n   Members   -  Reputation: 127

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 09:17 AM

So with Unity 4 you create the animations in Unity rather then in Blender? Does it make a difference?



#19 deekr   Members   -  Reputation: 191

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 10:33 AM

I was playing around with Unity 3D just before their Unity 4 release. I just saw Mecanim and it looks like an optional way to animate and manage animations for a biped character. If you want to animate something like a spider, I don't think it would be much help:

http://blogs.unity3d.com/2012/06/20/more-mecanim/

 

Unity's documentation says that it supports .blend files natively, so it sounds like you could do one or the other:

http://docs.unity3d.com/Documentation/Manual/HOWTO-ImportObjectBlender.html 

 

I'm not sure how interoperable animating between the two is, though.

 

Within the scope of the kinds of things they both can animate, I do not see any kind of fundamental difference. They are both a means to produce data that tells your rig how to transform itself as time passes. However, things like ease of use, personal taste, turn-around time, or available community content are all factors that could sway someone one way or the other.



#20 3Ddreamer   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2902

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 12:50 PM

Torque 3D has Callada as an interchange with Blender.  Pretty much anything which you can animate in Blender will port to Torque 3D thru Callada.  Some may knock this, but Callada is becoming huge and growing as a stardard for connecting all the most common 3D programs in animating for game engines. Callada experience should be considered a must for any aspiring 3D modeler who wants to go professional some day, in my opinion - best have it in your portfolio. The Open Source or MIT availability of Blender, Callada, and Torque 3D should be a serious consideration.  The experience in using Callada with Torque 3D gives it a bit of a lead over Unity 3D since Torque 3D went MIT recently, also my opinion.


Personal life and your private thoughts always effect your career. Research is the intellectual backbone of game development and the first order. Version Control is crucial for full management of applications and software.  The better the workflow pipeline, then the greater the potential output for a quality game.  Completing projects is the last but finest order.

 

by Clinton, 3Ddreamer





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