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Christoher Randin

Is it worth investing time to learn 3D modeling.

16 posts in this topic

I have never done art before, but I am trying to make my game visual appealing. So, far I am using a model I got online as the player and working on the gameplay with the model for now.  Just wondering if I should bother making my own character player and animations, but I have no idea on how to do any of that.  I know how to do all the programming stuff and I do prefer programming.  Just wondering what can I do to get some models with animations, or something very basic to use in my game.

 

I just want to simple archer, to be idle, run, shoot, jump.  I have a model that is an archer, but has no animations.  The other problem is I don't know if I can even make an animation for it because there are no children nodes on this character model.  It is just one big model with no rigging or anything.

 

Just looking for some wisdom and how to approach this.  I am currently focus on getting my game play down, but eventually I will need to get my animations down.

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3D modeling is fun, addicting, and easy once you get the hang of it.

Just grab a copy of Blender (free for any purpose), and follow the tutorials at BlenderCookie.com to learn the interface and some basic modeling.

Then there is a great tutorial series on youtube to model and rig simple game characters: Peter's Massive Blender Tutorial - http://www.youtube.com/user/PXstriker/videos?flow=grid&view=0
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3D modeling is fun, addicting, and easy once you get the hang of it.

Just grab a copy of Blender (free for any purpose), and follow the tutorials at BlenderCookie.com to learn the interface and some basic modeling.

Then there is a great tutorial series on youtube to model and rig simple game characters: Peter's Massive Blender Tutorial - http://www.youtube.com/user/PXstriker/videos?flow=grid&view=0

My only concern with Blender is that it is open source meaning it evolves very quickly, so what I learn now, many not be the same in a year or 2. Unless, the changes aren't so drastic.  The thing is I am taking courses for graphics, like learning OpenGL and some aspects of how to create a simple game engine

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I tried this and failed. It is easy, as Daaark says, but in the end I just had to admit that I am not an artist. I followed any tutorial I could find, but my mind doesn't work in the manor required. I tend to focus on mechanical details and can model mechanical objects with ease, but cannot get the hang of organic modeling.
 
I'm not saying that to discourage you, but typically artistic talent appears early in life. If you have it, you know. Try it though. You may find a hidden talent.
My only concern with Blender is that it is open source meaning it evolves very quickly, so what I learn now, many not be the same in a year or 2. Unless, the changes aren't so drastic.  The thing is I am taking courses for graphics, like learning OpenGL and some aspects of how to create a simple game engine

Blender does change frequently, typically every other minor version release. However, this is usually a GUI change or added features. The program has changed significantly since 2.48 (the version I first downloaded), but the techniques still apply. Edited by MarkS
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[quote name='Daaark' timestamp='1358483465' post='5022768']
3D modeling is fun, addicting, and easy once you get the hang of it.
[/quote]

 

This.

 

It's easy to get started and once you do making things like scenery objects, guns etc is all very easy. The hard part is finding good reference images or coming up with original ideas. Also, I had fun doing 3D animation because it gave me an excuse to buy foam swords and swing them at stuff to get an idea of how things should look. The hard part is modeling things with intense detail at high polygon counts, or making very detailed/long animations. 

 

Just like anything else, it takes time to get the hang of, but once you do it's a valuable skill to have as a programmer. It gives you a glimpse into how artists work and what kind of workflows they expect, among other things.

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Blender does change quickly, but in a good way. They usually do a big release every few months. they kill bugs, and add new features, or improve existing ones.

It doesn't matter how much it changes though. The concept of 3D modeling never changes. You won't ever have to re-learn anything, you'll just continually have a better program to use.

No matter what program you use, your models are basically just lists of vertices, and their associated data (bone weights, vertex colors, UVs, etc...).

OpenGL is OpenGL, and has nothing to do with Blender. Blender is for making art. OpenGL is an API for drawing graphics to the screen. You can learn them at the same time without any interference.
I tried this and failed. It is easy, as Daaark says, but in the end I just had to admit that I am not an artist. I followed any tutorial I could find, but my mind doesn't work in the manor required. I tend to focus on mechanical details and can model mechanical objects with ease, but cannot get the hang of organic modeling.
The difference between a good artist and a failed one is that the good one was willing to put in the work. Watch videos of people doing organic modeling and you'll get the feel for it.

You can learn a lot just by finishing models and scenes, regardless of how bad you might think they look. The model something else, and you will get the hang of it. Use reference pictures and mood boards as much as possible. Edited by Daaark
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If you want to get your hands on Autodesk 3DS Max, Maya, or Mudbox and you happen to be a student then you should check this out: http://students.autodesk.com/

 

Under free software are tons of products by Autodesk. I've used the latest 3ds max from here for various student game projects when I was in college. The best part is you can experiment with Maya and all of the great tutorials for it on 3dBuzz.com.

Edited by M6dEEp
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See I love modelling, but I hate texturing and I'm horrible at animating. :)

 

If it is something you enjoy doing, by all means, jump in.  That said, i've been putzing around with this stuff since I got my hands on a Indy with Power Animator ( the forefather of Maya ) when I was a young buck, and im still pretty horrible at it.  I can however create my own levels, models, etc...  Perhaps not AAA level, but probably at a commercial level.  Granted, a pro artist could do in a day what takes me a week.  Plus, I cant make textures, but they are pretty easy to acquire.

 

 

I am putting together a tutorial series that might interest you.  Basically it's all about teaching programmers how to use Blender to create programmer art, from learning the UI to modeling, texturing (applying, not creating ;) ), animating and possibly rendering.  Perhaps it will be of interest to you.  I literally just published the first part

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I've been making all my own models and it's been really fun.  It can be easy, but it can also be extremely complex the greater detailing the model is.  I actually think texturing a model is much harder (from an artists standpoint).  I tend to just want to paint it a color and use some random photoshop filter on it, but I digress.

 

 

I think if you are going to try it out, blender would not be my first choice.  It's extremely confusing, and you have to know a lot of hotkeys.  I'm no artist, just a programmer, but I've used Maya, 3ds Max, Blender, Game Space, Milkshape, and Wings3D.  3ds Max was really nice, but unless you want to spend that kind of money, I wouldn't bother.  Maya I didn't particially like.  Gamespace was my favorite modeler.  It made it really easy to extrude and shape models.  It's texture mapping was ok.  The program would crash all the time tough.  Gamespace was like $100 or something when I bought it.

 

The free modelers.

Milkshape - I used it years ago and couldn't get a hang of it

 

Blender - The most full packaged free modeling software programs out there.  I dislike the UI and the hotkeys, and it has a steep learning curve.

 

Wings3D - OMG I love this Program. 

Very little UI so its intuitive.  You pretty much right click to bring up menus to do things like (rotate, scale, add vertices, etc......).  Their Texture mapping is confusing at first but is REALLY easy and better than gamespace if I remember correctly.  But as a programmer, you can model so fast with this software, and its cross-platform.  It doesn't do animation, so once you move onto that, I just export my models from Wings3D to Blender, and use that as the tool for animating.

 

Hopefully this helps give some insight on your question.  Because Like you, I learned how to do some (basic) modeling for my games. 

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Once you get the hang of the basics in any modeling program it's easy to do quite a lot. Generally it's the simple tools you use the most, or I do.

 

It's fun and addicting but just like MarkS I just can't get the hang of organic modeling. Anyway you should try it, if not just for the fun.

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[quote name='Cdrandin' timestamp='1358481736' post='5022763']
creating character player and animations, but I have no idea on how to do any of that.  I know how to do all the programming stuff and I do prefer programming.
[/quote]

Those are all different diciplines.

 

Over the years I've seen that for every programmer there are about 0.75 modelers and about 1.5 animators.  So combined they are more than double the effort of programming.

 

If you simply need models, go get a copy of Spore.  You can export the Collada models very easily and you don't need modeling and texturing experience.

 

You will still need to animate them, but since they are already fully rigged you can make simple animations for now, and get a real animator to provide better animations later.

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I think if you are going to try it out, blender would not be my first choice.  It's extremely confusing, and you have to know a lot of hotkeys.

I think your knowledge of Blender is out of date. Since the UI was reworked you don't need to know lots of hotkeys any more - everything is available through menus.
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I think if you are going to try it out, blender would not be my first choice.  It's extremely confusing, and you have to know a lot of hotkeys.

I think your knowledge of Blender is out of date. Since the UI was reworked you don't need to know lots of hotkeys any more - everything is available through menus.

 

Except most tutorials often use the hotkeys, so it's a bit hard for a beginner.  Don't get me wrong Blender is an awesome and powerful program, but as a beginner, personally, It was really hard to start off on.

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<blockquote class='ipsBlockquote'data-author="wizardpc" data-cid="5023112" data-time="1358580321"><p>
<quote class='ipsBlockquote'data-author="dave j" data-cid="5022988" data-time="1358544326"><p><quote class='ipsBlockquote'data-author="wizardpc" data-cid="5022959" data-time="1358537025"><p><br />
I think if you are going to try it out, blender would not be my first choice. It's extremely confusing, and you have to know a lot of hotkeys.</p></quote>
I think your knowledge of Blender is out of date. Since the UI was reworked you don't <em class='bbc'>need</em> to know lots of hotkeys any more - everything is available through menus.</p></quote>
<br />
Except most tutorials often use the hotkeys, so it's a bit hard for a beginner. Don't get me wrong Blender is an awesome and powerful program, but as a beginner, personally, It was really hard to start off on.</p></quote>

See I'm opposite. I had a friend who self taught himself Blender teach me Blender some years back. It took me less than an hour to understand where to find things.

Follow just a couple of tutorials. You'll learn the most common hot keys instantly.

I remember in a 3D class we took in school we used Blender while everyone else used 3DS Max. Everyone else wanted to use Blender because they could see how much easier it was to use and they understood it more.
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[quote name='wizardpc' timestamp='1358580321' post='5023112']
Don't get me wrong Blender is an awesome and powerful program, but as a beginner, personally, It was really hard to start off on.
[/quote]

 

When I tried Blender for the first time, (about a 18 months ago), I gave up in disgust, as the UI made no sense to me at all, and I struggled with the basics. More recently I decided I didn't give it a proper chance, and watched some tutorials and though it was initially confusing, I can now do simple modelling and texturing (which is all I need). Once you get over the initial learning curve it's pretty awesome for free software.

 

The biggest help I found (aside from the tutorials) was to make a cheat-sheet for common keyboard shortcuts and keep it in front of me whenever I use it.

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I am sure glad that I learned 3D modeling. I feel that it is the funnest part of the whole game making process. For you I would recommend Blender - even some pros use it.
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The answer to your question is learn the basics if you plan on programming for animation. In my experience there are 2 types of modellers. Model for display and model for animation.

 

Model for display is a 3D model that is for display only. A good example are walls and trees. Anything that does not move.

 

Model for 3D animation is a bit more complex. You have to be able to make the model look good while in motion and it deforms properly.

 

I'm not saying learn 3D but study into it and there are tones of videos. Just Google "modelling for animation"

 

Another thing you could do is find a 3D modeller to set the model up for you. If you can display a picture of the mesh I can tell you if it can be animated correctly.

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