Hard Surface Modeling Tips

Hey all,

I’m a complete noob to 3D art, as I’ve been a 2D artist in the past. Right now I’m having trouble getting hard surfaces smoothed out. From the tutorials I’ve seen, people tend to start with primitives like cylinders and whatnot, but I was unsure how to use a primitive in my project.

Here is my (very) WIP model. I’m trying to smooth out the shoulderpads at the moment. Could you guys give me any tips on what I can do better?

Thanks for your reply.

I’m currently working on converting the n-gons into proper quads, which should also help to fix the edge flow, right?

I switched clipping on and turned the subdivision down to 2. What would be a better way to get the sharp edges? I saw the blender cookie video about adding a second edge loop close to the actual edge, but then I also saw a tutorial that said edge loops can needlessly complicate the geometry, and that the edge splitting should be used instead.

The model will be used for 3D printing, and unfortunately I don’t have any actual references, as I’m not exactly modeling something that has existed.

For high-quality rendering extra edge loops are the way to go. For 3D printing, since you won’t need to worry about shading artefacts near sharp edges, you can instead use creases to control the subsurf without adding extra geometry. You definitely don’t want edge splits, since you want to keep the mesh manifold.

Best wishes,

Alright, so I made some progress since yesterday. I think I’ll finish working on the quad conversion before I get to rendering the extra edge loops, but for some reason I have dark spots as circled in the following screenshot:

Is this an indicator of non-manifold geometry?