how do I get started in organic modeling?

the title of this post says it all: How do I get started in organic modeling?
Do I use simple meshes, or do I have to learn how to use meta and bezier stuff? How do they get curved edges between vertices? What tools/objects do I need to learn how to use? I’ve studied the blend files of others that made their model available, but I still can’t figure it out :frowning:

Start with a cube. Select a face. Extrude it, and move that extruded face out from the cube. Move it to the side, and shrink it a little. Now extrude that previously extruded face. Shrink it and move it in the same way. Do the same, one more time.

Now, select your whole object, and set the face rendering to smooth in the edit buttons panel.

Finally, add a subsurf modifier to your object, and watch it go all organic :wink:

Or not. You might need to tweak the extrusions a bit, depending on how much you got the idea while doing it the first time.

This is called box modelling, by the way. Enjoy :wink:

Thanks that’s a very nifty looking tail! :smiley: Now… how do I get the curved edges that I see especially on peoples face models?

Ok. The first thing to realize about organic modeling is that most critters are symmetrical. Left side generally is the mirror image of the right side. So, mirror modifier is an important tool. Secondly, organic shapes blend smoothly into one another, so the subsurf modifier and set smooth (or auto smooth) are also required.

So, start with a cube or a plane, and immediately add a mirror modifier with clipping enabled, then a subsurf modifier (usually level 2 is fine for both Levels and Render Levels), then select everything and press Set Smooth in the Links and Materials panel, or turn on AutoSmooth in the Mesh panel.

Both the mirror modifier and subsurf have a little grey circular icon with “apply modifier to edit cage during edit mode” tooltip. Enabling this is useful. Also, if you start with a cube, there will initially be an interior face where the two cubes meet at the mirror plane. Delete this face, it will mess up the surface of your model if you leave it in place.

If you start with a cube, your main tools are extrude region (must have a face selected) and loop cut (Ctrl+r). Scale is also handy, as is rotate. This, as Jel pointed out, is box modeling.

If you start with a plane, your main tool is extrude edge (with an edge selected) and create face (f key.) This is poly-by-poly modeling, where you basically make ribbons of faces that outline the critter, and then fill in the spaces with make face.

Don’t worry about meta balls or beziers or nurbs, you don’t need them to do organic modeling.

Modeling with subsurf on takes some getting used to. Experiment with putting edges close to each other and further apart to see how it affects the curves. If you’ve enabled that little grey icon, turn it off from time to time to see what the actual editing cage looks like independant of the surface.

Here are some links that should help you with learning to model organically:
Good link for basic human modeling:

Link for modeling in general, the Gingerbread Man tutorial might be of interest for you:

The tutorials Soter recommends are really good ways to get started. The first book in my sig also has a fairly in-depth introduction to organic modeling, covering both poly-by-poly approaches, where you start with something like a plane and extrude planes and edges to make your shape, and also box modeling, where you start with a rough box shape and cut edges and shape. The two approaches are not at all mutually exclusive, but getting to understand the basic ideas of both will give you a better sense of where to start with a particular model.

Also, definitely check this thread out:

Thanks all this is all very useful!

The simple answer cut short:

Enable this and you will see those “gorgeous curves” you see on other’s models. Takes some practice modeling this way…but it is my favorite lol

I’m working on it :slight_smile:

You could also have a look at

There was also a wiki

but it seems to have been spammed off the face of the earth. Shame

hi, I think edge loops is very important but for start, you should start modeling something organic, looking how that person/animal/whatever has its muscles, trying to follow the curvature of skin, how the loops go around etc…

When you work with a real photo you will “see” the loops as you model around the body. At first you stretch too much the polys or you make very bad edge loops… but as you gain experience you will get better with time and practice.

Hope this helps, Im a noob at organic modelling, but started with it sometime ago.

How can i join the last two vertices in Poly-by-poly modeling mode?


I found out!
thanks :smiley: :smiley:

I find that modeling small bacterium is the best for me; they’re not big enough to show up on any type of monitor out there at the moment, though, so I’m working on the visibility… They’re incredible and very detailed, by the way.