how much of an object should be modeled independently

I have been using blender for <2 wks and I’ve been learning by reading the Wikibook Noob to Pro. I have done some successful renders ( - for example) But so far every tutorial I’ve read starts with a box or a sphere and then stretches different parts of that to get the animal. The penguin, for example, was entirely made from a sphere.

When you model, what should be part of the same mold and what should be a different object.

For example, if making a person, do you model the clothes as part of the same object - thus technically the clothes is the skin, or do you do something separate. Should the arms start off from the same square or should you model them separately and then attach the arms to the body.

Thanks, if that wasn’t clear, I’ll try and be more clear.

Opinions will differ: there are a lot of ways to do things. My rule of thumb is if it moves as a single piece, it’s an object. So, when I made a cart, the axle and wheels were one object, and the frame and sides were another.

With organic modeling, I generally go with what’s simpler to do: arms and legs are extruded from the shoulders, but ears are made separately and attached. Sometimes I make a head and torso separately and attach them, sometimes I make the head and extrude from the neck down to build the body. I haven’t decided which way I like best yet.

I generally duplicate a body to make clothes, scale it up a bit, then delete the head, hands and so on, add buttons and pockets and belts, pull the cloth away from the body where it would hang loose but leave it in close where the clothing would touch the skin, and then add folds and wrinkles. I also sometimes model the clothing instead of the torso, if the clothing adds a lot of volume to the figure.

Try it both ways, see which you like best. There really isn’t a “right” way to model.

Agreed. I’m more of a mechanical modeler and therefore have that problem very often. Machinery is made out of dozens of tiny pieces - if I modeled them all seperately, I’d have to work with thousands of objects in the end. And that is not an easy task…
So, it’s probably necessary to find a compromise between flexibility and the need to keep things structured.

This is obviously different from organical things. Organic models always have some kind of “flow” (meaning muscles beneath the skin or stuff like that) which isn’t that easy to achieve if you model each tiny bit seperately, as you can (could) do with machines. Therefore, in such cases I personally like to extrude arms and legs out of the main body instead of attaching them later. Clothes however are different from the body and have their own, different flow (folding etc). Thus I model them seperately.
But as stated above, this is just a matter of personal preference and I too would suggest that you just try what is more convenient for you. Experimenting is often the key to sucess.