Ideas to break a bad habit. The dreaded Tut Rut.

Hello everyone, was wondering if I could find some folks that have dealt with the issue I am having. Currently stuck in the tut rut. Not the typical situation though. I am an extreme visual thinker. I can see a complete scene in my minds eye down to say the coffee stains on the button threads of a character’s shirt. Just giving you the kinda detail I see. I have always been this way and it helps tremendously in my other hobby which is writing. I have always been able to write in great detail and my friends and colleagues compliment it a good bit when I show them new material. However when it comes to modeling, I can’t seem to get started, can’t seem to get that spark going that will drive my entire scene. I spent the last year and a half trudging through tuts and reading as much blender material as I could get my hands on to learn the Blender interface. Also, I have been doing 3D for quite some time. I started in 1995 when in my engineering job we went with a new solution for drafting other than 2D. Solid modeling it was called :). Seems silly to think of it that way now a days but back then it was the ‘new thing’. Anyway back then I was designing mechanical things from either napkin drawings customers came up with or duplicating other drawings for production reasons. Either Way I was copying something for the most part, then adding my changes to improve upon the design by either making it more functional or cheaper to make.

What have you done to get out of that tut rut. What ideas or system do you use to get your design down and start modeling to create what you have in your minds eye. I see some incredible scenes in my head and it would be amazing to get them out :).

Any ideas are welcome except rude comments are not. If you have nothing constructive please pass on replying.

Thanks in advance to everyone willing to share their knowledge.


A project has worked for me. Find a project you can get enthusiastic about and get started on it. I suggest you choose something relatively simple so you don’t get overwhelmed and you give yourself a Win. Check out some of my models here in my 3D ipernity album --the early ones were simple, like the console table and the chair, but believe me, they posed real problems!

And above all, stop agonizing and have fun! :slight_smile:

  • Bill

I made some random shapes, spun them into a larger random shape, added a subsurf modifier and started playing. The Incredible Fosnik Effect Generator was the result. My recomendation is that you start playing with Blender, instead of working at it. Have fun.

Visit your favorite diner, swipe a few napkins, call up some of those images you have in your mind, and make some napkin drawings of your own. :wink:

I see some incredible scenes in my head and it would be amazing to get them out.

This is the kind of things that happens with painter as well. They get intimidated from staring at perfect white blank canvas. Seeing in their mind the perfection before one can produce them.

There is nothing wrong with this mind process if you can use it as a “goal.” Athletes use it before they act. Golfer must picture perfect shot at the green before they make that swing. Their mind must be in 110% focus to produce perfect shot. No doubt, no second thought. And, then it happens. Body unwinds on to a ball and fly as he imagined.

“Goal” needs to be appropriate to the tasks though. Otherwise it’s just the dream; some thing you just made it up in your head that’s based on very little facts. There is no way to actually accomplish it. So think of all the detail you will need to accomplish your goal. Work at it one at time. Make that perfect “coffee stains on the bottom threads of a character’s shirt”.

Thanks everyone as your tips are greatly appreciated. My focus is to keep it simple for sure :slight_smile: Then work my way up.

For a long time I was in the same predicament. I followed tutorial after tutorial, always considering that it was a useful exercise and that there was something new to learn…
The problem is that SubD modelling and asset creation is relatively simple. Once you know the theory then you’re pretty much set.
However, where learning through tutorials is a good way to start out, the problem you will eventually discover is that most if not all artists will have their own workflow and/or unique way of tackling something. This means that (In the case of BlenderGuru) once you see Andrew Price do it then it’s obvious when everyone else has followed the tutorial. Does this make sense? That’s why when you see a n00b (So to speak) show off their amazing render, it’s obvious that they’ve followed a tutorial because there’s no personal touch.

This is where you, the artist need to jump in. I’ve found my resolve from the Tut Rut* by moving into game add-ons and modifications. It’s a good way of practicing and also seeing relatively immediate results. I find that making a mod page and having people commend and gawk at my efforts is a well deserved push for me to complete work by myself.

However, don’t get confused. Every artist will have to watch tutorials every now and then. People who can model, texture and create solutions to problems without reading up on a little bit ‘o’ literature is bullshitting.

Here’s what I’d suggest, find an area you want to move into - this could be anything from environment art, asset creation, VFX, rendering ETC… and choose that as your subject of choice. Once you’ve decided, make a plan on something simple that you’d like to do, make sure it’s something you’ll enjoy re-creating. If it’s no fun then you will loose interest quickly.
In my case I love guns and technical hard-surface creation, so I’d go for a knife, scope or weapon to keep my occupied.
Collect references and give it a jab, that’s the only way.

Another niggle I found hard to get out of was the ‘Quad rule’. Everyone says that triangles in SubD modelling are bad, indeed they’re not good in some cases. But when newbies use triangles and complain that there’s something wrong with their mesh it’s usually because of an error or badly thought out topology and inevitably everyone gets afraid and restricted in the mentality that they need to maintain everything as quads.
In-fact in many cases triangles will be your friend.

Don’t be afraid to experiment, I know how cliche this is to say but it really is true. Let your mind free, don’t think of the technical side of it and instead just go straight in and let your logical thinking do the work.

Watch the tutorial on deadlines at If you have a dead line and a deliverable that needs to be done, you had better get to work.

Fixing topology is a daunting prospect at first, at least until you learn to abuse the “F” key.

I was doing a lot of tutorials my first month, however, I was able to move away from that when deciding on my own what to create, and if needed, I would often look up how to do a specific thing relevant to what I’m making. Personally, I find video tutorials tend to encourage the mindset of “find a job for the tool” as opposed to “finding the right tool for the job”.

Pencil, paper, draw. Draw different views of the object you are interested in. Then model what you have drawn.
Find a reference image only AFTER you have drawings, not before.
Even if you can see everything in your head, drawings are worth hours if not days of Blender time.
The more detailed your drawings, the more your final image is going to be yours and no one else’s.

When you’ve used this method for while, go out and get yourself some modeling clay. By then you’ll know what to do with it! (Hint: Get a light colored kind so you can draw topology on it with a pencil.)