Learning To Be A 3D Artist

I am horrible at drawing. This is partly because I have no inner vision, but also because pens just don’t go where I want. I’ve even got horrible handwriting.

But I want to get into 3D art. With that, mistakes are easy to correct. If 1 vertex doesn’t go exactly where I wanted, I can move it and only it. I don’t have to erase a whole area and try to get it right the second time allover.

So I’m wondering how I can help develop the inner vision that so many artist have, and I lack. Mine has improved over the last 15 or 20 years, but it’s still pretty lame. I just don’t see things in my head, or have ideas on how things should look.

I’m looking for ways to cultivate that while practicing making 3D art, not 2D.

An ideas I had was to find highpoly models on the net (legally!) and then make low-poly from them. I thought this would give me a good reason to really example the original model while also practicing useful skills. This idea hasn’t met with much regard.

I appreciate any advice you can give me.


P.S. Please don’t suggest tutorials on how to learn the technical aspects of Blender. I’ve got that part down. I’m just looking to learn artist-type stuff. I don’t know why, but when I’ve posted this elsewhere, all the answers I got were links to very basic tutorials for the technical stuff.

Well if I understand what you’re saying right I recommend going for a walk. And take a sketch pad with you. You don’t need to be good at drawing, (even a dodgy stick figure will do :p) just draw something that you can take back home with you and put in front of you to jog your memory. So maybe it’s a gate overgrown with some vines up the posts, and a rock propping it open, with a broken hinge, or something like that. It just sounds to me like you lack focus and something to reference to.

Very few things that are done well on Blender are made completely from scratch, sometimes a lot of research is put in to work out the topology of the target object, and just keeping reference images(open in the image editor) to the side of what you’re working on can help a lot aswell.

I’m the same with the whole artistic ability thing. I can’t draw or write to save my life, so to make up for it I use Blender and play guitar XD

But yeah basically, don’t try and pull things straight from memory, or make it up in your head. Actually look at the object you’re trying to make, or something close to it if it’s really unique, just to give you the general idea, and THEN you go ahead and start modelling the objects.
I hope this helps a bit towards you gaining your inner vision :smiley:

An art teacher once told me that art is about how you see the world, not how you visualize/portray it. Like Enigma said, spend time making visual notes about the things around you, especially the mundane things. Sketch/model things like staplers, TVs, toasters, keychains, whatever is in front of you. You’ll learn a lot more by doing many small projects than trying to bang out fewer large ones.

Also, if you need to see proof that this method works, please review this thread (pay attention to each post/subject matter). Drawing/working from observation pushes you to know more, but working from your thoughts alone, limits you to what you already know.

Thanks. I suspect this is at least part of the advice I need. Instead of trying to model from memory, I should be using references and modeling existing things. That should have the same effect I was looking for in my idea: Getting a really good look at the details.

And thanks, dlax. That thread is exactly what made me believe that I could be an artist, if I put the time in. Time is still an issue, though.

I don’t think many artists can draw new subjects straight from their head. Just like most musicians don’t have perfect pitch. Perhaps if you draw something often enough you can draw it straight from your head but that’s just practice.

I did a workshop with Don Seegmiller once (a well respected digital artist) and he drew an alien head in Photoshop. He then used the liquefy tool to push and pull it around 'til he got closer to what he wanted. I’ve seen tutorials by artists who draw with pencil in one hand and eraser in the other. Some people have a gift, most don’t. Accept it.

using blender will actually help you out with your drawing skills.

art is always just an idea, expressed in some medium. once you have the idea then you can set about putting it down. to get the idea just think stuff to your self, draw inspiration from conversations with others and just look around you. then scribble something down to get the idea fixed, then use as many references as you can to get your model finished how you want it.

If you have problems with shapes and not with all the aspects of the 3D world, I suggest to take the nature as your main subject.

In the nature there is everything, there are fine details and really populated landscapes, you can choose to be extremely realistic or adopt a more cartoonish or essential style. The nature will also guide you to a better use of the materials and the light, drawing everything that is in front of you it’s a good tip, the “problem” is that it’s not that challenging, many course are about nature and lighting because once you have got that, you can do pretty much everything and this topic will force you to practice with all the aspects of the 3D world.

Remove the need to think about making polygons so you can freely express yourself without restriction.

Start your clock, set the timer to 30 mins
Add your default cube, subdivide it a load of times. Add a multires modifier and use the sculpt tools to doodle. When you see something in that doodle that sparks an idea let your imagination lead you with that sculpt.
Once the clock alarm goes off, stop sculpting and delete that model. The model itself is of no importance, it was just an excercise. If you want the model to keep, you’ve made it once so you are perfectly capable of making just as well a second time.
Repeat excercise

Thanks everyone. There are some really good tips in here.

One thing that has helped me alot was to follow tutorials, but adapt them to things that interest me. At the very least, I would try to use different materials than they used.
Also, pick an object to model, then design a scene around it.
I too suffer from the inability to come up with ideas…