Lately, i’ve been diving into hard-surface modelling, specially from concept/photo references. Most of the tutorials on websites like 3DMotive and DigitalTutors guide you to setup the 3D view with the concept planes and just connect dots. I find it very very boring and cumbersome. I can stay like… 3 to 4 hours just blocking something, then adding detail, then having to do the low-poly all over again, just to bake and start actually going somewhere.
Is there an alternative workflow to this kind of modelling?
In my opinion, there are not good Blender tutorials on Digitaltutors. Look at the Maya and 3dMax modeling tutorials. You can apply same procedures in Blender. Anyway modeling hard surfaces is booring.
Actually I’m a beginner to Blender. Normally it would take approximately 70 hours to model a accurate high poly car exterior for me. I have never tried nurbs modeling. you could try that https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1xDvnVovd4
One of the primary principles to modeling (and one that I often see newer modelers ignore–to their misfortune), is the importance of always staying as low poly as you can get away with. By keeping your base mesh as simple as possible, you retain the most amount of control over your model.
I don’t know if the “simplicity” (moving simple points) is what you don’t like–but if it is, I’d have to say that I’ve never seen a modeler who didn’t always stay as simple as possible while getting more complex only when needed. I’d recommend that you stick with it; it eventually becomes quite enjoyable!
If, however, it’s the concept of working with image planes that you don’t like, I understand. When I was first starting modeling I really didn’t like image planes at all. I would always just look at objects and freehand model them. But that all changed when I started working for clients who actually needed pretty accurate models. Sure, I could still model them freehand–but then it would take way more time to double-check my work against the real-world object. It’s just much quicker to model to an image plane in those situations. I now almost always opt to work with an image plane when possible, though I still greatly enjoy freehand modeling as well.
There aren’t a whole lot of valid different approaches to hard surface modeling, that I’ve seen. Regardless of technique, you’ll always want to stay as low poly as possible for as long as possible. One of the primary workflow differences would be working with an image plane vs. just “eyeballing” it. Both of these work fine, but image planes give you better accuracy.
Anyways, those are just my two cents. Best of luck!