organic vs hardsurface


Im still not good at modeling, I dont want to show you things I made yet,
But I want to ask about something.

I feel fun when I make machine, metal, hard surface things.
Detailed medical stuff, clock, metal safe, cruiz ship, house or building,
They are not yet pretty but kinda easier to make.

But when it comes to organic thing…
From human to cars. Cars are machines but they are more like organic thing, it rarely has straight lines.
Organic modeling is nightmare. Sculpting makes me more confused.

Is it normal? Or is it just my style?

Zbrush has some coursework that can help with this, But the more you work on the harder things the more skills you bring to the easier things.
Ryan has a bit of a sales pitch in the following video but it is still well worth the watch.

Thanks for the advice.
But strange thing is, I already can draw 2d humans alright(have worked in 2d field shortly), but learning 3d human modeling feels like something alienish.

Maybe 2d/3d are very different things.

2D and 3D are a bit different, in 2D you can cheat and fake a lot, make some dots somewhere our eyes will interpret it differently and some angle are not really important to take care of but in 3D we have to think about many angles, just because we can see it, and that is a lot of work. Be patient with yourself, learn anatomy, proportions (human, animal, …) and ask for feedback.
Here is my approach to a sculpting human head, I do that often when i have free time, this is how i do my studies. (lower the music volume )

He’s right, 2D and 3D are very different, BUT: drawing can help you out in many ways. Consider: learning anatomy often involves reading books and memorizing things. If you learn it by drawing it, however, you’ll have a visual memory and you’ll learn a lot about its 3-D shape. It’ll make it easier to remember because anatomy will mean something, it’ll have substance. One can never be good enough at drawing, so keep practicing!

3D obviously takes practice, too. I come from an opposite background-- I’m not very experienced in hard-body modelling, but I have spent the bulk of my time modelling organically since I started using Blender. You should practice organic modelling because it’s so difficult. What you’ll learn about topology and the essentials of modelling will stay with you when you do hardbody models, and you’ll notice them improving, too. And it does take practice, you learn more and you get better every time you do it, and you can always try new things to see if they work. Controlling edge flow has become so much easier since I made two or three each of hands, faces, feet, etc. (But then I’m still no expert), and that always helps when I try to make hardbody meshes, which (correct me if I’m wrong here) has less strict “rules” as organic meshes (which have to animate, after all!).

Some things to keep in mind:

  1. Topology (edgeflow, basically the ‘flow’ of the surface of an object) should follow the muscles/anatomy of the subject. Even a car has some “anatomy,” so this goes a pretty long way. This series should help:

  2. Quads are (as always) preferable to triangles and ngons. In organic modelling, you use quads because they subdivide and smooth correctly, so don’t introduce triangles unless you know what you’re doing-- they’ll screw up the ‘flow’ and make the subdivision surface ugly. Never use ngons, they can (and should) be turned into quads and triangles. This isn’t an absolute rule, but it’s usually a good idea. The hours you’ll spend agonizing over how to make the mesh all quads will teach you a lot about how to control your model! Sorry for overusing italics!

And now, a tip: make sure every vertex has a purpose. If you don’t know what it’s for, it’s probably in the way. Each vertex should add some detail, somewhere. Often that means positioning them individually. But there’s a good reason-- too many vertices will make your mesh messy and hard to control. And as a bonus, simpler meshes are easier to rig and animate (less lag on the CPU!). Start simple before you go complex.

I recommend practicing topology on something simple, like a human torso-- the most complex part is the shoulder, which should only be a little too hard at first. Then you should move on probably to a face, they can be trouble but I think they’re easier than hands and feet. Ears, however, are a nightmare and will require you to break some of the “rules” I’ve laid out and generally make your life hard. So save those for last :slight_smile:

Sorry for being so longwinded, this is a favorite subject of mind, and I think I’m pretty good at it.


If it’s useful information, which it is, it’s never too long. I’m trying to gain some good modelling skills as well, so this is gold!

Number one thing to do: sculpt organic in perspective.

2d vs 3d,

2d --you are creating negative space(the impression of) by adding the shadows
3d --like clay sculpting you are building up the physical object, adding positive.
3d --you can also create a block and chisel in the details --negative space workflow

Hi, Eric, Joseph, zenitor, Thx for the information and advices

I already feel better knowing I’m not completely hopeless, just need many practice.
My ego stopped me learning further anatomy, thinking I already know about organic things because I’ve learned 2d drwaing. It was mistake I guess.

While struggling with organic things, I frankly thought of giving up, but you guys’ advice helped me a lot.

We are all learning, let learn together :slight_smile:

And it’s totally OK to give up for a little while, take a break, get back to it in a few weeks/months if it ever becomes frustrating. But soon enough you’ll learn to have fun with it, and it won’t be frustrating anymore (it will still be hard work, however!). It might help to use the sculpt mode, create a dyntopo sculpture and then RETOP it, but that might be really tedious. Like the Zenitor said, sculpt in perspective, or at least check back and forth, as all your reference images are necessarily in perspective. And use references!! References will help you a LOT. But don’t rely on them, they’re not the boss of you.

Learning anatomy, like I said, is important. Learning it by the book will help (stop now! and look at Phillipe Faraut’s sculpture- both the fine are stuff and the forensic stuff), but it’s also critical to learn by looking. Notice trends, observe people and animals critically everywhere you go. And not just looking, but notice how your own body works, because if you’re lucky and haven’t had any amputations, you should be able to find any muscle, bone, tendon, etc. there is. Stan Prokopenko (just google Proko) has a pretty good ongoing tutorial about anatomy for drawing, and it focusses only on what artists really need to know. Be warned that the site contains some nudity (and so do just about every site with decent modelling references), but it’s an art site so it’s nothing bad.

The reason why it’s important to learn by looking (and especially by drawing!) is that it puts things in context. You’ll have a better grasp of how things work and since you’ve built up an encyclopedia of visual memories, you’ll instinctively see not only when something looks wrong, but why. Drawing not only solidifies your memories, but it puts your knowledge to the test and it gives you an almost tactile knowledge of your subject, which is critical for a sculptor. I consider 3D modelling to be a kind of sculpture-- if your model works as a sculpture by itself, then you know it’s good. And this is the fun part! There may be more than one optimal solution, and there’s an infinite variety in body types, even if you limit yourself to only human bodies.

Unfortunately, since BlenderCookie became CGCookie, they put all the tutorials I used to use in the archive. Well, that probably means they’ve just replaced them with better tutorials! I better check that myself!