What are some tips or great tutorials for hard surface modeling?

I am having a hard time mastering hard surface modeling with the subsurf modifier. The number one thing I struggle on when using the subsurf modifier is keeping the artifacts away. I probably spend 99% of my time focusing on fixing the artifacts in my mesh instead of the actual overall design of my model. I was thinking about just using the hardops method but that kinda makes me feel like I’m cheating. My goal is to produce work on a professional level. This is really frustrating. Does anybody have some suggestions for courses or have some modeling tips?

There is a youtube channel called Arrimus 3d. Although he uses 3ds max, if you are familiar how blender works it shouldn’t be a problem, it helped me a lot.

A lot of the issues around hard surface modelling are to do with clean up, especially when dealing with bevels and subsurf. As for HardOps being cheating, far from it, the whole point of the addon is to make hard surfacing easy. If you do already own it, check out the “HardOps 0.0.6 Helmet Demo Video” from the gumroad downloads, (not available publicy). He goes into very good explantion of the clean up etc there. Honestly, Hard Ops and Decal Machine are, I personally feel, two essential addons for serious hard surface work, well worth the cost. Hard Ops is 90% workflow speedup, a lot you could achieve using BoolTool and native functionality, just Hard Ops makes it a lot quicker and simpler workflow wise.


Not hating on hardops or anything but like I said it feels like I am handling my work un-professionally. It uses methods that are built into blender that don’t export well into other applications from what I understand. If I wanted to distribute my high poly model for others to modify it could be problematic. Its fantastic for rapid concepting of hard surface models though. Its almost like working in 3d coat. More artiatic freedom.

I’ll check out his youtube channel. His videos look excellent.

Nope, there is nothing whatsoever “unprofessional” about using addons. Many of the “big gun” packages rely on additional plugins to get the job done efficiently. If I can produe the same work, with less keytrsokes and time, that is the smart way to work. If you want to do it all laboriously, you could, but me, I’d rather press one keystroke, which replicates going into edit mode, selecting edges of a certain angle, applying Make Sharp, setting crease and bevel edge values, coming out of edit mode, applying a bevel modifier and setting it up. There is zero reason not to use it asHard Ops leaves the model in a “native” state. As I said, HardOps is very much a workflow tool, not a “specialist format” tool.

Isn’t CAT for 3DS Max a plugin that can’t be ported over to other apps so to speak? You could name a hundred things like this so it’s really just get the job done in whatever program you’re comfortable with then work on how to get it where it needs to go.

HardOps allows you to do things in Blender that look amazing and it wouldn’t be that difficult to get it to a point where others could work on it if need be – like Colkai said there’s no plug-in “residue” that would affect an exported model.

Using ortho-view can take some of the unpredictability out of face snapping.

Thus you can do a lot of stuff that you used knife-project for, but with possibly less steps or more free-form placement. And it means you can conform extra loops to a surface by scaling an active extrude. Useful for modeling in general, but I’m sure it definitely applies to hard surface kind of stuff.

I have Hardops, boxcutter, speedsculpt (not realy hard surface but working with Booleans) , and cuber.

Cuber is my favorite since you can place the Boolean mesh quite precisely (vert, edge, face). Cuber does Boolean operations in Edit mode. Qua bevelling: big bevels first (maybe just 1 segment) , and later on in the project the finer bevels. Other wise Boolean operations on bevels can be tricky sometimes. I Love Cuber’s workflow. Every function is on one screen!

I don’t like the workflow Csharp and Ssharp in Hardops. It’s worklow is prone to have shading artifacts. And the bevel is not clamping by default. And where is that function again, in Menu Operations or in Menu Meshtools. (Always have to search where to find symmetry for example. After 20 times I know it.)

Speedsculpt, as the name says is good to prepare the mesh for further sculping, and/or retopology. Has some cool features I learned more from.