When to use what modeling techniques

I’m still a beginner with blender and 3d . I’ve noticed I get a bit frustrated because I don’t know which modeling techinique is best to use. Do I use surbsurface modeling, or just plain mesh modeling, or I’m sure nurbs comes in to play sometimes too. So I’ve decided to ask some experts for some help.

What type of modeling techniques do you use and when?

Also, do you have any suggestions for a beginner, on what types of objects he should try to model first. Mainly to learn the techniques, I suspect that when I learn teh techniques I’ll be able to model most things.



I really think that depends on you… I really like the proportional editing tool, which makes it very easy making a hill in a landscape, or whatever. it’s just a mix of’em all.

@ndy once described it like this (blendercar)

NateTG: oh, simple:
make a plane
remove all verts
add new vertices forming the shape of the rock
extrude them several times until you get a wall
dubvivide fractal
squish the vertices around with PET
reduce faces to aprox. 25% using the decimator]
subdivide fractal
reduce heavily again
subdivids fractal
and guess what… yes, decimate faces again
squish the mesh around some more until you like the result.

like this he made his terrain for the blendercar anim :slight_smile:

Subsurfs and NURBS, are very good for modelling organic stuff…

Everything else could be modelled easilly with simple Mesh modelling…

But I got to admit, that I get interesting results when I use Curves, in combination with various tools that Blender has… Such as Spin tool, Screw, warp, etc…

Well, it depends on what you want to do and ofcourse upon your imagination…

When you need rectangles extrude planes and cubes. (as in your ‘Building a castle’)

When you make complex organic shapes extrude planes and use subsurf.

When you make symetrical objects use loops and spin them

When you make symetrical extrapolated shapes use surfaces and skin them.

When you make complex shapes use boelians and X (delete) to sculpt them or use parts of primitives to build them.

To make pipes and wires and molds use surfaces use curves.

To make repetitive shapes use dupliverts and dupliframes.

There are many many other modeling techniques and shortcuts but this will give you an idea of what tuts to look for. Most of all you should realize that each tut demonstrates either a technique or a tool or both. You may not want to model a sportscar wheel (just like I didn’t want to! What use do I have for a sportscar wheel when I know I can’t build a sportscar?) but the author chose that subject not to give you the wheel but to show you how to use Blenders’ available tools to make things using curves and how to use curve functions. Most of all use tuts in the sugested sequence: Beginner or basic, intermediate, experienced. It’s cost productive (in time and sanity) to leave ‘Ride in a mineshaft’ till you know the interface well.


Thanks for the info. I guess I should have to play around to see what works best.

(Fligh %:
That was an awesome post and an awfully nice thing to do for ppls with that question!)

May I expand this post a little bit?

Most anyone who successfully modeled anything, has tried a few things that did not work before he/she/it hit on something that really does work. You get it modeled and it looks perfect and then you discover that you are going to start over because it does not bend right, or it turns out to be less trouble to put in a new UV mapped plane and re-model than map all of those facets, or about a dozen other “landmines” that you can and will walk into.

I think that everyone has about 1000 crappy models in them, and all you need to do to become a truly great modeler is to get them out of the way! So tutorials…yes, forum advice …sure!.. but the most important thing in my book is to model things that are important to you and in the beginning make sense to you geometrically. Don’t force yourself to the dicipline of doing x number of tutorials a week or ridgidly following the “directions” because the cost to you as an artist will be the joy that makes your work good.

If I am modeling a face, I can justifiably start with a Mesh Plane, sphere, tube or isosphere, a NURB surface,tube or sphere, any of the above with a lattice, a procedural object or a point cloud. Dig? Whats best? You will find an advocate for each, and they all will make a good point.

My one caution to new modelers is off topic. Getting into Blender (or 3D modeling) is like jumping off of a cliff. Once you do it there will be no going back! You are lost to this world, and will either splatter or fly.


May I expand this post a little bit?

Well you said exactly what I tried to say in my last paragraph but so much better. Thanks for adding and thanks for the kind words.


Thanks guys. For your encouragement and practical advice. It’s comforting to know that others out there have struggled with the same thing that I currently am.

thanks again!!