Where to start?

Ok so, I think I can safely say that I am still new to modeling. I have messed a lot with materials, and some with physics and animation, but as for modeling, I really haven’t stretched very far. I think part of me has trouble coming up with what to model because I am so driven by photorealism that I want to do something that looks real nice, but is easy to model… and there isn’t a whole lot of that. For example I can make a cube on a plane and make it look really nice, well lit, and for the most part “real,” but it’s just a cube, and I didn’t exactly see any of those just sitting around today in the real world. Sometimes I look at a real world object, and think I want to model it, but then I quickly am turned away because I find some piece of it (like a curve or complex corner or joint) that I wouldn’t know how to deal with.

The extent of my modeling doesn’t stretch much outside of cube modeling or basic shapes like making a cup out of a circle. Everything that I make is VERY geometrical and just isn’t that exciting.

Sooooooo, I’m wondering where you all started with modeling. What are good things to practice with/guides to follow? I’ve done a lot of the 608 bearing guide. I’d like to learn a lot more about the uses of modifiers, working with curves, joining meshes in edit mode, etc.


Here’s one of the things I’ve modeled, note the lack of anything non-geometrical, the curves are pieces of circles.


Well what are some things you find interesting ?
Fanstasy Creatures, Animals, A game character.
Maybe a friend of yours has done some original drawings that look interesting to model.

i would say for faces and heads poly by poly is the way to go and for entire things probably box modeling, all you do is make a boxy version then add subsurf then just keep on adding loopcuts and extrudes to make it detailed

cire982: Thanks for bringing that up. Mainly the things I am interested in modeling are non-organic objects like electronics, vehicles, but also not so “tech” stuff like maybe a carboard box.

Brados33: Subsurfing is one of the modifiers that I know is widely used to achieve rounded looks without manually moving many vertices, and I’m working with that, I’ve also done a very little bit with loopcuts, can you point me in the direction of any good tutorials on uses of the tool?

I was under the impression that you wanted to stray away from technical objects.
A few things that pop to mind are things like motorcycles, computer mouse, tires,
well lots of stuff you see in everyday life. =p
I see where your coming from, most things are pretty boring to model.
That’s why I was asking about characters and such.

But anyways I’ll step back and let Brados point you around.

If you’re avoiding inorganic stuff, that’s already a great idea. Nobody should ever jump into creatures or characters if they’re not fully comfortable with all the tools they’ve got at their disposal - it’s hard enough as it is!

There’s no strict path to take, but I’d wait with subsurf models just a while longer if I were you. You’ve got to take into account that you can’t use triangles everywhere, that vertices affect other vertices and that you need loops to make form shapes.

You could try to make lowpoly (that is, under a 1000 triangles) vehicles, weapons or props and texture them. It’d be hard for you not to use any fancy rendering tricks (and maybe even put on Shadeless!), but I think it’s good practise to start with only a few polygons, a few pixels of texture and a completely What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get environment. Don’t take unsophisticated to be easy or useless!

Try CG Tuts+. Here’s a direct link to the part with only tutorials related to Blender. The site’s been a real life saver for me. You should also look at some of the non blender tutorials for techniques and other information. That’s how I learned about floating geometry and so much more.

in some ways aiming for photo-realism is easy because you’re imitating nature, unlike fantasy or surreal art… so the first step is to find some objects… search your house for simple items. the whole process of modeling, texturing and rendering will keep you busy, especially texturing which takes more time than modeling in a lot of cases…

so start with simple household items, then work your way until you feel comfortable modeling cars or other complex objects…

Thanks everyone.

Sorry for the misunderstanding, cire792. Technical objects is what I do want to do, and I don’t have any problem coming up with things I would enjoy modeling, but rather I have problems with the actual process of modeling.

I suppose I just have to pick something, and stick to it. I’ll just plan on asking many questions along the way and eventually draw in enough ability to sort of take off on my own.

To break the geometric habit, learn to draw freehand and use those, scanned in, as backdrops for the basis of your modeling.

I actually like to think I draw fairly well. I am familiar with using background images as references as well. Perhaps I’m overlooking how important this is. Also, maybe I should start out modeling something I’ve created myself so I don’t strive for exactness in details that would be obvious on some existing object.

I used to have a similar problem, of not knowing where to start.
When it comes down to it, all that matters is starting. You start making something, you can learn a lot just by doing. Just pick something to model, and roll with it =) It’s like drawing. I used to have the hardest time figuring out what to draw…then I started drawing random things in life, and boom, a whole new world opened to me. I wouldn’t say I’m making master pieces, but I am learning a lot.

I’d say just pick something, anything, and roll with it. Finishing is better, but even if you don’t finish, you will learn a lot.
The pole and loop thread is a GREAT resource for modeling. I like resources like that, because it isn’t like a tutorial. It gives you information, and you can decide how to use it yourself. Tutorials do have their merits though, especially when you have no idea where to begin. Same sort of thing there, choose one and go with it. If you find out you need tutorials to help you get started, try not to limit yourself to blender exclusive tutorials. Try for any app, most modeling tutorials work well no matter app. The only reason I’ve needed blender specific tutorials is when I was searching for a tool or way to do something blender exclusive.

I agree with bruceape. Don’t limit yourself with only blender tutorials. I have a lightwave 6 book I picked up for next to nothing at a booksale and it comes in quite handy (especially with the lighting and character modeling & texturing). I also have a Maya 6 animation book that is just as relevant in Blender (even if the workflow is a bit different).

Another thing. Start to collect reference images. Anything relevant to what you model or want to model. Even if you are not going to use it right now it might be interesting to impliment somewhere in the future. Maybe a artistic HDR photo has a great atmosphere or view you would want to conceptually try and redo in Blender, or maybe a few images of a mining truck interior or engine has some really thought provoking ideas for creative usage. Sounds stupid but you when you start opening your eyes and looking around you, you might later find you have too many ideas!

I have collected stuff from leaves and flowers to microscopic images of ticks and fleas. Some people only get inspired by other people’s creative work so everyone is copying everyone else and in the end there is this viscious circle of uninspiring and creative loopholed 3D junk.

But aaaaanyway… I’m getting too way too oppinionated here!

Hope this helps and enjoy!