Fun & Creative Ways to Learn 3D Modeling | Daz 3D

Fun & Creative Ways to Learn 3D Modeling

The exciting world of 3D modeling enables all types of artists to bring dimension, movement, and life to their creations using technology. Whether you enjoy realistic depictions of people or places, the ability to animate objects, fantasy elements, or working on details like light and facial expressions, the possibilities are endless. Now, all you need to do is find out how to learn 3D modeling so you can put your skills and interests into action.

Fortunately, if you’re wondering where to learn 3D modeling and how to get started in this endeavor, we at Daz 3D have some recommendations and advice.

First of all, there are two general approaches for how to learn 3D modeling:

  1. You can search for resources online and teach yourself through reading, videos, and practice.
  2. You can learn from professionals with an organized curriculum and earn a degree.

The approach you choose is entirely up to you and your goals. If you want to learn how to do 3D modeling as an amazing hobby you want to do for yourself, self-learning is a perfectly acceptable way to go. Of course, taking courses on 3D modeling will help shore up your skills.

Some popular places to go for online 3D modeling tutorials include:

  • The Gnomon Workshop
  • Xchange Training
  • 3d Motive
  • Lynda
  • Pluralsight

If you want to pursue a full-fledged career in 3D design, or if you just learn better with deadlines and someone keeping you on track, you better earn a bachelor’s degree at a traditional or online university. Doing so will open the doors for a lifelong career in this field. Just take a look at any online job search site and you’ll see pages of posts looking for talented 3D designers!

Let’s now look more closely at self-learning versus earning a degree to get a better idea of which option will be most satisfying to you and your future.

5 Tips: How To Learn 3D Modeling On Your Own

When learning on your own how to do 3D modeling, follow these five tips so you get excited (rather than overwhelmed) for this new venture:

  1. Have a good understanding of how objects sit in space. Notice their weight, the way light moves across them, and how their shape changes depending on the perspective from which they’re being seen. Always keep your observing eyes open.
  2. Learn the full functionality of 3D modeling software. Even as a beginner, it’s easy to get the basics down. But don’t stop there or you’ll miss out on the opportunity to use numerous, quality features that will not only make your renderings more realistic, but your tasks easier.
  3. Begin by modeling simple shapes because, inevitably, you will find yourself using them over and over again, even in the most complicated design. Make sure you are using the correct techniques and approaches since everything else will build on these basics.
  4. Follow online tutorials, read manuals, and search forums to get you through any sticking points when learning how to 3D model. These can be surprisingly informative and helpful ways to get you unstuck, no matter what trouble you find yourself in.
  5. Practice patience and perseverance throughout the process. 3D rendering isn’t necessarily a skill that comes easily or quickly for most people, but stick with it because you’ll start to see stellar results soon enough.
  6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Look for online forums or communities where you can discuss problems and techniques, along with getting feedback and encouragement from artists like you. 
  7. Create accountability. If you can stick to a schedule you make for yourself—and your reason for learning 3D modeling is strong enough to keep you going when you get discouraged—good for you! However, this is not always easy for everyone, and that’s okay. If you have trouble, it can be helpful to find an accountability partner. For example, a family or friend can check on your progress periodically. Or you can pair up with someone working on the same goal and report to each other.

Where To Learn 3D Modeling When You Want To Take Your Skills Further

When you want to take your skills further, knowing where to learn 3d modeling for professionals can mean the difference between working for pence or for pounds.

There are a few different options for earning college degrees, each of which will get you into a promising career as a:

  • 3D animator
  • Video game designer
  • Graphic designer
  • Website designer
  • Creative director

Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art, graphic design, or computer animation can be earned at most any traditional university. The alternative is to earn a 3D arts degree from an online school.

According to Easy Render, an online job forum for 3D freelancers, the top four online schools for 3D artists are:

  1. Rocky Mountain College of Art Design
  2. Full Sail University
  3. Academy of Art University
  4. Southern New Hampshire University

CG Spectrum College of Digital Art & Animation is also a good way to go.

The Demand For 3D Modeling

3D modeling has become omnipresent in today’s world. You’ll see it in everything, such as online games, motion pictures, medical animation, marketing, and architecture. Literally everywhere you look, you’ll see something that was created by someone who, like you, has a passion for building worlds out of their imagination.

Not surprisingly, the demand for quality work is high, and the median annual wage for multimedia artists and animators averages $75,270, making this a valid career path. Whether you want to work as a freelance animator (which accounted for about 56% of jobs in 2019) or for an employer in the motion picture or software publishing sector, you can bet on having a successful career you enjoy.

If you’re ready to get started, browse our top-quality content library to build custom, photo-realistic scenes and characters with studio-class processing. Or, download Daz Studio for free to create your own 3D universe!

At Daz 3D, we think it’s important to do the things that really matter to you. If you’ve been contemplating becoming a 3D artist but don’t know how to create 3D art, we encourage you to get started now. Why not? Creating 3D art is an excellent way to spend your time, because it teaches you so many skills you’ll continue to use throughout your life or career. 

How To Learn 3D: Video Tutorials

Daz offers some excellent video tutorials for beginners who are just learning how to create 3D art. Go through them one by one and you’ll end up with a solid base for getting started on making your own unique 3D characters and environments.

By following along with these expert video tutorials, you’re sure to get started on the right foot and begin to realize what you’re capable of creating. 

5 Tips For Artists, From Daz Team Members 

Our team of Daz 3D artists has put together some tips and tricks to help you flourish in your new venture.

1. Come up With a Backstory

Before you get started making a scene, Ty (Daz 3D COO) says you should come up with a backstory which answers the following questions:

  • Where are you?
  • What brought you to this new place?
  • Who lives here?
  • What do they do?

2. Be Deliberate

Kristen (Daz 3D Marketing Manager) says, “Don’t be afraid to be nit-picky… Choices on posing your models, texture, lighting, and especially camera placement can change the scene completely!”

3. Think Beyond

Thinking of how you can use your 3D content to make your story come to life is what Stephanie (Daz 3D VP of Marketing) suggests. What are some details you can add to your characters that further their intent? How can you make the story move along without getting bogged down? Keep these questions in mind as you tell your story.

4. Take a Break

“If you feel like you’re starting to lose your way or hit a creative roadblock, take a moment to clear your head (or a half hour). Then come back and start again,” says Lefty (Daz Graphic Designer).

5. Save Your Work

Rob (Daz Creative Manager) urges, “Save your work—constantly!! Rendering and making 3D art strains your CPU, so getting in the habit of constantly saving will ensure you don’t lose your work.”

The 14 Key Stages Of The Overall 3D Art Workflow

Do you want to know how to learn 3D modeling and art at a professional level? Once you understand your software, have acquired some models, and know your storyline, it’s time to work your way through the key stages of the overall 3D art workflow (using the ones relevant to your project):

  1. Start with a Concept: Figure out what you want to make and in what style. 
  2. Make a Model: Digitally model your object using polygonal modeling and/or sculpting. 
  3. Choose Textures: Define the colors and materials on your object. 
  4. Add Shading: Tell the 3D application what materials your objects are made out of. Try different numbers in your shading tool until you can mimic real-life light:
    1. Refraction
    2. Reflection
    3. Diffusion
    4. Scattering 
  5. Create the Rig and Skin: Build a skeleton inside the model and make sure all parts are deforming properly when you wrap a surface around the skeleton. 
  6. Animate It: Bring the model to life with scripting (programming), simulation (mimicking), and effects (getting the result you want). 
  7. Control Cloth Effects: Provide realistic clothing that reacts to gravity, wind, movement, and other physical effects. 
  8. Define Rigid Bodies: Use physics to show how forces react to each other in scenarios involving hitting, falling, shattering, and others. 
  9. Deal with Hair and Fur: Make hair and fur behave realistically based on physical forces. 
  10. Simulate Smoke, Fire, Water, and Particles: Make your “fluids” move in a naturalistic way. 
  11. Make a Crowd: Generate a large group using simulation. 
  12. Mimic Muscles: Mimic the look of expanding and contracting muscles based on actual movement. 
  13. Set up Lighting: Set the tone and mood using color, brightness, and shadow sharpness. Lights to consider are:
    1. Spotlights
    2. Area Lights
    3. Point (Omni) Lights
    4. Directional Lights 
  14. Render the Project: Combine everything into a final animation in your computer.
    A Word Of Encouragement
    At Daz 3D, we love making 3D art. We hope that since you now know how to learn 3D modeling and art, you’ll practice and find out that you love it too. That’s why we have created so many great resources to get you started and help you learn everything you need to know for a career in 3D modeling.

    Want to know what else we love? It’s sharing free 3D art. Check out our 3D model shop and Freebies!

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