If you have a passion for technology, paired with an aptitude for detail and creativity, 3D modeling may be the perfect fit for you. Whether you pursue the craft for hobbies or as a career path, finding where to learn 3D modeling skills for beginners can be daunting.
3D models are everywhere. As the tech behind them improves, it is getting harder and harder to spot reality from renders. Nowadays, 3D models are pervasive in anything from luxury car commercials to marketing new apartment complexes.
3D models are inescapable in the entertainment sector as well. Modern video gaming blows us away as characters get more and more lifelike. Not to mention animated movies, which continually dominate the charts as major studios like Pixar and DreamWorks churn out heartwarming tales, brimming with characters so many of us come to know and love.
Where to Start and Knowing Which Software to Use
If you have an idea of which sector you want to put your 3D modeling skills to work in, start researching there.
There are dozens of software available to create 3D models. Not all programs are created equal, and their capabilities and difficulty levels can vary greatly. Here are some of the most popular, industry-proven choices available today:
- Daz Studio – Daz Studio is a free to use 3D platform that allows for easy and intuitive customization using presets and smart modular content. With access to over 30,000 assets in our massive shop, you can find, create, and customize with ease. Daz Bridges let you take your 3D library into other software, allowing you to use Daz Studio in numerous projects. The software is completely free and easy to use, making it an excellent tool to learn 3D modeling.
- Blender – Blender is an open-sourced, free 3D creation suite. Its capabilities cover the entirety of the 3D production pipeline, from initial model creation to rigging, animating, and rendering in high detail. Beyond that, you can use the software in 2D design and even video editing. It’s all free! Unless of course, you wish to support the Blender Foundation in which you can donate toward the cause.
- Maya – Maya is a powerful program created by Autodesk. It is an industry-standard in both video game and feature film creation, though you will also find it used in virtually any professional setting. From animating 3D cartoon characters to highly-detailed people, buildings, objects, and worlds, this program does an amazing job. However, unless you qualify for a student license, Maya will cost upwards of $1,620 per year.
- AutoCAD – Computer-Aided Design (CAD) or Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) programs come in many shapes and sizes. However, engineering communities highly regard Autodesk’s AutoCAD program. They use CAD for detailed 3D and 2D models, which is common in architecture, construction, drafting, product design, and mechanical engineering, among other fields. While Autodesk’s AutoCAD costs upwards of $1690 per year without a student license, there are many free programs with similar capabilities for less, such as FreeCAD.
- 3DS Max – Also brought to you by Autodesk, 3DS Max is a powerful 3D modeling and rendering software used for design visualization, game design, and animation. This program is commonly used in AAA gaming studios for creating stunning visuals in-game, though you can apply it in any sector that seeks streamlined, highly-detailed renders. In line with Autodesk’s current pricing, this software costs $1,620 per year without a student license.
As you can see, many of the most commonly used software in professional circles can be very expensive. But with free alternatives like Blender, which professionals and hobbyists alike highly recommend, it is easier than ever to start learning 3D modeling. On the other hand, if you qualify for a student license, you can expect several years of free use. This should be plenty of time to learn the software and land your first gig.
Is Formal Training Right for Me?
If you hope to make a career out of 3D modeling, this is a logical question to ask. This can be a difficult question to answer, and one that most working professionals must face during their early careers. The easy answer is not necessarily.
There are learning resources all over the internet, both paid and free, that can help you learn 3D modeling. Free video sharing platforms, like YouTube, are teeming with tutorials. If you choose to take this route, prepare yourself to delve through dozens of videos. Because there is no judge of whether or not a video is good or accurate, anyone can post their original content. You will have to decide for yourself whether or not you trust a source and feel it is a valuable investment of your time. The number of views alone does not necessarily equate to an accurate tutorial, though it can be a good sign.
Countless learning-based platforms offer carefully curated, professional-level courses, often for reasonable prices. Some of these include platforms like Udemy and Skillshare. While we still recommend carefully reading reviews before handing over your hard-earned money, these courses can be an excellent way to learn 3D modeling for a fraction of the cost of a college class.
All that said, certificate and degree programs can also be valuable tools, and may be right for you. Not only do these courses provide up-to-date, accurate information and skill-based 3D training, a good program — one worth your money and time — will allow you to network with professionals and collaborate with experienced professors and peers. These added bonuses can make all the difference in finding and landing your first gig, so research colleges carefully.
How Daz3D Can Help You Learn 3D Modeling Skills
Daz3D puts powerful 3D technology in your hands at a very reasonable cost. For starters, Daz Studio is completely free to get started! Then, search thousands of products to build a library of fully customizable 3D assets.
You won’t find another software that offers the quick-start functionality of Daz3D. At its heart, Daz Studio is a customizable figure platform that allows you to easily design a base character without needing high skill in modeling. Anyone with an eye for detail and design can make stunning, lifelike models. From there, using our smart and modular content, you can easily customize the character further whether it’s the hairstyle, skin type, wardrobe, or accessories they wear. You can animate them or put them in a fully rendered environment as well.
With Daz3D, don’t expect months or years of practice to start seeing the fruits of your labors. You will find rewarding results quickly while mastering techniques in posing, designing, lighting, rendering, and more. These skills are all crucial to be successful in 3D modeling!
For an affordable lesson in 3D modeling, check out this tutorial, The ABCs of 3D Modeling, created by one of our 3D artists, DarkEdgeDesign. In this video tutorial, you will learn the theory behind the art. Because the video is not program-specific, it is perfect for any beginner, regardless of what software you choose.
Dive in and learn 3D modeling skills for beginners today with Daz Studio! We can’t wait to see what you create. Let us know and stay in touch with others in the community in our Daz3D Forums.