Advice on starting out 3D art?

Well, I've been doing some photoshop stuff, but honestly, it's garbage. I keep thinking to myself that I'm not a garbage artist, but my deviant says otherwise. So I've recently gotten 3Ds Max, since I get a hefty student discount, but lo and behold I can't make heads or tails out of anything on it. I've made one scene to date, and it's not very impressive. I could post my deviantart if anyone is interested or the picture.

So any advice on how or what to start with on 3D artwork?

Try investing in a beginners book, or try Google for some tutorials to learn the basics. I'm pretty much in the same boat as you, but haven't made any scenes yet or anything, and I went to Waterstones (UK bookstore) and spent about 30 on a beginner's book that's pretty damn chunky, has all the info I need, and more, and a CD with examples of work and supplements to the lessons in the book. Not a bad investment really :).

Hmm, I guess I could do some tuts. But thing is, most of them are about making characters. I don't really care about making characters right now. Maybe in the future.

I'll tell you what my teachers in school told me.

Buy every book you can find on the subject (specifically for your app at first, I learned Maya but have since focused on Blender) and go through them until you have the basics memorized.

You should pick your focus(es) before buying advanced technique books: modeling, rigging, texturing, lighting, animation.

When you finish that you should have a decent portfolio to get an internship or an actual job.

I've got a couple of books on environmental modeling, and a pile of books on character modeling. All very good reads, most came with discs that had files for every chapters' lesson (very helpful for figuring where you messed up).

This was the most detailed book I went through, my only complaint is the woman selected from the modeling site isn't the most attractive. I had a GF at the time when I was learning so I had her model for me.

This was my favorite book to go through because it detailed morphing and added a ton of personality and character to what I had been making. It didn't come with any files to play with though I had to make my own stuff.

So everything is in the books? It's like taking a course. I was hoping it to be something I can just pick up, like photoshop since i'm not actually doing any sort of career in this. Just a hobby.

Unfortunately, 3D modelling isn't something that's easy to "just pick up", it's going to require that little bit more in the way of commitment.

It depends on what you're trying to achieve with the program really. Just 'artsy' stuff? World/building modeling? Characters? Animation or still?

3DS is a pretty powerfull application, so figure out what you really want to do with it and search for some online tutorials, there's quite a few of them around. From absolute beginner stuff to really advanced.

Moxxi:
So everything is in the books? It's like taking a course. I was hoping it to be something I can just pick up, like photoshop since i'm not actually doing any sort of career in this. Just a hobby.

Max isn't a program you can just "pick up" you're going to need help if you want to use the program for anything beyond making a sphere or a cube.
It's much much more complicated than Photoshop will ever be.

I would suggest finding tutorials on basic "Modeling" to start with,
then from there, move to character modeling or environment modeling (depending on your taste).

-If you choose character modeling and get good at that, move to "texturing" then "rigging" then "animation"

-If you choose environment modeling, move to "texturing", then "lighting" then "particles"

Eleuthera:
It depends on what you're trying to achieve with the program really. Just 'artsy' stuff? World/building modeling? Characters? Animation or still?

3DS is a pretty powerfull application, so figure out what you really want to do with it and search for some online tutorials, there's quite a few of them around. From absolute beginner stuff to really advanced.

Yeah, I mean I'm not trying to make models for games, mods etc. I'm basically using it because my photoshop skills kinda died a bit. So It's something new. I kinda get that it's more difficult than photoshop. Hell, I almost smashed my wall because for some reason I can't selct verticies after I've messed up selecting them first.

Eclpsedragon:

Moxxi:
So everything is in the books? It's like taking a course. I was hoping it to be something I can just pick up, like photoshop since i'm not actually doing any sort of career in this. Just a hobby.

Max isn't a program you can just "pick up" you're going to need help if you want to use the program for anything beyond making a sphere or a cube.
It's much much more complicated than Photoshop will ever be.

I would suggest finding tutorials on basic "Modeling" to start with,
then from there, move to character modeling or environment modeling (depending on your taste).

-If you choose character modeling and get good at that, move to "texturing" then "rigging" then "animation"

-If you choose environment modeling, move to "texturing", then "lighting" then "particles"

Knowing what order I need to learn is actually really helpful. Right now I'm trying to make a basic house, but then there is the background that I really can't figure out, then lighting becuase it's too dark, foliage, etc. I guess I need to take a step back and do one thing at a time. Thanks :D

Moxxi:

Eclpsedragon:

Moxxi:
So everything is in the books? It's like taking a course. I was hoping it to be something I can just pick up, like photoshop since i'm not actually doing any sort of career in this. Just a hobby.

Max isn't a program you can just "pick up" you're going to need help if you want to use the program for anything beyond making a sphere or a cube.
It's much much more complicated than Photoshop will ever be.

I would suggest finding tutorials on basic "Modeling" to start with,
then from there, move to character modeling or environment modeling (depending on your taste).

-If you choose character modeling and get good at that, move to "texturing" then "rigging" then "animation"

-If you choose environment modeling, move to "texturing", then "lighting" then "particles"

Knowing what order I need to learn is actually really helpful. Right now I'm trying to make a basic house, but then there is the background that I really can't figure out, then lighting becuase it's too dark, foliage, etc. I guess I need to take a step back and do one thing at a time. Thanks :D

I also suggest starting with non-organic things (houses, trains, tanks, cars, planes, robots, ext)
until you get comfortable with the program and interface.
Reason being, these things are made of boxes, spheres, cones and all your default shapes. They're also much easier to texture and animate.

Organics like characters, animals and plants are a whole different monster and will probably frustrate you if you try them to soon.

When you do feel comfortable enough to try modeling something organic, try starting with a fish.

I tried starting with a house but lost all focus and got itchy. Case and point: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/21999912/Toumb%20of%20the%20Tesseract.jpg and https://dl.dropbox.com/u/21999912/MercuryLair.PNG (First attempt was this one)

Also, I don't know what embedding works on this site so raw links for you.

Moxxi:
I tried starting with a house but lost all focus and got itchy. Case and point: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/21999912/Toumb%20of%20the%20Tesseract.jpg and https://dl.dropbox.com/u/21999912/MercuryLair.PNG (First attempt was this one)

Also, I don't know what embedding works on this site so raw links for you.

Embedding images: [ img]http://members.multimania.nl/iconhost/maya001.jpg[ /img] Without the spacesimage

That's my only attemp at making anuthing resembling a face in Maya (3DS's evil twin)

None of my other stuff is online, and I'm not at home to upload it, but generally for non-organic modeling (houses etc.) make liberal use of numeric input.

Moxxi:
So everything is in the books? It's like taking a course. I was hoping it to be something I can just pick up, like photoshop since i'm not actually doing any sort of career in this. Just a hobby.

Theres plenty of 3DS Max books out there which cover the basics without focussing too heavily on character modelling. I found the best way to go to your local book store and check the Computing section as you'll find at least a handful there. You can then flick through and see which ones best suit you.

You can keep 3ds MAX as a hobby but to get any truly tasty results out of it you're going to have to sink a lot of time and study into it Im afraid!

Is there something particular you want to do with 3DSMax? Like are you just hoping to be able to come away creating pretty scenes, do you want to make animated movies or perhaps level design or something?

Nothing as complex as level design and animation. Just want to make pretty scenes. MAYBE some involving people shaped blobs, but other than that, nothing complex.

Have you considered trying a traditional approach to help get an idea? It won't be able to help with the computer aspect(sliders, how the computer takes commands, etc.) but actually getting some sculpey/clay/etc. and taking some time to try and sclupt somethign in real-life can likely help you visualize things easier and understand how to form 3D forms a little easier.

It can even help you with 2D art, as part of my classes last semester I had to take a 3D design course and it paid off very well.

Just do tutorials, that's what got me started. Now I am a freelancer in 3D animation.

Moxxi:
Well, I've been doing some photoshop stuff, but honestly, it's garbage. I keep thinking to myself that I'm not a garbage artist, but my deviant says otherwise. So I've recently gotten 3Ds Max, since I get a hefty student discount, but lo and behold I can't make heads or tails out of anything on it. I've made one scene to date, and it's not very impressive. I could post my deviantart if anyone is interested or the picture.

So any advice on how or what to start with on 3D artwork?

I have two handy tutorials for you. First, the VERY basics of 3DS max, which helped me get my bearings in the program when I first got it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdAWVPWuQGQ

That one will get you started on the interface and basic object forming, and will give you enough insight into how the program works so that further exploration is much easier. And for more fun tricks, here is a playlist of 35 videos which will give you lots of fun tools and tricks to play with. This is all for 3DS Max 2012, by the way.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5z9JznT9T5c&feature=list_other&playnext=1&list=SP98D994CD373CF9B6

Good luck! :D

Moxxi:
Well, I've been doing some photoshop stuff, but honestly, it's garbage. I keep thinking to myself that I'm not a garbage artist, but my deviant says otherwise. So I've recently gotten 3Ds Max, since I get a hefty student discount, but lo and behold I can't make heads or tails out of anything on it. I've made one scene to date, and it's not very impressive. I could post my deviantart if anyone is interested or the picture.

So any advice on how or what to start with on 3D artwork?

I would highly recommend turbosquid.com. They are an excellent site to show off your work and collaborate with other artists. They also have a tutorial section. I haven't used it for a while though, so I am not sure what all goes with the tutorials.

http://www.turbosquid.com/Tutorials

You can also try these guys. I have used some of their tutorials myself.

http://www.3dtotal.com/index_tutorial.php?catDisplay=1&p=1&sort=views&order=1&detailsoff=0&roPos=1

Both Turbosquid and 3dtotal are awesome sites, and they helped me with my 3D modeling and animations back in high-school.

Thanks for all the advice, I've been at Otakon and my fiance's place for a while. Just got back to my gear, and let me tell you all one thing. It's hard to readjust to a red cherry mx keybaord after not having one for a while.

If you are only doing still artistic shots then I suggest you do what many others do, make a simple mock up model in 3D with lighting and all that good stuff, then render it and touch it up in Photoshop.

Because getting the proportions, angles, lighting and shading right by hand is very difficult, rendering software however will get this perfectly every time and you can spin the scene around any way you want.
But rendering runs into a wall when it comes to details, scrapes, bumps, bruises, chipping, veins, blood, distortions,... are a real bitch to set up looking right in a 3D model, but with 2D brushes that can be done very quickly.

Personally, I find that with 3D modeling, there are two big issues for people just starting out:
One, knowing how to use the program and two, knowing what it can do.
If you're used to the ins and outs of photoshop, you will probably be able to manage the interfact in good time.
But to manage the second issue, I'd strongly suggest even just skimming through lists of tutorials for your programs, watch some videos of people modeling things, etc. Just expose yourself to the process as much as you're comfortable with.

Also, if you just want to make some pretty 3d things, try Sculptris out for a bit. May get the creative juices going.
The only thing to note about that is if you want to rig models you make in that later, it'd be good to model them in the T position or whatever is appropriate for said species/thing.

Good luck! :D

 

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