Laying out a study plan for 3D (Help please)

Hictor Posts: 380 Enthusiast

Hi guys.

So I've come to a point where I'm going to take a break from work and (hopefully with devotion) put on my learning hat.


And, I've a pretty good grasp on how to operate in Blender, at least in the sense that Camera views and keyboard shortcuts are pretty familiar. To put it simply, on a CONCEPTUAL LEVEL, I know how 3d works.

But let's for a moment assume that I know nothing and I ask a seasoned 3D person (or at least someone who knows his way around 3d) to write me a course syllabus, what would you recommend?

IF this is relevant, my goal is to reach a point where I'm able to create 3D assets for video. VFX stuff.



  • WhiteCranePhoto
    WhiteCranePhoto Posts: 923 Enthusiast

    Study fine art. Not the remedial silliness like the fool of thirds, but rather real fine art -- Ansel Adams, Galen Rowell, Monet, Yusuf Karsh (best portrait photography I have ever seen, truly bind moggling). 

    Learn lighting, texture, lighting, shape, lighting (sense a trend yet?)...

    If you're integrating 3D with live action, understanding lighting is critical -- because you have to be able to match the live action lighting. 

    Meanwhile keep practicing with Blender, so that you can learn to apply the skills you develop to your 3D work. 

    And seriously put a lot of time into learning how to create textures and materials, look at the real world and see where things like dirt and wear accumulate and how they look. A great deal of what separates the newbies from the pros is dirt. The newbies tend to completely forget about dirt and wear, so their assets look perfect and almost 100% unreal. 

    Also look at the little details in basically everything. Practice creating 3D versions of everyday things like your cell phone or your cat. 

    The most successful 3D artists have a strong background in traditional art, like HR Giger. (If you haven't heard of him, take the time to fix that.) 


  • triforcefx
    triforcefx United StatesPosts: 1,641 Moderator

    If you have access to an online learning system (Lynda, Skillshare, etc.) Most of them have very good courses on many topics. I know my school has offered it and I have had jobs that offer it as well to employees for free. If not, many of them have very generous free trials (I just saw a Skillshare offer for 2 months free). These courses are made by professionals and designed so that you can start from any skill level. For instance, the HitFilm course on Lynda taught me a lot more about the software even though I thought I already had a good handle on things. Online courses may very well replace Universities in the future... They're that good.

  • tddavis
    tddavis Posts: 5,224 Expert

    A big +100 to this comment from WhiteCranePhoto "If you're integrating 3D with live action, understanding lighting is critical -- because you have to be able to match the live action lighting. "  

    It took me far too long to realize the secret to photoreal textures and such was in the lighting and materials, but then I'm an old fart so it's harder to learn new tricks. :)

    I've had some luck following several Udemy courses, and there is a guy named Jacob Lewis that put out a series on Blender that was laid out pretty reasonably on Youtube.  I think it's called Blender for Absolute Beginners or something like that.

  • Hictor
    Hictor Posts: 380 Enthusiast

    Thank you so much guys. This is has been of great help!

    @whitecranephoto You're the man!

  • WhiteCranePhoto
    WhiteCranePhoto Posts: 923 Enthusiast

    I did my first film work with a guy who already had quite a bit of experience in filmmaking, doing VFX for live action films. Even little things like shadows make a HUGE difference in believability.


  • spydurhank
    spydurhank Posts: 3,156 Expert

    @Hictor ,

    great advice from @WhiteCranephoto , he is on point and pretty much said it all when he mentioned fine art, although you don't exactly need a background in fine art to work with 3D but if you did have a background in fine art... 3D art will be incredibly easy for you to learn once you understand all the technical terms of the industry and whatever software you use. In your case it is Blender. :)


  • TxH003
    TxH003 Posts: 38 Just Starting Out*

    When I first started to learn 3D modeling last year, it quickly became evident that I needed to allocate time to the study of basic Art concepts in general.  I initially purchased and read the following book, which helped me to understand the things to consider when creating a drawing, 3D model, etc.:

    * "Art Fundamentals: Color, Light, Composition, Anatomy, Perspective, and Depth" by Gilles Beloeil, Andrei Riabovitchev, and Roberto F Castro.

    From there, I purchased many other art related books that focused on certain concepts, such as anatomy, and started to learn how to sketch in order to reinforce the learned concepts. The said actions have helped with 3D modeling, but the overall process, at least for me, is a long road ahead.

    In regards to 3D modeling applications, I primary use Cinema 4D Studio, 3D Coat, Substance Painter/Designer and Redshift.  In order to understand the basic concepts of 3D modeling, I found the following resource helpful:

    * "3D Art Essentials: The Fundamentals of 3D Modeling, Texturing, and Animation" by Ami Chopine.

    With that said, in addition to the product manuals, I have mostly used PluralSight tutorials to learn the aforementioned applications and will more than likely subscribe to The Gnomon Workshop at a later date.  In order to remain focused, I am allowing working on a specific project, with a reference photo, to continue progressing in my 3D learning experience.

    If this is an area you truly wish to pursue as a career, taking a course or two from a proven institution might be beneficial.  If you just want a roadmap or syllabus, the program curriculum from various art schools might be available for review online.

  • Stargazer54
    Stargazer54 Posts: 3,899 Ambassador

    Just to chime in on the good points by @TxH00 .... you do not become a master plumber, a master architect, or mater artist or musician  in 3 easy lessons.  It takes years to develop your craft and it has to be something you do every day.  I cannot emphasize "do every day".   Most knowledge is learned on the job in a real world environment, with real deadlines.  Which means, "Yeah, I could take the next two weeks developing a new technique to solve this problem or can 'cheat it' and get it done sooner".  With the client or boss breathing down your neck you can guess which path is the least resistance.

    Does this provide the optimum results for every project?  Maybe no, but you learned something - what to do and what not to do.   If you are standing on the sidelines, you will never learn this.

    Ironically, the pressure of producing the shot on demand rather than messing around for the "best" solution is where real productive ideas can come from.

    Definitely, seek out mentors in the industry who have gone through this process countless times, and listen and learn.  But, in the end you must go through this process yourself.  Learning from others will help you side step potholes along the way, but you have to put in the reps to develop your own skills.   You learn by doing.