We’ve heard a lot of beginners into 3D modeling ask questions like – “why is 3D so difficult” “why is it that no matter how hard you try, it’s still difficult to learn all the tricks”.
Well, we don’t think this is correct. Learning 3D is like learning any other digital skill. The beginning is always difficult, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature.
We understand that 3D could be technical without the right guidance. You could spend years manipulating objects on Modo and Maya without really creating real-world results. If you pay attention, this guide might shortcut your learning phase and arm you with all the tricks you need to boycott the hassle most modelers face and launch a successful career.
What is 3D modeling?
3D modeling is the creation of 3-dimensional objects using special software. The object is usually a 3-dimensional representation of a real object. The artist then uses the software to alter the vertices of the generated image to produce the shape they want.
3D models are used in a variety of industries and for several ventures such as video games, movies, architecture as well as engineering. 3D modeling has a lot of parts, and it could take a couple of months or years to master. The way to mastery is to practice every day.
Is 3D modeling hard to learn?
3D isn’t hard to learn. It’s a lot easier to learn than 2D, which requires some artistic skill. However, no matter how easy a skill is, one individual will always do better than the other. Once you get a hang of how to use the modeling software, it will become a hobby.
What you will mostly do is to maneuver objects and alter their shape by focusing on its vertice. There are several ways you can do this, and the way to figure it out depends on your level of imagination and self-awareness. While some 3D artists will unravel 10 ways to do so, others might be stuck with just 5 options.
There’s a learning curve for this skill. You should be able to do big things if you get used to working with 3D software, but your learning curve will be shortcut with a mentor rather than solo learning. This way, when you get stuck or fumble along the line, you will have someone to turn to.
You will get a hang of the skill by watching tutorials and practicing daily exercises, but the larger picture goes beyond using the software, it lies in how well you can manipulate them.
How long does it take to master 3D modeling?
Few individuals get their hands around it incredibly fast, but for most people, it could take months or even years. The learning phase also depends on the level of interest each individual has and their method of learning.
It’s possible to know the software and all the technical stuff within a few months but perfecting your skill to a professional level will take years. We believe everyone can learn this provided you dedicate your time and energy.
For instance, a talented beginner who invests 2-4 hours daily learning this skill can become a pro and produce amazing results in less than a year. However, there is a problem. The problem is that new tools originate every day and you need to learn them to ensure your skillset is updated.
Hence, you need to keep your ears on the ground to know when something new comes up. With 3D, there’s always something to improve.
How much does it cost to learn 3D modeling?
Learning 3D modeling isn’t expensive. The majority of the courses are affordable. A large percentage of the money you will spend during the learning phase will go into software subscription, especially if you practice with tools like Maya.
We understand that there are several professionals offering tutorials on the internet. Just to be clear, before you sign up for any program, you need to know the various pipeline available and how to tailor your learning around a specific one. The most popular pipeline include animation, rendering, lighting, texturing as well as shading.
You will need to invest in a lot of resources to catch up with those in the game. You will get a handful of information from tutorials on Youtube, but you get first-hand information on the skill needed in the professional world once you get premium courses.
The Best 3D modeling tutorials are offered by one of the following:
1. CG spectrum
CG spectrum is the most popular learning platform for beginners in 3D modeling and sculpting. The program doesn’t come cheap, but you will be studying under highly trained professionals with years of experience in their field. A vast majority of the tutors you will learn from have worked on several movies, games, and TV shows.
If you’re a beginner, we recommend you sign up for their introductory 3D modeling course. The course duration is 12 months, and you would get enough support from your mentor as well as other digital peers.
Pluralsight has a lot of online courses for developers, but they do have a couple of 3D modeling programs as well. They also charge a monthly fee and in exchange, you gain access to thousands of video courses across several categories.
A single monthly subscription can grant you access to their entire library which extends to IT, programming, and other tech fields. All the videos are pre-recorded, and you can learn at your own pace. The best part is that they create every program differently. You will find a dedicated session for Blender, Maya, and any software that has to do with 3D modeling.
Pluralsight charges $29 monthly and $299 yearly. With the yearly subscription, you save over $50. If you aren’t sure if they will be the best choice, you can sign up for a 10-days free trial that allows you to access the library before making payment.
Lynda is another option on our list. Their contents are similar to that of Pluralsight, but their lessons are limited in the area of 3D. They also charge a monthly fee just like Pluralsight. The edge Lynda has over the rest of the bunch is that their videos are tailored for beginners, and you can easily learn on their platform.
Lynda won’t provide you with all you need to become a standard 3D artist. If we’re to pick for you, we would recommend you go for Pluralsight. Their fees are affordable, and their library is wide. Once you’ve mastered basic skills, you can take it a step further by signing up with the CG spectrum.
Is 3D modeling the same as 3D animation?
3D modeling and animation are two different things. 3D modeling has to do with creating 3D characters by manipulating series of shapes such as triangles or polygons via software. 3D animation, on the other hand, manipulates this object in a way that causes them to move. This includes displacing their position or rotating across several angles.
Both skills are needed in creating an animation project. You can also use the same software to achieve both results. Software like Maya and blender allow you to model objects and at the same time, create animation. Houdini is the only standard modeling software for beginners.
What tools do you need to become an expert at 3D animation?
To become an expert at 3D modeling, you need to sit at the table and practice your craft. No amount of courses or videos will help if you don’t put some hours into practice. Also, you should already know by now that 3D modeling is computer-based and a vast majority of the tools you will need are paid software.
The most popular ones include Maya, Houdini, Blender, Modo, and Carara, among others. These tools have a large library that covers the entire 3D pipeline. This includes rendering, animation as well as shading, and sculpting.
A good understanding of these tools determines the results you produce. For beginners, you might have to settle for free software until you have enough to pay for premium ones.
Employment opportunity with 3D modeling
The demand for 3D artists is high. 3D modeling is a competitive career, and the pay is encouraging as well.
Average 3D modelers charge between $24-$55 per hour. Every 3D project has different moving parts and it’s difficult to go on without a 3D modeler in the team. They’re in charge of designing the characters.
The area of application for this skill is endless. This includes film and video production, game design, advertising, architecture, as well as simulations.
3D modeling is a long and eventful career. Talented 3D modelers are highly sought-after. However, a lot of time needs to go into practice. We recommend you set aside 2-3 hours daily for practice.
If you keep at it every day, you can manipulate objects with your eyes closed. If you find someone who says 3D modeling is difficult, the individual probably hasn’t done his homework just yet.