In this final part, we look at perhaps some of the best advise I can give you to become an awesome 3D modeler! Let’s not waste any more time and get straight into it.
The ONLY way you will get better at 3D modeling, is if you put in the time to actually do 3D modeling yourself. It is completely find to fail! I believe I may have heard a saying somewhere that, the more you fail, the more you are likely to succeed. When you fail, you build resilience. You become stronger, and you also build knowledge. You now know not to do whatever it is that caused you to fail. You’d be surprised to know how many potential people are out there, who aren’t 3D modelers right now. And they would likely have had serious potential. The main reason is that they give up after a few failures. They think that they are no good at 3D modeling, when really, they were getting better, even if just slightly. The more you fail at 3D modeling, the more you LEARN not to do whatever caused that failure. Thus, the more you build resilience. You may then try experimenting again. And if that fails as well, then try again. Becoming better at 3D modeling really does come through a lot of practice. It comes through failing, persevering and then experimenting again. You can keep experimenting, failing, researching why you failed, and keep this cycle going on and on. It may seem like a never-ending loop but eventually you will reach a tipping point where everything starts to fall into place. Once you reach your first goals, you will feel a great sense of satisfaction. But don’t stop there. Keep going with it and make something else. Don’t be a one-hit wonder. Aim to be legendary. Knowing and mastering how to model one thing is great, but knowing how to model a variety of things is even better. Eventually, you will start to gain a grip of 3D modeling and who knows, you may even develop your own style. You may develop stylized 3D models that are unique to you. Not only will you gain a great sense of satisfaction, but you will also gain a feeling of ownership that you really and truly own your own models. It is at this point, that you can pitch your expertise or perhaps even sell your models to make some easy cash on the side.
But I’m venturing way too far into the future here. Let’s focus on what we can do now. When you’re starting out 3D modeling, you may find it a bit overwhelming. When you open up your 3D software, you may be a little daunted at the number of different modeling tools that are available. So overwhelmed that you think this is all rocket science. When I first started out 3D modeling, I downloaded the free open-source 3D software Blender. I was so frustrated with the controls and so overwhelmed there were so many that I eventually gave up. I blamed the tool for not being user-friendly enough as the reason to not continue pursuing 3D modeling. And while user-friendliness is an important aspect regarding the positive experience of using software, it should not have been the cause for me to give up 3D modeling. So I decided to start from scratch. To start from the bare basics and make my way up slowly. This worked fantastically. 3D modeling is a skill just like any other. It takes time to grasp the concepts and learn the techniques of effective 3D modeling. Just like playing the piano. You would first start from the bare basics of knowing what note each key in the piano does. Or even more basic than that, knowing the musical scale and notations in general. From there, you keep learning and practicing. Eventually, you will have built up enough skill and timing to finally start creating your own compositions. 3D modeling is similar. Although, I’d like to think that it isn’t as tough a skill as a piano. But then again, I wouldn’t be able to play the piano to save my life.
I read somewhere that claimed research has shown that to be able to master any skill from scratch, you need to put in at least 10,000 hours of work. That’s 10,000 hours of learning and practicing. In other words, from the point of knowing absolutely nothing about that skill to being able to call yourself an expert at it, will take an average of about 10,000 hours. In that 10,000 hours, you will need to learn, experiment, practice and do this again and again. The more exposure you get to 3D modeling, the more likely you will naturally become skilled at it.
One of the best things that can help you in your quest to 3D modeling domination is motivation. If you don’t have enough motivation, you will stagnate and eventually you may even put off the idea of 3D modeling for good. It’s always important to stay motivated, especially throughout your learning period. And one of the ways to stay motivated is to keep working on your small projects and setting yourself deadlines to complete (say a week). Feel good and reward yourself in any way once you’ve completed the making of your own 3D model. Then go back and make another model on a deadline. The idea of setting yourself tight deadlines forces you to work on other projects without staying stuck on one project. You can always come back to where you were stuck later on. Also, rewarding yourself by taking yourself out to coffee or watching a movie (preferably animated, but then again who am I to tell you what to watch) or even spending quality evening time with your loved ones are great to keep your motivation going strong.
Another form of motivation and one that can aid in the process of learning, is feedback. It is best to register yourself on forums or online social groups like Facebook Groups, or Google+ Communities to name a few. You can interact with other like-minded modelers and get feedback for your work. When you post your work, you will likely get honest feedback for your work. They usually encourage you and shower you with positive feedback. They will also point out things that they like about your model and areas that need improvement. This is great, because they may spot issues which you might have been completely unaware of. It’s always nice to get feedback for you work as you know the areas you can improve on. And in turn, you develop and become a better artist because of that. If you make a character’s eyes way too big than it should be, so much that it hinges on slightly creepy, you will keep making all your subsequent characters like that too. Without that feedback, you would never learn to fix this. Always try to post your work in public forums and social networks whenever you can, because that is how you develop as a 3D artist. You don’t have to post only your finished works, you can also post your works in progress. You could do a daily progress update post which will keep your social presence active. You may even notice the same people who gave you feedback earlier will come back to give you even more feedback. This is also a great ways to make more friends online with people all over the world ranging from beginner to pro. Note that if these are your only friends, then that is a sign that you need to immediately stop what you’re doing on the computer, and go for a walk outside in the real world where humans and animals inhabit.
I’ll also have to note one more thing about feedback. From time to time, you may receive feedback that is less than pleasant. If they truly mean well and are trying to help you, then you better stuff your ego and put it aside as listening to them may help you. For example, a comment like “This is really bad bro. The topology is messed up and model is just plain weird. Here’s an idea, start again from scratch. That was unbearable..k, thx” may rile you up and make you want to shove that keyboard down the throat of whoever wrote that comment. But that’s ok, because it is helping you. You are ultimately becoming a better 3D modeler because of it. At other times, you may receive just downright harsh comments like “This is horrible. Just give up, or even better kill yourself”. These types of comments really suggest that there’s some issue with that person rather than you or your work. There is nothing constructive about that comment and just comes across as bickering. Perhaps they get pleasure from making you react. It’s best to just ignore it and not keep the flame going as it doesn’t rub off nicely as a growing 3D modeler. And also don’t act on that advice of killing yourself! If you did, then I will not take responsibility for it. Just wanted to put that out there in case.
I hope this post itself has motivated you to get started straight away in your journey to become an awesome 3D modeler! Remember, the most important point from all the advice I’ve given you is PRACTICE! The rest of the points I’ve explained will pretty much be useless if you don’t get any practice. Eventually, with enough practice, you will feel that you are starting to get the hang of things and the journey will be easier and more fun from there.
Go back to Part 1 or Part 2 to refresh your memory.