Starting 3D Art with Blender

When the company first formed and we started creating a workflow we had artists, musicians, writers, and programmers–however none of us were 3D artists.

This was problematic.

Why we can't have nice things
Playing with the Eleven Rig.

I was (and sometimes am) a cartoonist and pixel artist but I’d never done anything with 3D art. We decided 3D models were going to be a better medium for our game due to the play mechanics, budget, and later development. How hard could it be right? *cue ugly belly laughter*

So first we delegated work. Art directing fell under me so I tried to see what we needed. Looking through tools I found that spending a lot of money would be very easy very quickly. Being a poor startup we knew that was no good. We settled on Blender for its power, price, and amount of educational material available.

Blender is fairly hard to start working with. The interface looks scary and has many parts. That said, the sheer number of tutorials online make getting into fairly approachable. I suggest checking YouTube. Udemy, and Lynda to get yourself started.

I already had some light training in Java, HTML, C#, Python and Visual Basic as well as traditional art training so some elements already felt comfortable. Starting off I didn’t try to do anything complex. I made a rock. Really I wanted to see how the different tools worked and how to break things. The second part was pretty easy.

Like a little spud.
Like a little spud.

After several rocks I started in on doing houses. Like a kid doodling, I just starting making harder objects. Houses work like cubes with funny tops. Slowly I made more and more complex buildings to see what issues and limitations there were. Somethings like how Subdivide works (magic) and Extrude (black magic) took time and thought to get the results I wanted.

Yay, it looks like a thing!
Yay, it looks like a thing!

From there I made trees (which are conspicuously hard as their organic geometry can be tricky). The biggest thing that helped me get through the “this is scary and hard” section of the learning curve was just choosing an object to model and going for it. I made small goals and then built on them.

tree1

I’m confident as time progresses my personal work in Blender will get better. I had to start simple and work up to more complex. I still have a long ways to go but I’m happy with where I’m heading. Hope you enjoyed the read.

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