100 Days of 3D Design: How I Learned 3D Modeling in 100 Days
I woke up to a rainy day, took breakfast, and started watching my favorite videos. I later downloaded SelfCAD 3D modeling software after coming across it online.
I preferred the downloadable version so that I can use it anytime I want, especially when not in a place with a good internet connection.
This marked the beginning of my 100-day journey of learning 3D modeling. All my previous projects adopted 2D design, but I had always loved the 3D projects I saw on the web. Looking at such projects always made me desire to be a 3D designer someday.
Why I love 3D Design and how I started
As a product designer, I am convinced that 3D modeling skills can help me have a wider perspective of great projects. They can create better opportunities in Augmented reality and virtual reality, 3D printing, and indie gaming. I was motivated to learn more about how to 3D design a simple house, a flower, a pig, or any object of my choice.
During the 100-days, I learned about the ways of creating excellent 3D artwork using SelfCAD. SelfCAD has a free option and a diverse feature set, as well as a lot of step-by-step tutorials to help anyone get started with ease.
I am going to narrate my 100-day journey with reflections and tips that could help you in your future 3D modeling endeavors. 3D work is complex, so I paid more attention to developing a workflow that I could complete in less than five days.
For inspiration and motivation, I checked Pinterest boards and a collection of my YouTube videos to get an idea of a 3D design project to work on. I noted down important points and started searching for a reference photo for guidance.
While I outsourced my academic work, I used the “Box Modeling" technique to model a 3D object in SelfCAD. I started the modeling process with the basics before improving it over time through editing. I applied the required materials to achieve a model that looked more or less like a cartoon.
The documentation of SelfCAD was very helpful in learning the various tools of the 3D modeling software and the basics of how each works.
SelfCAD introduction: Day 1-5
After signing up, I spent the first days learning about the basics of SelfCAD and how to navigate its interface. The hot features section of the website was really helpful in learning how each and every tool of the software works, and they really played a great role in helping me keep rolling.
Thereafter, I started testing each tool and how it works, and the tool preview feature found in every tool was useful too.
After that, I then moved to the interactive tutorials of the software, and that’s where I felt motivated the highest. Read on to learn about my next progress.
Moving through the learning curve: day 6-70
After understanding SelfCAD basics and the interface, I used a few techniques to learn more about 3D design. One of the techniques I used to create 3D models was the interactive tutorials that I just mentioned above.
This method is all about learning how the various tools work by using them to create models as shown in the tutorials. I tried several of the tutorials to master the process. A good example of SelfCAD’s interactive tutorial is the table fan tutorial by Krutika Shet. The guidelines to 3D design the fan helped me understand a good number of tools of the software, including the follow path tool.
I then followed Yash Nimbalkar’s instructions to create Earbuds. With the help of Oliver Villar’s tutorial, I learned how to use various tools like the stitch and scoop tools, Fill polygons, Fillet, and many other great tools.
By following most of these tutorials, I was able to apply other techniques that I had learned about earlier. I was also motivated and inspired to come up with something unique. Patience is one of the most important attributes when learning modeling or any other skill. The first piece may not be that good, but taking time to adjust lighting and the material may allow you to attain a desirable aesthetic.
The second method that I used is the 1-hard, 1-easy method. To avoid burnout associated with 3D learning, I decided to alternate a complex project with a simple one. It took me up to 3 days to create something unique from watching a complex tutorial.
It took me three days to perfect other tools like freehand drawing and sketching. My greatest lesson is that when there is no work progress, it is better to delete all the unfinished tasks and start all over again.
Modeling just one kind of object can be monotonous, so to make it interesting, I focused on dealing with different topics in the following ways:
I learned that the best way to begin is by creating abstract 3D objects because they do not need extensive texturing or modeling.
The last method I applied during my learning curve experience is reading the documentation. This was very helpful as it helped in reminding me of the functions of each tool while going through the interactive tutorial in case I had forgotten how each works. The documentation further enhanced my modeling knowledge by helping me connect the dots.
I remember spending a weekend going through The video tutorials and playing around with the various tools of the software just to make sure that I can come up with something.
Creating own artwork: day 71-100
The experience I gained from SelfCAD helped me to be more creative in bringing modeling ideas to life. My favorite films played an important role in inspiring my work. To overcome fear when working on a difficult project, I started by creating something simple first.
When I started using the software, the interactive tutorials and YouTube video tutorials were of great help. As I gained experience, it became easier to manage creative projects on my own.
Creating something without reference or guidance was more challenging and time-consuming. I took time to look for materials and experiment with various techniques, which often led to frustrations due to failure to achieve the desired results. I have so far mastered the most important 3D modeling techniques and am more creative in design.
Focusing on problem-solving contributed to real learning during the 100 days, and it exposed me to the world of creativity. Building knowledge requires learning, while building skills requires active practice.
Learning important skills and facts
When I was starting out, the 3D industries’ theoretical knowledge seemed so overwhelming and complex. I continued learning and soon realized that there were more and more techniques that I needed to learn to continue improving.
To have a smooth learning process, I focused on important matters only instead of wasting time and energy on unnecessary details. I only needed to apply the necessary skills and knowledge to meet my design goals. Thanks to the interface of SelfCAD that has simplified the learning process by minimizing the number of tools and including only the most important ones that an average designer uses. This is unlike other software that has a lot of tools that are very confusing to beginners like me.
My main objective was to come up with 3D objects that looked like cartoons. As such, I had to skip the advanced tutorials and concentrate on basic modeling techniques. That was how I managed to complete the project within 100 days.
Being ready is better than being perfect
At the time of completing the project, the level of my expectations had gone up. I was a little skeptical about completing a task due to fear of failure or thinking that it would be imperfect. One of my greatest weaknesses was the fear of starting a new project and thinking that the new model would be worse than the previous one.
Battling with the fear of imperfection made me learn that having a project that is good enough can be satisfactory. It is better to have a complete project that is not perfect than to have an incomplete one. I acknowledged my work imperfection and just told myself that it is finished before moving to the next project.
My 100-day journey of learning about 3D modeling was most insightful, yet very challenging. Based on my experience, learning 3D design requires more practice than other kinds of projects I have done before. This experience taught me that timing and motivation were not the actual challenges, and that the most important thing was how to deal with the skill gap. SelfCAD software minimized the 3D design barrier and helped me in my learning process.
Eliza Sadler is a product designer, professional writer, journalist, and blogger that has been working for Australian Writings and EssayWritingLab for the past four years. Her blogging is powerful, and her academic writing style is outstanding because of the focus she works with and the research material she uses for her writing. You can connect with her through her email.
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