Wasn't Entirely Sure Where to Ask

I’m looking to take up modelling, both as a hobby and because quite frankly, I feel quite useless and I want to be more productive. I couldn’t see a sticky in Models/Skins and I didn’t feel this was right for Garry’s Mod Discussion, so I just thought I’d ask a few questions.

  • Firstly, is a specialist education required to take up 3D modelling? If it is I am lacking in it, so sorry to waste your time and the rest of my questions can be disregarded.

  • What kind of skills are required to model? As in, will I need a particular skill with anything?

  • What program should I use?

  • Where should I begin?

Sorry to ask all these questions here, but as the title says I didn’t know where else to ask. Sorry if I’m doing anything hugely stupid in making this thread, I tend not to be aware of such things until it’s far, far too late.

In terms of specialist education, it’s not a requirement in order to make stuff.

Modelling isn’t like building a nuclear reactor (Unless you’re modelling one) in the way that it’s not incredibly hard to learn and you need a team of 15 professors to guide you through something. The learning curve is definitely quite steep but it’s nothing impossible.
There are of course courses and qualifications with tutors and the like you can get in it, but that’s if you want to be professional and whatnot.

Skills wise, it’s fairly important to know how to visualize and navigate 3d space. For example, if you’ve ever used Hammer, that’s the same idea.
A little basic math can help too. (Or a calculator) But it doesn’t get like coding with algorithms and stuff, usually it’s just halving and dividing.
And of course, some patience goes a long way too.
So there’s nothing amazingly hard for important for learning.

As for the software, it can sort of depend on what you want to be doing.
A lot of programs can do the same things, but some do it differently. Some are also considered better at certain things, but it can get quite subjective.
I’ve personally only really made things in 3DSMax. Valve uses Maya.

Both of those are from Autodesk and usually cost a bunch, but if you go to http://students.autodesk.com/ and make an account, you can get every Autodesk product for free for 2 years or so. So with that you can experiment with both of them. I think you may need to be in a school to do it, but the first time I got a license I put in “Creatively changed” information and it worked fine.

3DSMax is really good for Hard surface stuff, which is stuff like desks and chairs and stuff. Maya might be more organic (I can’t remember if this is true or not), so it’s things like people. It’s definitely praised as better at animating.

Another popular one is Blender, which is free right away. I’ve never used blender, but people seem to praise it as quite simple, and of course, free.

Others include Cinema 4D, Milkshape and Softimage XSI (Which was used by valve for a while).
I wouldn’t use any of those, especially for a beginner because they are used quite a lot less, especially here on facepunch, so you won’t be able to get much help with them.

I started with 3DSMax straight away a year ago, and didn’t have any huge problems with it, so naturally I’d recommend that. If you ask someone else you might get a different answer. The learning curve definitely does seem quite nasty, but if you ask around a bit and watch some tutorials you’ll be fine. Just don’t be discouraged if it seems like you’re getting better slowly.

Also, Google Sketchup definitely isn’t a good idea if you want to make stuff for games. :v:

Well from here I’d suggest you get and get one of the programs. :v:

Photoshop is also extremely useful/vital for it all too, so you may want to go and get and buy, get a trial, or otherwise get your hands on it.
If you want something cheaper/more legitimate, you could try Gimp, which is very similar. Definitely better than Paint.Net.

And if you want to make stuff for Garrysmod, HL2 or just generally Source, you will want GUIStudioMDL, a program that compiles the models to .mdl, and a plugin for the modelling program that can export as .SMD, which is the file type that the compiler uses. If you’re wondering if there’s a way to just export directly as .mdl, there kind of is.
It’s called WallWorm, which as well as having a cool name is good for speeding things up or making things a little simpler. You’ll need to download that, and It might be for 3dsmax only, I haven’t looked. I personally don’t use it, and opt for the multiple-program, slow and complicated route for some reason.

And the textures also need to be exported to a weird file type, which is .vmt and .vtf. You’ll need VTFedit for that.
To help with texturing a good source of images to make textures out of is http://www.cgtextures.com/

But of course, this is all for when you have a model of a textured cube to export, rather you are probably eager to learn how to actually make stuff.

For learning, the site http://cg.tutsplus.com/ seems to be recommended by everyone. It appears to have stuff from absolute “What on earth is a mouse” beginner to mythological god, so it should help quite a bit. I once made a trash can from a dumpster tutorial on there about normal maps, and it went fine.

And of course, there’s a Model Pimpage thread up one layer in the normal models/skin section for you to get feedback on stuff, which is as valuable as tutorials.

But first of all, you’ll want to install a program and play around with it a bit, get used to it, stretch out some teapots and cover some cubes in a thick, beautiful mane.

And finally, good luck.
Posts this long happen when I try to be brief.