Starting our journey into 3D modeling can be overwhelming, and we all have a lot of questions on our minds.
Where do we start?
Which software is the best? Which tutorials should we follow?
With so much information available these days, it can be tough to decide on which path to take or how to evaluate our choices.
That’s why I thought it would be great to start a series where we have a friendly chat with artists who have recently been through this journey.
We can learn about their story, how they got into the 3D world, what inspired them, and what kept them motivated.
I believe we would all benefit from hearing about how they overcame initial obstacles and what helped them achieve their goals in a short amount of time.
For that reason I’m really excited to introduce you to Bruno Wickes!
Bruno is a talented artist who has recently completed the Maya Masterclass training with stunning results.
I asked him if he’d be willing to give us a quick summary of what he thinks helped him achieve such great results, and he was kind enough to share his thoughts and process.
Initially I wanted to just work in games, it never dawned on me that this could also be translated into a film or television based career until I met someone in the Animated film industry.
I didn’t really have a specific goal in mind, I spent a lot of time working out what I wanted to do! It actually took me a while to find out I enjoyed 3D modeling. I did a lot of concept art and 2D before switching to 3D modeling. I like the technical challenge of making the assets fit for use in production.
I think it’s just the overwhelming amount of different processes and methods out there. It’s hard to know if what you are doing is “correct” as everyone swears their method is the best.
Eventually I got onto a good discord channel that had many film and game professionals and I found it a lot easier to filter though what was useful and what wasn’t as they were willing to give advice to a newcomer and it got easier to figure out the learning path.
I try to have a few different projects running at the same time and I try to make them quite different. If I hit a roadblock on one I can jump onto another while I work out how to progress through the problem area.
This generally also helps to keep me interested in each project for longer. It was important for me to realize that some projects can take weeks or months to complete so I try to stagger the start points and complexity so I have completed project milestones regularly and feel like I’m progressing.
Usually I’ll pick a project I want to complete and then pick a few different skills I want to learn and factor them into the project outcome.
So I can work towards an endpoint and make sure the skills are being developed at the same time. I try to make this challenging, really stretch myself in what I want to achieve. If I don’t quite make it at least I know I didn’t undercut myself in my goal.
For me personally it’s 2 kind of general things;
- Finding enough time to practice what I am learning. Just doing small projects, getting in the reps and improving incrementally on each different skill with each small project. With so much out there to learn I think it’s incredibly important to just try to find some time to practice. Not creating a portfolio or any larger projects just practicing the baseline skills.
- Being disciplined in sticking to the speciality of modeling. I’ve gone down a lot of rabbit holes in VFX, concept art, technical art and engine art, programming. While it’s important to understand this I have to stick to modeling and use the others to add to and complement my modeling skills and not let it take up too much of my time.
Right now it’s working from concept rather than blueprints or real world objects. I find concepts have much less resolution in the designs and require you to really use your design and technical skills to complete the model.
This requires so much more back and forth with the drawings and tiny adjustments to try and get things looking correct.
I would learn the basics from industry tutorials that have a feedback element or live sessions and then move on to teach myself more advanced techniques through tutorials or pre recorded sessions. I did this the other way (tried to learn basics myself then look for advanced classes with feedback) and added a lot of time to my learning curve. I would also start the focus on topology earlier and stick to modeling smaller assets and build up from there earlier. I would also start a greeble library of my own assets so I can quickly add them to my models.
Additionally one thing I wouldn’t change is the time I spent learning in the 2D space. This taught me design principles, form theory, color theory, shape language, composition and so much more.
I am putting together a reel of all new work for modeling and currently doing a course in Houdini with Escape Studios.
I find the procedural method of design really adds to the flexibility in what you can produce. Creating tools, environments and assets for games and films is my eventual goal so learning maya and houdini together will hopefully give me a strong foundational skill base to work off.
Get feedback, you don’t have to go to university but it’s absolutely worth paying for a course that has an element of feedback tied to the progression of the course.
Also use a good, well researched course (look up reviews of the tutor, school/institution, ask on reddit or discord, look up the work of the tutor) to learn the basics then teach yourself more advanced techniques later you want to crawl and walk before you try to run (otherwise you’ll fall over a lot like I did!)
And…..Listen to the people in the industry, they are there doing the work every day! They know what is expected.