Hello again! I wanted to do a little blog post about the blender project I have been working on that I know a few of you may have been following through my stories on Instagram. A couple of people have shown some interest in this so I just wanted to write a bit about my experience with trying to step into 3D modelling and what resources I am using to help with this.
I absolutely adore the feeling of learning new things and the satisfaction that comes with that but I am also often prone to getting easily overwhelmed and not knowing where to start with something new, especially when it feels so huge, complex and unachievable. I love the internet for giving me the chance to find and connect with so many great artists but as much as I don’t like to admit it, I can be a soft, sensitive little baby and it’s very easy for me to see how many incredibly talented people there are making phenomenal things and feel extremely defeated by that. This is something I have recognised in myself as a not particularly admirable trait and honestly, the best way I’ve found to overcome that sense of defeat and avoid being swallowed into the “I’ll never be good enough” pit of despair is to find some good role models, which just happen to be a bunch of underdog teenage protagonists from various shounen manga that just don’t know how to give up on their goals. If a cartoon teenage boy can get beaten to a pulp and bounce right on back to defend his dream then I’m sure, me, a woman in her 30s (good grief) can overcome the frustration of not being able to understand and instantly be the best at this new thing.
Whatever works for you, right?
Speaking of not ever giving up, the course I am using to help work through this project, I actually bought well over a year ago because it was pretty cheap in a sale. I thought it was exactly what I needed, but at the time I’d already let myself get very overwhelmed by all the other resources out there and gave up before really properly diving into it. Shhh.
That said, that was a me thing because this course happens to be excellently well paced and the guy teaching it has the most calming voice and patient and understanding tone which I need when I’m trying to figure out why my mesh has exploded and his hasn’t.
If anyone is interested in trying to learn this, but like me is overwhelmed by the amount of resources and just wants to see a project through despite having very little or no experience then the course is on Udemy HERE
Once I’d committed to this I decided I wanted to scope my project into something achievable and not too complicated to give me the best chance of actually being able to feel the satisfaction of finishing it. I started with bashing out some ideas for a creature design on a sketch sheet and then was going to pick one to take forward. I put a poll out on instagram (thanks to those who voted) asking people’s opinion on which design I should take forward and the feedback was a tie between 4 & 8. Adding my own vote to this I decided on 4 which is the one that was standing out to me the most.
I took the number 4 silhouette and developed this a little more into a character I felt happy about attempting to model. I made sure I didn’t get sucked too heavily into this concept illustration stage as I realised too much perfectionism here might lead to me losing momentum and never actually making it to the next step, so once I had this basic shape to model from I shifted it into blender and began the course.
Here are the steps of progressing the model. By the time I got to the final step my computer was starting to struggle a little bit and the kind and patient man on the course said if this was the case and my computer was having a poly induced meltdown, I would be able to add texture details on the painting stage so I decided to leave it at that. I wanna finish this project so I’m not gonna waste my energy fighting spinny wheel of death here.
So moving on to trying to create the low poly mesh for UV mapping is where this got out of my comfort zone and frustrating for me. I ran into some unexpected problems and had to manually fix a lot of the mesh. The tutorial uses automated features to try create the low poly mesh which I am trying to follow, but I am a little bit on the fence about whether to attempt manually creating the low poly mesh, one, because it seems a useful skill to learn and is probably better in the long run and two because I’m already spending a fair bit of time troubleshooting at this point. Forks in the road like this can sometimes throw me off which is why I decided this was a good time to blog about it, pick a path and move on.
I did this conceptual paint on my high poly model in sculpt mode just to give me a bit of encouragement to keep moving forward and so I could see progress and potential but for now I need to just keep moving through the struggle to get to the next step.
One thing I have enjoyed about this though, was realising how my practical doll making skills were useful to inform where to create seams in the mesh for UV unwrapping. It’s just like making a pattern for a doll so it made me feel good to realise I had a bit of transferable knowledge with this part.
Anyway, I will give part 2 after I have finished and hopefully animated the model!
Oh! Here are a few books I used to help inform this project also:
Sketching from the Imagination : Creatures and Monsters (3D Total Publishing)
Mythical Beasts : An Artist's Field Guide to Designing Fantasy Creatures (3D Total Publishing)
Thanks for reading!!