Course: Introduction to Hard Surface Modeling in Blender

Model hard-surface objects with smooth curves and sharp details in Blender

Subscribe for $18/mo to access or
Buy course for $14.95

Hello and welcome to this CG Cookie tutorial series on hard-surface modeling in Blender. Through this series I’ll be giving you a complete introduction to modeling hard-surface objects with subdivision surfaces, allowing you to create anything from vehicles, to weapons, to environment props.

Learn what you need to know to create all kinds of hard-surface objects by joining Citizen, unlocking the complete series.

In this series I’ve chosen a small, stylized airplane as the subject matter, as it provides a great example of hard-surfaces that is fairly simple but also easy to learn. The plane design is based on artwork and modeling sheets created by Tim Von Rueden at Concept Cookie. I’ll be walking you through the complete modeling process of creating this plane, demonstrating a variety of techniques and tools along the way. Among other things, I’ll be showing you box and edge modeling techniques, I’ll show you how to use various modifiers for non-destructive modeling, and I’ll take you through multiple techniques for creating sharp edges with optimal geometry. This series is presented in real-time, giving you a complete picture of of my modeling process.

Extra add-ons and themes

During this series I make frequent use of a custom add-on I developed that helps to speed up the workflow for common tasks. You can download the add-on, along with the custom them I use for Blender’s interface below:

Jay Tools (now known as Quick Tools):

CG Cookie Theme:

Background Audio used: by Airtone

Leave Comment


58 Responses to “Introduction to Hard Surface Modeling in Blender”
  1. Posts: 1
    Seth Goodman says:

    As part of the UK Magazine 3D Artist’s Resources, was able to download most of this comprehensive tutorial. However the omission of video 1: preparing the scene has left me lost as to how to proceed, especially with the Jaytools/ quicktools setup. Am I left with that, or is there a way I can access the video omitted on the 3DA disc?

  2. Posts: 6

    Hi Seth,

    You can get a comprehensive description of the quicktool addon (how to install / use it) here :

    The first episode deals mainly with setting background images. How to :
    – go in front view (with your mouse in the 3d View window : press ‘1’ on your numpad) and orthogonal view (‘5′ on your numpad)
    – in 3d View, press ‘N’ Key => open a column in the right side of the 3D view windows with plenty of sub-panels
    – in the column, look for ‘background’ sub-panel and tick the little box to enable it
    – in the ‘background’ sub-panel, press the ‘add image’ button
    – for “Axis:” select ‘Front’
    – press ‘open’ button and select your image (front image of the plane) => you should see it in the 3d View (Front & orthogonal view only)
    – you can change location and scale at the bottom of the image subpanel (inside the ‘background’ panel)
    – do the same thing for the side and top view beginning again at ‘Add image’ with the following changes :
    – for side view : press ‘3’ on the numpad to go in right view in the 3d View windows (be sure to stay in orthogonal view, hotkey is ‘5’) ; Axis : Right
    – for top view : press ‘ 7′ (…) ; Axis : Top

    Hope it helps.

  3. Posts: 6
    knightsilver says:


    Hows this workflow work with Blender 2.69 or 2.7?

  4. Posts: 1
    Kenichi Lei says:

    Would anyone happen to know is Blender plans on getting better ways of creasing into the software? Something like the creasing in Max, Maya, or Modo?

  5. Posts: 6
    knightsilver says:

    Jonathan, what GPU are you currently with Blender 2.6?

    • Posts: 4176

      I currently don’t have a GPU for rendering, as the box my GTX 580 is in has either died or has some serious problems. I don’t do much rendering currently, so it’s not much of an issue.

    • Posts: 632
      richard w says:

      On the linked page, right-click ‘Raw’ and choose ‘Save Link As…’. After saving it to your chosen destination, install in User Preferences > Themes. That’s the easiest way to download just that file that I can find.

  6. Posts: 28
    jiggywig says:

    Hello, The quicktools won’t install in my Blender 2.7.

    Traceback (most recent call last):
    File “/Users/x/Local Applications/Blender/”, line 299, in enable
    mod = __import__(module_name)
    File “/Users/x/Library/Application Support/Blender/2.70/scripts/addons/quicktools/”, line 26, in
    from . import quick_operators, quick_object_mode, quick_edit_mode, quick_sculpt_mode
    ImportError: cannot import name quick_operators

    • Posts: 3

      Hi jiggywig, I just installed Quick Tools v0.7 on Blender 2.70a, on my Mac running OSX 10.9.3 and had no troubles. Hopefully, by now you have been able to get it to work.

    • Posts: 4176

      Hi jiggywig,

      I’m not sure why the install fails sometimes like this, I’ve seen it before. In my experience simply restarting Blender and then trying to install again often work.

    • Posts: 4176

      They are bundled with the source files. Just click “Download Files” on this page, right below the featured image.

  7. Posts: 2
    oaschwab says:

    I’m getting back into 3D animation after a 12 year hiatus. I’m using the center mouse button to rotate and SHIFT + center mouse button to Pan. Is there any way to force it to Pan only when you’re in orthographic mode? I hate when I’m in a side view and I accidentally start rotating the view. I’m used to It’d be great if there was some way to lock the rotation when it’s in orthographic view or at least when you’re viewing from Front, Side, Top, etc.

    • Posts: 4176

      The only way to lock panning is to use Quad View. In the viewport, go to the View menu and then choose the Toggle Quad View option. This will divide your viewport into four, three of which will be locked from orbiting.

      I hope that helps!

      • Posts: 2
        oaschwab says:

        Yeah it does. I used lightwave for years and it’s funny how even now I reach for some of the same keyboard shortcuts I haven’t used in a decade.

  8. Posts: 3
    adhiyoko says:

    Hi Jonathan …thank you for your tutorial.

    I’ve been download cgcookie themes but what’s mine is different than yours, the orange color its more darker. Am I wrong isntalling it or can you give me another link ?

    • Posts: 4176

      Hey there,

      The theme hasn’t been updated in a while and may not actually work with 2.72. I need to revisit it and update it for changes in Blender.

  9. Posts: 23

    what kind of toolbar are you using? coz mine in 2.72 isn’t transparent… and looks completely different… and I’m using your cgcookie theme as well

  10. Posts: 2
    stretch65 says:

    Do I really need QuickTools to do this tut? It’s just that the script won’t enable and just crashes. I’ve installed, re-installed, re-started Blender – everything I can think of and still no luck. What’s more frustrating is that I can’t figure out how to copy the error report onto the system clipboard – how can I report the error if I can’t copy it? (I’m using Blender 2.73)

    • Posts: 4176

      Nope! The Quicktools is just a collection of macros that speed up the workflow, but does not change the workflow.

      For the error message you can just take a screenshot of it and then share that here, like I mentioned in the other comment.

  11. Posts: 2
    stretch65 says:

    I also tried to install the CGCooke theme. It installs but an error report pops up. I’d post the error here but how can copy it?

    • Posts: 4176

      A screenshot of the error will be sufficient. You can upload your screenshot to any service you and then link it here. If you’re unsure of which service to use then is always good.

  12. Posts: 2
    junaum says:

    This particular course isn’t playing it´s videos. Am I doing anything wrong? All other tuts are working fine.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.