Kent Trammell (theluthier)

694 replies · posted

[ENDED] BC1-1801 - January Class Homepage - Getting Started with 3D Modeling & Blender

CLASS ANNOUNCEMENT #5 (Feb 1, 2018): The class is officially closed! Thanks to all who participated. Be sure to check page 43 for the closing "statement" and commendations.

CLASS ANNOUNCEMENT #4 (Jan 30, 2018): The timing worked out where this week's homework stretch is 10 days instead of the usual 7. So you've got extra time to complete the assignment! I'll look for submission through tomorrow, the 31st, and then I'll do a final post to close out the class.

BTW week 4's live event is archived if you missed it.

CLASS ANNOUNCEMENT #3 (Jan 15, 2018): Week 2 is done - We're halfway through the class! Today WEEK 3 begins where the focus is digital sculpting. This is a far more artistic method of shaping 3D models, so if you struggled in week 2, week 3 should be refreshing.

Keep up the awesome work, Class! So much creativity and hard work being contributed from everyone 🤘

CLASS ANNOUNCEMENT #2 (Jan 8, 2018): Week one is accomplished! Today WEEK 2 begins. We're moving forward from basic viewport interaction and into mesh modeling; into Edit Mode and the modifier stack.

As always, don't hesitate to ask questions in this thread!

CLASS ANNOUNCEMENT #1 (Jan 2, 2018): The class has officially started! Today we held the first live event to kick things off. The recording will be published by tomorrow at the latest is now available in "Past Events".

That means it's now up to you to watch the Blender Basics Course and submit your homework to this thread. Please add a big, bold title to your homework submission reply so I can easily tell. Like this:

"BC1-1801 Week 1 Homework Submission"

Also don't hesitate to ask questions along the way. I'll be checking this thread daily to answer questions, give advice, check homework.

This thread is for CG Cookie Citizens that are participating in the "Getting Started with 3D Modeling and Blender" class! Its purpose is to serve as central communication for all participating Citizens (excluding Hobby plan Citizens) to ask me and each other questions and to post homework. As the instructor of the class, I will be monitoring this thread on a daily basis (especially Mon-Thurs) throughout the month of January to review homework and answer questions.

This thread is intended only for Citizens who are participating in the class. Free members are welcome to observe the thread but please respect that communication is reserved for Citizens.


Welcome to the CGCookie Class: Getting Started with 3D Modeling & Blender! This is the first "Class" format where Citizen members are invited to focus together on a particular topic/skill together for a month. Participation is this:

  • RSVP and attend the Live Events
  • Watch the courses outlined below
  • Ask questions
  • Submit homework
  • Generally be active in this thread

It will take place from January 2nd through January 31st and the topic is for beginners that want to get into 3D modeling. The class is based on pre-recorded courses that students are expected to watch each week along with weekly Live Events.

WEEK 1: First time with Blender...overwhelmed yet? (Jan 1-6)

Download the latest official version of Blender and watch the Blender Basics course. The goal this week is to simply get familiar with the application. We’ve all been there: Opening Blender (or any 3D package), gazing at all the crazy UI, trying to orbit in the viewport, crying...Ok, maybe you were stronger than me and didn’t cry. But the reality is 3D software is daunting. There’s SO MUCH to digest especially when you’re a beginner.

This first week we’re going to overview Blender and 3D from an absolutely beginner perspective. What is Blender for? What can it do? Wait, this isn’t a juicing seminar?

During the Live Event we're also going to open the floor, ask me anything (AMA) style, so I can answer all your questions about getting started with Blender.

HOMEWORK: Create a scene out of primitive shapes. It can be anything from a landscape to a spaceship to a character. Just get comfortable with creating and positioning mesh objects. Here's an example:

Take a screenshot of your scene and post it in a reply to this thread *during the week of Jan 1-6*.

WEEK 2: Pushing & Pulling Verts (Jan 7-13)

Enter the world of mesh modeling! The oldest form of building objects in 3D, in the computer. We’ll discuss the technical art of “pushing and pulling verts” as modelers often call it. First, watch the Mesh Modeling Fundamentals and Modeling with Modifiers courses to be introduced to this wild, geometric world.

Practice makes perfect here and during this week's Live Event we’ll be mesh-modeling a few objects to demonstrate tools and workflow available with Blender. It’s ideal if you practice along with me!

HOMEWORK: Model either 1, 2, or 3 unique objects using mesh-modeling techniques. They can be as simple or as complex as you like, but they can't be primitives. I want to see that you've used mesh tools to significantly customize your shapes. For example, you could model a hammer, a cell phone, a keyboard, a game controller, a picture frame, a coffee cup - choose something fun!

Take a screenshot of your shaded model + wireframe-over shaded (as pictured above) and post it in a reply to this thread *during the week of Jan 7-14*.

WEEK 3: Digital Clay (Jan 14-20)

Digital sculpting is the more artistically intuitive method of 3D modeling. If pushing and pulling verts felt like the hard way of doing things, sculpting will be a welcomed alternative! Watch the Fundamentals of Digital Sculpting course this week.

During the Live Event, we'll discuss the pros and cons of digital sculpting as well as how it compares to mesh modeling. Again, practice makes perfect with any craft, and we will also practice sculpting. Be sure to have your pen and tablet ready!

HOMEWORK: *Submit during the week of Jan 15-21*

  1. Do the Melvin sculpting exercise (post a link to your submission in a reply to this thread)
  2. Sculpt 3 primitives as demo'd in the week 3 Live Event: cube from a sphere, sphere from a cube, cone from a sphere (post screenshots)
  3. Sculpt 1-3 additional objects of your choice (post screenshots) 

WEEK 4: Next Steps & Homework Awards  (Jan 21-31)

There’s still much more to learn about modeling with Blender. Remember, it’s a craft. Time + practice is the only way to develop your modeling skills.

This week your challenge is to dive into the Modeling in Blender Learning Flow. While the class gives you a boost, the Flow takes you further into intermediate and advanced modeling techniques/workflows. Test the waters and see how far you can go this week.

During the Live Event we'll discuss the journey of becoming a skilled modeler as well as the potential for turning it into a career. Finally, I’m going to sift through homework submissions to commend my favorites and offer critiques!

HOMEWORK: Model and/or sculpt something challenging this week! Try tackling a character or a complex vehicle, etc. Show me what you've learned; what you're capable of!

Take a screenshot of your shaded model and post it in a reply to this thread *during the week of Jan 21-31*.

Start the new year strong together. See you in January! ❄️

  • help please or a hint, I am attempting the homework for this week and trying to do another fish. I have only made it to the profile, but the eye is way too small,  i formed the eye by

    1. beveled a vertex

    2. knife cut and then moved some vertex

    3. I need a bigger eye and way more geometry

    4. also a need a gill where I drew with the grease pencil, how would you do that, the ultimate goal (dream is to animate the fish, so the gill would need to move) 

    any help or hint would be appreciated.

    • Hi Tanya, I'd sneak a UV Sphere in where the eye should go. ;-) You could also select all of the faces that you circled with the grease pencil and delete them so the sphere has a place to fit.

       For the gill... we need to talk about "edge flow." You will want to redesign this part of the fish so that edges and faces fit that curve you drew with the grease pencil. It will feel like you are creating your own "Dot to dot" activity in 3D.

      I hope these hints were helpful.

    • crew

      Could you possible drop me a link to download your .blend file? Your fish WIP and questions would be great to demo in the stream tomorrow - If your cool with that ttanya53 

  • One tip that can be helpful for those who may be interested in doing character stuff eventually but still not quite sure how to put the shapes together...

    A couple of years ago, I was browsing the kids section at my local library and came across a book on clay modeling (think play dough) for kids.  Flipping through the book, I quickly saw how many of the shapes used in the book could easily be made using just the techniques that we learned this week and last week.  I took it home and did several of the projects digitally as a great exercise in putting the shapes together.

    This is, for the most part, how I put together a "play dough" style Star Wars Fan Art scene later that year and I used a bit more simplified version of it late last year in previsualizing a scene that I wanted to do in more detail.

    And at least for the modeling, this is exactly what I did to create the rustic bedroom scene I worked on last summer.

    Don't be intimidated by a large scene.  The key to doing a "big" scene is simply to break it down and realize that to make a large scene, all you need to do is put a bunch of "little" projects together.  Take it one piece at a time, and you can do very detailed, complicated scenes, just with what you've learned so far.

  • For anyone interested, that clay modeling book I found was part of a series, Modeling Clay by Bernadette Cuxart. There are 3 that I know of, Animals, Fantasy Characters, and Spooky.

  • (And this is also a great example of how study in one form can inspire and help you in another ;) )

  • I see from the description for Week 3 Digital sculpting that I must have a pen and tablet. I have never done any digital sculpting and is totally new to this concept. Is it too difficult to use a mouse for this? I am considering buying a tablet for use with blender, is the Wacom Intuos 3D an appropriate choice for a beginner? Other suggestions?

    • I think that one would be fine. Just about any Wacom tablet would be a good starter one.

      As for needing it.. it's not absolutely, 100% necessary, but it is HIGHLY recommended, because it is far easier and more natural than trying to do the same thing with a mouse, though if all you have is a mouse, it can still be done.

    • crew

      Like Grady said, anything from Wacom is a good option. Alternatively I like Huion as less expensive option while still being good quality. This one is only $30!

      Having a tablet for sculpting makes sculpting much more practical. While a mouse can be used, it's far from ideal. I think of it like a hand saw VS a table saw. Technically I could rip-cut straight boards with a hand saw, but it's incomparably better to rip-cut straight boards with a circular saw.

      If you're unsure about your capacity for sculpting, maybe wait for next week to watch the courses and live event, try sculpting with your mouse, then decide whether or not to get one. If you end up enjoying sculpting, you're going to want a tablet.

    • Somehow I always imagined that such Wacom tablet has some own operation system, the Blender needs to be installed there and like that doing the sculpting.

      But thinking into that presumably it works like this:

      - start Blender on the computer
      - plug-in the Wacom through USB to the computer
      - use the mouse as always, but as an additional input tool you can draw with a pen, also at anytime interacting with the mouse

      Briefly so it works around like that?

  • Thank you for the nice feedbacks.
    flies? hmm--at our pond there are also dragonflies
    do frogs catch dragonflys? now i have a new  challenge for the future:

    find out-modeling-animate this littele scene-maybe. hopefully ;)  


    A little question:
    I try to handle the forums software.How can I answer directly to a member post?
    I see, that there a responses assigned to the post and answers that are
    located directly  under the post.  That is very clear but I can not figure out how
    to do it. Sorry, for this but I did not find an answer on the help page.

  • This is my week two submission.  Attached is the wireframe.  

  • This is my week two submission.  Attached is the shaded version.  

  • This is my week two submission.  Attached is the rendered version.  

  • This is my week two submission.  Attached is the rendered version.  

  • I was wondering if there is a simple way of extruding a face from an existing model along a curve? I know I can Ctrl+click to 'jump' the extrusion along, but I'm looking for something with more control along the length of the curve, as well as ease in editing the curve (and hence the extrusion) after it has been created.

    • Not sure that you can snap an extruded face from one object onto another, but perhaps there are other ways to achieve a look you want. What are you trying to do?

    • crew

      That's what I'm thinking too, Grady. mathias67 Can you post an image of the object you're trying to create? Knowing more of the context should help us offer tips for creating the shape.

    • Thank you both for responding. Due to technical problems on my end it took me a while to find this question again. (For some reason FireFox doesn't give access to the reply box and Explorer takes three to five minutes to refresh each time I move to a different page on this post.)

      OK, here is an example image. Suppose for each of the top faces of this cube I wanted to then extrude them out like the tentacles of a squid, gracefully waving in the air or moving to grasp something.  If I do the 'click-by-click' method it would become an editing nightmare, but if each face were extruded along a path it would just mean editing the path.

  • BC1-1801 Week 2 Homework Submission (Part 1/3)

    If you've never done an exercise like this, this is a fun one to do... If you look in the upper right in the outliner, you can see this scene only has 1 object added to the default scene -- a Curly Curve. (I'll get to that in a second.) Everything else is all modifiers.  I share this one as a demonstration of just playing around and experimenting to get a feel for how these modifiers work.  With a little coloring and texturing of the object and background, and you have an interesting abstract that could be used as a desktop background.  Pieces like this are great ways to practice color theory, composition --all the technical aspects that are useful to understand when creating a scene -- and in a way that is non-threatening because it started off as just a piece to play around with.

    Best of all, these don't have to take long at all.  When I do one like this, from start to finish (except maybe rendering time) usually only takes me an hour, maybe two, to create, texture, compose, and prep for rendering.

    Now, as for that CurlyCurve... Blender has a number of mesh and curve objects that aren't turned on by default.  In the User Preferences under Add Ons, in both the Add Curves and Add Mesh categories, there's one that says "Extra Objects". These have a number of useful meshes and curves with everything to bolts, to shapes, and more.  In the most recent update to Blender, 2.79, one of the curves added is the Curly Curves, which is a collection of the curly flourishes used as decorations on a lot of things, such as mirrors, chairs, walls... These flourishes are found as decorative elements in so many places.

    So feel free to experiment and explore! You never know what you'll find that is useful or interesting -- or that just might come in handy on a project down the road.

    (The idea for doing something interesting came from Michael Pan, who, several years ago, did several of these in a month.  He used particles and probably a few other tricks beyond the scope of a beginner class, but the idea here is to experiment with what you know to see what you can do.  To see some of his, check out )

  • crew

    After the stream yesterday, I got to thinking about our recordings and the fact that they completely lose the context of the chat. Unfortunately I can forget to read every question I answer or I'll make a passing comment based on another passing comment I see..And I wonder if people watching the recorded stream get lost by that lack of context.

    So I'm going to try a stream overlay next week that incorporates the chat into the stream like this:

    The PRO's being:

    1.  Video will maintain direct chat context
    2. My face is no longer covering parts of the Blender UI
    3. Looks more legit overall maybe?

    The CONs: 

    1. During broadcast, the stream will be duplicated (website UI + video) and delayed. While that's redundant on one hand, on the other it may be helpful to see exactly what I'm looking at in the chat.

    Any thoughts about testing this format next week?

    • I think it is a great idea.

    • It sounds reasonable with those PRO's so surely it should be tried. 

      Let's see, although the performance issues of the stream that sometimes it was broken and needed the refreshing of the browser, that is also a key factor. With that would like to give the feedback too, that at the week1 stream I had 3 breaks, while at week2 did not have any at all. (watching from Europe)

    • Maybe it's because I spend quite a bit of time on Twitch, but I've almost become blind to these on a live stream, instead paying attention to the chat window (though it can be a good way to judge lag).  But as someone who misses live streams because of taking a nap and/or just forgetting about them, I like having the chat in the stream to provide some of that extra context that's missing if you're not watching live.

    • crew

      I wonder why the first stream broke up for you 3 times csehz. Hearing that makes me uncomfortable because, was it on my end? Was it my computer? My internet connection? An OBS issue? A ustream issue? A European internet issue? Etc. Realizing the many points where something can go wrong gets me anxious lol. I'm glad to hear you didn't experience any drops yesterday.

      Rest assured that I'm on a top-of-the-line computer, high quality internet, and we're paying for Ustream as a professional service. So in theory, we shouldn't be dropping at all, aside from extreme circumstances.

      gradyp Twitch (and maybe youtube live?) has the ideal situation where the chat remains in-context with the stream recording. Not sure if we can develop that quality of a system, but to capture it in the video seems like a decent solution till/if then. Thanks for the reply!

    • I'm down with anything you want to try that you feel will improve the learning experience. I love that you guys are constantly thinking of possible changes that would enhance what you're doing already. Rock on! 

  • BC1-1801 Week 2 Homework Submission

    Anthony Huerta's Week 2 Homework Submission.

    -Items are just some random clutter on my desk that I thought would be fun to model.

    -Modifiers used: Mirror, Screw, Solidify, Subdivision Surface

    Oops ya, the colors are covering the faces a bit huh. I'm pretty sure I filled the ngons using the "Grid Fill" tool. Here's a zoom in and highlight of those two obscure parts of the picture.

  • BC1-1801 Week 2 Homework Submission

    I am just a beginner, this is only the second mesh I have ever done, so there are still problems in numerous areas, but this is all I have time for now.  I am still amazed that a cube turned into this.  Hope to learn enough to have an improved version of it swim, I would appreciate any comments or help. Thanks.

    • crew

      ttanya53 Your fish, NOOO! I meant to work on that during the stream yesterday. Had the file downloaded, ready to go. I apologize for forgetting.

      But thankfully, you've seemed to progress nicely despite getting no help from me. Frankly with this kind of organic object, you've picked a difficult mesh modeling task. And you've hinted at precisely why:

      "I am still amazed that a cube turned into this."

      It's not easy to make a cube transform into a fish! So kudos for challenging yourself that way. As for giving an actual grade, I'm torn. There's enough mesh issues to warrant a B but the effort warrants an A+ for sure. Either way you should be encouraged. This is way better than the second model I made when starting out!

    • Tanya this fish is very good from a beginner and you did from a cube, hat off really and with such steps soon you will improve it further.

    • This is a great effort Tanya! We only get better if we keep reaching... just ... enough. 

    • Awesome.

  • Hi!, i could't really make it to the first class but here's what i made for the 2nd one. I had already use blender a little, say 3-6 months.

    • crew

      Welcome to week 2 zzarlur! While we missed you in week 1, it seems like maybe you didn't really need to learn what was taught that week :)

      Excellent "pirate-y" mesh models you have here! The lantern is a perfect choice for modeling. It covers a lot of the same concepts that a coffee cup has but also with some extra details. The knife looks good - even with a lattice deform modifier on the handle. Chest is solid too. Good work.

      I gotta give you an A+ since the models are all good and you went the extra mile with shaders, textures, and lighting. It looks like some of the wireframe isn't displaying. To remedy that you can enable "draw all edges" in object properties. Kinda silly that it doesn't do that by default imo..

    • I like that you went with something more exciting than everyday objects like a book . It looks even better with the textures and lighting.

    • I like the theme and color palette. Make me think of the captains quarters in the bottom of a pirate ship. Nice clean and smooth models. 

    • Lantern, chest, and knife are all great. Nice touch on the lighting from the lantern!

    • Arrrrrr! Blimey Leonardo, those are might fine object y've modeled - to be sure.

  • Choyce7 - Third Object for Week 2 - Wireframe


  • BC1-1801 Week 2 Homework Submission

    My first non-primitive objects without using a tutorial since learning blender! It's been about 2-3 months and I felt accomplished. Zelda inspired.

    Modifiers used: Mirror, SubSurf, Boolean, Solidify, UV Project (I really wanted to fill the shield face. It felt boring without it.)

  • BC1-1801 Week 2 Homework Submission

    Fruit made for the r/blender "Nature" competition the day before the LiveStream, and seeing as it fits the criteria I figured I'd re-sub. 

    All fruit uses 1-2 mirror modifiers, Subsurfs, and are Shaded Smooth
    Kiwi/Strawberry both have array modifiers for seeds
    Lots of proportional editing to give shapes

    Colors/shading done with Principled BSDF and lighting done with world lighting and filmic set to Med-High Contrast.

  • I have a couple basic questions.

    1. In sculpting you don't care about normals, poly shape or count, but are trying to get the best looking model. Is this true?

    2. Reptology then makes the mesh and cares about poly shape and normals, is this right?

    3. What is the rough cut off for a low poly mesh?

    4. What is used in a low poly mesh for the holding edge?


    • crew
      1. Essentially yes. You only have to worry about polycount in the sense of avoiding way too many polygons. Blender sculptors in general need to stay below the several-million polygon amounts in order to avoid lag (computer slowing down). But it's not hard to stay below that amount, in which case there's little-to-no worrying about the polycount.

        But the joy of sculpting is you can 95% focus on just the shape of the model rather than the structure of the mesh.

      2. Exactly. Retopology is 100% about mesh structure since you get the shape for free from the sculpture. I find that my models are much higher quality both in form and structure when I sculpt + retopo, especially for organic shapes (human characters, creatures, etc)

      3. There's not a clear answer for this since it widely varies depending on the platform. For example, a mobile game will require lower poly counts for models compared to a console/PC game. To give you a number though, I landed on 20K polygons for the robot character in our first-person-shooter we're making. It's kind of a mid-range polycount between mobile and console.

      4. There is no holding edges in low-poly models since it doesn't use a subsurf modifier. However for low-poly models, it's common to set certain edges to appear "hard" while others appear smooth. No holding edges involved, just adjusting normals for effect. I go over all this in great detail in the robot modeling course.
    • Almost... Normals are still important in sculpting. Self collisions can cause problems, especially if you ever decide to 3D print the object.  On the other hand, collisions with other objects are less important, particularly if you plan to retopologize.  As for shape, you want it to be accurate to the form you are trying to sculpt, but more of an artistic perspective. And poly count -- as long as your computer can handle the amount, you're okay.  Though if it does start to drag, a  little remeshing can help reduce the poly count while keeping the form.

      Retopoly helps give an even mesh that can withstand deformations and reduce poly count.

      As for a cut off for low poly... a lot of that depends on what is being modeled and what the purpose of that object is as well as what system you are targeting for low poly.  A book on the shelf in the background isn't going to need to be anywhere as high poly as the main character in a close up.  And something being modeled for a desktop computer could possibly go higher poly than for say an old hand held.

      On the holding edges, you'd use a loop cut in some way, similar to what Kent showed in the live stream this week or Jonathan Williamson did in the Loop Cut and Slide video.  Though that's not the only way to hold an edge  What I mean is sometimes, you want the edge to fade out. so you can start off with the edges far apart and just select which ones you want to move closer together to sharpen an edge.

      Hope this helps, Tonya!