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! ❄️

  • BC1-1801 Week 2 Homework Submission

    I call this "Tire, Rim, Coffee Cup #7." I know, breaking apart the tire is soooo derivative... Didn't get wrapped up in realism so much as getting comfortable with working with the tools again. Learning a lot! One thing that was reeeaaally difficult for me this week was to stay on task and concentrate on working within (maybe a little beyond) my bounds. Such incredible work out of so many attendees, it's easy to get overwhelmed and attempt something that would just lead to frustration, doom, broken vertices, and oh yeah, no submission at this point. Just buckled down, redid the coffee cup project from the demo then focused on doing the tire. Didn't really play around with the lattice much but got a lot of use out of the Array, curve, subdivision surf modifiers. Used both crease values and holding edges. Was interesting to note that there were a few instances when using crease instead of a holding edge led to a weird pinch in the mesh. When I would reset the problem edge to 0.0 crease and use a holding edge the issue would generally clear up. Thanks for the tip on using this for the exercise submission to Kent. Wagon ho!

    • crew

      Splendid submission ljsstudio! You absolutely nailed the tire exercise along with the coffee cup. Even added the rim for good measure. All your topology is clean and uniform. In other words: You crushed it this week: easy A 👊 

      Didn't get wrapped up in realism so much as getting comfortable with working with the tools again

      You made the right choice. Good job focusing on getting comfy with the tools. Obsessing over realism can come later 🤓

      Thanks for submitting and for sharing about your experience this week!

  • BC1-1801 Week 2 Homework Submission

    I have to say I do love seeing what everyone else has come up with. It's really inspiring to see what can be done just with the "beginner" tools. It motivates me to try to push myself a bit further than I otherwise might.

    I didn't get to spend as much time as I wanted working on the homework this week due to some personal issues, but I'm submitting what I have.

    I learned quite a lot from this weeks homework, ran into quite a few problems, made a lot of mistakes but I'm fairly happy with these two objects given how little time I've had to work on them this week.
    After the stream on Tuesday I immediately ran to the kitchen to find the most interesting mug I could. This mug based on an idea from Alice in Wonderland is what I came back with.
    However I wanted to push myself a bit further with some modifiers which I'm much less comfortable with. After some brainstorming I eventually settled on a park bench. Making the planks with a mirror modifier then having them follow a path. It took quite some time to get it do what I wanted, but I think it came out okay in the end.
    I did want to create a lamppost but time has been against me. Hopefully next week time will be more generous! 

  • "BC1-1801 Week 2 Homework Submission"

    This is my 2nd week homework. I guess there's no much to say of this other than I now feel a bit less shy of mesh modeling and modifiers.

    Haven't had much time to browse this thread since past week (at the time I'm writing)  but from what I saw I feel there's so much skill and dedication on this class as seen from your homework and insightful comments. Awesome work guys!

  • BC1-1801 Week 2 Homework Submission

    Hasn't been a good week for me (blah blah blah whine whine whine). Well... flu kept me off the laptop for a couple days and then 6 hours (YES SIX!!) wasted trying to figure out how on God's green earth to manipulate a bezier curve to use an array modifier on. Unfortunately, the resulting submission is nowhere near the imaginative and detailed models that I've seen posted so far this week. I've gone through my office and picked out things that I've always been wanting to model and for whatever reason haven't. I tried to tell a story from those few items, so here goes...

    This table is comprised of 4 parts: top; runners (which you can't see); table supports; and a crossmember. I used a "mirror" on the top and legs (supports). Found out the hard way on the legs that you don't work from a smaller piece and try to grow to a larger piece. I was coming up with faces that didn't work a play well with me. Better part of a day screwing around with this, but it came out well. The table top is meant to come apart to accept leaves.

    The chair back support is what cost me dearly in timw trying to manipulate a bezier curve. If anyone has any pointers, I'm all ears I wound up using a bezier circle and appied the modifiers and in edit mode cut the damn thing in half and manipulated what was left to form the back. There are two kinks that I'm not happy with. The smaller back posts are all inset into holes I made in the seat (thank you shrinkwrap modifier). Most of the chair was constructed in mirror mode. Again separate parts for the seat, back legs and supports.

    The candle, holder, and flame are all separate objects. I realized afterward that the lattice modifier would have been extremely helpful in modifying each candle (but I was too late - will practice that later). For lighting in the scene I placed point lights in each candle flame.

    Dice bag is just a sphere that I played with (moocho proportional editing). And with that, I give you...

    • Pretty cool Scott! Makes me want to sit down and play right now! Nice light on the candles.

    • Beautiful work!  I like the chair design, it reminds me of the chairs my mother used to have when I was a kid.

    • crew

      Ugh the flu claimed my wife this weekend. Sorry to hear you had the same this week, Scott. Thanks for powering through and submitting as well as still being so active in the thread 🙇🏻

      The table looks great. Not much to say - just a thumbs up!

      The chair looks like it gave you some trouble indeed. I hope this crit doesn't come across like kicking you when you're down, but the wireframe appears overly dense for what the shape is. Usually when the base mesh is that dense, it makes the modelers job much harder. Which is the impression I get from the images.

      Bummer to hear you had so much trouble with the curve modifier. I'm not really sure how you were using the curve to accomplish the back spokes... 🤔 Maybe drop a link to your .blend and I'll take a look?

      The candle and gem pouch look good though they too are on the high-poly-count side. Did you apply a subsurf?

      PLEASE don't be discouraged with a B grade. You clearly know your way around the modeling tools. Though I feel there's some room for improvement - perhaps just a symptom of your less-than-ideal week - you still accomplished the assignment!

  • BC1-1801 Week 2 Homework Submission

    Hi everyone, wow... you guys rock! really great work.

    i have small work for submission and some questions.

    The modifiers i have used were Subsurf, Bevel, Curve, Array.

    and after applying Array, Curve and Subsurf. mod. i got "bad geometry" :


    how is better to handle with this mistakes?

    and second questions, when i delete faces how to leave on general face straight form of rectangles?

    • Only thing I can think of off the top of my head, in the "array modifier" did you have the "Merge" checkbox activated? That might solve it, not sure.

    • crew

      alexsr Thanks for the submission. Trying to figure out what the object is..a small compost canister? Anyhoo, it's a good shape but you could accomplish this shape with significantly less geometry. With that in mind, it easily accomplishes the assignment with a B 👌

      As for the split along the seam, adding a holding edge to the bottom would be a solution, like this:

      And here's how I would go about generating a cross-hair-based circular mesh (as opposed to a triangle fan circular mesh):

    • also something to perhaps experiment with is the subsurf modifier's position in the modifiers stack...

      it generally works better being at the bottom of the pile than at the top...

  • BC1-1801 Week 2 

    Here is the first of two models I did for this exercise:

  • Weapons. Weapons. Weapons.

    From a series I've read many times over 30 years. Guesses?

  • BC1-1801 Week 2

    And the second model I made for this exercise:

    For full disclosure I modeled the fingers based upon Angela Guenette's Blenderella tutorial, so I didn't figure that part out myself.  The phone took several tries, and I finally made it with multiple parts, rather than cut a Boolean out of main unit that holds the glass as that created a lot of non-quad geometry that doesn't play well with the subsurface modifier.

    • Creepy. I think I'll use speakphone from now on. lol

    • The smartphone vortex! Creeeepy pffsfs is right! Tight fit for the rest of the bod. lol

    • crew

      This is a piece of ART. 

      • Accomplishes the assignment ✅
      • Even, minimal topology ✅
      • Expressing a visual idea to generate thought ✅
      That means it's an for sure 👏 One minor crit is that since your base mesh is so minimal (a good thing) I recommend bumping up your subsurf modifier to 3 or 4 levels for rendering. It looks like it's at 2 levels and I can see some faceting.
    • Again, thank you.

      ->Kent:  I had it at three, but I'll push it up a few for a cleaner render.  I hope to take some courses in the future for modeling and shading photo-realistic characters.  I appreciate feedback, both positive and critical as it helps me move forward.

      Because of my browser issues today was the fist day I was able to go back and really go through this thread and look at all the work people have submitted and I have to say I'm really impressed with what everyone's been doing. Just fantastic work.

  • BC1-1801 Week 2 Homework Submission

    Unfortunately I didn't have the time I would have like to put towards homework this week but I did watched the live stream again and follow along and complete the wheel and mug model.  I also watch the recommended videos and completed the basic shapes assignment but struggled with the wheel when trying to add the rim and tread on my own. Which means I will have to spend more time in this area when I can.  So here's the stream examples I completed. The basic shapes from the first recommend videos.

    Lastly, I don't know how this happened but when I started the wheel exercise and used the array modifier, for some reason my original object kept appearing at the bottom of the array making it a little tricky to work with.  Example below.

    • Looks like you've been accomplishing all sorts of exercises. lol. And all look very nice. The mug appears to have a 'lattice modifier' effect, no?

    • crew

      Stupendous submission jjmac05. Couldn't be a better execution of the assignment/exercise. I like the personality of the coffee cup: Grade A work 👍

      I experienced similar awkwardness regarding the base mesh placement VS modifier result of the tire. As far as I could tell, it was due to the required collaboration of object origins (basemesh & circle). With that as a requirement, I'm not sure we could setup the basemesh to be intuitively placed along the wheel..unfortunately.

      If anyone else has a suggestion, I'm all ears.

    • Great work getting these posted. I like the mug!

    • Thanks for the replies and feedback.  @ScottMcClellan, I didn't use a lattice modifier, I still have a ton of work to do with modifiers.  

  • BC1-1801 Week 2 Homework Submission Pt 2

    One of the things that I struggled with this week was deciding what to work on... That fit within the lessons of this week.  Here, I went with a shield, something that I needed for one of my projects I'm working on anyway.  This one wasn't too hard, and may go in and add a rim going around the shield, but this is at least the basics of it.  For the rivets on the back, I didn't do a lot of modeling because they're going to be tiny and hidden, and rarely seen up close anyway, so they're just relatively basic shapes, but it was a detail that at least needed to be present.  the straps and the shield design itself were essentially created from a cube using the techniques from this week.

  • BC1-1801 Week 2 Homework Submission Pt 3

    I put this table separate from the other because this one I felt I wanted to give a little more explanation on.  I didn't want to do a basic table, so part of the challenge was finding something worthy of what I know I can do, but at the same time wasn't one I'd already modeled before.

    One thing I often hear Kent talk about (and am surprised he hasn't said anything about this time around) is the importance of references.  For this one, I searched a number of varieties of tables until I found one I liked.  Then, I used one of my handiest 3D modeling tools -- a tape measure (which measures both imperial and metric).  Since I didn't have the dimensions on the one I wanted to model, I took measurements from one I have (and have actually used as reference on a previous project) to get an idea of how big I should make it. 

    Here's where another great tip comes from, particularly if you're doing a room.  Whenever possible, model to scale!  In the Properties Panel on the Scene tab (The third one that looks like it has 3 objects on it, between the one that looks like two sheets of paper and the world one), you can set the units to Blender units, Metric Units, or Imperial.  What's handy is if you have it set to either Metric or Imperial, you can enter in the measurement in ANY metric or imperial unit, and if it's not in the base unit you are using, it will convert it for you!  I typically like to model in metric (for conversion reasons), but the important thing is that you have some kind of units set.

    That's where the wireframe box comes in. That is what gave me the size for the table, so I knew how big to make it.  For the rest, I took educated guesses on sizes, but I would have measured something similar. For example, The top part of the table looked like a reasonably similar thickness of my desk, so used a measurement of the thickness of my desk and figured the main pieces of the rest were based off of a 4in x 4in, a 1in x 2in, and a 1in x 4 in piece of wood, and made the lengths of them fit the spaces I needed filled.

    The leg placements were easy with a mirror modifier in X and Y using the table top as the mirror object. Same with the side pieces and braces, but just on one of those two axis. To get the detail on the long panel, I used an array and a mirror. (And beveling and insets to get the details).

    As for the leg shape, that was the most interesting to figure out (other than the detailing of the array), and probably the least easy to see what I did.  For the legs, I started with a 12 vert, 2" radius cylinder. (I knew I was going to want 4 corners with 2 holding edges, so three at each corner x 4 corners = 12, and for a 4x4, 2xRadius = 4, so I needed a 2 in radius to get a 4" diameter).  Next, I marked off a 4" section from the bottom (because it looked to be about the same length for that part as the width of the leg) and a 6" section from the top (because it looked a little longer).  Then, I just added loop cuts and scaling at various points to get the shape of the middle part with an occasional bevel to make some of the edges have a bit more room to work with at that point (and a little scaling on the Z here and there).  

    Once the design on the middle, round part was set, it was just a matter of taking an edge from the top and bottom part and sliding them over to the corner piece to form a more square shape, but keep the round of the middle part.  Only after doing all of that did I add in the holding edges for the square parts, but just on the tops and bottoms, not along the sides, since I'd already done that with the edge slide.

    All of this was done in pieces, rather than a single object, because sometimes (such as in this case), it's easier to figure out just what you need to do to model something taking cues from the real world because it would be made in pieces, and it can be easier to figure out the shapes of those pieces individually and combine them into the whole.

    And if you get nothing else from this, remember, Use references (both images and physical). Model to scale when possible. And play around.  Sometimes it take a bit to come up with the solution that works.

    • And in typing that explanation, I remembered that I'd forgotten one mirror modifier, which, because of the angle, you wouldn't have known it was missing :D But that has been fixed now.

    • Grady thanks just again detailing your workflow with tips, finding it very valuable 

    • Woah! Great breakdown of your process gradyp . A great way to keep a handle on scale. For the wagon project in my gallery, getting all the measurements, photos, and sketches I could, really helped with the work. Seems like a simple project but it can be overwhelming if you don't break it down and have data to hang your hat on.

    • crew

      The shield above looks good from this angle gradyp. A little simplistic, so I like your idea of adding a rim. Maybe some additional rivets on top of that rim. I'm curious what the front looks like! Also no wireframe 😞  but the shaded version seems clean enough.

      Love the table. Still no wireframe, ya punk! 😉  And wow, I can't believe I haven't mentioned the importance of reference. Maybe because it's more of an intermediate/advanced principle...thinking outloud here... As beginners, I think the focus should be on getting comfortable with tools and process. Thanks for bringing it up though! And for sharing about your workflow 🙇🏻‍♂️

      Oh yeah - I think I can give you the benefit of the doubt (sans wireframes) that this is A-quality work overall 👍

  • Kent, maybe you can help me...

    Does Blender has some similar possibilities in package design like Cinema 4D?

    • crew

      Wow that's a really cool tool! I know I could accomplish a similar setup with Blender using a flat, well-thought-out model and an armature. But to my knowledge, Blender doesn't have any kind of built-in tool like that. It seems like that's a specific feature designed to create product packaging in C4D.

      Curious to me that package design is in such high demand for C4d users to warrant this kind of modeling tool set. It's a very specific use case 🤔

  • One last one...

    In some ways, this one might appear to be closer to last weeks, but there's a number of things I did on this one that actually took advantage of things from this week's lessons. For example, the loincloth, the band around the helmet, and the wristbands all use modifiers for their thickness. And there's a bit of using a subsurf modifier, applying it, and extruding pieces from the result.  

    This is actually one of the characters from the clay modeling book I had mentioned previously. As you can see, most of the shapes are very simple, though a few take a little tweaking. 

    Everything I did in creating this character is pretty much how I did a previs for a scene idea I wanted to test (though I used a few more primitives within the shapes on that particular one).  I share this just to show that even characters are just taking what you've already learned and breaking them into small pieces. 

    Also, particularly for creatures, I think this can be just as effective way to create a basemesh... something that I believe is in this coming week's lessons... to use for sculpting, and can sometimes get you closer to the shape you want than using the skin modifier. 

    (This character is from the Modeling Clay: Fantasy Characters book, but done using "digital" clay.)

  • BC1-1801 Week 2 Homework Submission

    It is a little late, but here is my assignment for week two. I used the array and curve mod for the shield. I only used a mirror mod for the sword and sheath.

  • sorry but for this week I do not have that much time. Have watched the live stream. And have decided to send in some of my old works this week. This is a ship that I made for a theater performance. That is also made in real life.

  • Here's an interesting video with creative use of the modifiers on an icosphere to create interesting patterns. (Which goes along with last week's discussion.)

  • it is made with blender.

  • I watched the sculpting course and did melvin over the weekend since i didn't know how much free time i would have this week, but then the snow storm gave me the day off, and consequently, plenty of free time to jump right in today.  So here is the homework.  The question I have after doing it is how to know when a sculpt is done (or done enough).  Finding the balance between "it needs appeal" and "that can be fixed in retopo."  It's probably something that just comes with practice, but if anyone has any rules of thumb, I'd be happy to hear them.  Both Melvin and the frog are far from perfect, but I feel like if I were to take them to fully animation-ready characters, it may be a time sink to go much beyond this point before retopo.

  • I moddel in blender (I think that I am totally not good at all). Then I will divide the files into blocks with Rhino 3D and generate the G code. This then goes to a large CNC machine. Where everything is made in faom. The separate parts are then nicely made back together.