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! ❄️

  • Sorry I wasn't there yesterday during stream, but to Omar's question about videos of someone sculpting something cool...

    I can't think of a YouTuber off hand. But I do have several Twitch streamers I watch that usually do cool stuff, though they use ZBrush. The tools might be  a bit different, but the process is more or less the same (or can be modified with some thought).  The ones I can think of offhand are UnicornDev, Layna_Lazar & HazardousArts of, and MeowSparky are just a few of the ones I watch. Pixologic (the makers of ZBrush) has a channel as well that they rotate who they have on there. While some of the tools they use aren't in Blender, most of the core sculpting tools (grab, clay, smooth, crease, pinch, etc) are, and I get ideas of how to do things in Blender watching them.  There are some who do use Blender, but more the stuff like we were doing last week.  There's a lot more in the Creative channel... I'm just barely scratching the surface of what is in there, and if you're in the US, some of these might be late at night.  Sometimes, some of these might play games, but more often than not, they're doing creative.

    • crew

      Thanks for sharing those resources gradyp. What kind of teacher am I to not suggest

      dostovel Digging into my memory I did come up with some sculpting videos that inspired me in the past. This one was the first time I'd seen hard surface sculpting (before zbrush had a bunch of special tools) way back in 2009:

      And this one (along with several Roberto Roch's vids) changed the way I thought about sculpting with Blender and dynamic topology. His quick, gestural approach challenged me because I tend to be rigid and precise. With his approach it feels like the sculpture creates itself in a way, with Roberto kinda "discovering":

      Max Puliero is as pro as they come. His timelapses mesmerize me: 

      Kfir Merlaub also sculpts gesturally. But he's a master at presenting his sculptures with viewport lighting instead of rendering. It's inspiring to see his entire process from sculpt to presentation:

  • One thing to keep in mind, particularly in doing the first and last assignment, is not jumping to detail too quickly.  Several years ago, I did a personal challenge to sculpt something every day, but only for 15-30 minutes. This short time frame did 2 things for me. First, I'd gotten to where I wasn't using Blender in general as much as I wanted, and so 15-30 minutes was a "doable" amount of time to commit to working on something every day (ie overcoming the "I don't have time" objection).  More importantly, though, it forced me to work on the general forms of the sculpts, because while 15-30 minutes is plenty of time to get in at least the idea of a sculpt, it's not enough time to spend loads of time on any one detail.  Several of my favorite models that I use in testing different things, particularly materials, came from the exercises I did that month. 

    And I'm a big fan of experimentation (which shouldn't be a surprise if you remember what I said last week).  That month of sculpting gave me lots of opportunities to explore the different tools and features of sculpting that has made my sculpting that I've done since be so much better.

    Don't be afraid to try asymmetrical sculpting, either! While it is challenging, you can wind up with more dynamic and interesting sculpts.

    (I consider myself a little slow at sculpting... I see some do "speed sculpts" in an hour and get as much detail as it would take me hours of work to get to. Don't let that deter you... They've probably just had more practice!)

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

    This is just a first try of the primitive shapes.
    I havn't sculpt melvin yet.
    I don't know if i'm good enough or not (I know i need to practice more, but i love to sculpt ^^)

  • Kent, you mentioned in class yesterday (if I remember correctly) something about your workflow being to start sculpting with dynamic topology, then a retopo, then using a multirez modifier for detail. (Am I remembering that right?)

    My question is, do you have any tutorials that show that workflow?  Sculpting is really new to me but I can already see how this technique can get me to build characters and models relatively quickly compared with push-pull; so now I want to see how I can turn my sculpts into animation-ready models.

  • Kent, you mentioned pie menus in yesterdays stream. I was wondering what exactly are pie menus?

    • Hey Matt, they are bundled with Blender in the User Preferences/ Add-ons/ Pie Menu: UI Pie Menu Official

      Here is some info about them.

    • I use them a lot. It's basically a "quick" way to access various features.  For example, with just a press of the z key and a move to the upper right, you can go into rendered view mode or by pulling down with the mouse,  you can go to solid shading mode. Or after you press the Z key, you can wait and see which view mode you want to be in. Same thing with the tab key and switching between Edit, Sculpt, Object, etc.  There are others, but these are the two I use the most.

    • crew

      aaz93 In addition to Matthew and Grady's replies, here's a video that's a good introduction to pie menus:

  • Hi...

    Finally I watched recorded video to the last. Next, course videos.

    By the way, I have two questions.


    Kent encouraged using a pen-tablet.

    But, when I use my pen-tablet, I cannot use my mouse at the same time.

    So, I don't understand whether to use pen-tablet or to use mouse at that time.


    I noticed that I don't know about "User Preferences -> System" precisely.

    So probably I cannot do best settings for the graphics board.

    I searched name of my board and "blender", "System", "User Preferences" and etc..

    But I didn't find them.

    Where is the trustworthy information ?

    • 1.) As far as sculpting, typically, you want to use the tablet for most things. The only place where Kent recommends using a mouse (and I agree) is doing something like the grab because a lot of tablets read the lifting of the pen off the tablet and skew the result at the end. This isn't an issue with a mouse.

      BTW, when you say you can't use both at the same time, are you saying you can only have one plugged in or just can't hold both at the same time? Hopefully it's just the latter, in which case, you can set the pen down and reach over to the mouse. If it is the former, though, and they plug into USB, if you only have the one USB port available, you might look into getting a USB hub which will give you more slots.

      2.) If you're in 3D view, if you click on the box icon in the lower left, you can switch it between different window types. One of the options is User Preferences. Even easier is simply to press CTRL-ALT-U (I think that would be Command+Option+U on the Mac?) and it will pop up a window with the User Preferences in it.  It's got all sorts of options in there for controlling how Blender works.  It isn't necessary to change much there, except in certain cases, but can be a way to customize how you use Blender.

    • crew

      Spot on info from Grady.

      As for user preferences, on Mac the hotkey is (Command + ,) (Command + [comma]) or go to File > User Preferences.

      You're asking about graphics board. Do you have a reason to believe Blender's not recognizing your board?

  • Just a minor tip related to changing the detail size. Someone mentioned the shortcut is Shift + D. Once you press it, you can either slide the pen / mouse to find an approximate value, or you can input an exact number (on NumPad). Also works with the brush size and strength.

    I haven't found shortcuts for Detail Refine Method and Detail Type Method, though. Are there any, or can you set them up in Preferences?

  • Actually sculpting Melvin and going inside of the mesh, at the left leg there is some mesh which were somehow cumulated there. Is that an issue which should be removed? Presumably when the base was shaped by the skin modifier, that genereated it

    • It's not a tumor! I would say if it isn't creating any visual problems externally, it doesn't "need" to be fixed, though that may change if you continue to edit the area.

    • Sometimes I piece of the mesh gets inverted. It can be smoothed out, but it's a pain to work with.

    • Thanks, could I please ask a second one, actually having 186357 vertices which is evidently too lot of, what is the tactic to decrease the density of some areas?
      Subdivide collapse probably but so with the Inflate brush with slight strength and with big radius?

    • crew

      To John's point, if this inside the sculpt and not hurting the exterior appearance, there's no dire reason to fix it. But it can be fixed if need be.

      In short, I would retesselate that area with big polygons by touching the area with a very low-strength brush (like Inflate) and subdivide collapse as the method. The retesselation should get rid of the artifact. Once gone, you can go back to smaller polygons and polish up the area.

      If that didn't make sense, please link me to your .blend and I'll download it to demo the fix during next week's stream.

  • BC1-1801 Week 3 Homework Submission part 1 of 3.

    As much as I'd like to keep futzing with this and get the shapes better formed and the creases sharper, if I am to submit the primitives, Melvin (which I have half-finished at this point) and creation(s) of my own, I will call this finished for now.

    I work two jobs during the week so I have to steal what time I can afterward and cram all my creative time into the weekends, so I apologize in advance for submitting the bulk of my homework last-minute.

  • BC1-1801 Week 3 Homework Submission

    Anthony H Submission

    My Melvin's Sketchfab link

    Live Event Reconstruction

    Extra Submissions:

    "Loafy" Loafy's sketchfab link

    "Applo" Applo's sketchfab link


    I tried using a background reference for this last picture but no matter what I just kept getting further and further away from the original image. So I just said screw it and free-handed it. Sculpting is definately a skill that requires a-l-o-t of practice, but fun once you get into the groove of things.

  • BC1-1801 Week 3 Homework Submission

    01 Primitive-1

    I will try again if I have time...Melvin is waiting for me...

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

    My results from the shape exercise.

    One of my biggest problems with the Sculpting layout is that the visual reference of the brush you are using doesn't stay persistent.  To get around this, I've set up this window layout where the left panel is open just wide enough to capture the T panel.  I have that left panel divided into 2 so that the top part will always show the brush and I can use the lower one to browse between the options.  This way, I can always see which brush I'm using.  I try to use the hotkeys, but if I can't remember one, I still have easy access to find the one I want and can still see my settings so that I can change detail size, curve options, symmetry settings, and so on.  (I wish that the developers would make that box that displays the brush persistent so you can always see it, but until they do, this is a work around!)

  • BC1_1801_Week3-Homework Submission-1

    My first attempts with the pen were not very successful ;) and I doubt that I could solve these homework in less than a week.Sculpting and working with a pen is relatively new to me.

    The live event helped a lot to motivate me and not to give up. In general, the stream was very well prepared , straight ahead and packed with lots of information and very useful for me.

    Especially the primitive shape exercises are extremly helpful to get a feeling for sculpting and working with pen. So I tried again with new courage and forced myself to use the pen.

    Now I'm glad to have used my old Wacom Touch & Pen and would like to do some more sculpts;)

    It´s definetly needs a lot of practice.

  • BC1_1801_Week3-Homework Submission-2

    It was a very hard job but I have finnished Melvin.

    He is not perfect and there are too much polygons (app.180k) but near the end I was afraid to destroy the whole work doing only one touch too much ;)

    So-this is my first sculpt character

    Link Melvin

    • Looks great! 

    • crew

      Pretty good Melvin mmonaloren! Shapes are strong and smooth, defined, not mushy. A couple notes: 

      • The connection crease of the legs to the torso seems to wrap around the whole leg. It makes it look like the leg is a separate object rather than part of the same flesh.
      • The spine's curvature is opposite of what feels natural for a jump to me. Where the middle of the spine is pushed backward. It would feel like a more nature jump if the middle of the spine was pushed forward, puffing out the chest.

      Did you submit this to the exercise? You'll get XP if you do (and pass, which you will).

    • Thank you very much for the comment kkent

      Honestly, I did not manage the spine;) so I had left it - and then forgot to tweak it

      I did not notice the leg - thanks for the hint

      I have to learn some anatomy skills.  even for comic characters.

      I  try  to submit, got  an error and try agin. Now it is set  twice I think

  • BC1_1801_Week3-Homework Submission-2b

    But i was wondering why Melvin is looking so stressed. Not really relaxed.

    I found the answer -he needs a sister. Look at Melvina :)

    Link Melvina

  • I tried to sculpt various things. However most of them are very difficult and failed.

    The latest my failed piece is "A shantak-bird (Cthulhu Mythology)".

    Uh... :(

    But now, I start to sculpt Melvin with course videos.

    • As long as you're learning something, it's a total success.  You will want to have this image to look back on a year or two hence. Good luck with Melvin!

    • It's important to do what you think is cool and inspiring but too often those things are way too complicated when just learning to use the program. You should  re-sculpt all of those you called fails after Melvin and it will be whole different, keep going

    • Want to know a secret? This ISN'T a failed piece!  This is actually a great base and a good start. Just refine with detail one step at a time.  Most of the larger forms are actually pretty good. Some areas are a little thin, but that can be fixed or retessalated.  I think if you keep working on it, it can be a really good piece!

    • crew

      Good words from pprocyonlotor, swikni, and gradyp. I will echo that this is not a failure. I can sense the frustration in your text, but do not dismay! It's clear that you're learning. Like Jere suggests, this mythological bird creature might be a little complex for learning to sculpt. But hats off to you for going after it 💪

  • BC1-1801 Week 3 Homework Submission - Part1 Primitives

    During the exercise I was just considering, how to scuplt also a Torus? 

    The version what thought out by myself that is taking the sphere and in Object mode adding beside a Cylinder and by the Boolean modifier substracting a hole in the middle, then going to Scuplt mode and forming the mesh. 

    From the point of view of the mesh quality can be that correct approach? Or the Boolean might creates somewhere bad geometry, although I did not perceive, applied the Dyntopo during the process so presumably it does not matter how the base mesh was created

  • BC1-1801 Week 3 Homework Submission

    I only got one model made along with the primitives and I'm not sure if it is even fully finished. I'm forced to work on laptop next week and I've only tried texture painting in Blender with it and that worked fine, but I'm not sure how it runs modeling overall. I'll be with you in the next weeks lesson of course (looking forward to it very much) but what that piece of junk of mine is able will be seen when I try to make the next homework.

    Got up early this morning to make hair for my model but now the pen has been packed and it's time for me to catch the train.

    Here's my Melvin I made few weeks back

    Sketchfab link for the clown

  • BC1-1801 Week 3 Homework Submission

  • BC1-1801 Week 3 Homework Submission


    Thanks, John and jere !

    I, I did it. It's my first Melvin. But my right hand needs rest... 

    Melvin... - CG Cookie

    # By the way, here we can't insert Sketchfab view ?

    • crew

      Congrats on finishing the homework this week and on your first Melvin! Melvin looks pretty good, recognizable and smooth. But it's suffering a bit from single-angle-favor. As in it looks good from the front but doesn't look so good from other angles.

      It seems clear to me that you worked hard this week. Overall, deserving of an A in my book 👍

    • crew

      Oh and RE: embedding sketchfab models - In the reply textbox options at the top, all the way on the right is the </> button. Click that to open code view where you can paste an embed code (from Sketchfab)