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 3 Homework Submission - Part2 Melvin

    There are some issues I know, but again learnt a lot, from 180k polygons went down to 55k, probably that also has some side effects :-)


    • crew

      Learning a lot is the victory! And your Melvin is good. Not much wrong with it aside from having room for shapes to be polished a little more. Did you submit this to the exercise?

    • Kent thanks, yes submitted Melvin and passed :D

      Regarding the polishing of the model I am somehow afraid of that, because my shapes are getting smaller by that. Is that common mistake at beginner sculpters and what might doing wrong?

  • BC1-1801 Week 3 Homework Submission

    I've been following the course since lesson 2, but this my first homework submission for the class. The class has been great so far. It is a really good addition to normal courses and very cool to see what other people are submitting. Hope to be able to attend the next session live.

    I already did the Melvin sculpt a while back (link). It took me a whole day back then, so I chose to skip it this time and go straight to part 3, instead of doing the same sculpt twice.

    Any guidelines on how to sculpt touching surfaces? I had some trouble sculpting the hands for the platypus. It feels a bit weird leaving the palms of the hand connected to the body even though it is not visible.  Or should I change my mindset while sculpting and not care about topology at all?

    Edit: Sketchfab link for platypus

    • Great job!

      You know, it can be helpful to redo projects occasionally. In doing it again, you usually do it faster. I've even heard of an exercise where for say a week, each day you set a timer and do the same sculpt in the same length of time. Each time, you will get further in the sculpt and it will get better and better.  I bet if you were to do Melvin again, it wouldn't take you a day!

    • The platypus is awesome!

    • Love the Platypus!

    • crew

      Welcome to the class, ssnurker! Really good sculpts overall. Your shapes are strong and fairly polished. There's some mushiness/bumpiness, but it's a bit of a nitpick for me to say that. A-quality work for sure.

      Thanks for the positive feedback on the class! I'm loving this format. Just finished my outline for a new class in March. Hopefully see you in the stream on Tuesday.

  • I know I'm a week behind. Family was sick all week and didn't get to work on anything. Not expecting a grade or anything, but wanted to post anyway, for maybe some feedback. Playing catchup now and working on sculpting project. Thanks and sorry for the late addition.


    • Welcome in the class Cliff, the most important is the learning not the grades, it is good that you posted.

      I like very much in your model that you have this great shape from such a low poly structure

    • Thanks for sharing! Nice clean work!

    • crew

      Welcome to the class and splendid teapot! I also love the yellow-paint version in your gallery 👌The spout is a little squarish. Maybe that's the design. I expected a clean tubular shape. Wireframe is clean, even, and optimal though. A-quality submission.

    • General question, I never used a stylus until Tuesday, anyway the jump from the geometric shapes to melvin  is too big for me.  What are some good things to practice on and am I best off drawing something and then creating a basic mesh and then sculpting.  For practicing meshes (week 2) I am just looking for objects around my work area and using them.  This has made it easier for me to see the geometric shapes that make up the solid objects and made the mesh modeling easier.  Any advice would be appreciated.

  • BC1-1801 Week 3 Homework Submission

    I am completely new to both sculpting and pen and tablet, so this was challenging.

    • crew

      First time with both? Hard time? I don't get that impression from looking at these sculpts. You seem like a patient sculptor given the level of polish here. I see a bright pen-and-tablet + sculpting future for you. Easily grade-A 👌

  • BC1-1801 Week 3 Homework Submission - Part3 3 objects

    Hard to say what is that and from where the shine is coming if the sun is there :D

  • BC1-1801 Week 3 Homework Submission

    This week I did in order: 3 Shapes, my own project, and then the Melvin tutorial (Because of time and viewing constraints). I wish I started with the Melvin tutorial because it taught me a lot of things that could of bettered my project. I also used a tablet on the Melvin project, but didn't on the other two images. The tablet is amazing and I will keep using it. It made polishing a world better. 

    I definitely felt uncomfortable with sculpting and want to do more passes on my own idea. It feels really un-polished and not finished for me.

    I will not be around for the last live stream, but excited to see the VOD and congratulate everyone else who stuck through the course. A lot of awesome work and improvement has been made on everyone's work.


    Original art by Morgan Goodman

  • BC1-1801 Week 3 Homework Submission:

    The three sculpted shapes.

    Three objects: Mushroom, Candle, and Carved Pumpkin.

    And..... Melvin. This was loads of fun!

  • BC1-1801 Week 3 Homework Submission:

    Sorry, I didn't have enough time this week to do all the homework...

    Melvin in Scketchfab.

    • crew

      So far you take the "Most Polished" award this week! All your creases and edges are really crisp and surfaces super smooth. That's a level of patience that newer sculptors don't usually have right away.

      You've earned an A for quality but a B for completeness.

  • In light of motsu 's comment on feeling like his sculpt is a failure, I want to share an experience I had about 3 years ago.

    Right after Leonard Nimoy passed away almost 3 years ago, I decided that I wanted to do a tribute sculpt. I wasn't aiming for a completely "realistic" version, but was also wanting to practice caricature.  I found several references that worked from.

    After just a few days, I had my first "version" -- and it looked NOTHING like him: 

    It's rough, crude... It looks kind of human. But I could have called this a failure and stopped here. But I didn't. I kept going. Kept refining. Kept comparing what I had from different angles to the references that I had pulled up.  I kept pushing the sculpt further.  Not in hours. Not in days.  It took me weeks. Over most an entire month.  After many hours of work, I eventually got him looking decent enough that people were recognizing not only the character, but also which actor's version of the character.

    If I hadn't kept going, I would never have realized the eventual outcome, which is still, 3 years later, one of my proudest accomplishments and most favorite pieces on my hard drive.

    So if it looks like crap after just a couple of hours, that's okay. Keep working on it. Keep pushing. Keep trying.  If it takes a month or two, that's fine.  You don't have to create a masterpiece in a single day.   In fact, several of the artists that I watch  on Twitch will spend several streams, 4 to 6 hours at a time, on a single character, working for a week or more just on one character.  Does it matter if it takes you 80 hours to do it if it turns out great?  I'd be willing to bet that most of the best pieces you see online took at least 40-80 hours to get there. You can do it, if you just give yourself a chance!

  • BC1-1801 Week 3 Homework Submission

    The latest of entries, but I've been avoiding it and just had enough time to finish Melvin tonight :)

    P.s. to all those afraid of sculpting like myself, just watch the videos and follow along. It won't be perfect, but you'll learn something along the way and come out less afraid of it in the end... Trust me.

    • crew

      This looks really good deadly_cicada! You seemed to get the hang of sculpting pretty quick. The one note I have is that Melvin's left leg is half the thickness of the right. But overall, great stuff!

      It's an A for quality and effort but a C for completeness.

      Thanks for the encouragement at the end! That's gold. 

  • Many thanks.

    I continue to practice !

  • BC1-1801 Week 3 Homework Submission

    Sketchfab link to Melvin:


    Sculpting ... just the one ...

    • If you're going for realism, the nose is a  bit big and the eyes aren't quite right, but overall, great job!

    • crew

      Excellent work ppaulhaynes1955. Is this your first head sculpt? If so, it's a great first time 👍

      Your primitives are really strong too. Only crit is that the sides of the cube are a little messy when they could be smooth and flat. But the shapes of all 3 are spot on!

      Feels like you could have spent a little more time with Melvin. It's pretty good overall, but it's a little lumpy and the arm is unfinished.

      Still this week you've earned an A no doubt 👏

    • theluthier ... Melvin was the first sculpt of anything.  Took me hours. I finally got tired of working on it and moved on to the rest of the assignment. That was the first head sculpt. Still trying to get used to the brushes and the adjustments. I figured I'd be getting plenty of practice so I didn't try to over achieve. :)

  • BC1-1801 Week 3 Homework Submission: " Melvin and the spider "

    I wanted to create a little story around melvin and another character and this primitive shapes...
    This is the result: (Etherything here was sculpt by myself ^^)

    This is my melvin:

    Primitive shapes:

    The spider:
    Pfeeew... This week was harder than the others (in my opinion) but pretty instructive ! :)

    • Yannis it is great idea combining all the objects to one scene, that is fun :-)

      Yes agree this week is harder than the others, respect for everyone who were able to manage the three waves of scuplting with time and everything

    • I too loved the way you combined everything into one scene!  

    • crew

      I agree that the unified theme is a great touch. You primitives are good but a little mush/bumpy. The spider is a cool idea! Spiders give me the creeps as does your sculpt, so good job there 😅 The legs are bit lumpy and inconsistent in thickness.

      Melvin is your strongest imo. Feels the most polished. It maybe suffers a little from single-angle-favor, meaning it looks great from the front and ok from other angles.

      Still those are minor notes. Definitely an A this week!

  • BC1-1801 Week 3 Homework Submission

    This was a big challenge for me too and taught so much. Thank heavens for the inflate tool and theluthier walkthroughs! I don't know how many times I scrapped detail and restarted and rewatched. I kept getting crossed up between subdivide collapse, subdivide edges, relative detail, etc. The whole process was pinching and creasing my cerebral cortex! Had to fix some topology issues when I applied decimation. That was eye-opening! 

    Finally had to call him done due to time. 

    Here's the link to my Melvin exercise submission for this week and a screenshot.

    I'm sorry to say the other parts of this week's homework may be late or missing for me. When I went to jump on my machine to work on the other sculpts this morning I was greeted with a Window's update that left me with only a black screen and blinking mouse arrow. The restore\repair process set me back a little time-wise. We'll see how it goes...

    And here's the second part, 7 hrs later. Glad I took the time to do it though it could use more work. Parts of this were harder than Melvin! Going to see if I can get the last part done.

    • Jumping into detail too quickly is one of the biggest mistakes to make because you can get everything looking just right only to zoom out and it doesn't make sense in relation to everything else.  Just take it a little at a time. Great job here, though!

    • Great words to work by gradyp! One more habit to work on...

    • crew

      Good advice from gradyp. You did awesome this week ljsstudio! It looks like you picked up sculpting quite well. Might be the best Melvin I've seen so far 👍

      Solid work on your primitives as well. I forget how cumbersome it can be to get used to dyntopo settings. I'm a broken record, but practice will develop the familiarity till it's second nature.

      I hate to do it: This is an easy A for quality but B for completeness 😕 #feelsbadman

  • BC1-1801 Week 3 Homework Submission

    I finished Melvin a few months ago when I first started sculpting. Since I'm working on a CG Challenge scene at the moment I didn't re-sculpt him. But here is a Sketchfab link and a simple scene I had put together.

    As to the primitives, it was one of the deceptive not-really-easy-after-all exercises. I think the cone in particular could have turned better, but - oh, well. 

    And regarding the extra sculpted objects, I managed to do only two, but I needed to brush up on my texture-painting skills, so I went full way and baked normal maps as well when I was at it. This is a first time I used the MultiRes modifier and I love it! My aim is to create detailed scenes with many organic objects. Having to retopologize every one of them... is fun, but a little impractical. With this workflow I should be able to do more each week :-)

  • I am working on week 4's assignment.  I started with a base mesh that had holes for the eye sockets.  I tried adding a sphere for the eye but it kind've sits behind or to the side.  I can't seem to get it in the socket.  What am I doing wrong?

    • Hi Deborah, in Edit mode you could select the edge ring of the eye socket and snap the 3D cursor to selected. Then in Object mode select the "eye" sphere and snap it to the 3D cursor. The center of the sphere will be right in the middle of the hole. Then you can make minor translation and scale adjustments from there.

  • BC1-1801 Week 3 Homework Submission 2 of 3

    Here is the link to the sculpt on SketchFab:  (I tried submitting formally at the end of the course but for whatever reason I could not complete the process so I am just putting the link here. 

    I'm having a bit of time juggling brush sizes, strengths, relative vs constant, subdivide collapse/edges, etc while attempting to get clean creases.  I'm really learning a lot - and plan on doing a lot more sculpting so I can really get comfortable with the tools.  Attached below is a screen shot:

    • Maybe try to smooth out some of that rugged area in the right eye and get some shape in the root of the horns with crease brush. Overall it seems successful sculpt for me with just a small amount of finishing touch needed

    • crew

      I agree with swikni - Good sculpt overall, just in need of a little TLC. There's a big lump under his left arm-pit area, the eyes could use more definition (small detail size [more polygons] and subdivide edges method for details/creasing).

      Overall though, the shape of the character is good aside from the backside being too flat. Plump it out to secure a the general roundness.

      I've recorded your primitive submission and this guy, which means an A for effort/quality but a B for completeness.

  • theluthier i don`t know why but it seems like Dyntopo doesn`t work correctly. It doesn`t create additional faces as a result i get bad geometry. When i was making general form of Melvin it was ok, but with mouth it is pretty hard.

    • This is something I got hung up on too. The constant Detail Resolution works differently now compared to when the tutorial was recorded (at least on the default settings). You need to increase the resolution to get smaller polygons, it seems counter intuitive to me but maybe that's just me.

    • I think Grant is right. with the Constant Detail setting, you want higher Resolution and with Relative, you want a lower Detail Size.  It seems a little counter intuitive, but think of it this way, with a Constant detail, to increase the amount of geometry, you want go Higher. If you're using Relative, you're doing the detail across more screen pixels, so the geometry will be lower.

    • crew

      What aarkesh and gradyp said 👌

  • BC1-1801 Week 3 Homework Submission

    Oh boy, this week was a tough one. I'm afraid I have not managed to create my own Sculpture yet, I hope to do so tomorrow even though it's too late. I struggled quite a bit this week, wrapping my head around some of the tools and their settings and how they affect the models, that took me longer than I'd like to admit. Although I do feel far more comfortable with them now, I'm still going to need a lot of practice going forward, but at least now I know how I can work on my sculpting.
    My biggest lesson this week though Grady has just mentioned. I spent way too much time worrying about the details, fine tuning, tweaking and getting distracted by stuff that should be done during the final polish. It's something I'm going to have to keep an eye on going forward, I like the suggestion of setting a timer, definitely going to have to try that out!

    Great work this week again from everyone.

    • Good job with the primitives and Melvin. I agree with that what you say about struggling with the tools. It's always difficult to begin with any digital form of creating something, first you need to learn what does what before you can start to use them and sometimes it can be frustrating. Way too often there seems to be too much tools and many of them seem to do exactly the same thing but in the end there's all you need and every one is individual.

      Melvin looks pretty good when Matcap is applied but with the default lighting option the shadows are breaking in the surface. I think you should smooth it all the way around like in the end of course with low strength sculptdraw brush and smooth brush and it should be fine 

    • crew

      Thanks for sharing your experience this week! Honestly it looks like you picked up sculpting very well. You should feel encouraged that you've accomplished this level in a week. Just keep practicing and the tools will become second nature before too long.

      I love the sharpness in you primitive cone and cube. With sculpting it's easy to leave stuff soft and mushy, but you made sure to sharpen well. Sphere is good too.

      Melvin looks great aside from his left leg being noticeably thinner than his right. Also the matcap does your model way more justice than the lit version. You could update that on sketchfab to display by default if you wanted.

      Again kills me to do this, but to stay objective: It's a solid A for effort/quality but a B for completeness 😔

  • BC1-1801 Week 3 Homework Submission Part 3 of 3

    It looked better in my head (of course) and I got too far into it try and start with something else before the deadline.  I had planned to do the mountain background but Blender started getting very slow, even with decimating all the models.    Also, the columns are a combination of push-pull, modifiers, and then sculpt, so it is not a 'pure' sculpt scene.