View Full Version : Computer science student, self taught 3D modeler, where to go from here?

11 November 2011, 08:16 PM
So I'm a computer science major about to graduate with my associate's this summer if my course makes and this fall if I have to wait. While breezing through my associate's degree I managed to learn something useful and got in to Blender 3D.

For the past two years, however, I have had severe muscle injury that has kept me from 3D modeling, programming, writing, any of the things I love to do. I just barely pushed through school. I'm finally getting better and looking around again. I've started poking around at Blender again. They've changed the interface up quite a bit and the new render engine requires a new workflow and I'm a bit put off. Nothing like a pain in one's back radiating down to one's arms and making one's fingers stiff to make learning difficult!

But, I realized I had access to Autodesk's entire lineup of software. Being the computer science student I am (member of and I went and grabbed all I could fit on the 500 gig partition I reserve for art and backups - which means pretty much their entire catalog. ;)

Then I got a recommendation for Sculptris (which I have) and zBrush (which I don't have).

Everything I know I've learned via Internet tutorials, Google and I know each other really well, but the sheer number of choices I now have is completely confusing.

What I am looking for is the program I need to learn to learn a general pattern I can apply to other programs, and I don't have a lot of money to do so. As soon as I can manage character modeling I can get enough in commissions to afford $25/mo in curriculum costs. I can also ask for things for Christmas at the moment.

So, I have Autocad 2012, 3DS Max 2012, Maya 2012, Mudbox 2012, Sculptris, Vue 8 Infinite PLE, PhotoSculpt Textures, and Blender 3D installed. I have a 3DConnexion Spacepilot Pro on my desk, as well as an Intuos4 large (when I first started getting injured I panicked and got alternative input devices to try to fix it, no such luck, most frustrating time of my life - staring at this bada** equipment and hurting too much to use it). I am good with Google. My goal is to be able to ramp up in to character modeling ASAP so that I can continue to fund my 3D education, or get in to free online classes that will get me going in the right direction.

It should also be said that as of this moment I cannot draw - anything. I do have a strong imagination and a good enough memory to keep in mind what I've been working on from session to session but I don't have the ability to draw.

Too much gear, too little education, please point me in the right direction on the latter!

12 December 2011, 05:19 PM
As I am also just coming back from a 3 year hiatus to the 3D world, I feel your pain. Much has changed since I graduated school in 2008. I got my degree in animation, but upon graduating got a job doing video editing.

My best advice would be to learn one of the major 3D packages first, ie: Maya or 3DS Max. Once you have an idea of the general workings of one of these programs start to do some modelling within these programs. Once you feel you have reached the highest level possible in either of these with your model, then I would take it into either zbrush or mudbox where you can further refine and detail your model.

I hope this helps. I know there is vast amounts of information and tutorials out there and it can be hard to choose a direction, but I think as long as you choose something and go for it you will at least be moving forward.

Sometimes trying something and failing can teach you more than knowing exactly what your doing. So just dive in and see where you come out on the other side!

Happy 3Ding.

12 December 2011, 06:49 PM
There are technical positions in 3d as well.
You aim to be an artist? Prepare for some competition...
Modelling is a good start in an case. Online classes are cheaper and can help you to get started.

12 December 2011, 08:55 PM
Oh I look forward to the competition once I'm up and running again. ;)

I'm detecting a pattern here:

Modeling suite + sculpting suite + picture editing suite = general workflow I need to learn for high poly modeling?

I don't have zBrush, but I do have Mudbox thanks to Autodesk's student licensing. I will say that I really, really, really like how Maya is looking. At this point I click and everything goes to heck pretty quickly, but otherwise the program practically hums with power.

So if I'm doing Autodesk software, I need to get in to classes and be able to make back what I spend on it. For online classes, where and how much per class am I going to be spending?

12 December 2011, 08:58 PM
If you want to be a modeller, maybe.
Get started and see what you like doing.

12 December 2011, 09:25 PM
You dont necessarily need classes either, you can always learn on your own in your free time. Alot of us do it because we have full time jobs during the day but want to learn. Look online at the Gnomon workshop, digital tutors, or even All are great sources for tutorials, some are free, some are not.

If your really into modelling there are tons of free tutorials online to start with. Check them out first before you commit to an online school.

12 December 2011, 03:23 PM
The most important thing you should keep in mind is that what you're doing is art. Although 3D can be fun and interesting, build up your drawing skills if you haven't already.

I'm about to graduate with an CS associates too. I don't expect to derive much value from this degree, but I am glad I went to school. School gave me the chance to get a job at a general contractor, it isn't related to Graphic Design or Computer Science (my two big majors during my time here), but I do get to model in a program called Revit.

So, have you given any thought to the kind of modeling you'd like to do? Do you want to model for games or film? Do you want to be a character modeler? Hard surface modeler? Scene modeler? Your decisions about that will help determine your tools and workflow.

12 December 2011, 04:14 PM
Wolvenmoon I would just say don't get too tied up into the software side of things like trancerobot said it's ultimately about the art. The fundamentals in modeling will crossover to any program you use so I would suggest becoming very comfortable with modeling on what you have and continually drawing every day regardless of whether you have ideas, especially life drawing. You will be able to remember details from what you draw to apply to your models and designs.

CGTalk Moderation
12 December 2011, 04:14 PM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.