Starting out in 2d/3d CG.

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  07 July 2010
Starting out in 2d/3d CG.

Hello everyone,

I'm trying to pursue the design aspect of the games industry, however, I do not currently have any 2D or 3D knowledge - not even photoshop. I've used, but nothing more than some basic editing.

I'm wondering if anyone had a compiled list of where to look for tutorials and/or books on the following programs that can start me off with no 2D or 3D knowledge to an advanced level:
*Autodesk 3DS Max Design
*Autodesk Mudbox
*Autodesk Motionbuilder
(all of which are 2011 versions)

I have not yet come across a compiled list, nor has searching through Amazon done me any justice, I find mainly books that already assume you know how to get around the applications and know most of the basic features.

One other thing that's been frustrating me is, what kind of mathematics does 2d/3d art require?

In the next few years I'll be taking courses at Academy of Interactive Entertainment in Australia (, the first course requires no previous 3D knowledge to start it.

  07 July 2010
Hey TranslucentSparkle.

I'd first purchase some 2d/3d software. If you are a student you can buy student editions of software such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Maya, Cinema 4D and 3DSMax (as well as those you mentioned) from various websites (just google student software, i'd find you some links but I'm a little strapped for time while writing this.

I'm no professional, but I began learning photoshop a good few years ago without any books, just online tutorials. One of my favourite tutorial sites was good tutorials - - A few years ago they only had tutorials for photoshop, illustrator and those types of programs, but now they've got tutorials for all different types of software. It's a brilliant site if you're just starting out with new software, while they also have more advanced tutorials.

Another resource of mine is the Digital Tutors website -
I can't describe how much they've helped me, and despite the subscription (which is definitely value for money in my opinion) it's certainly worth a try, even if it's for a month. I'v been learning Maya and Zbrush from digital tutors, as well as a few books here and there and Digital Tutors have been a godsend. I can't recommend them enough.

As for Mathematics in 2D and 3D, I'm not quite sure what you mean. Mathematics is important in any job you do. There's no algebra if that's what you mean Hehe

Hope this helps you in some way
  07 July 2010
Thanks very much!

I currently do have copies of the software, money isn't really an issue here (since it's my education for my career, parents pay out what I need - otherwise I think we all know where we could go for temporary needs, if money was an issue).

I'll be sure to check those sites out. Main reason I didn't google for these websites was because I didn't know how trustworthy they were or how helpful those sources would be, hence why I went for Amazon to look for more legit sources with decent reviews. I suppose I could google for reviews on websites too, though.

As for the maths, I've never been any good in that area, I'm currently improving this year but even then it's below average. I assumed I had to know geometry, just didn't know which aspects of geometry or if I needed any other mathematics that may be required. Other than that, I'd be attaching a calculator to my belt daily.

I'd be going into the 3D art field some time around 2014 with AIE, 2011 I end school and 2012 I go into college for IT & Networking. Even with plenty of time, I feel like learning early to get a head start.

I'm currently 14, so any help anyone may be able to provide me - I'd be more than grateful.
  07 July 2010
That's a brilliant attitude to have at such a young age. It's important to keep the passion at the forefront of your mind and remind yourself why you want this. As you're only 14, your views may change, as did mine at your age (I'm 20 now) so keep an open mind about your future.

I wouldn't worry about wether resources are legit or not unless ovcourse your paying a lot of money for them. I'v purchased things from the wonderful Gnomon Workshop before but have found that that particular DVD hadn't helped me at all and I'v just wasted 40+. It's all about experience and a lot of trial and error. Most online tutorials are free and it's pretty easy to spot the damn awful ones and the one's which are worth your time. Another bit of advice would be not to overload on books and resources. From experience, the books end up just sitting there for months before being used, whereas if you bought a couple of books, complete them, then buy some more, the whole thing doesn't seem as fast paced as it's broken down into chunks.

As I said previously, Maths is important in everyday life, but I'v been using 3D/2D software for 4 years now and I can't really pin point a particular time where Maths played a major role. Anyone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong but I think it's just basic logic behind the whole thing.

Finally, It may help to have some sort of art and design degree, diploma etc to help you understand more about the principles of designing, along with some traditional art skills.

Hope this helps some more!
  07 July 2010
Thanks again =p

I always seem to do a load of reading/researching, I don't do much in bite sized chunks. Learn a lot, then go back every couple of days for revision, repeat. That's how I've been doing things lately. I'm not sure if I'd change that for CG though, I'll keep options open.

I know my basic IT, working around windows & putting hardware together, troubleshooting etc as well as basic networking. I don't feel as if it'd be, or along those lines, to pursue business networking or IT support as a career for 30~40+years.

As I've done web programming (where I used to sit there for hours learning and practicing new techniques, building various website designs and so on, I found it fun), I thought I'd be able to pick up game programming/software programming just as fast, apparently it's not my thing.

For part time purpose, I intend to work in IT support or web development until I snatch the right job opportunity for CG, perhaps as a props/level artist.

I was intending to create a complete environment and character design based around either Crytek's or Unreal 3's editor/engine, as a playable level, copyright it then compile it to a DVD for portfolio purposes. Perhaps in the next few years I might go with another editor/engine, seeing as how fast things are evolving.

I was also looking at the gnomon workshop towards the $300 plan 2, for art tutorials based around games/entertainment. According to yourself, you had a bad experience with only one particular dvd?

As for the $45 basic/month at, would they be a better source to go to?

I'm looking mainly towards a source that will kick me right off from where autodesk's tutorials, or starting movies, end.

I'm not precisely sure what type of art or design courses I should take to which you're referring to.

Perhaps we could talk on a more personal level, out of these forums?
  07 July 2010
Hi again,

Apologies for the late reply. I'v been away all weekend and haven't had chance to come online and reply to your post.

Yes I had a bad experience with one of the gnomon dvds, however, that's not to say it was my only experience. I'v bought a few more dvds from gnomon before that and found them to be great, which backs up my statement of the process being about trial and error. As I have said previously I swear by DigitalTutors. They've helped me a lot. They have thousands of tutorials and can kick you off right from the start. The tutors themselves can be quite confusing the odd time but again, you just need to take a minute and look at the logical side of things to make sense. It's a brilliant source for learning. They used to make DVDs like gnomon and sell them individually but this past year they've launched the subscription service so you're paying for unlimited viewing of all videos instead of purchasing courses individually. It's great for learning in your own time.

Feel free to PM me if you like.
  07 July 2010
Thanks, No worries about the lateness. I'll go with digital tutors first then. Perhaps I'll be able to leech some of the resources available after a paid subscription, so I can keep what I view on the way.

Might you also have a comparison on 3ds max & maya? I've been reading threads all over, but all they mention is "oh this one is better because it allows more plugins" or "this one does this thing better" when every application and feature has it's advantages and disadvantages, etc. For environment and prop use, which might be better do you think? I also understand certain companies use one over the other or a mix.

Your insight will certainly kick me off and I can't thank you enough, I've posted to several other forums with not much more help let alone anyone coming back after their post.

Last edited by TranslucentSparkle : 07 July 2010 at 08:52 AM.
  07 July 2010
I'v used 3DS Max very briefly and found it easy enough to use, however, I personally prefer Maya as it's a very complex program and my thinking was "if i can master that, then any other program should be a piece of cake". I heard studios and Universities work with 3DSMax, however, the University I'm going to in September have just switched from 3DS Max to maya because Maya is apparently becoming industry standard due to it's massive graphical capabilities and the eagerness to keep up with evolving technologies. I suppose it is just down to personal preference though, and both can be used for a lot of the same things, although Maya is very popular with animators.

It's important to remember that not just one program is used. For props and buildings, the base may be produced in Maya or 3DS Max, then it may be taken into Zbrush to be detailed, then placed back into the original application that created it for placement and texture.
  07 July 2010
Originally Posted by PenguinChilli: For props and buildings, the base may be produced in Maya or 3DS Max, then it may be taken into Zbrush to be detailed, then placed back into the original application that created it for placement and texture.

I was cutting out motionbuilder, sticking to photoshop, mudbox & 3ds max. I figured mudbox would be reasonable enough for detailing etc, I thought zbrush was more character creation based. On top of 3ds max, I'm going to need Maya now. Great, back to learning 5 programs again, what am I getting myself into...

I've been told to focus on and master a certain area of the artist section (based on my choice: environments, props), then generalize my abilities everywhere else (animation, effects, etc).
  07 July 2010
ZBrush is popular mainly with character details yes, but it's also used a lot for details on weapons, architectural elements and lots of props. Yeah you've been told correctly. It doesn't help to be a "jack of all trades" really so having one or two specialisations and a few secondary skills I believe would be a great setup.

Good luck with it all mate. Hope I'v been of some help to you
  07 July 2010
Originally Posted by TranslucentSparkle:
I've been told to focus on and master a certain area of the artist section (based on my choice: environments, props), then generalize my abilities everywhere else (animation, effects, etc).

You're going to have to specialize eventually, but I'd try a little of everything before you specialize to much; you have to figure out what you like.
  07 July 2010
Rightio, I'll dig into it eventually. Thanks.
  07 July 2010
If money isn't an option, try to get into a figure drawing class and an introductory design class at a local community college. You'll need a good art foundation for most areas of computer graphics. For modeling and texturing, sure, but also the more technical areas such as rigging, effects and lighting. You'll need to know how anatomy works, how colors interact with one another, how to compose a scene etc.

It might be difficult getting into the courses if you're only 14. If that's the case, go to amazon and look for a highly rated drawing instruction book, absorb it, then draw your friends, your family, your pets, your hands, etc.
  07 July 2010
So much more fun -shuts his coffin- lower me in, lawl. Thanks once more for the added information.
  07 July 2010
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