Just how do I get started with character modeling as a total beginner?

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  01 January 2017
Just how do I get started with character modeling as a total beginner?

I feel lost. There are many learning materials out there but it's not clear to me what skills I need to possess to make use of them and how I can best learn.

I am a complete beginner. I can't draw at all. Like I even have trouble drawing a straight line or a cube from more than one perspective. At best I may make a very bad drawing from life with messed up proportions and just one shade of shadows and no textures. So I have practically 0 skills. Have never 3D modeled either.

So I really have no idea where to start. It's overwhelming to me since character modeling seems to be the hardest thing you can do. I know it's a long road and I am willing to follow it patiently if I just knew where the road is.

So basically I understand that I need to learn anatomy. But what exactly does that mean and how do I do that? Surely it doesn't mean just going through a medical anatomy book and being able to point out how all the bones and muscles are called. Do I need to be able to draw a detailed skeleton from any angle in any pose with no references? What kind of skills should I have before picking up an anatomy or figure drawing book?

How good do my drawing skills need to be before I can start 3D modeling? Is it possible to do both at the same time? Can you make a good model from reference with no drawing skills? Can someone who was in my position share his road?

Thank you in advance for the replies!
  01 January 2017
There's a technical side of things and then there's the artistic side of things. Technical will take the least time to learn, artistic side will take a life time (you improve as you go).

If you have no skills at all and jump in Zbrush you will sculpt blobs that look like rubbish, simply because you don't know what you are doing, hard truth for every beginner.

I suggest starting in a traditional 3D app, making actual low poly models, it won't be a waste of time trust me. Working in a traditional 3D software means you need to focus on volume and forms of your mesh not surface details. Understanding topology is also quite helpful (topology basically dictates how your mesh is constructed for best deformation), at the same time you will focus on UV mapping and rigging skills to some extent. A few months of this and you should be ready to jump into sculpting.

As far as anatomy goes, take your pick (or all of them!)



I had very basic drawing skills when i started, i could do a good job of copying other people's work (studies) but starting from scratch i wasn't knowledgeable enough in anatomy to go very far. So what i did is i used a ton of reference images when modeling, so i could "trace" the object i was modeling right in the viewport, which is / was a common technique. Over time i stopped using reference that way, and modeled / sculpted in a free form manner. References are still mandatory, just not the same way, unless you want to closely match a concept.

Last edited by Psyk0 : 01 January 2017 at 04:36 PM.
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