Advice for student hard surface artist.


Hello, I’m a 16 year old young artist. Ever since I was young and watching films like “Star wars” formed a love in me for spaceships and
sci-fi vehicles of all kinds. A few months ago I discovered 3D software
like Cinema 4D and immediately knew what I wanted to use this software
for. Fast forward a few months and I am now a novice hard surface artist
in Maya. My dream is to make hard surface assets for Film, TV or Games.

My question is how did people here learn to model? Did they take a course? Practice, Practice, Practice? I really want to develop my skills further but have no idea how to do it.
I feel the best way (as a 16 year old doing a certificate in general
education) would just be to practice, as a course would take up to much
time and stress. My worry with just practice is that I might miss out on
industry standard techniques that are fundamental to efficient
modeling. Thoughts?I also feel it is much more important to develop a portfolio than it is to have a course
(although impressive on a resume). Thus, I think developing my rendering
and texturing skills (of which I have none) should maybe also be on my

I’d also like to know if Maya is the best pathway for me. I love it’s interface and am comfortable with how it works, but if I need to switch to 3DS I’d rather know now rather than later.Regards, Tom.


As a self taught HS modeller, I’d suggest learning from pro authored paid workflows. Nowadays there’s heaps too choose from either Gumroad, Pluralsight, or Gonmon, so not only are these tutes reasonably priced but generally are intuitively narrated for any skill level to takle. here’s an example:Tim Bergholz - Hardsurface props in 3ds Max & Substance Painter


The more experienced or advanced modelers have been made aware of certain workflow practices which they integrated into their modeling as though it were a second language. But these practices must be learned and practiced over and over in order to get them right, and part of getting it right is to get an objective (iow an unbiased) perspective in the form of critique.

For EXAMPLE (though there are several such examples), TOPOGRAPHY . You might be aware of this term from map-reading, but in 3d modeling it refers to the arrangement of lines/edges/whatever your software calls them in an appropriate, orderly manner. Any beginner modeler will immediately start extruding and connecting objects and so forth, and as long as the finished object takes on the form of what he intended then he will be satisfied. But proper modeling demands that there be a set of rules adhered to when arranging the “topology” of your object.

I couldn’t find good examples online, and I currently don’t have the time to create one (though most free models that you’ll download off of turbosquid in FBX or OBJ form will reveal terrible topologies), but this is a VERY important aspect in professional modeling which you would do well to look into and learn, so that you can integrate it into your advancement.

Another example includes the use of Quads rather than triangles, which is very much connected to topology. Beyond that, as the other poster mentioned, there are basic workflow tips which can be attained when learning from professional sources.

So of course you can learn on your own, but make sure to keep up with professional rules and tips as you advance, so that you don’t develop bad habits.

As far as software is concerned, that depends on several things, depending on where you want to advance. I think that in the gaming industry, 3DS is most widely used. And this might also depend on the country, and which studio you would want to work in; since specific studios use specific software, and studios in certain countries will have a leaning towards certain softwares in the same way.

From my journeys through the internet, I often get the impression that 3DS (I’m referring to Max) is the most popular program, but I know that in the film industry Maya is much more widely used. Again, it all depends on which direction you’re headed to, and you should do some research before advancing into any territory.

Good luck!