Hello, I just graduated from college for 3D modeling and now that I’m out of school and spending all of my time at school I’m struggling to find a good routine/schedule for practicing 3D modeling. At school I was in class for five hours a day Monday through Thursday. Just like any other skill 3D modeling requires practice and lots of it. The problem I’m having is that I can’t seem to get much practice done at home. At school I could model for the whole time with no brakes and spit out models one after another but at home I’m struggling to get practice done. I’m very schedule and routine driven, I was able to to model well at school because school is very structured and routine, but at home it’s not. You have to make your own schedule and routine but I can’t seem to do that. I don’t know how much time each day I should put into modeling or what sort of models I should be making. My instructors gave different answers to this; my first instructor had us do 30 minutes of practice modeling each day at home to try and get us into the habit of practicing so I thought 30 minutes each day was all I needed, but another instructor said one hour each day and another said three hours each day. I’m so confused. What do some of you do to practice your 3D modeling skills and for how long each day?
There’s technical experience but more importantly there’s artistic experience. What are you practicing exactly?
Personally, i don’t really practice per say, my practice has been done over the years where i could be working on a project for 6 to 8 hours straight and then pick it up two days later and work an additional 4 hours or 2 hours depending on the state it was left in. I view modeling more as acquiring techniques rather than a pure manual skill if you will, the opposite of learning guitar for example, where one needs to really invest time to improve speed and dexterity. Once you know how to model, you simply get faster by picking up different ways of accomplishing the task.
A character modeler working with Zbrush can save tons of time because it’s the opposite of traditional 3d modeling. In Zbrush you focus on art instead of technique. So in that situation, you would be wise to train your anatomy skills 8 hours a day vs. learning Zbrush from A to Z right at the start. When you come to a road block in zbrush, you just read / watch how to accomplish the task (how to i extract this part of the character to make a belt etc.) and proceed with the project, until you reach another hurdle.
Huh. I never thought about it that way. So, your method of practice isn’t really spending a certain amount of time each day but instead just doing stuff when you can?
Yes you could say it that way. I prefer thinking in terms of projects. After a few months the technical aspect just got so repetitive that topology and edgeloops became automatic (some people practice drawing topology on their reference, that was never my case, after a few months i would just lay it out as i modeled).
The difficult part however is getting better artistically, learning anatomy for example is something that takes a lifetime since perfection is pretty much impossible to reach, which is especially true in my case!
That sounds a lot less stressful than forcing yourself to do it for several hours a day every day. Anatomy is pretty tricky, it has so many weird shapes and bends and curves that I just cannot figure out; I lean more towards hard-surfaced stuff like vehicles, structures, and props. That’s what I like to model.