While working on the art for The Amazing Adventure I also looked into learning the free 3D program Blender. I was a daunting task at first, as 3D programs have a steep learning curve.
I have worked with 3D before, but that was 15 years ago using 3D Studio Max. So my knowledge was very limited and I never really learned how to do good 3D modelling. This time around I wanted to learn how to do 3D the right way and therefore quickly decided that free YouTube videos was not going to cut it.
I then stumbled upon the digital art tutorial site cgcookie.com. I started by using their free 14 day trial, following their Blender tutorials everyday and the finally opted to pay for their service.
It has saved me a lot of time and headaches having some professionals teaching me how to use Blender. As 3D is quite technical it’s important that your 3D models are clean and setup the right way. Figuring out the basic stuff and getting everything right would have taken me forever.
I looked into 3D Studio Max and Maya, but quickly opted for Blender. This free 3D program can do amazing things and the developers has done a damn good job on programming it. Very stable and I like the fact the almost everything is done with keyboard short-cuts. This really speeds up your workflow, once you get the hang of it.
The tedious task of learning Blender
Having to first learn a 3D program because you want to create game characters, sure does add a lot of hours to overall timeline. Being really focused on what I needed to know and skipping not needed tutorials for this project has helped me react decent results a whole lot faster. This is the first model I did in Blender. Using the tutorials at cgcookie.com It took med around a week to get a basic understanding of the program.
I then went ahead and created this 3D alien using what I had learned in all the tutorials. It was all done using the digital sculpting tools in Blender. Digital sculpting is like working with clay inside the 3D program and from my perspective it’s an amazing way of creating 3D. Using digital sculpting for creating 3D characters is a creative process, not just messing around with vertexes, edges and planes.
Finally I was able to take my initial design of the main game character and create a 3D version. Looking back at this model now, the resting pose is really bad. It also turned out I had to redo most of the model because it was impossible to animate without getting some crazy deformations around the legs.
This is the remake of the model I did to fix the pose and other problems with the model.
Finally I created the new game character using all I had learned from the above. As you can see this model looks much better and it also works well for animation. All in all it took a while to get there but after having worked at it for less than month I was able pretty much to do what I had envisioned in the first place.