Allan Didier

Beginner Modeling Tips

Choice of Objects to Model

  1. Have a clear concept or idea of what you want to model. Otherwise, you end up with more modern art with no definable object. You can even pull in an flat image into Blender to assist with creating your model.
  2. For this project, model objects that are one piece, not multiple pieces. Objects with multiple parts are often modeled with multiple objects. If you were to move the object, would the parts break apart and move separately or will they all stick together.
    1. Good. A human, animal, fish, or a bug are good because they are one piece. The arms and legs don’t become detached from the body when they move.
    2. Bad. Your kitchen, a still life, a checkers board are not good for this assignment as they are made of multiple objects. The checker separates from the board when you move it and is a separate object.
    3. Can be good. Vehicles can be good.
      1. Planes. The exterior of the plane can easily be modeled as a single piece.
      2. Cars. A car body is good, but leave out the wheels and the interior of the car. Those are separate objects from the car body. 
      3. Tanks. Tanks are trickier. The body and turret can be modeled together, but may be tricky. Some parts, like the gun barrel are easier to model as a cylinder rather than trying to extrude it from the body, unless your barrel is square-ish. Wheels and tread are often separate objects.
      4. Bicycles. Bikes are not good as they are really a conglomerate of individual objects. 
  3. Keep it simple. Right now, just focus on learning the basic tools. Your object may be rather blocky and simplistic, but that is fine for now. We’ll make more complex models later on. 
    1. Modifiers, geometry nodes, sculpting, and mesh generators will be looked at later. A rough human or animal are fine. Detailed faces, dragon scales and hair can be saved for future models.
    2. Even if your object is a little too simple, you can often add embellishments to make it fancier to meet the 50 modification limit. A chair is a little too simple, but a throne would be good. The throne in Game of Thrones might be too much, though. The Minecraft sword might be too simple, but make a fancy hilt and you should be fine. 

Basic Tips and Tools

Here are some basic tips and tools to consider when starting to model something.

Model by faces or edges, not vertices. Don’t try to model initially by adjusting the individual vertices. It will take forever and your models will not be symmetric or even. Model by selecting the faces or edges will make things go much faster. Adjust individual vertices only when you need precision control.

Must use modeling tools:

  • Extrude. The tool for extending areas as well as just adding nodes.
  • Loop Cut. Great tool for adding nodes.
  • Bevel/Inset Face. Great tool for making adjustments to flat surfaces.
  • Knife. Great tool for making odd cuts across areas. Use the “Z” key to get the knife to cut through the object.

Other tips.

  • Shift-Select to select multiple faces, edges, or vertices.
  • Hold the Alt/Option-key to select a loop of edges or faces. This will select a ring around the object without having to select the faces individually.
  • X-Ray mode allows you to select areas through the object, not just on one face.  

Number of Nodes

Depending on the shape you are starting with, you often need to add nodes right away before you begin modeling.

Cube: The cube has too few nodes to do any real modeling. Subdivide or loop cut at least twice to add extra node. This should be enough to get started with creating a rough model. Continue loop cutting or knifing as you need more nodes.

Cylinder: The cylinder has enough nodes on the sides, but not enough on the top and bottom. Loop cut the cylinder to add more nodes. Inset or bevel the top and bottom to add more nodes there. 

Sphere and Icosphere: These shapes generally have enough nodes to begin with and don’t need to be subdivided or loop cut. Add extra nodes later to extruded areas, but not to the initial sphere. 

Too many nodes. Avoid creating too many nodes initially. Only add nodes when you need them and create a minimal amount of them. Too many nodes make it really tedious to try moving faces or edges, not to mention individual vertices. It is also really difficult to select the nodes you want when you have too many. You often end up not selecting all the nodes you need and have to painstakingly go back later to fix all the minor issues. Also, if you subdivide too many times, Blender will crash or run really slow because it can only handle so many nodes. 

Beginner Modeling Tips Tutorial Videos

Blender Fundementals 2.8 tutorials