3D modeling is one of the most essential skills that a graphic designer needs to have in the 21st century. With consumers wanting more and more unique and engaging 3D content, a budding designer today should have a mastery of 3D modeling before they start working professionally.
Of course, 3D modeling as a discipline is an entirely complex system of skills, but there are certain aspects of it that a graphic designer should master if they want to better develop their graphic design skills. Here are some essential 3D modeling skills you should have pat down:
Master Your Software’s Interface
Whether you’re using Autodesk, Blender, Cinema 4D, or any other 3D modeling software, you need to master its interface. In fact, you should be a subject matter expert when it comes to your software’s user interface. Why is this important? Well, knowing exactly what each tool of your software does is crucial to your design, and knowing where it is, what shortcuts to press, and how to use it go a long way to making you a more efficient artist.
Sketching is Important
As an artist, you know very well the importance of having sketches, and in 3D modeling, the same concept applies. Go back to basics and practice your sketching skills again, only this time, pay even closer attention the little details that you might have missed when working in 2D. Sketch out multiple angles of your object, add as much details as you can, then use your 3D modeling skills to translate it from 2D to something uncanny.
Know Your Constraints, Master Your Dimensions
Dimensions refer to the length, width, height, and in 3d modeling, the depth of a particular image. Meanwhile, constraint refers to the angles and radii of shapes. Again, this is art skills 101, but you’re going to apply it and master it in 3D modeling. Of course having the right dimensions is going to go a long way into making your 3D image look gorgeous, but it’s your manipulation of constraints that are going to take it from a basic 3D image into an almost-realistic 3D rendering.
Again, another basic art skill. Lighting goes a very long way to making your job of turning a 2D image into 3D so much easier, so long as you know how to apply the right kind of lighting from the right angle. Lighting in 3D modeling is slightly different from 2D sketching in that it’s going to be more detailed and more realistic. Depending on the software you use, you’ll have to play around with certain aspects of your image to get the lighting just right.
Trust Your Instincts
If you haven’t noticed yet, most of the skills we mentioned on this list are all basic art skills you either learned on your own or on your first day of art school. And there’s good reason for it: 3D modeling, while an entirely different discipline from, say, fine arts, still relies on the most basic aspects of art. Trust us: it’ll be easier for you as a graphic designer if you master the basics first and then learn how to use 3D modeling software, than it is to master 3D modeling software and then learn about art basics. Trust your artist’s instincts, hone them, master them, and then learn the bells and whistles of 3D design.