View Full Version : Looking for software-independent book on modeling

Adrian Lopez
08-18-2004, 10:02 PM
I can't wrap my head around 3D modeling, and I'd like to change that. I'm looking for a book that will teach me general approaches to modeling without getting bogged down by application-specific minutia. I am not looking for a book to teach me modeling-by-numbers for a specific modeling app; I want to learn the process of modeling, not how to reproduce a specific 3D model using a specific modeling app.

08-19-2004, 04:04 AM
It's a bit like saying 'I want to learn to drive any car, not just the wreck my dad has.' Once you learn to drive the wreck you'll be able to drive most cars.

Remember how difficullt it was learning to drive? Always having to remember to do this and that (here in the UK we have stick-shift, so gears and clutch as well)? Now when you drive you don't even think about the technicalities, you point where you want to go, whatever the car.

I think it's almost the same with 3D apps. Once you know what you're doing with one, you can adapt to another. The basic principles will be the same. It's important to be at ease with one app first, I think.

I do know where you're coming from though. Many tutorials I've seen seem to focus too easily on the small intermediate steps, rather than describing the basic modelling principles that are being followed to realise the model. Plenty of 'do this' rather than 'I'm doing this because'. Of course, If I had to explain about how I was driving my car on a particular journey, I might also have problems..

Anyway good luck. There are a few books out there. The only ones that come to mind are Peter Ratners books on modelling humans though. Whatever the book is, it will inevtably feature one (or more) software packages for the illustrations.

Many platform specific tutorials will cross-over once you have a grasp of the basic toolset for a particular app.

I'm still learning to drive my 3D package..


08-19-2004, 06:53 AM
You will find it easier to learn ONE package than trying to learn broad concepts. If you want to get some basic training that may help you with 3D concepts, you might want to see if your local community college or vocational school offers any drafting courses.

You should just get a good book on LightWave and dig in.

08-19-2004, 10:36 AM
local community college - one class should help a lot. If you Learn one package much is the same one to another.

Adrian Lopez
08-19-2004, 02:10 PM
I've bought a copy of Inside Lightwave 7 but, other than the chapter on head modeling which I think is pretty good, it's exactly the kind of book I'm trying to avoid. I don't want to extract the useful principles from a mechanical process, I want to be taught the useful principles so I can apply them to an artistic process (the tools are just the means to an end).

08-19-2004, 04:20 PM
Adrian, I respect your thoughts on this, but I disagree. You will better service yourself to know one package and expand your knowledge over time. After you get good with LightWave (or whatever package), it will be easier to move to other packages. As far as I know, there are no GENERAL books on modeling, that aspect will always be package specific due to the fact that each package is very complex. It's easier to write a general book lighting and surfacing, which actually has been done, but modelling is different.

You refer to it as a "mechanical process" and I get the feeling you look down your nose at it like you won't learn as much.

When you first learned to write the alphabet, it was very much a "mechanical process", you had to give serious thought to each movement of the pencil. Modeling is the same. As time goes on, you will know each command so well, they will just "happen" rather than concentrating. But it takes USING the software to get there.

Reading a book on modelling theory will not make you a better modeler, using Modeler will make you a better modeler.

I have been using LightWave for about 3 years now (as a hobby) and am JUST now strarting to use it in an unconscious manner. I would have gotten here sooner if I spent less time playing video games. ;)

08-19-2004, 05:08 PM
Originally posted by Adrian Lopez
I can't wrap my head around 3D modeling, and I'd like to change that.

What is it exactly you can't get your head around?

Working through step by step tutorials can be a good thing, as long as you take time to absorb what you are doing and not blindly following the instructions. Tutorials can show you the tools and how they work together to create the model.

You could go through the modelling tools in the LW manual, trying them out on simple objects like cubes and spheres to understand how they work.

Apply this knowledge (from tuts and manual) to simple projects to build up your experience. Start small. Do simple exercises like building your pen, the alarm clock or maybe your desk lamp. Something simple you can hold and examine. Experiment with the tools and try different things out. If you make a mess; does not matter as you learn for the next time. Don't jump ahead of yourself, but build up on your skills.

The new Inside LW 8 book has far better modelling tuts than previous book (inc one making a mobile phone), and maybe you could check out Larry Shultz video on CD course at:


Adrian Lopez
08-19-2004, 08:29 PM
Originally posted by retinajoy
What is it exactly you can't get your head around?With regard to organic modeling, I cannot figure out how to introduce details (such as facial details, for example) without raising the body's complexity beyond need. I am trying to create a low-poly model without relying too much on textures for the broad facial features, but I can't figure out a way to accomplish that. My scrap models end up with ugly bubble heads and no facial features on the mesh, and I'd like to fix that.

I also have problems with "flow". I understand the basic concept, but I'd like to learn about techniques that will allow me to add details to a mesh while still retaining a proper flow.

These are the sorts of problems I'm having and the kinds of things I'd like to improve upon. I also need help with my artistic skills (if you could even call them that), but that's for another thread.

Adrian Lopez
08-19-2004, 08:38 PM
By the way, what do you guys think of the book Inspired 3D Modeling & Texture Mapping (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1931841500/) by Tom Capizzi? Is it any good?

Although I'm looking for platform-independent resources I have not completely abandoned Lightwave-specific resources. I cannot afford Larry's courses, but I do intend to buy Carnera's character modeling DVD, which I hear is pretty good.

08-19-2004, 11:09 PM
I cover all that in detail. Ive been able to take the same methods I teach in LW and easily apply them to Silo and C4D. The problem with books or tutorials is that they never cover the subject in enough depth. Just the modeling part of my course is around 15 hours. I also provide unlimited online support. Believe me, youll get it. :)

The only way to find out if you can afford my courses is to email and see what we can work out. Ive worked out arrangements with others in the past. :)