Now that you’ve got experience with a couple of great entry-level 3D Modelling options, it’s time to play with the big boys! Best of all, you can choose which program(s) you want to work with:
- Fusion 360 – probably the simplest and easiest option. Also the least professional option, but a great place to start. It’s made by Autodesk, the same folks who run Tinkercad, so you should already have an account and should be ready to go. All you need is to find some tutorials and you should be able to get started.
- Simple projects for beginners
- Tutorials: https://academy.autodesk.com/software/fusion-360
- Beginner project (wax stamp) tutorial: (skip to lesson 2) https://www.instructables.com/class/3D-Printing-Class/
- Keychain tutorial (only do lesson 2): https://www.instructables.com/class/Easy-3D-Printing/
- Intermediate, detailed tutorial. Make a lamp (which we can’t actually make, but it’s a good project to help you learn) https://www.instructables.com/class/3D-Design-Class/
- Fidget spinner (I’ve made this. As a fidget spinner, it’s terrible, but it’s a fun project and you can customize it and make it less terrible if you choose to give it a shot): https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Design-a-Fidget-Spinner/
- Cinema 4D Lite – Great for animating 3D models and incorporating them into videos. If you’re interested in video animation, you want to explore here. Cinema 4D Lite is included in an Adobe program called After Effects, which is for adding visual effects to video. You already know Adobe applications, and with the limited feature set included in Cinema 4D Lite, this is also an easy way to get started.
- tutorials: http://www.vfxer.com/cinema-4d-lite-tutorials-for-after-effects-cc-users/
- animated logo tutorial: https://helpx.adobe.com/after-effects/how-to/sports-logo-maker-3d.html
- Cinema 4D – We can use a trial version of the full 4D program (**probably** This may need installation and assistance from our computer tech, which I can look into if you really want to use this program.) This offers more of a genuine, professional experience and will get you used to one of the programs used widely in the industry. Again, this one tends to be more for video animation than creating product models. Cinema 4D is used at Red River College for 3D video animation.
- Getting started tutorials: https://www.maxon.net/en/support/getting-started/
- More beginner tutorials: http://www.vfxer.com/cinema-4d-tutorials-for-the-beginner/
- Maya – THE professional design software. If you want to get into creating products and real 3D models, Maya is the program you want to use. Maya is widely used in the industry, and is used at Red River College. It’s also the most complicated program to learn and use. That having been said, my students have used this program for years, and after an initial learning curve, have come up with some pretty amazing models, so it is definitely possible for you to do well with it.
- There is also another program that is widely used, called Blender. It’s free software for everyone, and as with everything, you get what you pay for. Amazing things are possible with Blender, but the program tends to have the most problems and drawbacks. You are welcome to explore this option if you wish, but the program will need to be installed if you want it. This is the program that I know the least about.
- Blender for beginners: https://www.blender.org/support/tutorials/
The first step is to choose which program to explore, and that’s totally up to you and how serious you are about learning this stuff. You have to learn and create a good model in at least one of these programs, but the rest of the semester can be spent getting to know one program really well or dabbling with different ones. It’s up to you!
I will set you up with whichever program(s) you want, so just let me know and I’ll help you get started!