Why 3d?There are many reasons to learn 3d. For one it's very useful in production, and more effort can go into the design and proportions rather than drawing (while in 2d sketching you might find an awesome design in front view but realise it's a disaster when viewed from the side or above). I'm really bad at 3d, and every day i wish I knew more 3d so that I could do work related things even better and faster. But this discussion won't be about the usefulness of 3d as in the usefulness of 3d drawings, but rather how it's useful in order to improve your 2d work.
If you look through my gallery, you will mostly find lineart with simple colour or marker rendering. True rendering and painting is something i didn't start to experiment with until the last year or so. When I started drawing 3 years ago, I knew that I wanted to work with design, and so I geared all my efforts on learning design thinking rather than fancy rendering.However, as I started to learn about it in school, I realised that learning new skills like rendering started to improve my design thinking even more. Again, I wasn't interested in the fancy stuff, but the ideas of patterning and shape design that's so important in rendering was something I started to carry over and use even as I was just scribbling line sketches of designs in my sketchbook.
Last summer, I started to dabble with zbrush, and just as experiments with paint had made me learn thing about design and drawing, so did learning 3d teach me a lot about rendering and design. I started sculpting crabs from reference, and this is what I learned:
1. I started to think about just how shapes and forms flow into each other. It's so much easier to study in 3d, the relationships in proportion makes so much more sense when you can see how the shell of a crab is structured. You can even sometimes start to see lines of action, with small volume changes beginning in he shell building u towards the location of a leg. Or how the legs and claws are twisted and shape differently depending on from where you look at it to support different kind of movements and forces in different directions. Instead of drawing a large quantity of creatures in an evening, I spent several evenings just studying one single species. I can recommend you to try it out!
2. I learned how the same shapes are affected as you change the lighting, which helped me start to understand rendering. It helps to start understand when the light and shadow patterns should look for a form to be described correctly in value. I guess looking at real objects in real life work equally well, but when I did this as a study for the crab anatomy I felt like I started to get this 'for free'.
Study of a Ghost Crab. Crabs are pretty awesome. Never figured out how to render them out presentably though, but maybe in the future~
3d and MeSo if I find 3d so useful, why don't I use it more?
I would like to, but I never really learned the programs well enough to be able to transition fully into a 3d workflow. Back when i did my crabs, I had more free time, as I only had my day job as a carpenter then. Shortly after I started to also do some freelance in the evenings, and this year I have been doing as much work as I can while being in my chaotic state of finding a new home (I have an apartment that I will gain access to in September, but until then I have to couch surf pretty much). So I'm hoping to start learning 3d software again starting in September!
However, while I didn't learn 3d softwares well enough yet, I didn't give up on 3d. I just moved into traditional sculpting and modelling. I got myself some plastic clay, the kind that never dries or hardens, and I sculpted away! I use it to do form studies of stuff these days, which is why sketchbook studies have decreased a bit in quantity. I also made fantasy designs in clay, of my walrus people!
This guy above was based directly on the photo of the sculpt below to the left. The right sculpt is super cool/cute but I haven't got time to finish that one yet.
The latest real life 3d craze started just this friday. I'm visiting my dad, and was out walking in his neighbourhood when I saw 3d puzzles for sale in a window.
I popped in and bought myself a medium sized puzzle of the Notre Dame Cathedral. Wow, o fun to assemble, and it's to scale and proportion too! Can't wait until I get my apartment, because I'm going to buy and assemble buildings from around the world and keep in my bookshelves!
That's all I have to say about that, for now. Does anyone else have some fun 3d stuff they'd like to share? I mean, I thought 3d puzzles are really great, but there might be bigger and better stuff out there that I haven't discovered yet.
Thanks for reading, have a great couple of weeks!