Creating 3D models(And some life story)

FishDesktop2(Click picture for wallpaper!)
I got really inspired watching time-lapse videos of people creating 3D assets so I decided to model, rig and texture a 3D model for real, i.e. extruding, cutting, welding, UV mapping by hand and carefully skinning the model. This is my first real attempt at creating a 3D model.

First off, here is the final product(Pretty underwhelming!):

I know it’s kind of ugly, the animation is especially robotic-looking since I just rushed it, but for a first real attempt I think it worked out pretty nice and I hope to develop this skill further in the future.

Background:
3D graphics was probably what really got me interested in computers; when I first booted up a demo of Cinema 4D when I was like 10, everything seemed much more accessible than I thought it would be. Becoming a 3D artist quickly became a dream of mine, I would learn to code Visual Basic on the side, but that was just a little hobby.

When I turned 16 we were doing a project in school where we had to do a presentation on what our plans were for when we graduated. I wanted to attend a 3D modeling school I had heard about several years prior, but in researching this school I realized how incredibly expensive it was, so my dream came a bit undone. Luckily programming had slowly become a lot more interesting to me.

Meanwhile I was experimenting with music, specifically rap music… Music became a really large part of my life, I spent all of my free time producing beats and writing lyrics and when I was about 18 I took a class in sound production for a year. But when it finally dawned on me that being a musician isn’t exactly a lucrative profession and that it wasn’t really a industry I wanted to be a part of(I fucking hate what goes for music today), I started pondering my options and I realized that programming had been the one thing I never got tired of(I was already getting tired of mixing tracks upon tracks of audio) and now at age 23 I am studying for a bachelors degree in computer science and I am currently spending my free time brushing up on 3D modeling and never finishing games.

Youtube, use it!
I can’t even explain how valuable watching youtube videos have been. I have learned everything I know about modeling from watching time-lapses. It’s too fast to really understand the details of what people are doing, but you learn the different work flows people have, it’s so extremely helpful! I really recommend watching youtube time-lapses if you want to learn how to draw or create 3D assets. This was the first thing I ever drew on a tablet, and I do NOT draw very often(last time was like in kindergarten) and I did everything purely based on what I’d seen people do on youtube:

FlyingSquirrel

A flying fucking squirrel being all cute and shit. Drew it about a year ago.

The actual damn 3D model this article was supposed to be about:

FishModel

So this is the end result, really jaggy and stuff. I’ve not subdivided it yet.

FishTex2

This is the UV map. It is drawn with a mouse so it’s not that great, but it’s definitely my best so far. I can’t wait to make one with a tablet(I borrow my girlfriends Wacom Intuos4 Large that I gave her as a birthday present).
Seperating the eye from the rest of the model was probably a really bad idea for this exact model, there is some serious visible seams going on as a result.

FishGrid

This is the polygon grid. It really displays all the flaws I made along the way, but it’s really low-poly! I did this really shitty thing were the entire model is made of quads but then I have these goddamn triangles on the upper lip thing, not good!

FishSubdivided

And finally the subdivided version. The inner teeth in the bottom jaw don’t look that nice, I should probably have made the bottom “lip” extend a bit.
I recently learned about Bezier curves and subdivision for a graphics course, it all seems so simple now that I know what’s going on under the hood and it’s not just “makesmoothsurfacesupermagicfuntime”.

Fish2

Here I’ve fixed the UV map up a bit by using a checkerboard technique I noticed someone using in a time-lapse video. I can then make the UV map more uniform. I also updated the eyes a bit.
I’m testing the skinning and the lower jaw joint is working perfectly, stretching it this much still doesn’t look weird which is beyond my expectations.

Write in the comments if you’re interested in a tutorial. It would probably be easier to watch some youtubes with somebody who knows what he/she’s doing, but I’d love to do it if someone wants it.

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