When I started out with 3D art I didn’t know what I was doing. But I remember one night when I had just discovered Blender.
I sat down and learned how to extrude and do loop cuts. I was so afraid that I would destroy the ugly creations that I had just manage to make appear on the screen that after a while I barely dared to touch anything. Instead, I just orbited around my ugly object, which I thought resembled a pig at the time.
Sadly I have not been able to find the creation from this late night in my archives but it sure is a vivid memory in my mind.
From that time and until now I have gone through a whole range of tutorials, courses and other learning material. Some of them were less than ideal while others were totally outstanding.
The rest of this page is therefore dedicated to the resources and learning material that I have found helpful throughout my journey to becoming a 3D artist.
The first recommendation is a course called Creating 3D environments in Blender by Rob Tuytel. This is all about creating still image medieval or historical renders.
The course is made with Blender 2.79 and does not use the most effective methods if you ask me. But what it did teach me is that there are many ways to reach the same goal and the time and effort you put in is more important than the technique you use. An improved 2.80 update is also on its way.
Now I will also tell you that I currently work with Rob on the course and I have created some complementary material. I also answer questions on the course dashboard almost every day so if you sign up, you will have a direct channel to me answering your questions related to the course material. So, I’m not totally unbiased on that one, that’s for sure.
This is a course that I am going through right now, and it has grown into one of my absolute favorites. The structure of this course is fantastic and very high quality. Architectural visualization is also the best part about 3D if you ask me. It is just so much fun!
This course is not just “x number of videos to watch”. It is laid out very thoughtfully using both text, video and links to assets readily available. A very beautiful experience over all. Highly recommended.
The next one is called Complete Blender Creator: Learn 3D Modelling for Beginners. While the Creating 3D environments in Blender course above is somewhat geared towards beginners, I would say that this is a better choice if you are a complete beginner. It is made by the team at gamedev.tv and that means that this one is also more geared towards game development.
They put a lot of emphasis on organizing your projects and working in a structured way. From this course I learned about using version control through git for 3D art projects, and that has been a really neat thing to be mindful about among other things that this course offers. Very high quality for beginners. It is also mostly updated for Blender 2.80 already.
With the subheading “11 hacks you’ve probably never tried” I was first a bit skeptical since hacks would kind of contradict the main title of the course. However, I got this because it was the first product by Gleb Alexandrov and I have been following his content closely, so I wanted to support him as soon as I got the chance.
It turned out to be a really cool course with some hacks that can make dull renders look nice by using one of the tricks from this course. I would not say that it is realistic though since most of the content is more like artistic effects than realistic. Since this course Gleb has teamed up with Aidy Burrows from CGMasters and together they have made both a Space VFX course and a hard surface modeling course. None of which I have tried but both have received very good ratings and my guess is that those courses are very high quality if you are interested in the subjects.
There is also a free hdri lighting course released by Gleb that is definitely worth your time.
A course for people already familiar with Blender that covers point density in detail and gives examples of some very cool effects that you can create. The course is made in Blender 2.7x but the concepts can easily be used in 2.8x if you have some experience. Gottfried Hofmann from Blenderdiplom.com who is the creator runs through everything you need to know about point density and to render cool volumetric effects with it.
The next recommendation on my list is a little outdated but a very good course if you like the style. It is called Fantasy cliff tower. It is a playful fantasy style course with some different and unique techniques. It is made by p2design and if you like the style he also has newer courses that I have not tried. Like the Chrimson Ronin course that focus on game character design and uses a combination of Zbrush and Blender.
Last but not least is the Blender cloud subscription. First of all, the blender cloud supports Blender development directly so it is a very good way to support Blender and get something back at the same time.
I have certainly not gone through all the content in this subscription. There is quite a lot. The once that I have found to be most interesting are those related to motion graphics, camera tracking and rigging. Those topics that might not be the first that come to mind when we think about Blender.
Affinity suite courses
Next up is the affinity suite. Sometimes labeled as the creative cloud killer. I have really fell in love with these programs and I use them for everything from editing wedding photos to post-processing renders and creating info graphics and some design elements on this site.
For Affinity photo, I would recommend this course for anyone who want to get into it. Affinity photo beginner to pro via reference and workflow. It is built up in two parts. One part where workflows are covered without diving too deep into each individual tool. It is more of a step by step procedure.
Then there is a reference section where you can go and look up a short video on any of the tools that are used. A super handy way of laying out a course so that it is useful for a long time and for most people. I still come back to this from time to time, skimming through both the workflow and reference section.
For Affinity designer, I would say that there are two different routes, depending on if you are new to vector art or if you have a background in another vector program, like illustrator. For those that feel more like beginners, I would go with this course.
I will be honest, I have not watched through all the material in this course, but this is where I started. It is a ton here and in an evening I had most of the basics under my belt just by looking at chunks of this and skipping parts where I felt that I had understood the core concepts of.
After that I found this gem on YouTube so for anyone who already have some core knowledge of a vector art program. This is where I would go.
I have not found any good courses for affinity publisher yet, but I am not sure that you need one if you already know designer and photo. The place I have gone to is this Affinity publisher playlist on YouTube. It is a list of shorter videos from the Design Art Studio channel. There is no narration, only background music, but you see clearly what is happening on the screen and you can follow along easily if you know some designer and photo.