I never realized this until I got into creating CGI with Blender, but there’s an entire segment of the industry dedicated to creating photo-realistic images for use in sales catalogs and websites. If you look at some of the big names (Ikea comes to mind), chances are pretty good the vast majority of the product images you see are actually 3D renders and not photographs.
Not me. Anyway, after toying around with it for a while, I’ve come to realize that as much as I enjoy sculpting, animating, and organics, hard-surface modelling is what makes me most happy.
So I modeled my desk.
Everything you see was modeled in Blender and rendered in Cycles. It’s pretty cool what you can produce with a few simple tools and a little determination. For perspective, this is what the final image looks like without materials (colors and textures) and lighting.
Not much to it, right?
Well, there’s more to it than you think. Hard-surface modeling is very technical in nature. Your goal is to create something that looks “real”, and one of the keys to that is working out all of the math. Everything in that image, for example, is scaled to real world size, right down to the millimeter. Proper scaling is important otherwise the eye picks up that something is wrong, especially when you have two separate objects in the same scene. And there isn’t a banana to use for scale anywhere in sight!
It gets you to thinking. How tall is a tree, really? How high up is your average doorknob? How many degrees should the window blinds be open to let in just the right amount of light? How many degrees of blue should I use to get the right reflections?
Fascinating stuff, right?
Well, to me it is. Building the actual models is only about 25% of the total workload. And modeling these objects took a couple of hours. After that, there are materials to construct, lighting to coordinate, and post-processing to apply. It’s a lot of work but also a lot of fun.
I wish I learned about this stuff sooner. Might have taken me down another interesting career path. For now, I’m enjoying the learning process and seeing what I can build.
Speaking of which, I decided to join Grant Abbitt’s Discord (Gabbitt3D). If you don’t know who he is, Grant is an amazing CGI instructor who runs a channel on YouTube. If you’re into creating 3D art, specifically in Blender, I highly recommend checking it out.
One of the many cool things about his discord is that they run monthly, weekly, and even daily art competitions. This is the result of the first one I participated in:
The theme was “Magic Book” and it’s still going on if you happen to be into things like this. While this isn’t exactly the style of CGI I’m interested in mastering, it was a great learning experience. Which is the point of these competitions, so that worked out nicely. There are also a ton of extremely talented artists there, plenty of learning opportunities and people to be inspired by. Check it out if you’re into Discord.
That’s it for now. Keep you posted as things come along. As always, you can check out my latest art updates on my Art Station page, Instagram, and occasionally Twitter. Not everything I produce ends up here, so be sure to have a look on those pages, as well.
Stay well! And wash your hands…