100 Days of Blender
hat's right - I'm committing to 100 days of learning Blender.
For full transparency, I've been learning Blender for well over a year now. So, I'm not completely new to the platform. However, I'm also not a professional by any means. I've completed a lot of the tutorials most Blender newbies have done and have also created my own models (some are even used in production today at work). Despite my ability to create, I still feel like I'm missing so much foundational information. Applying materials is shaky, lighting is laughable, and don't even get me started on animation. My Blender knowledge base is just a mash up of random moments of learning how to use the platform.
But that stops today. I need to get serious if I want to add 3D artist under my belt.
And it's not that I want to go make a career out of 3D modeling. I think it's a pretty cool profession but I don't feel that I have the creative chops to do it fulltime. Rather, there's various projects (both personal and professional) that I have in my backlog and I'd ideally like to contribute to those projects with my own models. Thus, it's time to get serious about learning Blender. While I may not become a pro, I want to know enough to be dangerous.
After reviewing various blog posts and videos about learning the art of 3D modeling, I've developed a strategy that I feel would work best for how I learn.
For each of the 100 days, I need to spend time reviewing a video or post that's focused on a fundamental. The fundamental could be anything! But regardless, I need to dedicate time learning at least 1 fundamental a day. In addition to that, I need to both take notes about the fundamental and also blog about it here on my site. I do best when I'm forced to reiterate something that I've learned. It helps a lot with knowledge retention.
Modeling (Days 1- 26)
This section focuses on the simple art of creating a model. My challenge in the past is that I've been too gung-ho on creating elaborate complex renders. And you know what happens? I get overwhelmed and eventually I just give up altogether. I need to get past that, start small, and build some repetition along the way. This will be helpful given that I keep forgetting shortcuts and I'd like to get to a place where I can recall shortcuts from memory. Not to mention, I want to be more intentional about how I approach modeling an object. I love watching process videos and I learn a lot about deciding on an approach based on how other artists create their models.
On odd days, I'll follow a tutorial and create whatever is being demonstrated in the video. On even days, I'll create my own model.
Materials (Days 27 - 50)
This section focuses on applying materials to models. Ya'll, I am not friends with applying materials. While I can do basic materials just fine, I start to get twisted up when I gotta involve the Shader Graph or worse - unwrapping UVs. I can't begin to tell you how many times I've watched videos on materials. However, it's time that I overcome this challenge once and for all.
On odd days, I'll follow a tutorial and apply the material to whatever is being demonstrated in the video. On even days, I'll apply materials to one of the models that I create during the Modeling phase from above.
Lighting (Days 51 - 56)
This section focuses on applying lights to rendered scenes. I don't want to spend too much time on this section given that the models I'm creating will primarily be imported into Unity and thus doing a Blender render won't be as relevant. However, I also suck at lighting in Unity haha - so it's cool to learn some lighting techniques now in Blender and cross-apply that in Unity when the time is right. Not to mention, how else am I gonna get sweet Blender renders for Instagram?
On odd days, I'll follow a tutorial and apply lighting to whatever is being demonstrated in the video. On even days, I'll create my own simple scenes leveraging the models I create from days 1-50 and apply lighting for a render.
Character Design (Days 57 - 70)
I've created a few characters in the past but none as robust as I'd prefer them to be. While I don't want to go for super-realistic looking characters, I want to be somewhere in the lowpoly/stylized range with sufficient detail. Adding detail is usually where I tend to fall short. However, it's time to start giving my characters nose, mouth, and eye details!
On odd days, I'll follow a tutorial and create the character that's being demonstrated in the video. On even days, I'll create my own character.
Animation (Days 55 - 72)
Ah, the bane of my existence. Ya'll, I really wanna get good at animating models. I've done some animations in the past but I was truly just clicking buttons. I need to know how to rig characters and animate on a deeper level.
On odd days, I'll follow a tutorial and create the animation that's being demonstrated in the video. On even days, I'll animate one of my existing models.
Explore Additional Topics & Create More Models (Days 73 - 100)
I want to spend my final days of this journey exploring any additional topics which may be relevant for my Blender journey (ex: topology best practices, preparing models for Unity import, etc.). Although the above outlined my primary focus areas, I suspect there will be additional topics which may pique my interest.
On odd days, I'll follow a tutorial for one of the additional topics. On even days, I'll create anything my heart desires.
All in all, I think this is a pretty solid plan. I thought that maybe I would be too in over my head to commit to this. However, last night I had an epiphany - I'm literally 539 days strong on Duolingo (and that's a far longer time than 100 days). And despite what life throws my way, I still make time for committing to Duolingo. Therefore, I don't see why committing to this Blender journey should be any different.
Wish me all the luck and check out my blog for all updates!
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