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To 3D Or Not To 3D;
what can I do with 3D? Digital Graphics;
exactly what is CGI? Tools &
Equipment; what hardware do I require for 3D? Endless Apps;
which platform do I choose for my 3D work? Best Fit;
what personality type am I; Builder, Painter, or Producer? Build It Or Buy It;
should I make it myself or pay someone else for it? Piecemeal Or
Publication; should I research the subject or purchase
tutorials? Honesty Is Not The
Best Policy; OUCH! How will I live with myself? Low-Key, High Alert;
Eyes Open, Mouth Shut! Ask For Every Penny
It's Worth? Overpricing seems to be the trend. You Can Do It All
Yourself! Or can you?
SIMPLE STEPS TO 3D SUCCESS: Tips to help you be successful in 3D and CGI
Copyright (c) 2014, Winterbrose Arts & Graphics. All
document contains original copyrighted material developed exclusively
for Winterbrose Arts & Graphics. You may not modify,
claim authorship to any portion of this document. However,
colorful 20-page illustrated PDF version is available free upon request
using this link: http://eepurl.com/gdNjtf
Table of Contents
* To 3D Or Not To 3D; What can I do with 3D?
* Digital Graphics; Exactly what is CGI?
* Tools & Equipment; What hardware do I require for
* Endless Apps; Which platform do I choose for my 3D work?
* Best Fit; What personality type am I; Builder, Painter, or
* Build It Or Buy It; Should I make it myself or pay someone
else for it?
* Piecemeal Or Publication; Should I research the subject or
* Honesty Is Not The Best Policy; OUCH! How will I
live with myself?
* Low-Key, High Alert; Eyes Open, Mouth Shut!
* Ask For Every Penny It's Worth? Overpricing seems to be the
* You Can Do It All Yourself! Or can you?
So, the idea of all this 3D stuff has you wondering if there is
anything you can do in 3D. Today 3D and computer graphics are
used in many of the great films (not just animations) to bring movies
to the big screen like never before. Not to mention those
console games and online gaming. With 3D it seems that if you
imagine it, then it can be created (at least in the virtual world of
- If you want to explore the possibilities of 3D for yourself,
then you will need to become familiar with what 3D can do for you and
decide if and how to become the next great 3D Artist. Or you
discover that your role is more behind the scenes, after all, no one
person can do it all. Or can they?
- You will find information
in this guide to help get you started by introducing much of the
general information and questions that most people think about before
beginning their own 3D quest.
- Our goal is to encourage each and
everyone who reads this to enter some field in the 3D
Why not? You would not be reading this if you didn't have an
inkling of interest in this stuff.
- We believe that 3D is one of
those achievements of mankind that is a positive thing. We
present information as straight-forward and truthfully as possible, so
don't take it the wrong way or start feeling intimidated by the subject
matter. At no time are we presenting information to influence
person not to explore and choose some aspect of 3D to get involved in.
- Never doubt yourself!
Please remember that like any other interest (hobby or professional),
you may find that 3D is just not for you, or perhaps you are not suited
for 3D. If you do decide to move forward in 3D or CGI, the
advice I can give you is to never doubt yourself regardless of what
obstacles you encounter or what others may say. Press on
continuing to learn and gain experience until you have reached success.
To 3D Or Not To 3D; What can I do with 3D?
In the beginning, you may not realize how many different things you can
do using 3D applications. Generally speaking, what you can do
with 3D can be classified as either "Artwork" or "Animation".
layman's terms, if it is static and doesn't move then it is
artwork. If it is dynamic and moves (changes) in real-time on
computer or some form of projection screen then it is an animation.
By far, the volume of artwork outweighs the number of
This is do in part to the complexity of creating animations which
requires all the skills of producing artwork and much, much more.
There are many things in your daily lives that you may not even realize
were created directly with 3D or in some form of 3D production
facility. Artwork includes (but is not limited to) comics,
fantasy art, posters, book covers, advertisements, web graphics and
more. Just watch those television commercials closely or take
note of those ads when flipping through your favorite
Without a doubt, you will find something either created entirely with
3D applications or that uses components that were created with 3D and
modified as needed for publication.
- We haven't even touched the
surface. What about all those awesome computer and video
that look so scarily realistic? Games are very popular,
especially with the younger crowds. Just remember, creating
stuff for games has no age limits!
Digital Graphics; Exactly what is CGI?
When it comes to 3D graphics, "CGI" stands for computer generated
imagery. If you happen to do an internet search, you will
that "cgi" is also a term used in web programming. Please be
careful not to confuse the two abbreviations.
- Using 3D
applications, you can create virtual worlds where anything can
happen. The uses of CGI include artwork like landscapes,
architecture and games or animations for training, simulations and
visualizations, and the list goes on.
- To better understand CGI, we recommend that you visit the Wikipedia
link: Computer-Generated Imagery http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer-generated_imagery
You will often find the acronym "CG" used in the 3D industry in place
of "CGI". We are not sure how or when it all started, but
most 3D related issues are usually referring to imagery of some sort,
the "I" seems to be unnecessary. This may be why the industry
shortened it to just "CG".
Tools & Equipment; What hardware do I require for 3D?
Regardless of whether you're a PC or MAC user, the system configuration
and operating system version you use may determine which software and
content is available for you to use. You might even find
in a situation of changing from one O/S to the other, or using both
PC's / MAC's together to reach your goals.
- Just like in real life,
the more powerful your tools are, the more productive you can
Just think how much more gets done because of cordless drills, nail
guns and electric saws than if we were only using hand-powered tools
like the hammer.
- This doesn't mean you have to go out and buy the
latest computer system and operating system available to get
started. It just means that once you start to figure out what
how you will use 3D, you will understand that your need to upgrade your
computing system may come much more often than anticipated.
- One of
the unfortunate downsides to any computer-based industry is that to
stay on the forefront of advancements in technology and applications
will usually come at a significantly higher price. However,
you have gained some experience and are an established artist, you will
find that more powerful hardware will make you more productive and
hopefully much more profitable.
- Still not convinced that keeping
your computer hardware and operating system up-to-date will eventually
become a necessity? Think about this: You wouldn't
the family van to compete in a NASCAR race. However, since
may not be able to afford that pimped out high-powered car yet, you may
use the van until you can prove to someone that you are a great driver
and can win future races.
- You should stick with the type of
computer (PC or MAC) that you are comfortable with and enjoy
using. Just be aware that each of these systems is built
different hardware and your creations may not always work across both
Endless Apps; Which platform do I choose for my 3D work?
There is such a wide variety of 3D applications that it can become
overwhelming trying to decide where to start. Of course, if
are a student or employee then you will have to choose from the line of
products being used in your class or job. Many people start
using what their friends, family or associates use. This
an instant support network for you as you learn. It will be a
good idea to make a sincere attempt to resolve problems on your own
before engaging your supporters. In most cases, it is a good
of thumb is to ask last.
- In the world of 3D, the price and of a
product is not necessarily directly related to the quality or
professional capabilities of that product. You will find that
there are many professional-level applications and products that are
available for absolutely free. The only way to know is to
research it beforehand or just experience it yourself.
- You will
find that 3D applications like many other industry-based products range
across a spectrum from Low-end to Mid-Level to High-end. As a
general rule, the price of a 3D application relates to the level of its
use in the industry overall. Just be aware that this is just
basic guideline and that each 3D product would have to be individually
rated on its own merits and specifications. If one attempted
apply dollar amounts to this spectrum, they might look something like
this for the year 2014 in US Dollars (USD):
Low-end 3D Products
Mid-level 3D Products
High-end 3D Products
The guidelines above do not relate to other 3D products like models and
textures. These prices for these product types range so
drastically that they fall into some sort of supply and demand model
which is usually dictated by the manufacturer or vendor selling them.
Remember that free is always good, but free things may come at a cost
later. And also that paying more doesn't necessarily make a
product better for you.
- For the absolute beginner, we suggest that you start with one of the
Sculpting and Modeling
Sculptris Alpha 6 (FREE)
- With DAZ Studio you will be able to
create digital artwork and animations right away with its wide variety
of included characters, props and accessories. With Sculptris
Alpha 6 you will be able to enjoy the fun of sculpting and modeling 3D
meshes with an excellent range of tools that are powerful yet very easy
- Here is a sampling of other 3D applications available to you:
Blender (FREE), Poser, Vue, Lightwave, Silo, Zbrush, Modo,
Sketchup, Maya, Hexagon, Carrara, Bryce, and more...
Each 3D modeling application will have different features and
layouts. If you simply cannot afford any new software right
take a peek at this blog:
25 Free 3D Modeling Apps
- At some point, you will need a good “paint” program. Here
is a sampling of Paint programs available to you:
The GIMP (FREE), Project Dogwaffle, Photoshop, Paint Shop PRO
On a final note: if you are new to 3D then when starting out you will
undoubtedly value the user-friendliness of a product more than the
range of features it offers.
* NOTICE *
does not recommend any one particular product and must warn you that
downloading or installing any product is completely at your own
risk. We highly recommend the use of anti-virus/anti-spam
software as well as ensuring that your operating system (Windows or
Mac) has the latest updates/patches.
Best Fit; What personality type am I; Builder, Painter, or Producer?
There are basically two main categories of digital artists in the realm
of 3D; Content Creators and Content Users. In basic terms,
Creators create all the stuff needed for 3D apps to be useful like
characters, clothing and weapons, whilst Users use all of these items
to make digital artwork and animations.
- CONTENT CREATORS: If
you are the sort of person who likes to "make" things from the ground
up as it were, then you are likely to become a Content
These people do all the mesh modeling/rigging or design the
material/texture graphics needed for virtual worlds. Don't
this discourage you if you also feel that you have the artistic talents
to create scenes and animations as well. People who become
Content Creators are also the biggest Content Users in almost any niche
of the 3D industry.
- CONTENT USERS: If you just don't have
the patience or attention to detail to create all the resources used in
3D apps, you may find that you can still excel as a digital artist in
the 3D industry. These people create static scenes that range
from Fantasy Art to Commercial Advertising. If you are more
producer/director type of person, you may find that creating animation
shorts or even full length movies is where you excel. In
any industry in the modern world, there are far more "users" of
products than there are "makers" of those products.
- Most artists become Content Users rather than Content Creators.
- No matter what category best fits your personality/talents, you can
still have fun!
Build It Or Buy It; Should I make it myself or pay someone
else for it?
Most CGI Artists will start out their careers either purchasing
products to create their artwork or by downloading some of the freely
available quality products which many experienced artists have
gracefully made available to help us all.
- As you develop your
skill set, you will find that you are drawn to and have more interest
in some aspects of the 3D industry than others. This is not a
thing it’s just that there are so many facets to 3D that it is nearly
impossible to become an expert in all of them.
- Artwork and
Animations: For most people, this is where their comfort zone
is. And because of this, you will usually procure or purchase
the items needed to create your digital art or animations from other
sources. On the road to your success you find that the
relationship between price and performance do now always work in your
favor. Just be sure to abide by any licensing requirements
items you get for free.
- Modeling Figures and Props: If you
decide that you are the do it yourself type and just love to work with
models at the mesh level, then you will find that even though you are
making it yourself that you will still have to buy things like the
software tools and perhaps training to fully develop your skill set to
become successful as modeler. This does not mean that you
start out with "free" products; it just means that at some juncture in
your professional development, you will need to buy something.
Creating Textures and Shaders: Oh the joy of texturing and
shaders! These are what gives the character, clothing or prop
"realistic" look or feel so often desired. It takes a lot of
experience and the right kind of tools to create awesome textures and
shaders. This is something you must have an eye for to be
successful. In fact, many artists who become modelers will
buy or license sets to include with their products, or even pay an
expert in this field to create custom textures for the model.
Piecemeal Or Publication: Should I research the subject or
Even though we would love to say "buy tutorials" because we sell
tutorials on a wide variety of subjects relating to 3D and digital
graphics, we firmly believe that each individual should pursue whatever
course of action fits their budget and available time. Using
Internet or your local library you can find information on about any
subject that you want to learn, but more often than not you will spend
countless hours, days and even months trying to find enough information
to fully develop almost any 3D skill. You can also research
forums, blogs and freebie sites, but eventually you may need to
purchase a commercially available tutorial.
- Most tutorials today
are either the standard readable PDF format or in WMV/MP4 video
format. While the written PDF's can take longer to read, you
go at your own pace and easily and quickly find information or
reference techniques when needed later. Videos are great
you can watch and see exactly what to do, but they are very hard to
reference back to because they almost never include any practical
indexing. In either case, look for tutorials containing good
illustrations and step-by-step instruction for technical procedures.
When time means money, purchases are an investment that can pay for
themselves! But if you have plenty of time and limited money,
then start with researching as much as possible!
- When other
artists are developing good tutorials, it often can take weeks, months
and sometimes even longer to cover the subject thoroughly.
you can decide exactly how much your time is worth. For
let's say that at your level of development you decide that you are
worth $15 per hour. If you are researching a complex subject
"morphing", then you will quickly find that you can spend countless
hours just wading through all the search results you
comparison, you can see that forking out $50-$100 for well-written
tutorials or properly developed videos by reputable artists can easily
pay for itself in the time you just saved. Not to mention
most will cover almost everything you need to know and you just need to
complete the hands-on to develop your experience level.
- If you
must buy, then get everything which might contain the information,
training or insights directly related to whatever skill you are
currently developing. You just do not know where that one
nugget of information will be that will take you over the edge from
amateur to professional or from pro to expert!
Honesty Is Not The Best Policy: OUCH! How will I
live with myself?
The sad fact is that to succeed today, the people who will impact your
career must first like you. Of course you need to get
and develop professional skills, but if you are not liked then they are
less likely to hire you or promote your work.
- If you must speak, tell the truth! Otherwise, keep it to
It would be great if objective criticism were the order of the day
every day, and you didn't have to worry about pleasing other
people. But in order for your career to survive, you must
how to speak "nicely", or learn how to keep it to yourself when you
know what you are about to say will be hurtful. If you are
to provide a truthful response to an inquiry, then take into
consideration the personality of the requestor. If you must
something controversial, then think long and hard on a way to respond
with a non-threatening answer. You might even consult someone
can trust beforehand.
- In this industry like many others, you
cannot afford to be "boldly" honest until you have fully succeeded and
are a recognized name among your fellow artists. Does this
pathetic and saddening? Well it should, but believe me when I
tell you that I have learned that many artists are so full of
themselves that your criticism of any fault of theirs can get you a
life sentence on their "F" list.
- Just remember that "honesty is
the best policy", but telling it like it really is may be detrimental
to a successful career in 3D or just about any other business.
Low-Key, High Alert: Eyes Open, Mouth Shut!
When starting out in the industry, you should get involved in as many
blogs, forums and chat rooms as time permits to get a general felling
of what other artists are involved in and also to "feel" out the
personalities of fellow artists. Get actively involved in the
conversations and messages, but keep your opinions as neutral as
possible or even to yourself. Bluntly speaking, when it comes
how you feel about something, the point is to keep your mouth shut and
your ears open.
- At times, what you read and hear will be a rude
awakening. At others, it will help you to discover that other
artists go through the same kind of road blocks as you do.
may find that other artists will have a discussion with you via
"private messaging" (PM) and tell you things they wouldn't say in the
public arena of the forums or chat rooms. That alone is the
tell-tale indicator on keeping certain things to yourself and not
speaking publicly about how you really may feel.
- Never forget, you are competing against fellow artists with the same
Be cautious of other artists, after all these people are or may someday
be your competition; vying for the same customer dollars as you hope to
put in your pocket. It would be awesome if you could
trust every one of them, but this is most certainly not the
If someone is out to tarnish your name, you may not even hear about
it. Be watchful of what you say and careful of whom you trust.
If you do connect with someone who seems sincerely interested in
helping guide your career, then try to build rapport with
In all cases, you should let those with more experience mentor you or
share information with you if they are willing. By doing
you may gain more insight into the 3D community than you could possibly
learn on your own.
Ask For Every Penny It's Worth? Overpricing seems to be the
If you do decide to enter the 3D field and will be creating products or
services, the best way to gauge what you should be charging for your
works is to search the internet for similar products and see what the
value on the market currently is. Just be sure to be
prices with products that have the same target group of
customers. For instance, if you decide to create 3D models
Poser then you do not want to be comparing prices for Lightwave or Maya
models; instead you should be comparing to similar Poser models.
Don't be surprised if you discover that what you thought your new
product might be worth is either much higher or much lower than
expected. In almost every case, the “value” of your product
depend on the quality of workmanship. Be sure to allocate
into your project workflow to test your product during
development. Do not wait until the end to find out there are
problems. No customer will ever buy from you again if you
products with unacceptable flaws into the marketplace. A good
rule of thumb is to check, recheck and then check again.
- When it
comes to 3D products, the market is very fluid and
If you check out similar products in the marketplace and still need to
determine what price point you should use, you may have to start out
with a price higher than originally planned to see if the market will
bear it, but you can always lower the price later. If you
with too low of a price then customers won’t much appreciate it when
you raise it later, however you may be overwhelmed with initial sales
which make up the difference.
- Strive to price your products competitively with similar products.
Strive to always price your products competitively with like
products. If all else fails, then price the product slightly
lower if you can sell directly to your customers and price it slightly
higher if you must give up a commission to the vendor or broker.
You Can Do It All Yourself! Or can you?
Like all new artists you are probably full of excitement and ready to
take on any challenge. After all, this 3D stuff looks so cool
you just can't wait to do it all! The reality of it is that
very many (and by that I mean a rare few) can actually grasps all the
concepts and techniques for 3D from beginning to end and do it all.
You will have to become truly aware of your strengths and your
weaknesses. Let's say for instance that you choose to be a
modeler. After you create the awesome new character and get
the texturing and rigging just perfect, you will still need to pitch it
to a vendor or sell it yourself online. And for that, you
need some good promotional images (often just called promos).
- In the beginning, we all need outside help.
All of a sudden you need to know backgrounds, environments, lighting,
camera angles, and you stop dead in your tracks because up to now you
have not learned anything in these areas. But that's OK, you
to get your new product to market before someone else makes a competing
product. Go ahead and hire another artist who is experienced
willing to do some freelance promo work.
- Once you have gained
enough experience, then for the most part you will do all the
development of descriptions and promos yourself. The goal of
good description and impressive promos is that if you can "sell" the
product to the initial review team for the vendor you have chosen, or
you cab "wow" your customers enough to lay out the money and buy it
from you. If the vendor requests some minor revisions or
adjustments to your promotional items, then do as they ask.
the beginning at least they will have much more marketing experience
than you do and what they ask for is usually best for successfully
selling your product.
* CONCLUSION *
conclusion we would just like to leave you with these final words of
advice: "Never give up on your dream and never compromise
values to reach success!"
If you have any questions, concerns or
just need an opinion or support, please feel free to contact us and
we'll try to help or guide you in the right direction.