Chapter 6
   is is the nal part of the book, where we wrap up
everything we have learned and give some sage advice to young,
aspiring 3D artists. I assume now you must be an accomplished modeler,
rendering guru, and animation master, right?
If only it were that easy. My point here, at the end of the book, is that
you will have become none of those things by reading through this book
and doing the contained exercises. You should, however, have a very solid
foundational and conceptual knowledge of how basic 3D graphics work,
and how to approach certain tasks with certain tools in any 3D soware
package. Modeling, rendering, and animation are the three key disciplines
in 3D graphics, and now you know the important aspects of each and how
to go about reasonably creating content. Many aspiring 3D artists ask me
questions about what they should do and how they should go about get-
ting a job or furthering their knowledge in 3D art, and I always have the
same advice. Find out what you are good at, and specialize in that. Not
many people out there are good at modeling, lighting, material editing,
UV texturing, and animation. People have specic skills in specic areas
(or at least a pressing interest), and when they pursue that aspect over oth-
ers they oen excel more in it. You do need to learn how everything works,
though, which is the purpose of this book. If you do not know anything
about geometry you can never be a good texture artist, and if you do not
know animation you will not be able to model properly because you will
not see the object or character in motion—you will always see it as a static
model. When you know how everything works, you become much better
at your special area of expertise. So pick an area in which you would like
216 Essential Skills for 3D Modeling, Rendering, and Animation
to specialize and focus on taking your learning in that direction. ere
is so much room to learn, grow, and even innovate in the broader eld of
computer graphics that you can pursue one aspect of it for a decade and
not really scratch the surface. I have been working with 3D graphics in one
capacity or another since 1996, and there are aspects of it I have never used
at all. It is a big eld, and narrowing down what you really want to do early
is a great way to get good at it without clogging up your brain with aspects
that are not that important, like cloth simulation, facial animation, uid
eects, or subsurface scattering. e three cornerstones of 3D, however,
are modeling, rendering, and animation, as described in this book, and if
you have these under your belt as foundational knowledge, then I am sure
you can learn the rest when and if the time comes. Good luck on your path
to becoming a great 3D artist!
FIGURE 2.5 Minnow Pete, modeled by the author.
FIGURE 2.6 A lower polygon, triangulated version of Minnow Pete.
FIGURE 2.58 Original, low- poly models by author.
FIGURE 2.59 Same models aer smoothing. e angular edges are gone, but the
polygon count has almost tripled! Always strive to use the least polygons possible
when modeling.
FIGURE 4.3 Real- time rendering of a game in development by the author.
FIGURE 4.4 Soware rendering. Notice the high quality of this render. It could
never be achieved at 60 frames per second (fps) with todays hardware.
FIGURE 4.24 e eects of using colored lights are very noticeable. Use it sparingly.
FIGURE 4.37 e sphere on the le has a specular or “shiny” shader, while the
sphere on the right has a non- specular shader.

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