Applying Skills from a Tutorial to a Completely New Project - Where the Magic Really Happens
Once in a while a question from a Digital-Tutors member will come across our desks that goes something like: “I've gone through the automotive modeling training and I'm pretty happy with the way my Mustang came out, but I really need to build a pickup truck for my school project. Would you please do a course on modeling pickup trucks?”
Our response to this question is the process of building a particular car, let's say the Mustang in 3DS Max, will be much the same for any number of other vehicles. Setting up your reference images are the same. Creating contoured panels with hard edges will be necessary for both. The process for building wheels and tires will be the same too. For the most part, the differences will be in the placement of the edges and how the panels flow together.
Even so, if you’re a beginner to modeling you may experience hesitation before applying the new skills you’ve learned to your own projects. Have confidence! If you've gone through the process of building the Mustang or the R8 and you feel good about your results, then guess what? You can also build a Mercedes, And a Corvette. Oh, and a Jeep too.
Generally, the tools and techniques you use to build one car will apply equally to other vehicles as well. Will there be certain contours and pieces of geometry that are specific to that project? Of course, and those pieces may require a little more troubleshooting, but your new skills will enable you to forge ahead with the confidence knowing what worked for you before will work for you again.
And this isn’t just about modeling cars. Think about any video tutorial you go through. The chances are whatever projects are built in those courses are not going to be exactly what you need to create., but the end result isn’t “the thing.” The magic really happens when you process and internalize the concepts, tools and steps used in one project and then apply those to your own work to create something unique.
At that point, you’re modeling with your own workflow, with the tools you like, and using the steps that work for you--magic.
Here are a few tips to help you make that leap in applying tools and techniques to your own projects:
Create a Parallel Project
As you go through a tutorial, complete the steps using a different design. You’ll find that many of the steps will be the same and the ones that aren’t will become a great learning opportunity.
Rinse and Repeat
After you've completed a tutorial, try the steps again on your own, with your own project. If you can’t remember a particular step, jump back and take a brief look just to refresh your memory.
Think of Steps in General Terms
When you go through training on building a character, for example, don’t think of a lesson as building this particular arm or this particular leg, but building an arm or a leg.
You’re going to do a course in a particular application, but as you go through the steps think about the general concept and not just the particular tool. Instead of focusing on the Insert Edge Loop Tool, focus on the fact that you need to add resolution in the form on an edge loop. These are universal modeling concepts across multiple applications..
This is a given. With practice and time, you will improve at anything you dedicate yourself to.
As you go through training with modeling tutorials, keep in mind the techniques you're learning can be applied to other projects. Train yourself to think in terms of general application. Then you'll be able to customize and design a workflow that works for you!