Tutorial :3D modeling for programmers


I'm studying Computer Graphics as part of my curriculum at my university. The course focuses on scene modeling, rather than rendering or other aspects of computer graphics. We're learning the math behind it and OpenSceneGraph to actually run something.

As part of the HW, and also out of sheer interest, I need to create a 3D model, and I have artistic freedom in this regard. I also have freedom to model it directly in code, or load a model I do in a tool of my choosing.

The problem is, I'm not good in the visual art - I have lots of good ideas, but no clue how to model them. I can't draw or sketch well, either. But, I want to be able to do CG.

How would you suggest I approach 3D modeling?


EDIT: Some people have down voted this (w/o leaving a comment). Let me emphasize - I'm a programmer, and I want to get familiar with an art that is adjacent to ours. Make no mistake, it is a programming relevant question.

EDIT 2: Thanks for all who answered. I'll choose my accepted answer after I look at the alternatives you suggested. I apologize for the (expected) delay.


  • I have decided to look into Blender. I'm looking into some of its video tutorials mentioned by Ruben Steins.
    Thanks Ruben.
  • I did take a quick peek at MilkShape 3D and will use it if I see Blender is too much for my needs, or my current learning "budget" (time, attention).
    Thanks m3rLinEz.
  • After I learn some basic skills, I intend to follow Mastermind's advice.
    Thank you Mastermind.
  • When I've done some 3D art, and am ready to improve my skills, I'm going to visit the places fa. had posted.
    Thank you too, fa.

Thanks to all those who took time to reply, and all those who were open minded enough not to downvote a programming, but not code, related question.


  1. Download Blender
  2. View the video tutorials or read this online tutorial
  3. Use the osgExport for Blender to get your models into OSG

If you want a really cool model, this process will take some time, but you should be able to get a quicky model within a week or so.


Unfortunately people are really voting down design-related questions on this site, I do not know for what reason. So I vote you up.

Design is a very important thing, I can only feel sorry for those who wish to enclose themselves in code not leaving any space for style and beauty.

I can absolutely recommend 3ds max to you. It has (or at least had a few years ago) very good tutorials shipped with it so you can learn how to move things around.

General advice would be to visit pages related to 2D and 3D design but it would be too abstract. So I have a following suggestion. Think of what you would like to design. First - WHAT. Then try to do it. Along the path you will have specific questions on how to achieve a particular effect. You will ask them on relevant resources or dig the answers yourself. With time you will be getting skills knowledge, and after at least a few months you will likely/hopefully develop a feeling on how to do these things, what is good or what is not.

Everything about art and design takes time. Much time. And much passion.

Good luck!


I recommend Google Sketchup and MilkShape 3D (commercial, but at very low price for this kind of SW). I also has experience with Blender before, which I think is the hardest to learn from the three SWs I suggest.

Another concern you need to consider is the data format exported from the modeling software. Since you mentioned about doing the "math" yourself, you must find a modeling tool that export a format where you can easily access the vertices data.

Both Google Sketchup and Milkshape 3D come with great documentations (Blender too, of course). Sketup even has video tutorials on their website and Milkshape 3D allow me to model a simple robot in very short time. But if you want more advanced modeling features than these tools might not suited you.


I found Wing3d is the easiest to use. BLender has the most functionality.

And interesting one is Albatross 3D. It is simple too but Wing3d is easiest to use.


3D modeling is a hard stuff and don't let it overwhelm you. Instead you should let someone more suitable do the modeling. There are tons of models for free. Search and use them before spending hours and days for a lousy dinosaur. And even though you model it, you will need to implement scenes, bones, material, etc. If you are more in to programming, trying to making it move around obstacles will be much more fun.


you get sophisticated models (mostly humans) using "Poser" without "any idea" how it works. If you want to dive into the whole modeling I recommend "Maya".


First of all, you should look around at some different 3D programs, if you haven't already. After you like the program you choose, you're going to have to get used to it, and try to understand what each hotkey does, button, materials, etc. This its self can be a complicated and annoying aspect of it.

A lot of people are going to recommend the program that is either; good, industry standard, or something they like. If this isn't professional, I'd suggest looking at which one you like best, it'll help you learn it much faster.

After you've got your program of choice down, you should just find tutorials, videos tend to help because you can actually see everything they're doing.

And after awhile, with a bit of time and patenince you should start to be able to produce some decent looking models, but great models take time. So don't get fustrated!

It's kinda like programming in the way you probably didn't learn programming in one night, with 3D stuff I'm still learning new things I didn't realise I could do, just like programming.

If you don't know how to do something with programming, more than likely you'll google it(or even ask on stack overflow) right? So do the same with CG stuff. If you want to learn how to do water simulation, google it!


Art skills are not granted to everybody, but you can learn a lot in those places :



CafeSalé ( in french )


I'd get one of the popular 3D modeling tools, download some samples and start modifying them.

Big names in the 3D modeling tool domain include 3D Studio Max, Maya, Blender, Lightwave and Modo. Some of these can be pricey. Blender is free.


Blender is a good (free) option, but it is a bit over-the-top for what you are asking, because it is a complete animation package, not merely a modeller. In other words, there's lot of other guff there to get in the way of learning how to model.

By far the best 3D modeller IMO (for low-to-mid poly density, ie computer games, not film) is Silo (http://www.nevercenter.com/). I've worked with Maya, 3dsmax, Softimage XSI, Blender, Modo, blah, blah over the years, and will always use Silo to model in regardless of the animation platform being used. Apart from being very easy to use, it's incredibly cheap, only $80 for a full licence...

As far as an approach goes, there are two big modelling techniques that you will want to investigate; box-modelling and edge-loop.


As a Graphic Artist with experience in Lightwave 3d, each program has its uses and what you select should be based upon your desired needs. If this is a path you want to follow, then Blender is a good introductory program, which rivals Lightwave in some regards. Lightwave however can do almost everything you would want to do with a program, but if you are a programmer, than learning Maya will set you a step ahead of the curve as it is what many big named studios use for their finished products. (followed by lightwave for the studios who cannot afford Maya.)

I cannot say that every program is easy to learn, with the greater flexability of the program, comes increased challenges. But I do believe that lightwave is a good starting program if you want to texture, animate and or import most any .obj model.

Note:If u also have question or solution just comment us below or mail us on toontricks1994@gmail.com
Next Post »