Beginner Exercises for 3D Modelers

Easy Introductory Level Projects to Help You Learn 3D Modeling

Diving into 3D modeling for the first time can be daunting — where do you begin? Do you start with the project that's been occupying your imagination for as long as you can remember? It's tempting to do so, but probably not the wisest choice.

Instead, use the simple entry-level 3D projects we've compiled below. It's important to choose exercises early on that will help you successfully learn foundational techniques rather than jump straight into the advanced stages of 3D design.

A Wine Glass

Red, white and rose wine in glasses
Nick Purser / Getty Images

This is one of the quintessential beginner projects in 3D modeling courses and can serve as a perfect introduction to NURBS modeling techniques. The shape is familiar and the techniques very basic, meaning you'll be able to get a good looking model under your belt very quickly and easily.

These techniques apply in any situation where you need to model a cylindrical shape with radial symmetry (e.g., pots, glasses, lamps, rocket ships).

A Greek Column

Two Mako sharks swim by a greek temple submerged in the ocean depths.
Another easy to model architectural element that you'll be able to use time and time again in projects down the road. Corey Ford/Stocktrek Images / Getty Images

In the same vein as the arch, this is another easy-to-model architectural element that you'll be able to use time and time again in projects down the road. Plus, we've got a tutorial for this one.

The techniques in this 3D modeling exercise apply in architectural and hard surface modeling.

A Skyscraper

Glass facade with reflections of clouds, 3D Rendering
The shapes on a modern box-style skyscraper are simple enough that they shouldn't cause problems for beginners, but also bring some interesting technical challenges to the table. Westend61 / Getty Images

This is a fantastic project to help you get the hang of efficiently handling increasing levels of complexity and repetition. The shapes on a modern box-style skyscraper are simple enough that they shouldn't cause problems for beginners, but also bring some interesting technical challenges to the table.

The large number of windows will force you to learn techniques for evenly spacing edges, and creating the windows themselves will require a solid understanding of the difference between world space and local space extrusion. It's also a perfect opportunity to get acquainted with the use of selection sets to handle repetitive face and edge selection.

  • Techniques apply: In any project that requires ordered repetition.
  • Tutorial: Forthcoming