The Most Important Thing Every 3D Artist Must Know
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There is one thing that every 3D artist must know how to do to be successful. Whether you work in ZBrush, Maya, Blender, Clay, anything. And it’s not really a secret. It’s actually very obvious. But how you do that thing is a lot more difficult.

I’m talking about revolving a shape. This is the act of translating something from 2D to 3D. Right? Obvious, like I said. But much easier said then done. The ability to revolve a shape from a single reference is not an easy one. And in this video we are going to look at exactly that while using a 2D image by Arthur Mask as an example.

On a recent job I was contracted for, the 2D artist that created the original concept apologized to me because he had only provided me with a single image to work from. He went on to explain that normally he would create more views to better flesh out the character. But because of a hand injury he wouldn’t be able to do so.

You would be surprised by how often I only get a single image to work from for reference. And really it’s not that big of a deal. Because I’m confident in my ability to revolve a shape. Not just in my head but also on the screen.

So what does that mean? Revolve a shape. Well it’s exactly what it sounds like. Can you look at a 2D image and imagine what that looks like from other angles. Revolve it in your head. That’s it.

But how do we do that? Well there are many ways but let’s look at one tried and true method that I find very helpful. And that is what is called a draw over. This is essentially the act of drawing over top of your image to help figure out some more information. And there are two things that we are going to look for in particular to help us revolve a shape.

The first is to Focus on Primitive Shapes. A primitive shape is the most simple form we can break something down into. Like for instance, a can of soda is essentially a cylinder. Of course there are some more secondary shapes and details, but this is the most basic shape visible.

The second main thing that we want to pay attention to, is to look for clues. Not quite Scooby Doo level of mystery, although some shapes can sometimes feel that way. What we are looking for is indicators that give us more information. Shadows are a fantastic indicator of form. There are other clues we can look for like highlights, how other shapes connect to one another, and many more. But if you take the time to study what you are going to create you won’t have nearly as many mysteries to solve once you start getting into 3D.

Take the time to practice doing draw overs before you get into 3D and I promise your work will improve. The ability to revolve a shape is not an easy one. It’s definitely something that comes with practice.

If you liked this video and want to learn more about creating appealing characters, check out my course, The Appeal Academy. It’s not only a course but also a mentorship. Designed To Go At Your Pace And Provide Feedback On Your Progress. Every Step Of The Way. You can see more info here

If you are looking for more introductory work, I have a ton of other courses and content available on my gumroad at

I hope that this short video is helpful for you and I will see you in the next one. Have a great rest of your day!

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