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How to Make a 3D Model

  • 5 min read

The Modern Artist's Guide On How to Make a 3D Model

Getting started with 3D models can be both exciting and scary. The process of making a 3D model is full of challenges and benefits, no matter if you're a new artist or someone with years of experience. The process on how to make 3d models involves more than just understanding the software; it's about grasping the core principles, mastering the techniques, and letting your creativity flow.

Fortunately, this all-inclusive walkthrough on how to make a 3D model covers everything from the foundational steps to the intricate details, ensuring you're well-equipped to bring your visions to life in the 3D realm.


General steps to create a 3D model

With the right approach and a bit of patience, you'll be crafting your own 3D masterpieces in no time. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

Define Your Concept and Purpose

Before plunging into the world of 3D modeling, it's crucial to have a clear idea of what you want to create. Maybe you're looking for a simple 3D design or trying to figure out how to make 3d models for printing. Here are some key questions to ask yourself:

  • What is the purpose of this model? Is it for a video game, animation, 3D printing, or perhaps a digital art piece? Will you need 3D Printer accessories?
  • What will the final product look like? Visualize the end result. Sketching it out can be helpful, even if you're not an artist. This will serve as a roadmap as you navigate the 3D modeling process.

Build the Basic Shapes

Every complex model starts with simple shapes. Think of it as building with blocks:

  • Start with basic geometries like cubes, spheres, and cylinders.
  • Position and scale theseshapes to form the rough silhouette of your model.
  • Remember, it's easier to modify basic shapes than to change intricate details later on.

Add Details and Refine the Model

Now that you have your basic structure, it's time to add some character:

  • Use tools like extrude, bevel, and subdivide to add complexity.
  • Focus on one area at a time. For instance, if you're modeling a character, you might start with the face before moving on to the body.
  • Regularly rotate and zoom around your model to ensure it looks good from all angles.

Apply Colors, Textures, and Materials

Bring your model to life with some color and texture:

  • Assign colors to different parts of your model. This can be as simple as giving it a flat color or as complex as painting detailed textures.
  • Apply materials to make your model look more realistic. This can make surfaces appear shiny, rough, transparent, and more.
  • Consider using UV mapping for more complex textures. This allows you to paint directly onto your model's surface.

Set Up Lighting and Cameras

Lighting can make or break a 3D scene:

  • Place lights strategically to highlight important parts of your model.
  • Experiment with different light types like point lights, spotlights, and ambient lights.
  • Set up cameras to capture your model from the best angles. Think about the composition and what you want to emphasize.

Optimize and Prepare for Output

Before you hit that render button or export your model, there are a few final steps:

  • Check for any errors or glitches in your model.
  • If you're exporting for a game or animation, ensure your model is rigged and animated correctly.
  • For 3D printing, ensure your model is watertight and has no overlapping geometries.


Common 3D modeling software

When it comes to 3D modeling, having the right software is crucial. Each tool offers unique features catering to different needs. Here's an in-depth look at some of the most popular 3D modeling software available:


Blender has made a significant mark in the 3D modeling community:

  • Open-source and free: Unlike many other 3D software, Blender is entirely free, making it accessible to everyone.
  • Versatility: From modeling to animation, rendering, and even video editing, Blender is a comprehensive tool.
  • Community-driven: A robust online community supports Blender, offering a plethora of tutorials, forums, and resources.
  • Regular Updates: Being open-source, Blender receives frequent updates, ensuring users have access to the latest features and improvements.

Autodesk Maya

Autodesk Maya is a staple in professional 3D modeling:

  • Feature-rich: Maya's extensive toolset covers everything from modeling to animation and beyond.
  • Industry standard: Renowned in the film and gaming industries, Maya is behind many of the visuals we see in blockbuster productions.
  • Customizable: Maya's scripting capabilities allow users to modify the software to fit specific project needs.
  • Extensive Learning Resources: Autodesk provides a wide range of tutorials and documentation, aiding both beginners and professionals.

Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D is known for its user-centric approach:

  • Intuitive Interface: Cinema 4D's design is user-friendly, making it an excellent choice for those new to 3D modeling.
  • Powerful rendering: The software's native renderer produces top-tier results, ideal for high-quality visuals.
  • Tight integration: Cinema 4D's compatibility with other software, especially in motion graphics, is noteworthy.
  • Mograph Module: A standout feature, the Mograph module, offers tools specifically for motion graphics, making complex animations simpler.

If you're looking for additional versatile software, the AnkerMake Slicer is a solid option. Specifically designed to optimize and personalize your AnkerMake creations, this software is not only user-friendly but also smart enough to cater to all skill levels. The AnkerMake Slicer ensures a seamless experience, offering compatibility with the AnkerMake M5 and many popular slicers. With real-time error detection, you can print with confidence, knowing that the software has your back.


So, you've ventured deep into the field of 3D modeling, explored the tools of the trade, and perhaps even dabbled in creating your own masterpieces. It's a vast and ever-evolving practice. But remember, every expert was once a beginner. The key is to stay curious, keep experimenting, and never stop learning.

Choosing the right software is just the beginning. The real magic happens when you pour your creativity into your projects. Whether you're sculpting intricate characters, designing architectural marvels, or animating the next viral ad, the possibilities are endless. And with the plethora of resources available online, from tutorials to forums and 3D models from the ankermake community, you're never truly alone on this journey.


Is Blender 3D free?

Yes. Blender is open-source software, which means it's completely free to use. You can download it, start creating it, and even modify the software if you wish. Plus, with its vast range of features, from modeling to animation, it's a fantastic tool for both beginners and pros.

Is it hard to learn 3D modeling?

Well, like any skill, 3D modeling has its learning curve. But don't let that deter you. With the right resources, dedication, and a sprinkle of patience, you'll find your groove. There are countless tutorials, courses, and forums out there tailored for every skill level. So, whether you're just starting out or looking to master advanced techniques, there's something out there for you.

What are the 6 Key Principles for 3D Modeling?

  1. Form: Begin with the overall shape, break complex forms into simple shapes, and use references for accuracy.
  2. Detail: Add details in stages, understanding different levels of detail and utilizing textures when needed.
  3. Real-World Scale: Model to real-world scale, maintain accurate proportions, and consider thickness and bevel.
  4. Adaptation: Prioritize non-destructive modeling and ensure adaptability for design changes and animations.
  5. Reuse Mesh: Avoid repetition by reusing parts of the mesh and varying reused elements for diversity.
  6. Surface Quality: Pay attention to how surfaces interact with light, maintain good topology, and ensure proper normals and edge flow.