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Behind the Project: Hard surface modelling


These 3D ships were created during the Bachelor of Art and Design Hard Surface Modelling component; part of the Modelling One module that every student must take as part of their 3D Animation and Visual Effects degree.

Here, Bachelor of Art and Design lecturer David Tsui takes us through the steps that students undertake to create hard surface models...

After selecting their subject of choice, each our the first year teams are asked to conduct research and gather references on their chosen asset. They then proceed to distribute the modelling work equally among all of their team members.

Take this tugboat, for example. Instead of treating it as a sculpture and ‘hammering’ it out of one block of material, each team member was directed to approach the construction of their ship by splitting the ship up in parts and work within those boundaries before reassembling the ship as a whole when each part was completed. 

The different colours in this wireframe image represent the contribution of each member within the team.

This exercise serves not only to refine the foundation modelling skills for the students, but it also provides them the first glimpse of what it is like to work in a team environment. Members within teams must learn to communicate and collaborate among their peers in order to achieve appealing results.

The tugboat in its completed form

Ultimately, the most important outcome of this exercise to let each student see the end result of all  their hard work. Being able to create a complex subject (such as a ship) and taking ownership of their success allows our students to build up the level of confidence vital for their journey to become professional 3d artists in the near future.

A selection of ships created as part of the Hard Surface Modelling formative assessment.