Digital Art: Tips for Getting Started with 3D Modeling

McCrystle Wood, a traditionally trained painter, has turned to digital art, using 3D modeling to explore a fascination with flower and female forms. In this free excerpt from a feature article about digital art in The Artist’s Magazine (May 2012), she shares five tips to help you get started.

Femme (digital art) by artist McCrystle Wood

Femme (digital image) by McCrystle Wood

Want to Try 3D Modeling?

By McCrystle Wood

Google SketchUp is one of the easiest introductory software programs for 3D modeling. It’s free, easy to download, has tons of tutorials and works on both MAC and WIN. It’s possible to do impressive-looking work in 3D after just an hour or so by just playing around to learn the tools.
•    What you’ll need—hardware and software requirements: Google the phrase “Google SketchUp system requirements” to bring up the specs to improve performance.
•    Take a class at a regional college. In one semester you’ll have a complete introduction to the basic concepts, and you’ll be able to create sophisticated images and animations.
•    Read a book. A superb book with visual explanations, Getting Started with 3D: A Designer’s Guide to 3D & Illustration by Janet Ashford, John Odam and Victor Gavenda, describes the entire process of 3D modeling from start to finish. The book was first published by PeachPit Press in 1998, and updated versions are available at
•    Check out a few other industry-standard 3D modeling software titles: 3ds Max; Blender, FragMotion, Maya, Lightwave 3D, Softimage and ZBrush.

Visit to browse our books and more on digital art. And, don’t miss this step-by-step demo from Wood on “How to Create Virtual Objects.”

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