What I've Learned About 3D in One Week

October 2, 2020

Have you ever felt the need to do something different to take a break from your current work?

Well, I was getting stuck into my work, I was bored and felt like I was in a loop. Until I realized I needed something new to get my hands on.

I felt the need to expand my skills and learn something new, so I decided to set myself a challenge where I try to learn 3D in one week and document the process.

Considering 3D is a very broad field I decided to dive into Product Packaging, and here’s why:

  • It connects with my current skills. (brand identity, packaging, and motion graphics)
  • It can be a new source of income.
  • It increases the quality and exclusivity of my services.
overwhelming drawing inspired by confusion and chaos

Confusion. Overwhelming. No plan.

Ready, set, go!
I started my journey with Blender through the tutorials from CG Boost, an in-depth guide for beginners covering almost all areas of the program.

If you want to start with Blender I really recommend following his guide.

Here is the first render I made.

strong red and wet apples inside an apple basket and a kitchen knife 3D render

Apple basket composition — Rendered with Eevee in Blender

Clearly not the best result you can get.

The knife blade texture doesn’t look real, the camera is slightly off, but I’m happy with the result as long as I understand how to fix the mistakes I made.

When learning something, to me it’s more important understanding the process than the final results, doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad.

After finishing my first render I was too excited that I couldn’t wait to start a new project and… I made a cup of coffee. (of course, what could it be?)

black matte coffee cup with a ceramic texture on white background

Black matte coffee mug with a rough texture — Rendered with Cycles in Blender

To get this result, I modeled a cylinder using the bevel function and the loop cut function.

I later added the solidify modifier which extrudes the object and the subdivision surface modifier which makes everything smoother.

And now it’s time to give the cup some love.

behind the scenes of a blender 3d render featuring a minimalistic coffee mug

Behind the scenes of the coffee cup composition

For the material, I aimed to reproduce a matte black ceramic texture, something that makes you want to touch and feel that rough surface.

Getting this result was quite hard but I believe everything is about playing with the nodes and experimenting.

I kept going and, while browsing for inspiration I found this project from a design studio called Alphamark.

agache face moisturizer packaging

Agachè packaging box made by Alphamark

Loved the elegance and decided to try making something like that box.

3d balancing oil product package design

Balancing face oil packaging box — Rendered with Cycles in Blender

I’m happy about the results but If I had to change something It would be to make it look more organic, like the bottom for example which is missing the dust flaps.

I also made an animation to see how it would work, and it was fun!

3d balancing oil product package design

Packaging box animation

Having a background in motion graphics helped a lot in this case, especially with the graph editor.


Behind the scenes of the packaging box project

The animation was made parenting the camera to an empty object (plain axis) located at the centre of the scene, where our object is.

This allows you to create an animation that keeps the object focused in the middle and makes everything look more realistic.

I also want to share some other renders I made.

The falling animation has been made by giving the rigid body physics to both the business cards (type>active) and the plane (type>passive).

Make sure to apply the scale to your objects (select object, ctrl+a then select scale) as it helps tools and modifiers work as intended.

About the outcome, I feel like a stronger light and a different background could have made the difference in avoiding this dark and cloudy look.

Render Engines
All the scenes, except the apple basket, have been rendered using Cycles, which is one of the built-in render engines.

I’ve been trying both of the engines and I found Cycles being more precise and realistic than Eevee, even though it takes so much more time to render.

Of course with Cycles you will get a more photorealistic result, but you can get nice results with Eevee too, it all depends on what the end goal is.

short film made by blender 3d render software

Comparison between Cycles and Eevee

The Outcome
It was a great week, refreshing.

I learned a lot but this is just the beginning, there is a long road ahead.

Learning about nodes and lighting are the main priorities now.

Don’t worry, I got you covered. I’ll be sharing some resources that I found useful during this week so you don’t feel (too much) confused.

Final Thoughts
It’s ok to take some time off if you’re not feeling it.

It’s ok to stop whatever you’re doing and do nothing.

Make sure to cut some time for yourself and try to balance the two as it helps to not get overwhelmed.

no more overwhelming taking a break and setting new challenges

Having a plan made it possible to reach the goal


Thanks for making it this far! I hope this post motivates and inspires you to take action if you are feeling this way.