Modelling Props for VFX 1001

Learn the essentials of Modelling to create a photoreal hero prop asset for VFX

Course schedule
Jahirul Amin
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Learn how to create a photorealistic asset suitable for high-end VFX

Modelling Props for VFX is an on-demand course where students will be taught the fundamentals of 3D Modelling to create a photoreal, pipeline-ready prop for VFX. Through practical hands-on learning, we’ll cover a wide range of topics covering the asset modelling process.

This course is the first of a series that will teach you how to build an asset and push it through the VFX pipeline to create a number of believable shots. You can enrol on this course as a standalone, or if you’d like to develop a wider skillset, you can do so by joining us on Surfacing Props for VFX and Asset Integration for VFX.

We’ll also discuss other areas of the CG pipeline that are integral to the success of any project, such as Onset, Surfacing, Lighting, Production, Bidding and Scheduling.

To underpin each stage lesson and to push your creative, technical and problem-solving skills, we’ll study the fundamentals and the theory behind Modelling. This includes studying real-world materials, pushing our traditional skills, art, shape, function and form. This background research will directly feed into how we approach the creation of CG assets.

The outcome of the course is to provide you with a strong modelling skillset enabling you to have a core understanding of the VFX modelling pipeline and an ability to apply these skills to real-world projects.

Course Details

  • Type: On-demand
  • Level: Beginner
  • Lessons: 12
  • Duration: TBC
  • Format: Video on-demand
  • Assignments: 01
  • Tools: Maya, Nuke, ZBrush, Arnold, Mudbox
  • Prerequisites: Basic Knowledge of Maya, Nuke, ZBrush, Arnold, Mudbox
  • Course Access Time: Lifetime

Learn about shape and form in order to create believable textures and shaders.

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Lessons in this course

  • 01. Modelling for VFX

    We’ll be kicking off the programme off with a breakdown of how Modelling fits into the VFX pipeline. We’ll also discuss important topics such as Modelling briefs, LODs, naming conventions.
  • 02. Observation and Analysis

    This week, we’ll take a look at objects from the real-world and consider their shape and form. We’ll also study how objects respond to light to reveal and hide details.
  • 03. Modelling Workflows and Best Practices

    Here, we will define our asset build requirements and then look at how we could go about modelling our prop. We’ll also look at the technical aspects of building a production ready asset, such as: non-manifold edges and uniform topology.
  • 04. Working with Scan Data

    This week, we’ll turn our attention to building our production model. Before we dive into the software, we’ll examine the scan dataset, which has kindly been provided by Clear Angle Studios.
  • 05. Blocking out your Prop

    When it comes to design, in most instances, you’ll find a mix of big, medium and small shapes. Here we’ll explore the power of contrast and how it relates to our asset and approach to modelling.
  • 06. Refining Shape and Form

    Pushing points is the role of a modeller, however, in order to assess our asset, we’ll need to play with light. By doing so, we can review how our model responds to light.
  • 07. Finalising your Topology

    As we come closer to completing the topology, we’ll look at some examples of what makes a production-worthy model.
  • 08. Creating your UVs

    In this lesson, we’ll discuss the importance of creating a well-structured model hierarchy and establishing and sticking to a naming convention. It may seem like the boring stuff, but by doing so, you can ensure the smooth running of a project, especially when multiple assets are required. We’ll also look at organising our UVs and creating a series of UV Sets.
  • 09. Adding High Resolution Details

    Up to this stage, we’ve modelled the primary and secondary details. Here, we’ll study the tertiary details, of which we’ll use sculpting tools to add to our asset.
  • 10. Displacement and Normal Maps

    Up to this stage, we’ve modelled the primary and secondary details. Here, we’ll study the tertiary details, of which we’ll use sculpting tools to add to our asset.
  • 11. Creating a Model Turntable and Contact Sheet

    This week, we’ll be setting up our render and outputting a clay and wireframe layers. Following on from this, we’ll look at creating a model turntable template in Nuke. This template will then be used for all future model turntables, allowing us to easily compare the differences from one version to the next.
  • 12. Bringing it all Together

    For our final lesson, we’ll look at cleaning up our model, so it’s ready for the next stage of the pipeline. That means deleting the history, checking the pivot points, object naming, scale, and so on. We’ll also look at technologies such as USD for asset workflows.

Tutor: Jahirul Amin

CAVE Academy Founder | VFX Teacher

Jahirul Amin is a Computer Animation and Visual Effects Teacher and Consultant. He specialises in designing and delivering courses to create solid and diverse production ready skills in all 3D related departments and across a number of facilities worldwide. His background in academia feeds into his ongoing connections with Universities and Colleges which provide Computer Animation and Visual Effects courses. He is also involved in course and examination design as well as lecturing, running workshops and mentoring.


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