Ok, time for 3D talk now.
3D Software Packages
First of all i want to discuss the 3d software packages available out there.I was using maya when i started and a bit of 3ds max,when i started my course we were studying 3d on XSI. At first i was really pissed off because i was sure that we'll be using Maya ,since it's almost industry standard Animation Package Used in Film Industry. 3Ds Max is considered very good for mechanical ,architectural and Video-game design, but we were using XSI and i was frustrated at the beginning. But after time i realized something that i believe every animator has to realize: "It's Not All About The Software". As i said in my earlier post Animation Is ART and 3D animation, regardless of the fact that it's considered more technical, is not excluded.
Since it's art you shouldn't worry too much about the software you're using. The principles of animation are always the same and the more different software you know the more opportunities you'll have to find jobs on the profession. Also, many companies are using their own plugins and software for the workflows, so being able to move from one software to another easily is a huge advantage.
When you're working on animation think generally, not software-specifically. That way you won't get stuck with a single software all the time. Have you ever researched the market to look for jobs on 3D animation? What i found out not a long time ago is that there are many companies working on XSI and XSI riggers are always wanted. So, why we have to underestimate ourselves? If you think software-freely you will see the power that gives you.
After Learning (and of course i'm still learning and always will be) the most popular Packages i find all the packages useful in each case and sometimes combining them together in one workflow. My buddy uses 3ds max for modeling and Maya or XSI for animation and rigging and it works for him pretty well. So try them all, learn them all and set your mind free.
Start Small And Always Mind The Topology
Don't try to create a 1-thousand parted Droid right-away. Like in every art and every science you have to start small. Learn the basic interface, get comfortable moving around the space, change your hotkeys if you want, learn how to move,scale,rotate objects and all the options that exist for those tools. It's really important to know as more as possible about the basic tools but many people consider those tools very simple. They are not hard to learn and manipulate but keep in mind that there are different options and ways to do basic movement,scaling and rotating. I'll make a whole guide on that subject in my next posts.
When you'll get familiar with the interface and basic navigation and movement of objects start with simple things. I'll include some nice basic tutorials that we were doing at the beginning of the course which may look very simple but they will help you a lot if you start developing your skills from there.
Apart from making the models look the way you want, you always have to keep your mind on topology. Right topology is what makes a good professional when it comes from modelling. Topology is something (not the only thing of course) that creates the gap between an amateur and a professional animator. Topology makes your models look much nicer, rigger's work much easier and gives a lot more chance to find a job :D. So keep these things in mind folks and i'll continue on the topic of 3D with some basic but important tutorials.