Jonathan Gonzalez (jgonzalez)

340 replies · posted

30 Days of Modeling

Becoming great at anything requires constant practice and that is especially true with 3d modeling. If you're here it's probably because you want to become a better digital artist. I myself want to improve my 3d modeling and texturing skills and that means I need to model a ton in order to become better.

Building a consistent habit is the path to becoming great and with that I wanted to provide a challenge to anyone else here who wants to join me. The challenge will be to model one new 3d model daily for 30 days. 

The goal of this is not to create  amazingly realistic models, but to get you practicing your modeling skills daily. You are not competing with anyone here but yourself.

Each day this post will be updated with the object to model based on that week. Below are the rules and guidelines to make this more interesting:


To make this more interesting, every week will focus on one theme. Each theme will represent a set of 7 objects that are relatively easy to model, but each have unique elements to them to challenge you in different ways. 

The themes for the next 4 weeks include: Home, Weapons, Props, Nature


  • All models must be completed by you. While we do teach Blender here, you are free to use any software you want for modeling and texturing. (Sculpting is allowed)
  • Do not include models you've previously created, while we can't verify this, remember that this is meant to install a habit of daily modeling practice. 
  • Only post a model for that day, don't try to "catch up". If you miss a day, then pick it up the next day


Post a rendered image of your completed model. While texturing won't be required, it is highly encouraged. 

HOME (June 1 - June 7)

For this week we'll focus on objects found around the home. Typically these objects are relatively easy to model and reference. You are free to get as creative as you want with these as long as you modeling what is requested for that day.

June 1 - Sofa

June 2 - Lamp

June 3 - Book Shelf

June 4 - Coffee Table

June 5 - Lounge Chair

June 6 - Shag Rug

June 7 - Floor Speakers

Week 1 is Done! Congrats on making it through the first week of this modeling challenge. On to week 2.

WEAPONS (June 8 - June 14)

For this week we'll focus on creating hand held weapons. Think melee weapons. These usually have a mixture of primitive and complex shapes. You may use sculpting during these models, and some may actually require it to achieve the look you want. 

June 8 - Axe

June 9 - Combat Knife

June 10 - Spear

June 11 - Shuriken

June 12 - Spiked Bat

June 13 - Sickle

June 14 - Nunchucks

PROPS (June 15 - June 21)

This week will be focused on props you might commonly see in games or background scenes. These can be reused to add "filler" to an environment. These props mostly reside outside.

June 15 - Barrels

June 16 - Tires

June 17 - Filled Trash Bags

June 18 - Concrete Barrier

June 19 - Shipping Container

June 20 - Dumpster

June 21 - No Object

June 22 - No Object


This week will be focused on organic plants and objects you'd find out in nature. Think of these as natural props.

June 23 - Grass Clumps

June 24 - Rocks

June 25 - Flowers

June 26 - Bushes

June 27 - Hollow Log

June 28 - Vines

June 29 - Trees


This officially ends the challenge, technically it's 29 days but we have another challenge starting up on Monday so use Sunday as a way to gather reference photos and start your next modeling challenge with vehicles!

Thank you for everyone that participated in this challenge. Some objects were easy, others were challenging and I hope you learned some new tips and techniques. This challenge was about keeping a habit going and learning some new techniques and use different tools to create something you may not have otherwise. It was great seeing all the new renders on a daily basis. Good or bad, you've created something and that's what matters. See you all in the next challenge!

  • My rocks.

  • I was afraid this one would come;)

    I went for some different rocks, because I loved the reference picture so much.

    Tried to make a procedural rock displacement myself, but couldn't get the desired result in one day, so I 'cheated' (or did I, is this cheating, if you can use a texture with normal map...) and used the Rock Generator from César Salcedo, who imho is a genius.

    He is not very good at explaining what is happening, but the results he gets are gorgeous! 

    Here's the link, there is a download link in the description:

    (Not for games, only Cycles.)

    Shading is not great, but I only noticed the 'wetness' of the stones after having rendered over an hour, so I decided to leave it like it is...

  • jgonzalez Since the topic is nature this week, I have a foliage related question: which method of swaying grass is more expensive to use in terms of performance for games, wind zones or a shader like this?

    • crew

      ssmurfmier1985 As far as I know wind zones still utilize a grass sway shader, they just act as the "controls" for that shader in a different way. Grass swaying can be expensive, but I can't say to what extent as I've never really looked into it. Grass swaying is essentially just moving vertices of a mesh in different directions, but this is being updated multiple times per second (along with the textures/lighting)so I would probably limit the swaying to a small area near the player and update that area whenever the player moves.That said I think Unity does have a swaying option in one of the HDRP default materials. 

      Vertex animation shaders are definitely one area I'd like to dedicate an entire course to. I've experimented with a Fortnite bouncing effect, cloth movement and some masked out vertex animations (like Melvin's stomach growing/shrinking). Other things I'd like to create are a flat tire shader that can react to physical objects and a punching bag, although those may be very similar in technique. Vehicle destruction and being able to bend specific parts of a mesh (like a tree branch) would all be fun things to go over.

    • jgonzalez thanks for explaining, and as always I am interested in such a course, I love game art so all techniques that improve the look and such I am interested in learning 😊

  • crew

    I'm not sure if I'll have time to revisit this and add a procedural rock texture so for now I'm adding in a basic screenshot:

    Really love the "cavity" look in the viewport, really makes things look way better. So this was a combination of basic pushing and pulling verts either using the proportional editing option or sculpting with dynotopo turned off. After that I added a displacement modifier with voronoi enabled and just played around with the size and also the color ramp to vary up the look. I'd like to try a procedural texture for this then bake it out as a texture. 

  • A bit blocky as always. I took a flower petal texture I had from before and modeled just few flowers from planes on it. After that I did Google image search with the texture image and found it was a flower called "Periwinkle". Leaves are made the same way as flowers with an image from the search results. Stems are just bent cylinders with leaves on them as hair particles and flowers are placed manually on top of them.

  • These are a definite insult to flowers, especially the ones outside my door.   This is proving a challenge when I have to learn a new method to do something and then try to do it with a limited amount of time.  Tried several different methods with various success, definitely learning a lot.

  • I didn't  have a lot of time today, (which is a pity, because it's another really nice challenge to make in one day...) so this is all I could manage for today:

  • Well I thought it would be easy, but I spent the whole day + night doing this. It's 3 am  over here so a screenshot will have to suffice for this challenge.

    • cciku-karugi That doesn't look too bad, actually; I can imagine this with some nice texturing and shading;)

      The only thing is, that they are all exactly the same and (if the flowers are all separate objects) there is a really nice feature in Blender:

      Select all objects. Go to Object >  Transform > Randomize-Transform.

      Here is a before:

      And after:

      Comes in really handy sometimes!

    • spikeyxxx Hehe, they sure do look identical! Thank you, I'll play around with those settings... they sure could use some randomness.

  • crew

    Not the best looking Daisy, but I did learn how to use the particle system to distribute petals for this. I used this process before to create a wreath. I couldn't quite figure out how to properly create the inner portion of the Daisy so I just ended up using some elongated spheres. I'm sure with better texturing this would look way better, but I'm leaving it as is. 

  • An hour or so with Sapling Tree Gen addon and the ending result is rough but fairly good. That is definitely a tool to work with when making trees or bushes, and now when thinking it, I believe it would'we worked with the flower stems also. Sadly I have to leave it here because of a fully scheduled afternoon. It surely could have used some more tweaking and get textures on.

  • Finished my render for today.

    Used the 'Ivy Gen'  addon. Basically following Kent Trammel's topiary course.

  • They are supposed to be blueberry bushes (not even I could tell that).  I opted to try to use the skin modifier, never used it before.  The branch tips should be more pointed, discovered how to do  that too late.  The leaves should be bigger and were a total waste of time to add any detail to, but the practice was much needed.  I tried to have the leaves be hair particles on small branches and then the small branches be hair particles on the larger bush.   My version of blender wouldn't display the two particles systems, only  one hair system.   Also there were several crashes of Blender on my lap top. Definitely would use the Sapling Tree Gen if I ever do bushes again.  Truthfully it just looks like a mess.

    • ttanya53 Hi tanya, I think that was really brave to use the skin modifier for this!

      And as to what you tried, it should work, but as far as I know, you'll need to apply the Skin Modifier before you add the Particle Hair.

      Then use a small branch as Object for rendering in the Particle Settings.

      And put another Particle System (Hair, Render Object  'leaf') on the small branch.

      You'd get something like this:

      Probably not the best way for making a bush, but it might be useful in other situations, like making a tree from scratch...

      I hope you find this helpful;)

    • spikeyxxx Thanks for the advice.  I had reached my frustration and time limit.  One of the frustrating things of doing this challenge for me has been learning new things and then trying to use those techniques to produce something.   Usually I end up finding out things as I go along and there isn't time to start over or fix what I have, so it has been both challenging and fun, though this nature stuff is turning into a nightmare.    Again thanks for the help, your stuff looks great!

  • crew

    Had some fun with this one, turned out quite well and it was fairly easy to create.

    I used this Space Tree addon in 2.79 to create the base of the bush branches, then I created a smaller branch piece with some leaves I manually placed. The leaves were basic planes with a cutout texture of a leaf. I then used that branch with a particle system emitting from the vertices of the main bush.

  • I spent an hour playing around with the Sapling Generator. Still haven't been able to get the trunk split all the way to the ground. Not sure if that maybe a 2.8 thing.

  • First I made the cylinder thingy on the left. Then made few adjustments on it and finally some sculpting to get the root shapes

  • Sculpting went a lot better than expected; gulped some coffee, took out my tablet, tablet wasn't working, back to mouse sculpting then...

    Texturing was a nightmare;)! ( I should have re-topologized, but I was too lazy, so I had to suffer!)

    Still, the result is acceptable, I think:

  • Looks like I am continuing my assault on Mother Nature, glad this wasn't week 1.  Tried sculpting for the first time, learned a lot in a short amount of time.

  • Well, this week's challenge is really kicking my behind!!! The leaves have given me a terrible time,feeling really drained. So here's my bush (incomplete)... I just decided to call it a thorny bush even if realistically speaking a thorny bush has a couple of leaves on it. I'm sorry for posting it so late guys. None of the "tree" add-ons worked for me... eh, I modelled using vertices, applied a skin modifier and then added a sub-surf. To get the sharp needle stuff, I had proportional editing on and then  CTRL+A.

  • So I think I made myself a whole lot of extra work by trying to use texture displacement with the Solidify modifier. The displacement moved the mesh away from the rims, so I multiplied the displacement by the pointiness node to try and limit the movement at the edges. Anyways I am out of time and had fun experimenting.

  • I gave texturing a try... I like it apart from the nasty ring thingy going on, I have tried to fix it but no luck. Any idea guys on how to do that?

    • crew

      cciku-karugi It appears that way because the texture is stretched out. I added seams on the edges of the trunk and added a different material to the rim. If you only have one material I would add some loop cuts around there as well but the marking of the seam will relieve the stretching. 

    • jgonzalez Thanks Jonathan, I'll try that... 

      P.S: Come to think of it, the inner part of the log does not look realistic. The course texture on the outer part should not be the same texture found on the inner part.