How long has it taken you to become a proficient modeler?

I am curious to know how long it has taken people on average to become proficient at modeling in general. It doesn’t really matter what type of modeling you do specifically, or what application you use. I ask because although I have been doing it as a hobby for the past few years I still find there are certain designs that are seemingly simple; but take me a long time to model. Which surprises me. Maybe it shouldn’t but I just thought I would be better by now.

I have heard that it takes close to 10,000 hours to become a professional at anything, I haven’t quite gotten there yet. I am still learning. What about you guys? What has your experience been like?

The 10000 hours thing is a myth. There is truth that you do need to practice, but you could become world class in almost anything in 1000-4000 hours (6 months to 2 years) as long as you are being smart with how you are learning, and being efficient.

Getting good feedback/criticism and deliberate practice are probably the most important things. But also keep trying new things, and don’t waste your working inefficiently. I’ve seen plenty of artists go from noob to professional in 6 months.

Yeah just frequently working on models improves your professionalism by being fluent with shortcuts and understanding how to build certain shapes. The other thing that can kind of affect it is the changes and iterations to the software, where the UI could completely change or brand new tools added to speed up your workflow. This part is all about keeping up to date with the software and finding new things that can reduce your development time.

10k hours is not literal, and you don’t go from 0 to 1 once you get there, you keep building up on it. But you WON’T become a world class modeler in 6 months. You can become good, of course. But it will take time. A LOT of time. But it all depends on how you study, what you want to achieve, what style etc. Just keep on working and improving, don’t mind with 10k hours. You know when you get there. And when you become world class, you’ll probably think that you still have much to learn. So… keep the process going =)

To be fair, the 10.000 is not a myth, is just people who write about it have no clue what it is about.

Its not 10.000 hour to become professional, proficient, capable, good enough, very good, awesome etc.

the 10.000 rule is based on a survey that was studying how many hours AT LEAST you need to become a MASTER in a field. Which is far higher than the level than it is used for when people mention it.

So to say it in another way , in 10.000 hours you kick ***.

I will say it goes like this (personal estimates based on personal experience)

0-100 hours Beginner

100-1000 hours experienced amateur
1000-2000 hours proficient amateur

2000-3000 hours professional
3000-5000 hours experienced professional
5000-7000 hours proficient professional
7000-9000 hour highly skilled professional

9000-12000 hours Master
12000-30000 hours experienced Master
30000-600000 hours proficient Master
60000-120000 hours highly skilled Master

120000+ God like

These estimates are about people who optimize their performance and workflow on a day to day basis. As always quantity does not equal quality.

Now the question is how much sleep do you really need lol. But seriously how much sleep do you need? On average I get in a few hours a week of development time comfortably without losing sleep. However I feel like if I’m going to make any considerable progress I will need to start burning the midnight oil. What do you guys think?

Personally I sleep the normal 8 hours a day and work 5 days a week full time on 3d graphics, music and coding. 10 months per years. That’s around 1600 hours per year. But I started just a few months ago :slight_smile:

With this rhythm I will reach god like level when I am 112 years old. Projections of advances in medical science make this possible but need to take a lot of vitamins … :smiley:

I am against “hard” work, it kills my productivity and its a huge waste of time. I prefer “easy” work and working “smart”. However some people enjoy hard work, if you do and can manage the big drop on productivity , go for it. In general you got to experiment anyway to find what works best for you, work and life is a never ending act of experimentation , observation and learning. So don’t expect golden rules here.

Op mentioned 10k hours, but he specifically asked when people become proficient modelers. To me proficient means, good, efficient, know-what-to-do. It doesnt mean grandmaster, godly, or worldclasskickass.
The thing is, where do you draw the line? I cant tell you after how many hours exactly I started considering myself proficient in modeling but I definitely do consider myself that now. Ive been doing cg in general for 6 years now using mainly maya, roughly estimating 17k hours spent on that software. I now do consider myself master in maya with focus on rigging (my actual profession) but also proficient in adjacent disciplines such as modeling, dynamics, animation. How long it took specifically to become good in modeling? Dont know, you get better and better with time. The key is to always look for ways to improve your work quality and efficiency. Have a critical eye on your models and workflows and invest time in finding ways to improve those constantly.

Well it depends one thing about becoming an ace is to stay updated and it is mostly like art until U have a good imagination power U cannot call yourself an expert well that is what I think . I generally use Blender for modelling and why because it is a small software with many addons to choose from . What do U use ? I see people us 3ds Max,Maya more often than Blender.

Lets drop the discussion on the 10,000 hours topic, it’s mostly a semantics argument and doesn’t really help OP.

Don’t cut too much sleep when learning. It’s hard to learn and retain information when you are sleep deprived. But when you are working on making a portfolio or a large project, stay up if you are still being productive.

What in particular are you having issues modeling? Have you tried different approaches? Have you watched a variety of workflows that professionals use? For complex mechanical shapes, there’s a surprising number of ways you can tackle them. Some people do blocking out and refining of shapes purely in zBrush. Others use normal subdivision modeling. But I’ve also seen more artists using booleans in creative ways like with dynamesh, or using better boolean tools. And there’s a few artists that use things like round edge shader, creasing, custom normals, or messy subdivision modeling.

I use a Zbrush to Maya workflow mainly. I started modeling in Maya designing guns which helped me to learn some basics of subdivision modelling. Eventually I got myself a wacom tablet and started sculpting animals which is what I enjoy doing. Currently I’m working a Jaguar for use as anatomical reference (3D printing) and for rendering for some concept art. So high detail is important to me until I’m ready to use it in a game engine.

Most of the musculature and proportions are sculpted out. What’s taking me a while to work out are some of the more abstract shapes like the paws and toes which I couldn’t quite get right in Zbrush. I’m currently trying to model the paws in Maya which has given me a greater level of control. Still I’m surprised how long it’s taking me to finish just the paws which seemed simple before I started. Which makes me think I still have a lot to learn.

For me, what really got me on the right track for modeling was doing some character modeling tutorials–it makes you think much more about edge flow and getting clean geometry. Besides that, there’s some hard surface modeling tutorials that can help.

I’ve been at it for a year and i wouldn’t say i’m the best but i can do good models for my projects.

Yea I remember when I was first starting out, not knowing much of anything but a desire to build games. A very frustrating place to be, because you don’t even know enough to ask the right questions. Terminology is confusing (especially when it came to texturing). Looking back from there I am pleased with my progress. I guess when you are frustrated with your inability to complete a project it is good to remember how far you have come already. At the very least that can be encouraging, unless of course you haven’t really progressed that much.

Studying game development has also been a huge help in my profession. I do a lot of programming for engineering applications and working with different software for game development in general has given me a lot of ideas on how to be innovative in my field. Honestly, the pace at which Game development software grows at is staggering. There really is a lot of innovation and good design ideas that can be applied else where.