How Do You Make a 3D Model?

Using the 3D modeling program of your choice, first determine the base shapes of your model. Then add detail by creating additional polygonal shapes and using the extrude tool to create hollow areas.

  1. Select a 3D modeling program

    Many 3D modeling software programs exist, from professional-grade suites such as Maya and AutoCAD to free options, such as Google SketchUp. These programs work along fairly similar functional lines, so choose the one that suits your budget and project needs.

  2. Create your primitives

    Most 3D models start with a few basic primitives, which are simple polygonal shapes that give the structure of the object. Use rectangular prisms, triangles and spheres to rough-in the overall shape of your model.

  3. Refine your model

    Once your primitives are created, work to refine your model by transforming your initial primitives, as well as adding new polygons for additional detail. Transform tools affect the position, size and orientation of your objects. If you are modeling a mechanical object, make sure all of your faces are smoothly aligned. If your project is an organic shape, you have more leeway in your construction.

  4. Use extrusion to manipulate your shapes

    The extrude tool is one of the most important in a modeler's toolkit. Use it to alter the polygonal mesh of your primitives to hollow out indentations or create new protrusions. At this step, your model should appear very close to completion.

  5. Do your final refinements

    Most 3D models require a small amount of refinement at the end of the project. Select individual vertices of your 3D objects, position them to fine-tune the appearance, and make sure there are no gaps or tears.