3D Modeling Projects

Spring 2023
3d modeling


These are two 3D modeling projects I created based around classic rock (my favorite music). For the first one, I attempted to recreate half of the apartment The Beatles share in their movie Help!. For the second project, I created a detailed model of Paul McCartney’s Hofner violin bass. For the third one, I modeled a Funko Pop figurine of Jimi Hendrix.

Time spent

4 weeks on each project (12 weeks total)

My role

Polygonal 3D Modeling, 3D Sculpting, Texturing, Rendering

The Challenge

These three projects were created for a 3D modeling class. Each one used a different program and had a different objective.

The two first projects were made with Autodesk Maya. The focus of the first project was to create the layout of a room, paying attention to the process of modeling, as well as textures, lighting, and camera angles to create a realistic composition. I chose to attempt to recreate part of the set of The Beatles' movie Help! (1965), in particular John and Ringo's side of the house which had more interesting objects in it.

For the second project, my focus was on creating a detailed model of a single object, focusing in particular on clean topology and accurate texturing. I chose to model Paul McCartney's iconic Hofner bass guitar, so that I could include it in the Help! room later.

The third project was created with Zbrush. The goal was to create a model that looked more organic and had a high level of detail, and also included at least one surface detail. To continue the theme of classic rock, I chose to model a Funko Pop figure of Jimi Hendrix playing Live in Maui, as I felt that a Funko Pop had the right amount of detail and the right amount of simplicity for a beginner Zbrush project.


I started each one by collecting several reference image. For the first project, I looked at scenes from the movie which showed the layout of the house. For the second and third projects, I found images of a front, side, and back view of both objects, as well as some close-up details.

Project 1

In the house project, I spent the first 2 weeks modeling the objects and making sure the proportions were accurate in relation to each other. The next two weeks I applied textures. I had to recreate some by hand, basing the designs on the movie stills I had but adding some imagination, as the textures aren’t always visible or the quality is too low (it’s a film from the 1960s, after all!). For instance, I recreated the stained-glass windows around the doors and the signs on the vending machines on Ringo’s side of the room. In my final renders, I also snuck in some references to the film (for my fellow Beatlemaniacs out there: I added The Ring™️ of course, the ashtray that Paul goes into when he shrinks, and a copy of A Spaniard in the Works).

Project 2

In the bass project, I was focused on making an accurate model, so I spent the first two weeks only on modeling. The last two weeks were spent texturing. I created color maps for the body and the neck of the bass that were accurate to the actual details and patterns on the real instrument. I created these using Photoshop.

Project 3

For the Hendrix project, I started by configuring Zbrush so I could see my references behind my model, and showing the active and total points at the top of the interface so I could always see how many points I had. I started by using the IMM Primitives brush and the Move brush to build a skeleton of my model. I modeled the guitar in Maya and then imported it into Zbrush. Then I refined the skeleton using ZRemesher and Dynamesh.

To add detail to my model, I used primarily the Clay Buildup, Dam Standard, Polish, and Move brushes. To add the surface detail of the hair, I added a hair texture to the Clay Buildup alpha and went over the hair to make it appear textured. Lastly I polypainted the entire model in Zbrush, and then rendered it in Maya.


What did I learn?

These projects were my first foray into the world of 3D modeling and learning Maya and Zbrush. As my main interest is graphic design, I’d never given the 3D world much thought before, focusing mostly on 2D. Working on these projects has helped me realize the creative potential of 3D modeling, and I hope to continue to learn more about it in the future. I also learned that, while 3D modeling is difficult, it is also a lot more fun that I expected!

What could I have done better?

I could have chosen a less ambitious project than the Help! house, as I only had time to model one half of the house. In the future, I would like to finish the model and recreate the entire house. I also could have taken more time to polish some of the models, in particular the tufted sofa at the front, as it looks very bumpy and not so realistic. For the bass, I could’ve worked more on making the lighting reflect more realistically on the surfaces — i.e., chosen materials that reflect the intended texture better. Also, some of the textures and UV maps can be improved; I will set out to learn about UV maps and the best methods of creating them. For the Zbrush project, I could have spent more time thinking about the number of points I had. I think I could have found a way to get a good amount of detail without having so many points.