Intro to 3D Modelling

Once you’ve mastered the basic tools in Flash by doing lots of drawing, learning about different types of tweens and symbols, added audio, and added some Action Script, it’s safe to say that you have a pretty good understanding of the basics.

Now it’s time to start looking at the second part of our course, 3D Modelling. This one comes with a wealth of other options and possibilities, and there is a lot more to understand before you can really get comfortable, but once you do, the options are basically limitless.

There are a lot of different programs that will do 3D modelling and animation, and we may end up looking at a few. Even Photoshop can do a lot of this type of work now, so it’s becoming more commonplace.

We’ll start off with some basic concepts and one of the most common and basic 3D modelling programs.

In Flash, we’re used to making things move side to side or up and down, or any combination of those (any angles or diagonals.) But now we have to consider that things can move and exist in 3 dimensions. Now our shapes don’t just have with and height, they’ll have depth as well. Whereas before we just moved along the X and Y axis, now we add in Z.

What is 3D Modeling?
To answer this questions, we have to first understand what 3D means. Thinking in 3 dimensions takes some getting used to.

  • 3 Dimensional design requires planning for height, width and depth
  • When making changes to an object, you must consider all sides and angles.
  • You have to view your object from various angles.
  • When positioning multiple objects, there is now another dimension of space to consider

3 Dimensional space is measure in 3 Axes.

  • X axis = Width – Right To Left
  • Y axis = Depth – Toward or Away
  • Z axis = Height – Up or Down

In the 3D Industry it is universally accepted to identify each axis with a color:

  • X = Red
  • Y = Green
  • Z = Blue

An easy way to keep it all straight is to remember: XYZ = RGB.



IMPORTANT ADVICE: most of the programs that we’ll be working with assume that you have a 3 button mouse, and will work best if you do. Yours may or may not be set up as a 3 button mouse, so you should do the following:

Open System Preferences, and go to Mouse. Make sure that the ball on top of your mouse is set to “Button 3”

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Learn and practice this with some easy tutorials for Google Sketchup. They are in the Robson213Files folder, or can be accessed online. You’ll want to download them and open them in Sketchup.


Press “Start Using Sketchup” to begin.

When opening these tutorials, you’ll get a warning, because they were created in an older version of Sketchup. Feel free to click “Do not warn me again.”

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1. Introduction to Sketchup

2. Start a Drawing, part 1

3. Start a Drawing, part 2

4. Start a Drawing, part 3

There are also some video tutorials that contain some great examples and information. Unfortunately they move VERY quickly, so you should really pause the video regularly and practice the techniques as you go.

Exercise #12 : Practice these techniques by creating a model of your house (or the school). Try to be as accurate as possible, but we’re not being exact just yet, so just make it look somewhat realistic and accurate.

Tell Mr. Robson what's on your mind!