Update Mar 2023: A new intermediate Blender course has been released – Arcane House. You may find it listed on the homepage.
Creating value or work of artistic beauty is one of my main concerns for online learning, whether it is for personal growth or passive income. Building inspiring visual 3D art scenes are definitely one of great potential for individuals and professional teams alike.
Some 3D software and courses can be very expensive. However, Blender 3D is not only free and open source but a very powerful one at that. The main obstacle to utilizing it is the knowledge and experience of learning this complex software.
Do not mistake learning Blender 3D to be easy for a get-rich-quick scheme or those faint of heart. It will not be suitable for those who are unwilling to put in the hard work or semi-interest to create 3D illustrations of value. But with all endeavors, those who work for it will be rewarded for their efforts.
Good Passive is pleased to introduce and present to you Polygon Runway for learning to create Blender 3D illustration artworks.
Why did I choose the Polygon Runway 3D Blender course?
There are a number of Blender courses out there. In fact, I had purchased at least 2 Blender Udemy courses before – “false starts” as someone may call it but never completed them.
Why? A few reasons. One, I may realize later on that the effort is too much for that kind of artwork. Two, lack of consistent professional support. The instructors may be more interested in getting more new sign-ups than in seeing the personal growth of the students.
Polygon Runway is different in some ways. It provides a clear structure of quality learning saving beginners time without losing focus to produce quality aesthetic 3D illustrations. The strikingly beautiful and creative 3D illustrations that the author produced are truly inspiring and unique or uncommon. Many of the “boxed” 3D single illustrations have a certain theme or story that differentiates them from just a general 3D model.
I am still learning but so far I created these 2 illustrations by following the video tutorials in the course.
I think you get the idea of the kind of 3D elegant boxed artwork outlook that we are aiming for here.
This kind of miniature, bonsai-style or boxed-sized 3D art scenes are really suitable for beginners or solo 3D digital artists because they are limited to what most people can achieve for a short-term project and less likely to quit.
I learned quite a bunch just from 2 projects and a few more to go just for the main illustrator course. There are too many options and settings in Blender 3d itself, but an advantage is that the course instructor does not waste time on stuff we do not need or advertisements.
What are some benefits of Polygon Runway?
Firstly, the artwork is absolutely on another level from many 3D designs I have seen, even better than in most or all TV shows or series. I am not talking about the blockbusters Transformers, which is a different category but the kind of creative out-of-this-world type of single 3D polygon art scene.
Secondly, a course that is beginner friendly: This is important especially when the subject matter is a complex one like 3D illustrations. The instructor is gentle to newbies and repeats the basic routines at a nice pace for the students. I do appreciate this because there are many shortcuts and concepts to drill in so we can perform them lie second nature later.
There are quite a number of lessons to learn from. For example, the main 3D illustrator course has a section on Bonus Content and 5 projects to work on that range from 11 to 21 videos each.
There are a number of free YouTube or online resources for learning Blender 3D, why should I pay for a course?
Indeed, there are numerous free resources to learn from. But the ones I saw are either scattered of random topics or not the result I am pleased with. You can spend some time looking for the right resources for learning and working through them provided you are not a quitter. Time is of the essence. Our human life is so short and fleeting, even if we can find and get to learn what we want to achieve the results but the odds seem largely stacked against the 3D beginning illustrators in general.
Polygon Runway also has a YouTube channel. You may give it a shot but I did not attempt to learn from the many YouTube videos there from the start.
For example, here is a recent release of how Roman made a new illustration with keyboard shortcuts shown, but it will not be a pleasant experience learning solely this way or from his random videos. The fact that he has numerous YouTube videos means that after the completion of his main course, students may choose to follow along to practice or create derivative artwork from any of them that he fancies. It also demonstrates the level of the instructor’s 3D skills that instills confidence in learning students.
A good course can mean success or naught for aspiring beginners. Unlike his YouTube videos, Roman demonstrates patience in teaching and explaining the steps and shortcuts in his paid course lessons.
How do I know if Polygon Runway’s teaching style is for me?
Feel free to enroll in the free lessons (1 hour) to create a sushi set (the first project of the 3D illustrator course) here as I did in the above vegan sushi image above.
Polygon Runway also offers a cheaper 4 episodes starter kit ($59 as of this writing) that may be all you need to start evolving your own 3D artwork or test if you can connect with the teachings for more.
Disadvantages of Polygon Runway?
The steep price. It costs about $200 for the discounted main 3D illustrator course, which probably is around 20 times an Udemy course. Having said that, Polyon Runway is a professional long, and detailed video course/s that runs for hours, and will be even longer depending on how students illustrate along with the lessons.
There is support e.g. Slack, but it is not perfect, nor do I expect it to be given that Blender 3D is complex and the video tutorials should really be good enough to pick up or master the skills for this particular 3D artwork.
Blender is difficult. That may apply to all professional 3D software out there. However, that can also mean more gratification and a higher value of work done. Plus Polygon Runway has made quality course/s that help newbies to better learn Blender to create modern 3D illustrations without unnecessary details in my opinion.
Is there a discount for Polygon Runway courses?
Currently, based on what I can remember there is a discount code “SUSHIMASTER” for $100 less so the 3D illustrator course is about $200. If you signup for their newsletter as I did, you may receive a 50% off their Ultimate Bundle which I purchased for about $210. That may change. Perhaps a Black Friday or Holiday Sale may present itself but a serious apprentice should not nag too much on the price of quality education in my opinion.
The Ultimate Bundle includes the main 3D illustrator course, a 3D characters and illustrations course, a 3D Lettering course, and the Polygon Hangar Bonus.
How do I approach learning with Polygon Runway?
It is a long Blender learning journey. I choose to study and model along with a certain amount of time per day on most days. Maybe about 10 minutes or one whole lecture each day. You may want to break up and learn a 35 mins video lesson in 2 or 3 days.
Fast learners are likely to finish up quicker but bear in mind to pay attention to your own mental pace as well and not burn out learning this complex software. Importantly, we should be enjoying and feel relaxed creating this particular kind of 3D artwork that we have chosen with deliberation.
Taking notes is a good idea when it comes to learning Blender 3D, whether it’s Notion or Google Keep or whatever you fancy, but a physical notebook e.g moleskin can be useful for ease of reference while building that muscle memory for shortcuts. For example, Ctrl-R to loop cut, Alt-click selects the loop, etc. I currently have about 26 list items at about two and a half projects in and increasing.
My take is that a student may benefit more from at least 2 rounds of going through the whole course before being more proficient with the muscle memory of the various shortcuts for completing his own creative projects given the complex nature of Blender 3D.
Polygon Runway has opened up a pathway for beautiful 3D artwork that I would not have ventured into otherwise. The course can guide a beginner to produce polished and professional 3D artwork. It saves time from scouring various sources. Polygon Runway is the only professional paid 3D course/s that I can safely and personally recommend.
It is not cheap but it is also not unreasonably costly (a fraction) compared to how much a 3D design school may charge, and it may be even a better choice considering we solo learners can niche down or specialize to produce a specific kind of aesthetic 3D art that appeals to many.
I believe Polygon Runway made 3d freelancing, career, entrepreneur businesses, and passive income possible for solo individuals learning the trade online. Aspiring 3D artists do not have to study for years in a 3D design school to create beautiful 3D scenes now.
A traditional academy school should afford more comprehensive technical skills, theories, and even building relationships for networking success. However, not everyone can afford expensive 3D courses and software. Individuals who put in the effort to learn can learn enough to make professional-looking and aesthetic quality Blender 3D artwork with Polygon Runway.
The skills for aesthetic 3D illustrations are just a part of the journey but nevertheless an important one for those who decided to undertake it. Next up can be freelancing, jobs, marketing, or creating products or videos to earn from your 3D artwork.
Once the student has acquired the basic technical skills to complete 3D illustrations on his own (perhaps after going through the course/s twice), he may move on to the Polygon Runway YouTube videos for more practice and inspiration or spend some time coming up with creative ideas, repetitive steps, and adjusting the camera and lighting for the final render, so you have to know this is what you are interested enough to spend the efforts and time crafting this art trade.
I believe Polygon Runway is a one-of-a-kind 3D art course out there. Such a quality 3D learning resource, paid or not, is uncommon and a privilege to encounter and appreciate.
Polygon Runway just felt like it is the most valuable online 3D skill development course I have right now or taken before. But is Polygon Runway for you? That is up to you, including how interested, focus, serious, and consistent you are in 3D creation.
Why create digital 3D models or 3D illustrations?
Creating 3D artwork can be a form of aesthetic value or beauty. There are various ways to create products or works of value including books, paintings, and crafts. 3D modeling or illustrations or animations is one that delivers direct visual impact to the audience.
In contrast to painting or drawing which required a certain relevant skill, talent, and/or materials, 3D illustrations require a different technical setup: A computer with 3D software, a mouse, and a keyboard. This is interesting because computer-literate people who are untrained or out of touch with drawing or painting may opt to produce a different kind of art with technology including 3D illustrations.
Why use Blender 3D for beginners and professionals?
- Powerful 3D modeling and animation software
- Free and opensource
- Cross platforms – Windows, Mac, Linux
- Light or average system requirements e.g. 8GB Ram, ~500MB space
- Used by professionals e.g. Disney Animation Studios, Spiderman 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and more
Where to learn Blender 3D for free?
Blender also has a tutorials page here. If you are looking for their fundamentals tutorials, here is the YouTube playlist though Polygon Runway paid courses may offer a better learning experience and support in the long run for the serious 3D artists.