Learn what 3D illustrations are, why they are important, and how creatives play a role.
- Photo realism in illustration is an incredibly valuable skill. For example, in the product design world, artists are asked to create realistic visualizations of devices that haven't been made. Architectural illustrators have to create images of homes, inside and out, that haven't been built, and concept artists in games and film have to accurate visualize entire imaged worlds as realistically as possible. Illustrators have a lot of options for tools and techniques in this medium.
They can draw photo-real images from scratch on paper or digitally in applications like Photoshop. They can work entirely in 3D applications like Maya, 3ds Max, ZBrush, and CINEMA 4D. Or they can combine the best of both worlds, drawing and painting digitally on top of basic images produced in 3D. Regardless of the technical direction you take, because of that, I'd suggest starting with our courses in both one-point and two-point perspective.
Once you have a good feel for that, check out Sketching for Product Design and AEC. In this course, Kevin Henry walks members through sketching both basic shapes and more complex forms, creating planes, the mechanics and methods of two-point perspective, and creating the illusion of shade and casting shadows. If you're already comfortable drawing and painting in perspective, then you should begin learning to work in 3D software. Because the interfaces and workflow can be intimidating, it's best to learn some 3D concepts before trying to dive into this new way of creating images.
In Introduction to 3D, author George Maestri provides a broad overview of these concepts and digital techniques. These apply to all types of 3D artwork, such as character designs, product shots, animation, visual effects, and more. If you're specifically interested in working in Photoshop, check out Introducing Photoshop: 3D with Deke McClelland. Deke goes over a host of techniques, including how to model forms and wrap them with color or surface textures and hang lights in your scene.
Photoshop is a powerful tool, but it's best combined with a dedicated 3D software package to produce the most stunning results. These tools are incredibly deep with a steep learning curve, but the results that a talented illustrator can create are worth the effort it takes to learn them. There are a lot of 3D programs to choose from, like SketchUp, Zbrush, Mudbox, Blender, CINEMA 4D, Maya, and 3ds Max.
Each of these applications is capable of creating beautiful photorealistic images, but each has their own unique personality and ways of creating artwork. There's no one true way of working, and you need to figure out the tools that most closely match your personal way of thinking about 3D space. The best place to start with learning a new 3D application is our Essential Training series. These comprehensive courses are designed to introduce you to the application interface and workflow for creating a variety of artistic styles.
There's an Essential Training for each of the programs I mentioned, and all are organized in a way that best presents how the application can be used. For example, the Essential Training for CINEMA 4D is organized around types of jobs that a CINEMA 4D artist might be asked to tackle. If you're starting from scratch, start with CINEMA 4D R18 Essential Training: The Basics. This course will provide you with an understanding of the application interface and general workflow.
From there, try out Essential Training for Product Visualization and Design. Author Andy Needham will show you how to use CINEMA 4D to create photorealistic images and animations of a variety of products. No matter which Essential Training you're starting with, our authors will help you learn the basics, and then when you're ready to dive deeper, we've got project courses that will both teach and challenge you. In Sculpting a Creature with Zbrush and Photoshop, artist Rayce Bird shows members how to create an incredible-looking imaginary character from scratch.
Creating photorealistic images can be challenging and rewarding, but there's a new medium that's set to disrupt the world of content creation, virtual reality. Illustrators will play a huge role in creating the experiences that VR companies are going to need. To understand what the VR creation process entails, watch Craig Barr's course 3D Content Creation for Virtual Reality. No matter what aspect of illustration you're interested in, we can help you get skilled up and creating.
Kristin Ellison—the content manager of art and illustration at LinkedIn Learning—kicks off the course by walking through the core elements of the creative process: drawing, composition, and color. Next, she highlights the specific skills and software you'll need to successfully launch a career in 2D illustration, 3D illustration, and fine art. To wrap up, Kristin covers the business of art and illustration, sharing how to promote, present, and get paid for your work. Throughout the course, Kristin mentions additional courses you can reference to get an in-depth look at specific tools and skills.
- Learning about the core elements of the creative process
- Understanding the power of composition
- Understanding color
- Pursuing careers in 2D illustration, 3D illustration, and fine art
- Promoting and presenting your work
- Getting paid for your work