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Hard Surface Modeling Tutorials
Are you interested in modeling amazing sci-fi concepts, complex weapons and detailed machinery but lack the skills and knowledge to do so in Blender?
If this is you, you’ve come to the perfect place. In this article, I’m going to show you 12 amazing tutorials that introduce you to the wonderful and clean world of Hard Surface Modeling.
Each tutorial has been hand picked by me, for its educational value, quality, and importance to learn.
If you’re interested in a more comprehensive guide of every tutorial Blender has to offer, I’ve created the Blender Bible. The World’s Largest collection of Blender tutorials. Check it out!
What is Hard Surface Modeling?
Hard Surface Modeling is a specific specialization of 3D modeling. As the name suggests, Hard Surface Modeling centers around the creating of inorganic or ‘Hard’ objects and assets.
Some examples include:
- Space technology
You get the idea.
This specific niche of modeling requires a very specific subset of skills. Precision, clean topology, optimization and accuracy are all important aspects of Hard Surface Modeling.
The tricky part is finding good tutorials that won’t waste your time. I hate getting 20 minutes into a tutorial and realizing its a waste of time.
This is why I’ve taken the time to pick out some of the best tutorials for my community:
Note: Some of these links contain affiliate links. If you enjoy Stylized Station and think we deserve an extra buck or two, feel free to pick up some courses at the links provided in this article!
Making Tracer's Gun
This is one of my personal favorite tutorials.
This tutorial was one of my first introductions into hard surface modeling in Blender, and Random Art Attack does a fantastic job showing off his workflow.
This was one of the first tutorials that showed me the symmetrize workflow, a technique I still use today for more control over my model when I want to mirror my objects.
In this video, you’ll be learning how to create Tracers iconic guns from scratch.
One of my biggest takeaways from this video was how to properly model using concept art in your workflow.
This is a long and very in depth tutorial which spans many parts, and I guarantee as a beginner, you’ll pick up a ton of great tips and good habits that you’ll continue to use in your future models.
It’s worth to note that the texturing part of the tutorial continues on in Substance Painter, so if you’re looking to learn some texturing in Blender, this tutorial series isn’t for you.
Modeling a Sword from Concept Art in Blender 2.8 [MEGA TUTORIAL]
You know what I love about hard surface modeling? I love that you get to create amazing fantasy swords, weapons and armor.
I decided to share my knowledge with you guys by creating a massive tutorial explaining my step-by-step process of creating a huge hard surface sword.
In this video, I’ll show you the basic steps in how to model a basic stylized sword using concept art in Blender 2.8.
I’ll go over my workflow, tips and tricks, common issues and much more! This first section will cover creating the low poly and high poly models.
Right off the bat, I’ll demonstrate my methods of creating the first basic starting shapes and how to break down complex shapes into more manageable pieces.
As I work through all the various pieces of the sword, I’ll be showing my thought process and fixing my mistakes to demonstrate how to solve common problems you will face as you’re creating your models.
After the low poly is complete, we move onto the high poly. I’ll show you how to properly prepare the model for high-poly, how to use subdivision and bevels to refine and give your model that extra ‘pop’ needed to take your modeling to the next level.
This is a massive deep dive into the complexities of creating a complex model, and at the end of it you’ll have a thorough understanding of a professional workflow and how to overcome common problems.
Hardsurface modeling a Sci-Fi Gun in Blender 2.8
Okay so swords are cool, but how about a massive sci-fi gun? I have a great tutorial for you.
This tutorial from Dejan Pejacki, in two hours you’ll learn how to model this beautiful futuristic weapon using the HardOps addon in Blender 2.8.
Dejan will explain to you his process, workflow and mindset when approaching this complex model. You’ll also get some free cool addons and learn professional hard surface tricks.
While this seems like a difficult task, this tutorial is aimed at beginner/intermediate modelers.
When you get this tutorial, you will receive a full two hour tutorial explaining each step and12 files containing videos, references and addons.
Its a great tutorial with a great final result. I highly recommend it.
Want to learn from the pros?
Intro to Hard Surface Modeling - CG Cookie
CGCookie is a great site where for a small subscription fee you can start learning the basics of Blender and work towards becoming a professional artist.
I’ve been a fan of these guys for a while and I’ve tried their membership, I do recommend it. They have great courses. I’m not an affiliate, I just love the work they’re doing.
Even if you can’t afford the subscription, they have a ton of great free videos where they show you beginner concepts such as basic modeling and sculpting.
In this video, they’ll show off some tricks and processes to creating a hard surface vehicle. The rest of the course is locked behind the subscription, but the first video is worth watching. Free is free!
Blender 2.8 for Beginners: Building a Lightsaber
The guys at Flipped Normals have been putting out a ton of great content for some time now, and have recently started creating more and more content for Blender 2.8.
This lightsaber tutorial is totally FREE, and you can pick up all of the files and videos on their Marketplace.
In this tutorial, this free series is a great intro for people looking to learn some hard surface modeling, and you’ll also pick up a few really cool tips and tricks from an industry professional.
In their beginner series, you’ll learn:
- The interface and workflow of Blender 2.8
- How to get started with modeling basic shapes
- Subdivision modeling explained
- How to assign and use shaders in Blender
- Youll also learn about the differences between cycles and eevee, Blender’s 2 main rendering engines.
Overall this is a great hard surface modeling course, especially for beginners.
Hard Surface Modeling In Blender
Okay, this is a good one.
Gleb Alexandrov has been a big name in the Blender scene for quite some time, and has always come out with consistently high content.
This may quite possibly be the most in-depth and well refined tutorial out there to date for Blender.
I’d say the only downside is that this tutorial is based in version 2.79, not 2.8.
However, I’ve done this course and I HIGHLY recommend it.
This course will teach you essentially EVERYTHING you need to know about hard surface modeling in Blender, and you’ll end up with an INCREDIBLE portfolio piece as a result of finishing the course.
For $60, this course is an absolute steal. It also comes with a free kitbash kit as well!
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Hydrant - Hard Surface Modeling Tutorial
Hard surface modeling often includes modeling everyday things such as cars, architecture and yes, even fire hydrants.
Cedric is a 3D freelancer who has made a great 2 hour course where he shows you the basics of hard surface modeling. You’ll gain a better understanding of workflow, how to use EasyRef, blocking out and adding more complex details.
If you’re like me and enjoy slower, more planned out tutorials, then this tutorial is for you.
At the end of the tutorial, you’ll have a clean, well-designed model that you can show off to your Grandmother on Thanksgiving. How wholesome!
Build a Rocket
Grant Abbit is one of my favorite tutorial creators out there. He has a huge library of beginner to intermediate level tutorials that span from texture painting, to basic modeling.
While Grant normally focuses on sculpting and hand painting, he also has a great little video on the basics of hard surface modeling.
Grant will show you subdivisions, edge looping, and bevels as the main concepts of this little 20 minute tutorial.
Just like any other video he makes, I recommend taking a look at this one if you are an absolute beginner. Enjoy!
SCI-FI Concept using Blender
Sci-Fi models almost always involve the use of hard surface modeling, due to the lack of natural and organic shapes.
Bryant Koshu has a great tutorial where he shares some of his knowledge to people who are looking to dip their toes into the workd of creating sci-fi props.
Using Blender, Bryant will show you tips and tricks to people who are interested in exploring Blender as a Sci-Fi concept modeling software.
This tutorial is approximately one hour long and comes with 3 Blender files to use as reference when you are working your way through the tutorial.
Its worth noting that this tutorial is also great for concept artists looking into a software package to create your concept work.
Modeling an Anvil - Blender Guru
You’ve never seen this tutorial before? Have you been living under a rock?
I’d like to preface this tutorial by saying that Blender Guru isthe Patron Saint of Blender tutorials. His Blender doughnut tutorial has been viewed millions of times, and I still see these beginner doughnuts popping up all over my social media feed.
That being said, BlenderGuru has a great level 2 installment where you learn proper hard surface modeling techniques to create a well designed and optimized anvil.
I’ve personally done this tutorial twice and I enjoy it every single time I watch it.
This tutorial is a 5 part series, and is available for totally free on youtube.
Creating car in Blender
I personally love this tutorial. It has a great concept and you end up with a really cool looking final piece, the Jet Powered Rat-Rod
In this large tutorial, Igor will show you how to make a retro/futuristic car using Blender.
The entire tutorial spans about 7 hours in length, and is divided into three parts: modeling, texturing and rendering. Each part goes over every step in great detail.
The cool part about this course is that everything is completely done in Blender, no outside software and no addons. It is a great showcase demonstrating the power of the base software, and what can be accomplished with it.
Parametric Non-Destructive Modeling - Chris Prenninger
In this video, Chris Prenniger takes a deep dive into Parametric(non-destructive) modeling in Blender.
I personally think this is an incredibly interesting tutorial, as Chris experiments with using as little modeling as possible, and generating a complex mesh using mostly modifiers and nodes.
This style of modeling is slowly becoming more and more popular over the last few years, so I’d always recommend at least hopping into this video and taking a look to see what its all about.
Hard Surface Modeling is a HUGE niche of modeling, with plenty of artists making full-time careers out of it.
As you can see, there are a lot of resources out there to help you learn this complex artform, but if you’re like me and need a more involved, 1-on-1 style of learning, feel free to join our Patreon community, and gain access to our Artcraft discord and get some advice from real professionals in the industry. We are incredibly active and answer every question that gets asked.
Looking forward to seeing you in there!