Blowing Up The Mineshaft! Learning 3D Modeling and Animation in 30 Days – Finale

Over thirty days ago, I started an experiment to find an effective approach on how to learn a new skill, partly to help challenge myself to learn 3D animation with Cinema4D. Within 30 days, my goal was to get the basics down on how to use the software with at least 20 hours of learning time and application under my belt. Ending with a sample project to show what I learned. In this case, a 3D modeled mineshaft and mine cart that will be blown up with some good ol’ dynamite.

I started in October 11, 2014 and ended on November 9, 2014. The first couple of weeks was a slow start barely mustering a few minutes during the week to watch the basic tutorial videos that would eventually form the foundation of building a mineshaft scene –complete with a mine cart, lamps, lighting and explosives to blast the mine away. Momentum caught on over the weekends specially as pressure had built on the last couple weeks to finish the task of going through at least 20 hours of the material.

Finally, on the eve of November 9, I uploaded my project file on Youtube. Half baked with still a lot of areas in desperate need of fixing. Most notably, the rocks flying all over the place way before the explosion. I’ll have to figure out how to fix this among other things, but for now, here’s the final project. A whopping four seconds and all it’s shining glory. Ready or not, this mineshaft’s going to blow!

If you want to see the previous posts to give the challenge some context, here’s the outline of my approach in the first post titled: A Simple Way To Learn A New Skill Fast – In 4 Steps and another post on the Half-Mark Update. The approach was simple but was definitely challenging to keep up. Having a clear objective helped a lot when time was barely available. I could see where I would skim and cut things out when it came down to the final crunch. Things I didn’t need were set aside for a later revisit –Like having the rocks stay in the mine cart instead of floating in space. : )

One of the strategies in my initial post was to deconstruct and figure out just the bare essentials to practice so you can avoid wasting time studying areas that you are unlikely to use or is rarely used. Luckily, in this case, the basic course was designed very well to encompase just the essentials so I didn’t have much of a need to weed out any information. Sometimes when you are just starting out and don’t quite know what you want to build with the software yet, it’s hard to know what is essential and what is not. It is good to have a specific idea beforehand of what you want to create, if you want to strategicly identify and eliminate the unnecessary out of the endless learning pile. Otherwise it would be best to just go through the whole basic course and trust that most of the fundamental elements that is presented is required to build a strong base and that it will all fit into place when you start to build projects of your own.

Pre-committing to the objective and plan was absolutely crucial to the ultimate completion of this project. Without which, I would have swapped this activity with something much less involved had I not gone through the extensive pre-planning stage. But the best laid plans was not without its wins and fails. Initially I couldn’t live up to my pre-commitment of doing the designated 20 – 40 minutes per night as planned. It felt forced and seemed an extra burden when added on top of existing projects that had weekday deadlines. The pressure of making good on my word, posting it on this blog and announcing it to all of my closest friends helped a lot in making me find a way to make it work with whatever time I could find. Weekends was the perfect solution and luckily, I didn’t have other projects that extended over to take my weekends away as they sometimes do.

Finally, anticipating failure points and coming up with a solution before hand helped with the weekday rut and allowed me to re-adjust my plan to work on days suited best for higher levels of focus. It allowed me to honor higher priorities and still come up with an alternate plan to make it work.



As I close this chapter on learning 3D animation, I have a completly new challenge coming up that is unrelated to creating videos or learning a new skill. Outline to come forth on the next post.


About Pablo Sanchez

Enjoys crafting simple animated business videos that get your big ideas across to a larger audience. Honey, I Can Explain! is the place to go.

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