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3D Modeling for VFX

Instructor: Josh McDonald, Jason Keyser
Included with VFX-A All Access

Modeling meshes for VFX allows you to create a variety of different effects. Learn the key concepts of 3D modeling like meshes, UVs, and modifiers, and how to prepare these assets for use in game engines.

In All Access

2.5+ Hours

This course includes over
two hours of 3D VFX training.

Skill Level

Beginner Level One course for new and aspiring 3D VFX artists. 


Autodesk Maya

Instant Access

This course is immediately available to All Access members. 

Course Breakdown

Lesson overview.

Intro to Blender Modeling

Learn the basic functionality and key concepts of modeling for your VFX needs. Start by creating your first mesh. Simple planes are used for every spark, glow, or flame lick inside any game engine.

You'll also learn the basics of interacting with 3D objects and their components (Vertices, Faces, and Edges), learn the many different ways to edit models, and then finally learn how to export a 3D model for use in your favorite game engine.

Dome & Tapered Cylinder

Create domes and tapered cylinders in Blender. These meshes are commonly used to make shields, explosion impacts, and aura effects. 

You can use simple techniques to edit your mesh and create simple effects. With these core skills, you'll be able to learn more complex techniques later in the series to create more specific meshes.

UVs in Blender

Learn the fundamentals of UVs in Blender. Once you've grasped the foundations, you can apply these skills to any 3D program.

See how textures interact with UVs using an FX texture. You'll be able to visually see how game engines will interact with the UV map when applying your shaders. So you can learn how to lay out your UVs to achieve the specific effect that you are after.

Vertex Colors

Vertex colors refer to the 4 channels of data you can manually assign and store in the vertices of meshes. We can use this information in many ways to improve the quality of our effects.

See how you can store color (RGBA) information without the use of a texture. Then use that data in the shader to do many different things, such as multiplying the vertex color with the texture or masking out the edges using the vertex alpha.


Edit meshes in Blender using modeling modifiers. These allow you to change the shape of your mesh quickly and non-destructively. You can easily change the parameters or revert changes if you don't like how it looks.

If you decide to switch to another 3D software, Maya and 3DS Max have similar modeling modifier tools.

Rings, Swipes, & Soulercoasters

It's time to move on to something exciting, Panning Meshes! This technique can be used to create a wide variety of effects, such as weapon swipes.


In this video, using the tools you've learned through the series, we will make a waterfall with a single mesh and a single shader!

Maya Basics

If you've never used Autodesk Maya before, this lesson will give you an overview to get started with Maya for stylized VFX.

What members say about VFX Apprentice

Bruno Cano

VFX-A All Access Member

Joining VFX Apprentice was, for sure, the best decision I've made in my early VFX career. The courses are great and the mentors and students are always trying to help. I just love being here!

Ron Anati

VFX-A All Access Member

Been in love with game VFX since I can remember. I joined VFX Apprentice after a LONG time thinking about it, and loving every moment of it, studying whenever I can.

Learn 2D and 3D FX with VFX-A All Access

All 2D FX, 3D VFX, and Advanced courses are included with VFX Apprentice All Access. Learn stylized and real-time FX from professional artists and animators.


All Access (Annual)


12 months billed once

  • Save an extra $476
  • 200+ Hours of VFX Training
  • New Lessons Monthly
  • Weekly Live Sessions
  • Project Files + Assets
  • Lifetime Community Access

All Access (Monthly)


Regularly $189/month

  • 200+ Hours of VFX Training
  • New Lessons Monthly
  • Weekly Live Sessions
  • Project Files + Assets
  • Full Community Access

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