Getting Started with 3D Modelling

Karl is joined by professional retoucher Viktor Fejes as together they explore the world of CGI (computer generated imagery) and 3D modelling.

CGI and 3D modelling are making great inroads into photography and are valuable tools for photographers wanting to expand their skill set. In this introductory class they provide an overview and introduction to CGI, allowing you to familiarise yourself with the 3D world.

Karl and Viktor examine examples of Viktor’s work, explore the techniques used to create each piece, discuss fundamental concepts of CGI and explain how to get started with CGI.

In this class:

  • What is CGI – Understanding the 3D world
  • Examples of CGI and 3D models
  • CGI and photography
  • Basic structure of 3D objects
  • 3D modelling software choices – Which 3D software to choose
  • Render engine options
  • Where to find 3D models
  • CPU and GPU processing

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. Mind blowing if you ask me! Thank you for sharing! My first reaction was: “dang, instead of putting all this money on camera gear, I should have bought a stronger computer!” I would even say it’s very courageous from you since it might even compete with your own expertise: product, commercial photography (which I think is going the biggest usage for it). In the beginning it might be way more work, but once you build up a nice library, the usages and compositions are endless. Just imagine having every part(icle) of your (amazing) paint-splash session in CGI. You could re-shape, re-frame, re-light and even introduce a totally other subject (product) within the same splashes you already created.

  2. Outrageous.
    Total scam on the public to coerce to buy something that is not real
    Nothing to do with photography
    It amounts to fraud when it is not disclosed that it is CGI

    Karl you should distance yourself from this crap.
    You are a photographer and tutor.
    Keep it honest

    1. From my understanding, that same ethical question is also applicable to “conventional” photography. I mean, look at these bottles of whiskey Karl Taylor photographs! Gorgeous, but deceiving, since the one I bought doesn’t glow that bright!
      So, of course, that won’t be considered a scam. Since it’s a product which is widely known to most humans, and hence, everyone knows it doesn’t glow.

      Therefore the end-result, to what degree the picture indeed depicts reality, is totally in the hands of the artist, no matter what tools he uses (paint, photography, or CGI).

      And than of course, not every field demands (or atleast is striving for) 100% replication of reality. Also between 100% reproduction and abstract art, there are many levels. Each according to its intended APPLICATION.

    2. You are incorrect. It was clearly labeled a CGI course. If you are not interested in the subject, simply don’t watch it. Calling this a “scam” is comical.

    3. Hi as I see your comment I do not agree, one can disclose to the customer that it’s made from 3D, But I believe the client doesn’t care which medium it was created in as long as they get the results. But that type of thinking will alienate you from the industry flow, therefore, rendering one obsolete. You’ll feel the impact not exactly now but I believe 5 years from now.

      Do not try to be a purist as even animators who animate strictly in 2D now employ digital methods of animation via Toonboom etc and Maya. That’s my two cents on the issue.

  3. Great session. How do I get more insight into the workflow from start to finish and how clients are requesting and applying the renders?

      1. Hello Karl, it is a pleasure to writing you. You are the best!
        You’re right we need more session of CGI classes.
        Thank you so much for sharing, it is an a AWESOME SESSION!!
        The future is already here.

        Let me know please about new CGI classes.



      2. Sounds great!
        All the different programs are very confusing though.

        Would be interesting to see about effective ways in using photography (which seems to me, still, waaay more fun) in order to make 3D models.
        For example your paint-splashes, how each splash could be made into an object after being photographed.

        I also saw your (great) interview with Erick Johansonn, who also uses photography as a starting point, after which he uses Sketchup.

        So I don’t know if that is the direction it’s heading (or what you’re interested in), or is it heading more towards a fully computerized environment?

  4. Bloody Nora – I am struggling to get my head around taking a decent photograph, let alone all this!!

    The trouble is, I feel I would be making a mistake if I ignore what 3D/CGI is and the knock on effect this will have on the photography business as a whole. I am fully focused on becoming a skilled photographer and would love to be able to do it full time in the near future 🤞🏻! I find photography so interesting and enjoyable and it would be nice to do something I enjoy for a living. However, as I would like to make a business out of photography, this CGI really concerns me.

    I would be interested to know if this 3D/CGI course has done well with views on your platform compared to other courses you have on here? I only ask as I am intrigued to know if other photographers are ignoring CGI and choosing NOT to invest their time to learn it. Judging from the lack of comments on this video, would indicate that most people on your platform do not see learning this as necessary or they just don’t like the sound of it. If I am honest, it does not interest me that much but I feel I need to invest time into it if I want longevity out of my business.

    Your honest advice would be appreciated on this, Karl.

    Many thanks,


    1. Hi Nathan, thank you for your question it’s a good one. The honest answer is, if I was starting out myself again right now then I’d be looking at it in the same way I was learning the first versions of photoshop when it appeared. I’d also be taking a keen look at video and if you consider people like David Lund, Barry Makariou, Jonathan Knowles and the guests we’ve had on the show – they are all also working with video and seen the necessity for some experience in this area, even if it is just to direct others to get the look you want. David also does some of his own 3D work, Barry outsources it. So my advice if you are looking at this as a business in the future is to start looking at it or at least start building relationships with an affordable CGI artist who can run some tests for you etc. There are actually many independent ones available at relatively good prices if you do a bit of searching. There is also the option to learn yourself and I believe one of the most popular software is the free one ‘Blender’. I hope this helps.

    2. Your session on 3D was very informimstive, in that I had some limited experience previously working with Maya. The possibilities are literally endless. Would love to hear your opinion of Maxwell render. I found it to be quite exceptional with ability to handle light. Thanks, Henry Duncan

      1. Hi, thanks for your feedback. I’ll ask Viktor for his opinion on this as it’s not my specialty area, I have heard many good things about Blender recently which is one that Viktor also mentioned.

    3. Nathan dont stress. CGI will never equal photography for 1 simple reason. Lighting.
      People who do CGI have absolutely no idea about lighting let alone photography.
      Look at Rolex. Shadows are missing under obvious subjects like the second hand on the watch
      The shadows are in the wrong place on the bracelet.
      Looks crap. I feel I want my money back on my Deep Sea.
      Mercedes Benz website is worse.
      Ask these brands why they went with CGI. Answer? Digital images can no longer be trusted because all are substantially retouched. These brands say that photographers simply cant capture the image in camera and resort to Photoshop and deliver something that was nott here when the photo was taken. By going CGI the whole stigma is removed. Crap photographers are to blame.
      Apart from Karl, there is nobody out there teaching proper lighting. It is the heart of all photography.

    4. Depends what type of photography you plan to specialize in. For example, CGI might be useful to know as a product photographer but how often would it be used for portraits? If you are just starting out I wouldn’t get too sidetracked with CGI unless you enjoy it. Just my 2 cents.

  5. Great overview of current solutions. I have been in and out of 3D software on Mac since about 1993. Looking back I am still amazed at some of the renderings I was able to achieve even in the beginning with relatively inexpensive programs that ate now gone (even though a single ray-traced image may take an entire day to render!)

    As time went by, I used mostly Strata 3D, Amapi and my favorite interface was Carrara (but it was full of bugs). I seemed to always hit a wall at some point which required more hardware or software investment to keep everything optimized. Maya would be my first choice today, but hard for me to justify “renting” something like that for the amount of work I would have time to do.

    1. Hi John, yes I also found it interesting as about 15 years ago I was working in Lightwave on a Silicon Graphics PC which was state of the art at the time. We used to turn out some pretty good stuff too but it took forever to render!

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