CG Education
So you see all of these art tutorials below, and are probably asking yourself where to start? Well, first it might be a good idea to understand a bit about my personal art process, which I've broken into 20 stages. Below are lessons (both text and video) that explore these different stages. No matter whether you're a concept artist, matte painter, modeler, shading and texturing artist, whether you're doing vfx, animated films or videogames, there's probably something here you'll find useful in your own work, so feel free to explore just the stages that interest you, or follow my full 20 stage process by first clicking on Art Process Overview. Enjoy!
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Theory And Techniques
Short lessons that outline a technique, tip or trick, or other art theory.
Art Process Overview
1) Art Philosophy and Ideas
2) Research / Reference
3) Composition
4) Text
5) Shape Language
6) Patterns
7) Silhouette Sketch
8) Rough Sketch (aka Quick Sketch, Line Drawing, Initial Sketch)
9) 3D Sketch
10) Photo Sketch
11) Color Scheme
12) Color Sketch (aka Color Brief, Color Rough, Value Sketch, Color Preliminary, Color Thumbnail)
13) Detailed Sketch
14) Compositing (aka Image Assembly)
15) Rough Rendering (aka Rough Painting)
16) Lighting & Rendering
17a) Modeling 17b) Sculpting
17c) Model Assembly

18a) Shading / Texturing Introduction 18b) Shader Theory 18c) Pattern Theory 18d) Pattern Placement (UV Mapping, Projections, etc) 18e) Pattern Connection / Storage 18f) Pattern Creation 18g) Material Theory (Shaders + Patterns)
18h) Materials (Shaders + Patterns)
19) Final (aka Final Painting, 2d Painting)
20) Tweaks
Misc Topics

Practical Application
Watch me use the theory above and apply them to larger projects.
14) Compositing Layer Breakdowns
18) Shading And Texturing

Apr 7th 2014
Added a new tutorial called Structure And Naming Conventions For Materials.

Mar 24th 2014
Added a new diagram to How Do I Shade / Texture Stuff?: Shading Pipeline Overview. Added a link to a new video on Blended Box Mapping. Added a new real world photo to Tiled Floor Material.

Feb 19th 2014
Added a new opinion piece called Go To School Or Learn CG At Home?. Updated my How Do I Shade / Texture Stuff?: Shading Pipeline Overview lesson with a bunch of new info, especially on pattern placement methods and pattern storage.

Feb 17th 2014
Added a new tutorial called Switchers And IDs, Which To Use When. Updated my other 2 switcher lessons and my texture baking lesson with the new info.

Feb 7th 2014
Added a new video lesson called Subdivision Surfaces Using Support Edges (The Basics) . Added a few more examples to my Procedural Noise lesson. Added some more info on MaterialByElement to my Randomizing Patterns Using Switchers lesson.

Jan 7th 2014
Added a new lesson called Switcher For Specific Patterns On Specific Objects

Jan 5th 2014
Added a new lesson called Scratch Patterns Using A Scratchboard.

Dec 16th 2013
Added a new lesson called Texture Baking: Baking Patterns To Use In An Incompatible Render.

Dec 10th 2013
Added a new lesson called Randomizing Patterns Using Switchers.

Dec 9th 2013
Heavily modified all of my Metal / Reflection related tutorials, so: Reflections and Highlights, Anisotropic Reflections In The Real World, Anisotropic Reflections In CG Software, Chrome Material, Brushed Metal Material, and Gold Material. All of these tutorials had been written awhile ago, back when the industry was still shifting from scanline techniques to raytracing, so since most of us today are using raytracers, it made sense to update them a bit and add extra examples for mentalray and Vray.

Dec 6th 2013
Added a new material and accompanying tutorial called Dirty Rusty Decaled Painted Worn Metal. This is the same material I showed off at this year's CAVE conference / Autodesk University 2013, and it's the main material I use to shade anything that's metallic, painted and grungy (ie, almost all of my stuff), and it's all ready to be applied to your models. If you need a robot, a weapon, a guy in power armor, construction equipment, etc, and you want give it high quality texturing without the need to set up UVs, this is the material for you (currently Max/Vray only).

Nov 30th 2013
Added a new example at the bottom of my Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Shapes lesson.

Nov 25th 2013

Added a new video lesson called Weathering A Model: It's All About Erasing The Dirt.

Nov 24th 2013
Added a new video lesson called Weathering A Model: Extracting A Pattern From A Photograph.

Nov 21st 2013

Added a new lesson called Reducing Bitmap Blurring To Get Cleaner Results.

Nov 20th 2013
Added a new opinion piece called Make Time For Personal Artwork.

Nov 17th 2013
Added a new lesson called How Do I Shade / Texture Stuff?: Shading Pipeline Overview. This discusses the theory behind my process for Shading / Texturing. If you're planning on attending my talk at Autodesk University 2013, reading this lesson is a great pre-cursor to the talk. And if you're not going, this lesson helps you get the most out of all the other Shading / Texturing lessons on my CG Education page.

Nov 12th 2013

Reformatted the entire CG Education Page, hopefully its way easier now to find the stuff you want. And added a detailed discussion (video and text) of my personal artwork process called Art Process Overview.

Nov 11th 2013
Added a new video lesson called Painting Lumps, Divots and Holes.

Nov 6th 2013

Added a new lesson called Photobooth Mirror Sketch.

Nov 4th 2013

Added a new lesson called Analyzing The Artistic Style Of Your Influences. This is a good exercise to do if you want to explore the kind of work that inspires you and see how it can relate to pushing your own artwork in new directions.


Check out my Gnomon Workshop DVD:
Hard Surface Shading And Texturing With Neil Blevins
"Neil introduces his pipeline for shading and texturing hard surface models. The pipeline can be used for any highres models, such as models for photoreal fx work, animated feature films, ride films or videogame cinematics. In Part 1, he discusses reference gathering, how to make a visual details list, and common shaders. Then he outlines all of the major methods for placing patterns on your surface, their advantages and disadvantages, and ways of creating patterns, including procedurals, photo manipulation, and hand painting. He breaks up the lecture with practical demonstrations in Adobe photoshop and 3dstudio max using the Scanline, Brazil and mentalray renderers, and stresses how the theory can be applicable to your 3d application and renderer of choice. In Part 2, he uses the theory and pipeline from Part 1 to shade and texture a 2000+ object robot character and simple environment using 3ds Max, Photoshop and Brazil. With a focus on texturing thousands of objects fast and efficiently and theory that is useful in any 3d app or renderer, this intermediate level course is sure to add many new tricks to your personal arsenal."
Contains over 5.5 hours of content

  • (07.29.03) Oregon3d Brazil Class, Siggraph 2003 in San Diego
  • (07.30.03) Discreet Booth Brazil Talk, Siggraph 2003 in San Diego
  • (08.13.08) Autodesk Master Class Shading Talk, Siggraph 2008 in Los Angeles
  • (05.28.09) "The Sets Of Wall-e: Trash Planet", End User Event 2009 in Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • (05.29.09) "Shading And Texturing Hard Surface Models", End User Event 2009 in Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • (12.04.13) "Shading and Texturing Environments, Props and Robots", Autodesk University / Cave Conference 2013 in Las Vegas
I contributed one chapter to "Digital Art Masters Vol 3"
  • (Pages 218-221) Mouths To Feed III
In this article I discuss how I went about creating the image, including reference material, early modeling WIPs and various modeling / photoshop tips and tricks. Check it out at
I contributed 3 chapters to "3DStudio Max 3 Magic". The chapters are...
  • (4) Mixing Maps To Create Complex Materials
  • (6) Lighting Effects: Rim Lighting and Diffuse Glows
  • (9) Shaders And Highlights
Other authors in the book include Brandon Davis, Eni Oken, etc. Check it out at
For "Inside 3dsmax4" I did one chapter...
  • (22) Scripting In A Production Environment
This tutorial discusses how to create complex scripts, as well as tips for approaching writing a script, how to organize your ideas, etc. The rest of the book deals with how to light, model, etc from real production professionals in the film and game industry. 

Other authors in the book include Kim Lee, Brandon Davis, Ian Christie, etc. Check it out at

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