I can give some tips but they might seem a bit obvious.
1) Plan your object right from the start. Picture your object in your mind and figure out how to achieve the end result. This will train you to think about the modelling-process and the available tools. I like to make a small handdrawing on paper (doesn't need to be detailed) of the top-view and the side or sometimes even a quick sketch in 3D, jst as a reference. Try to disassemble the object in main parts and relate it back to 3DSM which objects and modifiers will suit best for that part.
2) When you start modeling an object, forget about texturing. The texture is not your object. It's merely a way to create the illusion of a material the part is made of. Don't even think about applying a texture before you are fully satisfied about the model itself. When you apply the texture after that, the object will be so much more realistic.
3) Try different approaches to get to the same result. 3DSM is so versatile that there are more ways then one to construct a model. For instance a glass of wine can be made in 5 ways (maybe more) and all have their advantage and disadvantages.
4) I usually try to keep my objects parametric as long as possible. I also like to keep the stack intact (not collapsed).
The biggest advantages are that you are able to step back in object-history if you ever need to change the object from it's basic shape.
Remember that making changes on subobject-level (vertices, line, polygons) is kind of like collapsing the stack although the stack is still intact. With this I mean that it can mess up your model when you go back into history and change basic parameters (for instance adding more sections on a box that has been altered on sub-object level. It will probably give some unexpected results).
5) Always keep an eye on your polygons-count. There is a counter-progam in 3DSM that keeps track of that. Simply go to the Utilities-tab and select the "more" button. you will get a dialogbox where the polygon-counter is listed.
3DSM has some very usefull tools that can pull down the poly-count without losing too much detail.
My advice: use MultiRes
to minimize the poly-count.
6) A tool I use very frequently is the ALIGN
tool. It will enable you "stick" objects exactly on other objects/faces. It will save you a lot of hasttle trying to align two objects by hand and you can be certain that there is no gap between them (which is absolutly necessary when making maps for GR)
7) Also a usefull tool I use a lot is GRID
(in conjuction with ALIGN
). It will enable you to draw objects on different planes (and axis) other then 3DSM's world-axis-system. You can activate it at any time so it's easier and faster to add or edit objects that use the same plane.
8) Use the HIDE
tools as much as you can. It will make your work in general much faster (less rendertime), more accurate and less interveining objects (especially when the workspace is crammed with it).
9) Always check any modelchanges in full 3D. Rotate around the objects or sometimes even into it to see if there the adjustments made are correct and no other elements are adjusted in the proces. This may seem very obvious but it 's a damn shame to discover you have made this excellent model only to find the back completely distorted because you picked one little vertice that wasn't supposed to be picked.
10) Use the AUTOSAVE-feature in 3DSM! You can find it in the CUSTOMIZE>PREFERENCES menu. Enable it by ticking the box and set the savetime to 5 minutes or so. You never know when a crash occurs so this will save at least most of your work. During modeling you won't notice that 3DSM is saving.
In case a crash does happen, then simply go to your root-3DSM folder and locate the folder called AUTOBACK
. Your backup will be found there.
I hope this makes life a bit more easy for you guys that just started using 3DSM.