Blender 3D News and Training

Sci-Fi Cave Environment Course

Posted by Aidy Burrows on Apr 14, 2018

Ever considered creating a full 3D environment? The skills taught in this beginner modeling course will get you up to speed in creating a scene that would render quickly for animation or interactively in a game engine running smoothly even on mobile hardware




Martin Turner has created environments for every games platform from PS4, PC and WiiU through to handhelds such as mobiles and the Nintendo DS to name just a few.

Martin is going to start pretty slow, and since there are many ways to do the same thing, and many places to find the same tool, he’ll be building up that knowledge quite naturally, and in many cases explaining why and when to use one location or method over another.

All we need is a copy of Blender and a basic knowledge of getting around the interface (see resources below) and then Martin will take you through the rest!

free blender beginner course



Project File  (right click – save as)

Previous Martin Cactus tut

Blender getting started link

Other courses.

Blender official download

Daily (experimental bleeding edge) builds for Blender 2.79 & 2.8 :





Part 1 – 3:41 Figuring out the scale from the concept


Part 2 – 8:47 Base Object

Using vertex snapping

Holding Ctrl to toggle the snapping status

I to inset, E to Extude.


Part 3 – 18:12 Forcefield Object

P to separate a selected face to create a new object from it.

Change the origin (or use the toolshelf)


Part 4 – 22:06 Forcefield Cap

Ctrl Tab to switch between face/edge/vert select mode.

Alt E for a more complete extrude menu e.g. along vertex normals


Part 5 – 26:08 Central Column

Ctrl R to cut a loop across a ring of edges.

Page up or middle mouse to add more loops with Ctrl R.


Part 6 – 35:37 Top Objects

Decluttering the scene using M to move objects between Layers, the array modifier, Ctrl P to parent and some tips about changing values on multiple objects at the same time.

Using the Array modifier, how to change values on more than one object at the same time.


Part 7 – 45:09 Ring Section

F6, shrink fatten tool alt S, Using Median snapping instead of closest


Part 8 – 52:37 Machine Arm

Using the 3d cursor as a pivot point.

Bridging Edge Loops. Using Ctrl M to mirror, showing the problem with backface culling, fixing with Ctrl N. Solving problems with overlapping duplicate geometry by merging with Remove doubles


Part 9 – 1:11:08 Machine Arm Attachment.

Applying the transformations. Basic posing. Rotation snapping and just for fun 😉 calculating exactly where to place things with a little arithmetic.






Part 1 – 01:25 Breaking down the concept.

Alt P to clear parent. Shift S > Selection to Cursor with Offset.


Part 2 – 03:37 The conveyor belt – Straight section.


Part 3 – 08:51 Curved section.

The spin tool.


Part 4 – 11:28 Conveyor Belt Support Bracket


Ctrl B for Bevel

Alt E – Extrude (Region Vertex Normals)


Part 5 – 16:38 Large/Small Pipes – Basic Kit Blockout.


Part 6 – 28:45 Laying out the Pipes

Apply rotation


Part 7 – 39:17 Cavern Blockout

Add cube, duplicate and place as the main cave vertical pillars


Part 8 41:26 Cavern Floor

Add plane, extend for the tunnels.


Part 9 – 44:09 Cavern Walls.

Extrude, Flip Normals


Part 10 – 46:48 Combining the Cavern parts together.

Join, Remesh modifier.


END – 49:30 In the next chapter




Part 1 – 02:23 Main Cave – Rough Pass

Turn off symmetry, Beware backfaces, Standard sculpt draw brush, hold Shift for the smooth brush


Part 2- 09:02 Cave PIllars Rough Pass

Masking tools

11:41 Repeating the process for the remaining pillars.

13:40 Matcaps.

14:46 Dynamic Topology Concept Explained.

17:41 Applying dynamic topology sculpting to the cavern.

Constant detail, Detail floodfill.


Part 3 – 21:06 Cavern Ceiling Ridge Shapes

00:00 Cavern Ceiling Ridge Shapes

22:17 Masking the Floor (with B)

23:52 – toggling between sculpting add/subtract with ‘Ctrl’


Part 4 – 28:14 Shaping the Pillars

28:14 – Tilting the Pillars

29:19 Proportional editing. (Shortcut O) brush size with page up or down.

32:16 alt H to unhide objects

32:54 alt H to unhide masked geometry, alt M ot clear mask

33:12 Background Column

33:57 Inflate brush

36:47 Grab brush


Part 5 – 37:42 Cave Entrances

37:42 First cave entrance

42:05 correcting the tunnel

42:59 Second Cave Entrance


Part 6 – 45:35 Pillars

45:35 Pillar Base Left Hand Side

50:05 Pillar Base Right Hand Side

51:23 Notes on a tablet.

52:58 Extra Corner Cave Wall & Moving A Pillar

55:21 Adjusting Pillar Position with proportional editing.

59:42 Pillar Base Rear Side


Part 7 – 1:01:14 CAVE FLOOR AND WALLS

1:01:14 Cave Floor

1:04:57 Cave Walls

1:07:11 Expanding out the front wall

1:08:54 freehand selection with ctrl Left click.

1:09:20 Proportional editing the wall move.

1:10:05 Tip – Fixing the stretched polygons with a dyntopo (strength 0)


Part 8 – 1:12:22 Making General Tweaks

1:12:22 Bringing in the left side wall

1:14:07 Freehand selection with ctrl Left click.

1:14:23 Box deselect with B > Middle click drag.

1:16:39 Back wall space shortening between entrance and machine

1:17:59 Softening foreground ceiling spikes and angular parts.

1:19:04 Entrance tidy up after previous move with the Grab brush.

1:20:41 Left hand wall tweaks

1:23:33 Right hand wall tweaks


1:26:59 END



Part 1 – 02:05 Large Base 2nd Pass

02:39 Isolate selected object with / on the numpad

07:45 Using the Boolean Modifier

08:24 Creating the main bevel

08:57 Smoothing the object then enable Autosmooth normals and use Ctrl E > Mark Sharp

10:17 Alt Right click to select the edge loop.

11:44 Breaking up the Ngons with tri’s and quads.

12:23 Using J to connect vertices.

14:18 Creating the Base Trays


Part 2 – 16:13 Forcefield Base

17:13 Adding the Bevels

18:12 Setting up the smoothing as before.

19:14 Creating the feet

20:31 Clearing the parent

21:54 Ctrl I to invert selection.

22:23 Using Shift Z when scaling to lock the Z axis while scaling on X and Y.

22:56 Using Alt S shrink/Fatten tool to bring the feet out further and curve the feet top.

24:23 Using a Boolean to flatten the bottom of the foot and using dissolve to get rid of extra edges

26:40 Beveling the corner edges then marking them as sharp for proper normals shading.

29:01 Making copies for the other feet.


Part 3 – 29:12 Forcefield Upper

31:07 adding a fan of triangular faces with Poke Face


Part 4 – 35:13 Main Forcefield Object

36:03 making the horizontal bevel

38:32 vertical part

40:06 dissolve edges on the cylinder

40:43 Show wireframe on object

41:30 Using the boolean modifier

43:18 Ngons cleanup

44:57 automatically merge vertices when snapping option

46:22 rotating the object into position

47:12 grow selection with Ctrl and Numpad + together

49:36 Mirroring the top half

50:37 Extruding in the groove

52:15 Disabling Loop Slide for better bevel in this case

52:37 automating the object smoothing with the autosmooth option


Part 5 – 55:08 Torus

56:55 Changing the edge slide position with the factor slider

59:33 sliding an edge by pressing G twice


Part 6 – 1:03:38 Mechanical Arms

1:09:04 Switching off the 3d manipulator

1:12:24 Select connected faces under cursor with ‘L’

1:14:58 resetting cursor position with Shift C

1:18:21 Tip : Isolating for easier wireframe selections

1:22:30 calculations within input fields



03:19 Layer Management Addon


Part 1 – 05:21 Triple Dish Attachment

15:04 ‘Ctrl + 1’ shortcut for a Subdivision Modifier to create a simple sphere from cube

17:31 select sharp angles automatically


Part 2 – 20:57 Laser gun attachment

28:01 Press ‘F’ to create a face


Part 3 – 32:43 Claw Attachment

35:48 Using Curves

37:26 Using a Bevel Object for the curve

39:28 Using a Taper Object for the curve

41:41 Holding Shift for Precision control

42:54 Converting the curve into a mesh

51:07 Ctrl A to apply rotation and scale

1:11:40 Rotating using Local coordinates by pressing the axis key twice.

1:14:39 Scaling using individual origins



Part 1 – 01:28 Pipes

04:46 Sharing Object data with Ctrl L > Object Data


Part 2 – 08:35 Conveyor Belt


Part 3 – 12:46 Rock And Crystal Objects

15:10 Flatten/Contrast Sculpt Brush

17:59 Slicing Objects with the Bisect Tool

21:14 Trackball rotation style by pressing ‘R’ twice


Part 4 – 31:28 top cables and block attachment


Part 5 – 47:33 Tunnel Support Struts

48:51 duplicate a linked copy with Alt D


Part 6 – 1:04:15 Valve Wheel Object

1:11:24 Extruding individual faces from the Alt E Menu


Part 7 – 1:13:04 Large Power Cable


Part 8 – 1:23:08 Light Fixture


Part 9 – 1:31:07 Extending the cave tunnels

01:46:07 Shift F for 1st Person mode