Tutorial for absolute C3D beginner?


New member
Hi everybody, I just joined this forum and bought C3D a few days ago. I'm a 2D Graphic designer / retoucher / illustrator and want to get stuck into 3D in this quiet period before it all goes bonkers in January again but for the life of me I cannot find any video or even pdf tutorials on C3D for a total noob and an overview of the GUI and what everyhing does. Do you know if there is a pdf of the Help Section (attached) to download and view offline or any videos that explain the individual links? I bought David Ellis's Cheetah3D Tutorial Bundle but it's from 2014 and concerned the GUI has changed a lot from then. I will naturally go through his tutorials but they are quite sepecific and I am looking for a beginner's overview of each of the functions. Any recommendations massively appreciated :)


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New member
I think I answered my own question finding a pdf tutorial here by Swizl
I managed to download a pdf there with this Dropbox link which is Cheetah3D v7b20 manual.pdf. Is this the latest one?

Great I can read this on my iPad - thanks!


Active member
Am ... That's not a tutorial but just the help file in pdf. It's good to have this as pdf but it's the same you have access to in Cheetah. Certainly important to look into (and be happy it isn't as big as for other 3d packages). But, as manuals are, if you don't know what to do, you're still helpless, so read in parallel something else:

Podperson used to write a book for each Cheetah version aimed at beginners. This time around it's not in book form but online and very generously offered for free. This is exactly what you're looking for and will certainly cover your first steps in Cheetah and in the world of 3d in general. http://loewald.com/c3dbook-v7/#source=2_Introduction.md.

The real problem you have is something else, though. There is the program to learn, but there is also modeling in itself, texturing, uv-mapping, rendering (at least you don't have to learn anything anymore about colors, composition, etc). This things are comparable, in case of modeling often the same in any 3d package. Cheetah does help you here because it's not cluttered and is imho the easiest 3d app to use (it makes the stuff itself not more difficult than it is).

For this you'll find in this tutorial section here quite a lot of tutorials, some aimed at the beginner like Simple intro to Materials for new users, some for just one specialty like pbr materials and others more for people who already have some more experience or are a bit exotic (i. e. you maybe never need to know it). With this you can go already a lot further.

The real good modeling guide is missing though (and it's nowhere to be found for any other app). There are some software agnostic books and even youtube-videos, though (i. e. the methods should work more or less in any program). And as soon as you know your ways in Cheetah you can adapt tutorials for other software (I would avoid such for houdini (node-based modeling isn't possible), rhino (no nurbs here or in most other 3d apps, and blender (that works sometimes a bit different than other apps and the quality of the tutorials is somehow not always on a high level which you can't really judge when you're still a beginner (which you will be for a long time)).

And if you don't understand something, find nothing about it in this forum or just plain don't understand you can ask in the general section of the forum.

Welcome and have fun.


Active member
An advantage for you is that, while Cheetah3D has been adding features, improvements, and performance steadily over its lifetime, most of the interfaces within the program haven't really changed much for quite a while (beyond being brought up to date to support MacOS interface improvements). Even fairly old tutorials and videos that can be found online remain fairly accurate examples of how to use those features - but bear in mind that newer features that have been included may make those tasks simpler and faster. Search the forums for threads about any tool that catches your interest, and don't hesitate to ask questions. There are lots of happy surprises to be found in the discussions. Debating the many elegant ways things can be accomplished is a favorite pastime around here.


New member
Thanks for the links and information Hasdrubal and MonkeyT. I am only dipping in and out of Cheetah3D when I get some spare time but loving it so far. I totally suck at it and may need to hire a Cheetah3D person at some stage as I've shown one of my clients a basic 3d spin of her product and now she wants reflections and all sorts of lighting on it to resemble the retouching I did on her product in Photoshop (I am a high end retoucher, designer and Illustrator - not 3D at all - so I am now totally stumped and kinda painted myself into a corner, or should I say, retouched myself into a corner) Feels like it will take years to learn all this. But I will persist. If I did need to ask around if anyone wants to help me with 3D work which would be the correct platform and place, if any, to do this on this Forum? I don't want to contravene any rules...


Well-known member
@EvBond There's no problem asking here.

You could make it what we call a JAM (just another method).
Post the model with the clients specific directions and anyone can give it a try.

Each person may have a different method and you can dissect each and ask questions.
This way you may learn a lot.

That is if the client won't mind of course.


New member
Thanks for the suggestion of a JAM Zoohead. I have prepped a little brief along with my pathetic attempts to do it myself (jas file and failed renders) as well as a bit of background story to the brief and a retouched example of the Skincare tub for reference (It's a skincare drink supplement)

WeTransfer link with assets and brief are here

As I wanted to learn 3D on a real life client example I did this 3D spinning product without my client asking me to do this, but she likes the idea so if we create something she likes and can use on Social Media I am sure I can get same remuneration sorted... and perhaps she'd want some more. I also have a few larger FMCG clients I'd like to show any 3D animated renders to (Gü Puddings and Pepsico here in London) I do a bunch of illustrations, experiential visuals, design, 3D packaging visualisations (in Photoshop) and suchlike but not proper 3D work so that's another string I'd like to add to my bow and offer them!

Thanks to everyone on this forum for being so supportive of an unskilled 3D newbie! I also purchased Dave Ellis's tutorials which are on the Cheetah Tuturial section and am going through those too when I get the time


New member
Thanks @ZooHead. I watched your Better Box UVs.mp4 and that's the only way I got to where I got to. It's a great video. You guys really know your stuff!


Well-known member
* It seems that the basic geometry and the keyframes for the animation are quite OK. The screw top may have excessive geometry and some keyframes could be reduced, but that is not relevant.

* What is missing is:
* Split the label into the circular top and the rectangular sticky which is applied to the cylindrical tub. This is simply achieved, even in Preview. Apply the two labels to the relevant bits of the geometry. I suggest a simple flat disk for the top label. There seems no point in having a cylinder there.
* Add some effective lighting.
* Record the animation.

* There is not really much left but a bit of fine-tuning fiddlery (reflectivity of the label, tweaking lights / blur and whatever).
* A recorded animation looks quite professional.

TD SS1.jpg


Well-known member
@EvBond Digging a little deeper I found a puzzling problem.
You must have used the Pivot Mode at some time and then Burned the Transform.
That skewed the Object pivot to an unknown compound angle.

@Helmut Not noticeable at first but you may know how to fix it.
Without knowing the angles the pivot point was skewed to, how can it be returned to zero?
It's essentially the difference between Object Mode and Global Mode.

I can't figure out how to correct this. Is this a Fatal Mistake?

Pivot point askew.jpg


Well-known member
* I manually fiddled the rotation of the pivot widget with the minimal angular setting (0.1) by eye-sight and then burned the transform in the Coord System tool. In any case, the skewed pivotal axes do not seem to affect the path of the object as it rotates into the view port.
* Tweaking the label in Preview to increase contrast also helps a bit to make the lettering better legible.
* I simplified the mesh at the top and bottom. .jas included if of any help.
TD Jar.jpg


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Well-known member
In any case, the skewed pivotal axes do not seem to affect the path of the object as it rotates into the view port.
That's because the folder it's in is animated, not the object itself.
And even that folders pivot point is not centered on the folder itself.


Well-known member
@Helmut If you rotate the jar parts in your file you can see it's still not straight.

This points to a major flaw in the method of creation of the original jar and this
needs to be corrected or there will be constant frustration for @EvBond

@EvBond Do you have older saved versions of the jar?
If so, look for one with no skewed pivot point, and try to
remember what you did before and don't do it again.

Or start again. It is a simple shape.


Well-known member
Here is another consequence of a skewed pivot point.

The UV Mapper, mapping Flat to a circular selection produces an oval uv island.

Not cool.

UV payback.jpg


New member
Wow, guys I read this a few times over and still not sure what I did wrong. Remember I might as well be blind in Cheetah and I do remember accidentally activating some pivot tool and must have damaged something!

In terms of the polys of the tub, I admit I did not have the confidence to build this tub from scratch so I bought an obj model off either TurboSquid or Adobe - I think it was TurboSquid. It looked sound to me but what do I know.

re: @Helmut ’s suggestion of splitting the label and lid - In the files from the tub I bought from TurboSquid there were a bunch of flat files of a fictitious label - with the lid and label on one image so I assumed that was the right thing to do in terms of UV mapping so I worked over the fictitious label in Photoshop with my own label. I have now split them into 2 images as suggested...

My client likes me to retouch the label to a purple colour (despite it being highly reflective grey, almost silver) - so I have put together in a zip file the lid and label as separate png and jpg files as well as the psd.

@ZooHead asked for older versions of the tub so in the zip I have put the original tub obj, reference images of the retouched tub as used in some print marketing material and my original tub.jas and render. Not sure they will help.

In terms of colouring and reflecting I used David Ellis’s soft box jas file to try and reflect these 2 brand colours off the label, but I failed miserably. As David has it on his website as a free download I will add it to the zip. I did however donate to him to get this file:

Dark Purple: Hex: 2b2140 (RGB is 43/33/64)
Light Pink: Hex: f0d4e3 (RGB is 240/212/227)

Here is a WeTransfer link of all these new assets

I am also going to give it another bash a little later this evening and take a look at @helmut’s jas file.

Oh and @ZooHead - that render above is really great! Love it! Don’t know how you did it but it’s excellent!

Thanks again everybody! I think I will stick to safe 2D stuff from now - it’s what I know! I will go through all the tutorials and try to improve!


Well-known member
* It seems that there are (invisible) components of the jar top which are the culprit. Somehow, these have been merged and may have corrupted the pivot of the new compound object.
* I guess that ZooHead is right and some minor disaster stuffed up the design here. I never had / heard of any such problem, so I am just speculating.

* Hurray: Your last upload (posting #19) has straight axes. So, progress is ensured...