Modeling a Golden Fish in 3ds max

Tutorial posted about 3 years ago
by aziz-khanaziz-khan

Hello everyone! I decided to write a tutorial in which we will learn how to model a fairly complex fish shape in 3ds max 8.0, although any version of 3Ds MAX will work for this tutorial. I called this tutorial the " Golden Fish" since once I saw a golden fish in a movie, which is what inspired me and here I am trying to model it. And the other side of the story is, honestly, I don't have the texture for this guy- I'm sure you can find textures that you want to use here on CGTrader or anywhere else. So without ado, let's get right into it! To follow this tutorial you must be an intermediate user of 3ds max and familiar with the tools of the program.

Step 1: References

To start with, you can find the reference images I use here: Golden fish model refenrece, keep in mind that these reference images are not for commercial use, you can use it for your personal experience only.

Step 2: Setting up references

First of, we need to check the dimensions of the blue prints out in photoshop (or any other image editing software that you want to use). To do this first fire up PS and open the 3 reference images.

Step 3: Setting up references

When you are done importing the images,click on every single reference image respectively to see its dimension.

For example: if I want to check the dimension of the side reference- click on the reference image go to Image > Image Size or use the shortcut key Alt+Ctrl+I, now the window will appear mentioning the height and width in pixels, like here is mine (Width 820 Height 472) then we will divide these numbers by 10, for instance 820=82 and 472=47.2 .

When you get the exact dimensions of the images open 3ds max and create planes in the same dimension as the divided numbers (so in the case of the example it would be 82 x 47.2 for the side reference image). Set the reference images just like in the picture below and also group these planes and lock their movement, scale and rotation from the motion tab under the Link Info button. This will help us to protect the planes from accidental movement, rotation, and scaling.

Step 4

Now create a box with the same dimensions as seen below.

Step 5

And then set it like in the screen caps below.

Step 6

Right click on the box, go to its properties and make it see through. Also, make sure its pivot point is in the middle of the box like the picture below.

Step 7

Make the box a little bit bigger like in the image below.

Step 8

Now convert the box into editable poly and then move the vertex as shown below.

Step 9

Go to left view port and start moving the vertices as below.

Step 10

Keep moving the vertices according to reference image.

Step 11

Try to make it like image showing below. You want to get as close to the reference image as possible.

Step 12

Now go to polygon mode and then select the mouth polygon. Move it in the X axis like seen below.

Step 13

From the front view it should look like the picture below.

Step 14

Ok, time to adjust the guy from top view. Go to the top view and then move the vertex to match the reference image.

Step 15

Now your modeled mesh should look a little something like this.

Step 16

Create a sphere and then place it inside the reference eye socket.

Step 17

Select the eye polygon and then use inset tool to create the eye socket.

Step 18

Extrude the polygon according to image bellow.

Step 19

Now the eye socket should look like in the images below.

Step 20

Now in the editable poly panel scroll down to find subdivision surfaces tab and then expand it. Now check the box called Use NURMS Subdivision, then move the vertex around the eye socket until you are satisfied.

Step 21

Your mesh should like the image below.

Step 22

Now select all the polygons and scroll down to see button called Slice Plane button.

Step 23

Hit the slice button. If the bounding yellow rectangular is not in the middle of the model you can move it in the XYZ axis according to your need.

Step 24

Select half of the model and then hit delete because we need the exact size for the other side, yours should look like the picture below.

Step 25

Now attach the eye with body to make it the part of the model.

Step 26

Now its time to mirror- use the mirror tool to create the other side of your fish.

Step 27

Attach the two halfs of the model together, don't worry about the gap- we will adjust it soon.

Step 28

Select all the polygons on the new created side and then move it to fix the edges with each other.

Step 29

Select the middle edges of the model like the picture below.

Step 30

Weld the edges together, here is mine with mesh smooth one below.

Step 31

Its time to create the dorsal fin, in perspective view select the indicated 4 edges below.

Step 32

Extrude it similar to the image below.

Step 33

Extrude it 2 more times in the same dimension you did with the first extrude. Now yours should look something like this.

Step 34

Go vertex and then start adjusting the vertex according to reference image below.

Step 35

The dorsal fin should match the reference image in the size. Once you matched the size scroll down to the subdivision surface tab and check the check box called use NURMS Subdivision again and set iterations to 2 to get a smoother result. Now keep moving the vertex and place the vertex like in the image below.

Step 36

Now its time to create the side fins. Select the polygon like in the image below and scroll down a little bit to find the hinge from edge option. With the polygons still selected click on the button and a small window will appear. From the window select pick hinge and then click on the upper edge of polygon. Now you should get a similar result to mine.
Note: I forgot to tell you one thing- at this point I hide the reference images, since we have the shape of the model down.

Step 37

Select the edge and then extrude it like shown below.

Step 38

Now select the second polygon from back side and use the same tools with the same settings you did with first fin to get the back fin.

Step 39

Do the same for the other side.

Step 40

With mesh smoothing your fish should look like the following image.

Step 41

and this one.

Step 42

Time to create the tail fin. To do this go to polygon mode and then select 2 polygons like in the image and then move them slightly back to match the image below.

Step 43

Select the up and bottom 2 polygons and then extrude them.

Step 44

Go to vertex mode and then move the vertex like shown below.

Step 45

Now select the 4 middle edges.

Step 46

Extrude them 3 times with the same settings as the image below.

Step 47

Use the use NURMS subdivision in front view port move the vertex to achieve the shape same as image below.

Step 48

Last but not least its time to create the mouth for this guy. Adjust the vertex and then select the 4 polygons representing the mouth area, then slightly extrude it as in the picture below.

Step 49

Use the bevel tool with the same settings as in the image.

Final results

Your overall model should look something like this now

The Golden Fish here is the final touch. If you like to texture the fish itself you can search CGTrader and generally the web for the textures you want.

Here is the final render.

if you have any kind of suggestions, feedbacks, comments, and questions please feel free to ask me.

I hope you enjoy doing this tutorial and learned something new, keep running your practice to be wisdom 3d master.


josephcrip wrote
Thnk you for the tut!
lml46 wrote
Thanks. Amazing tutorial
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  • 3ds
  • max
  • modelling
  • 3d
  • beginner
  • golden
  • fish