What you need to know before start 3D modeling

3D modelling is not easy but not very hard. All you should know is what model you want to make. I'm not well educated, I only self-taught for 3D modeling. It's proof everybody can do 3D modeling. There's a lot of 3D modeling program out there like 3dsMax, Maya, Blender, ZBrush etc. Every program has pros and cons. It's depend on which one you need. 3dsMax is good for creating Hard surface measured model. ZBrush and Mudbox is for 3D sclupting. Usualy for creating non geometric object like human trees etc.
I use blender myself, because it's free and has a bunch of features. Blender good enough for creating measured model and also has sclupting features although it's not as advanced as ZBrush. I think blender is the best free open source for 3D modeling program. 

The Components of 3D Object
Things what you need to know is the mesh component of the 3d model itself. 3D model The mesh itself contain Vertex/Vertices, Edges, Faces/Polygons and Surfaces.
  • Vertices/Vertex is the point where 2 lines meet. On simple shape has different vertex count. Example for basic knowledge triangle has 3 vertex and basic square has 4. see below example. 
  • Edges is the lines that join to verticles. One edge contain 2 verticles. Every three dimension object has different edge count. Example for basic knowledge a box has 8 verticles and 12 edges. It's can be more in 3D model.
  • Faces is the shape contain verticles and edges. Exeample for basic knowledge one square faces has 4 edges which connected with 4 verticles. And one 3d box object has 6 faces. It's can be more also see examples below.
  • Polygon is same thing as faces. Faces on some programs noticed as Polygon. Example your object mesh contains 100 polygon its also means 100 faces.
  • Surfaces is also means the side of the object example the cone shape it has many faces edges and verticles but it only has 2 surface. The Curved surface top and flat surface bottom.In 3d it's usually used to decide which one sides to attach the texture material.
The Faces/Polygon Types
On 3d programs the faces or poly has 3 types. Triangle/Tris, Quad, and N-Gons.
Triangle is contain 3 vertices, quad contain 4 vertices and N-Gons contain more than 4 vertices. Example:

Material is component to completing the estetics of the 3D object itself. It can be color or image attached on the surface of the object.

Texture is also called use image based material it's has many types for creating Phsycal Based Render or PBR Material. PBR material texture are contains diffuse, bump, normal, specular, and opacity map.

Rendering is final task for your 3D model. Once you done modeling, texturing, and shading. The final thing you do is rendering for more realistic result of your 3d model. Realistic or not its depend on your lighting, material, and shader baking and shader type.

Shader its almost same as material but it's contain more data to combine, mix, or also called bake for best render results. Shader is contain reflective, emmisive, bump, opacity data to set. The result is depend of your shader type.

Shader Type
Open GL, Microsoft DirectX, Autodesk Mental Ray, Nvidia Iray etc. There Open GL and Direct X itself usually used to Realtime usage. Open GL mostly used for Viewport 3d modeling programs and DirectX mostly used for a 3D game. The opposite,Mental Ray, and Iray is ray tracing method which has more realistic result. Mostly used for 3D prototyping, Movies, and more. But now Ray Tracing also can used for game. It's depends on your hardware support. Nvidia launch the Geforce RTX graphics card which support realtime raytracing for gaming.

Lightning is things you need for support your render best result. You can set lightning from every where and every type of lights. Usually lightning has distance light, point light, linear point light and you can set the intensity. It's depends on you mix and matching and keep the object visible with the lights on final render. 

HDR/High Dynamic Range
HDR is also important for rendering. HDR usually made by Image source and usually cloud image. It's make your object globally reflecting the HDR image if there is no other object on the scene. 

File Types
Every programs has their own file types 3dsMax has .max format. Blender has .blend format but you can export it to universal usage.
Universal 3D model usualy has .obj .fbx .3ds or .dae format. Here's the difference:
.obj cobtain 3d object and texture material if your file has more than 1 object usually merged to one object on .obj format.
.fbx is like a group of object which collected into one file extension but you can separate it cause it's saved separately into one group. Fbx also can read every scale coordinat an animation if you open on 3d program.
There are still many 3D file type, but that's universal format is what you need to know before starting modeling.

Photo by Ion ┼×ipilov on Unsplash