What you need to know before start 3D modeling

3D modeling 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 depends on which one you need. 3dsMax is good for creating a Hard surface measured model. ZBrush and Mudbox are for 3D sculpting. Usually for creating non-geometric objects like human trees etc.
I use blender myself because it's free and has a bunch of features. Blender was good enough for creating a measurement model and also has sculpting features although it's not as advanced as ZBrush. I think the blender is the best free open source for 3D modeling programs. 

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

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

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

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

The shader is almost the same as material but it contains more data to combine, mix, or also called bake for best render results. The shader contains reflective, emissive, bump, opacity data to set. The result depends on your shader type.

Shader Type
Open GL, Microsoft DirectX, Autodesk Mental Ray, Nvidia Iray, etc. There Open GL and Direct X itself usually used for real-time 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 a ray-tracing method which has a more realistic result. Mostly used for 3D prototyping, Movies, and more. But now Ray Tracing also can be used for games. It depends on your hardware support. Nvidia launches the Geforce RTX graphics card which supports real-time raytracing for gaming.

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

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

File Types
Every program has its own file type 3dsMax has .max format. Blender has a .blend format but you can export it to universal usage.
Universal 3D model usually has .obj .fbx .3ds or .dae format. Here's the difference:
.obj contains 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 the 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 coordinate an animation if you open it on 3d program.
There are still many 3D file types, but that's the universal format is that you need to know before starting modeling.

Photo by Ion ┼×ipilov on Unsplash