Returning to 3D Work, by way of Blender
This past month or two I've been returning to 3D work. This has been all recreational, but it's a skillset that I really miss, and am happy to revisit. I find 3d work not only some of the hardest stuff I've ever done, (in a good way) but is also very perishable.
While I've done a few things, re-familiarizing myself with Modo and Maya, and searching dusty web pages for my old favorite MEL scripts, this has been a good way to finally learn Blender. I have a few legit copies of other programs, but they are old (My Modo license is from version 301, before they added any animation tools, even before they were acquired by The Foundry) so it's nice to use an up-to-date tool that is very comprehensive and capable.
Also, Blender has come a long, long way. I don't know if they hit some breakthrough through their incremental improvements, or if I finally got my head around their workflow and interface (probably both) but it's really been a dream to work with, at least with the modelling side. It's still not quite as nice as my experience with Modo, but it's really neck-and-neck; the Blender experience is really great.
After a few blind stabs to learn how the interface works I was able to get comfortable enough to block out a rough character. It's still a little early to think about design right now, I really need to refamiliarize myself with how to model first, but I'm thinking of building out your average "generic-man" as a way to retrain.
A final note on Blender: One thing I've noticed is how easy it is to research how to do things in Blender. The Blender Docs page is often the first result in Google searches and, unbelievably, their documentation is fantastic. I'm really enjoying it all.
Here's a picture of the character I have roughed out. My guess is this is after 15-20 minutes of poking around, but who can say for sure. More updates to follow.