Welcome to the board, its a fantastic place to learn and give/recieve feedback!
Slipsius is right, you want to mirror on something like this, you are going to want to be as efficient as possible, if you look at his layout there is barely any wasted space as a result of the mirroring. you could probably go even further by mirroring the stalk.
I had a look at your stuff, Neon Strike looks pretty cool- good work!
Now in terms of your 3D I have these suggestions for you:
- I really, really recommend learning one of the major packages. Pick up a demo or get a hold of a full copy somehow. As much as Blender skills are transferable you are going to save a lot of time and headache using industry standards like Max or Maya for your poly modelling and Zbrush for sculpting high res details. I use Photoshop for texturing. These tools are probably what you will be made to use when you're working in a bigger team.
The general consensus is that you can purchase your license when you're working on a commercial project, it's a bit of a grey area but look at this way, your learning skills that will benefit the industry anyway. I purchased all my licenses when I did my first commercial product. Just keep it to yourself
- I cut my teeth modding games, these days its a piece of cake as all the big engines have made their dev tools available so jump right in!! As far as I can see, Unreal is probably the most common now. Look at the assets in these engines for a real example of pro work and how they do stuff. Look at the unwrapping, dissect the models and see how they're put together.
My background was with hacking and modding the Halo series. When we started the game was completely closed source, we manually hacked the engine and built our own tools but it was real good experience and the community grew very fast.
- Join a modding project, there are tons out there and this will really help you understand working as part of a team, they'll support you and give you real feedback. Post all your stuff here and we'll definitely help you get on your feet.
- Read the Polycount Wiki, its a fantastic resource.
- Keeping a dev blog is a great way to look back at your work, keep that up!
- Get a bunch of us on MSN or skype or something, as much as you will post on forums you'll also want a few people who you can throw WIPs at while your working for direct instant feedback, feel free to PM me and I'll give you my details
- Keep up the enthusiasm, its hard sometimes- especially if you're doing it alone. Having other people pestering you to keep going is the best remedy.