I once asked you for some of the book titles that are sitting on your shelf…
Did I not respond? Sorry…
Anyway, my suggestions for studying 3D are a bit different from what others might tell you. My first suggestion, which also makes people upset, is to turn off your computer, get up, and go outside with a camera. And just look at stuff. Look at shapes and textures, look how light interacts with objects, look at colors of objects and light.
And then try to figure out where the light is coming from, where and why it’s bouncing, what color it assumes, etc.
And then look at shadows. Try to figure out why they are the way they are.
You can’t model the real world if you don’t really know what it looks like. Take reference photos and store them on your computer.
You can read all the books in the world on lighting or anything else, but if you can’t relate it to what happens in real life then it’s all just words.
Then I’d suggest starting with a comprehensive text on 3D concepts. I’m a bit biased , but I’d start with something like Isaac Kerlow’s book “The Art of 3d: Computer Animation and Effects”. The guy is really good, has a lot of experience in feature films, is one of the pioneers in this stuff, and knows what he’s talking about.
Personally, I’d steer clear of specific books on modelling or lighting or whatever at the beginning, and just focus on the general basics, but spend a LOT of time out in the real world understanding what you’re trying to model.
And when you learn a concept, go outside and look at real stuff to see what it all means.
And then, when you start to get a handle on the basics, try to reproduce something you’ve photographed using your 3D software. That will force you to break down all the aspects and figure them out. Why does the leaf seem to glow? What’s causing that shadow? What color is sunlight? And on and on….
Try to match your reference photo EXACTLY. This is, IMO, one of the best ways to understand how the real world works. Guaranteed, every time you do it you’ll learn a lot.
And then, when you get into the different areas, look for a book on lighting or modelling or whatever interests you.