The game development industry can’t be imagined without 3D computer-generated imagery (CGI). It’s apparent that almost any video game released today is replete with three-dimensional assets, including realistic characters, apocalyptic buildings, horrifying enemies, and unearthly weapons. 3D modeling is the fundamental technique to use here.
Still, there arises a crucial question. Do you need to create all these 3D assets for your game from scratch? Or is it a must to build them exclusively with your in-house team? Will you retain ownership and author’s rights for this intellectual property if external artists do this work for you? The answers to these and other questions pop up here and there down below.
So seeking reliable 3D modeling services can prove key to unlocking the full potential of your game, inasmuch as you take advantage of other people’s experience and expertise without leading your in-house workforce to burnout. Game art design studios already have all the resources and knowledge at hand, so you won’t have to worry about anything.
What Is 3D Modeling? — The Essentials
3D modeling is a process of manipulating points in virtual space referred to as vertices, thereby forming a mesh, which is a collection of these mentioned vertices making up a three-dimensional object on a screen. Other fundamental aspects of this technique include faces and polygons. However, this primarily relates to polygonal modeling, a technique connecting various line segments into a polygon mesh.
One more but less widespread technique is curve modeling, which can be parametric or freeform, relying on NURBS (non-uniform rational B-splines). While polygonal modeling, along with digital sculpting, is considered the industry standard, especially in game development, other techniques (like code-driven) are applied in CAD (computer-aided design) to help manufacturers remove flaws in the pre-production phase.
General Pipeline of Creating 3D Models for Games
As a rule, whether you make 3D models on your own or hire a team of professional artists, the general pipeline describing this process is pretty much the same, and it’s outlined below.
- 2D concept art: In most cases, 3D artists create and/or look for references to help them form the general shape of a desired virtual object. Sometimes they draw 2D concept art alone or work with persons responsible for this part. Throughout this phase, artists must pay careful attention to details, describing all the aspects of a future 3D model, including preferred materials, clothes, and other stylistic elements.
- 3D modeling: 3D artists open up the previously created references and start modeling a mesh inside respective 3D editing software like Blender, 3ds Max, Autodesk Maya, or any other.
- UV unwrapping: Since this feature is usually built into almost any reputed 3D editing software, artists don’t leave the program and create UV maps, converted into 2D images representing every side of an object they wish to create digitally. This step is essential to take before applying textures.
- Texturing: Naturally, the next stage in this pipeline is texturing, meaning artists paint various colors and apply materials to a created UV map in order to make the model look more vivid as well as realistic.
- Rigging and animating: This process involves creating a skeletal structure inside a textured mesh, thus endowing a model with joints, which will then be animated shot by shot inside software like Blender or even game engines, including Unity and Unreal.
The rest of the pipeline depends on the type of models you desire to create and what is their final destination. If you purport to develop a game, the next phase will imply integrating all the built assets into a game engine of your preference. This process resembles the workflows of professional game art studios like 3D-Ace.
The Promised Trick to Build Quality Assets
As evident as it may seem, the trick lies in partnering up with experienced studios hardened with challenging projects and time spent finding simple solutions to intricate issues. Cooperating with them, you’ll get a whole pack of benefits. Just have a look at them:
- cost reduction;
- internal resources optimization;
- high quality of assets;
- more value for players.
Therefore, instead of doing everything on your own or with in-house resources, you can partner with professionals who know the score and have already undergone the harshest challenges. With their experience on your board, you’ll get top-notch game assets that your players will adore. After the work, you have legal rights to use these models however you like.