Modeling a 3D Character: Tips for Beginners


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The creation of modern games, films, and even commercials is almost inseparable from CG technologies, one of the areas of which is character modeling. This work is done using specialized manufacturing processes by 3D artists.

Today we propose to talk about the nuances of modeling a 3D character, technologies that are indispensable, the possible difficulties and advantages of the profession. There are three main areas in modeling, including organic object modeling, solid object modeling, and procedural modeling.

Where to start immersing in the profession

Everything is quite simple here – you need to decide on the direction. Each of them has its own nuances and different problems. In one, you need more understanding of anatomy. In the other – mathematical skills. Accordingly, knowledge and practical skills for each direction are specific.

It is one thing when a novice specialist plans to become a character artist. Then it is better for him to delve into the study of anatomical features, the structure of soft and hard organic tissues. It is quite different when we talk about polygonal modeling, including the creation of assets – cars, chairs, vehicles, etc. More than others, specialists are valued who do not use other people’s concept art but are able to come up with both characters and assets from scratch. Artistic tasks are combined with technical ones.

For beginners, the educational and professional process can be built as follows: first, master technical skills, and in the process, artistic ones. So the specialist will form a taste and vision of how the final models should look and act.

Game animation services by Whimsygames will help you cope with all the difficulties on the way to success in game animation.

It may take, and most likely will take, years of training to achieve the creation of very realistic characters. A novice specialist can do something in a few months, but such a model may not look very professional. There is such a term as “uncanny valley” – when we look at a character and understand that this is an object alien to us, which is not perceived at all as something natural. From this point of view, it is easier to make a vehicle rather than a character – simply because whatever car you make, it will not cause the effect of the uncanny valley.

Modeling a 3D Character - Tips for Beginners - Male Model Examples
Image: Tritons / Adobe Stock

Where to begin? For example, think over three models in the work on which you will improve your skills, solving different creative problems. Some beginners make a mistake when they focus not on creating a model but on studying the program interface. It is best to start with practice and create models for the portfolio. Along the way, the interface will also be studied. In this case, you kill two birds with one stone – study the nuances of the software and implement your model.

Tips for a beginner 3D modeler

Prepare for teamwork, including receiving both positive and negative feedback. In most teams, everyone helps each other – with advice, a tool, or just support. But help comes in criticism. Any specialist will hear her in his address, so you should treat her adequately. Especially if more experienced professionals give advice or criticism. Of course, everything cannot be taken at face value – here, it is required to analyze, and if there is a rational grain in the thought expressed by another person – try to take it into account.

The production cycle, as a rule, consists of several stages and passes through several departments. It may well be that the modeler has done a great job, but it doesn’t suit another department. Its representatives may well ask to redo something. You need to be ready for this – in particular, for requests from the director or lead artist who manages the team. The general advice here is to be prepared to redo already finished work.

Development recommendation – try to communicate as much as possible with people who have been in the industry for a long time. Try to learn from experience. Our industry is warm enough that other artists will be willing to give advice. If you are a little more attentive, approach colleagues with specific questions, start discussions in your free time, you can quickly develop.

Read specialized literature, news, articles. You need to keep your finger on the pulse in order to stay on trend. Sometimes some techniques that specialist masters today become irrelevant in 2-3 years, so you need to constantly learn something new.

And finally, try to work in such a way that each subsequent model is more difficult than the previous one in execution. In this way, you will progress, develop, and your portfolio will develop, which is extremely important when finding employment in the industry.

See a detailed 3D modeling guide here:

Photo credit: The feature image has been done by Sav Constantine. The image in the body of the article has been done by Tritons.

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