Making Games Feel Alive: 3D Game Art Props

Ringtail Studios 3D Game Prop Art with a blue car in the workshop

A lot goes into video games to ensure that they feel compelling, immersive, interesting, and real, and this includes 3D game props. No matter that we’re in space or a medieval field of battle, it has to feel real in some way. Game art, in all of its forms, acts as a backbone for our most important sense in this endeavor. In this blog, we’ll be touching on the often unsung hero of game art. Elements that are rarely focused on, often overlooked, and infrequently just a bit of humor for the player to destroy or smash about. Game props.

These little and big elements are the pieces of the environmental puzzle that makes the scene feel real and alive. Let’s dive into what goes into creating game props and some tips our artists like to stick to.


What are 3D Game Props?

In 3D game art, props are the elements that are considered decoration to fill out a scene. Effectively, they fill no gameplay function and are there to make the scene feel realistic and alive. These aren’t just objects like tables and chairs, they can be anything like rubble or streetlamps, cars, and more.

Our artists recently took on a challenge to create a car workshop, where vehicles would be brought to be fixed up or broken down. The goal was to make high quality game assets that could fill this scene, make it feel alive and complete. The end goal, which we were happy to say was achieved, was that if a client was in need of a car workshop or parts of it for a game’s location – we could effectively deliver this piece and call it a day!

To give more examples of 3D game art props we created for this piece, we delivered an array of tools and other objects such as toolboxes, car jacks, mechanical lifts, seats and stools, and much more.


What is the Process of Creating 3D Game Art Props?

Creating 3D game props follows the traditional high-poly to low-poly workflow that much of our 3D game art follows. This method allows the artist to create a highly detailed mesh through techniques like sculpting, bevels, and subdivisions. This high quality and large file is then baked down into effectively a normal map and onto a low-poly model. The goal is high quality visuals on an optimized and efficient model.

The tools we typically use include Blender or Maya, depending on the artist, ZBrush for sculpting, and Substance Painter for texturing.


Tips for Creating 3D Game Props & Mistakes to Avoid

We asked a few of our artists for their tips on creating these models. Many of them agreed that one of the key elements in creating these high-quality 3D game art pieces was in the references.

High quality and detailed references can make or break a good piece of 3D art. Photos, pieces of detailed concept art, anything that can be used to give the artist a realistic baseline to work from. Elements like this allow our artists to give the piece its life and references are very helpful for the texturing and rendering phases. In these phases, life can really be brought to each asset – giving it a story and a life in the game world.

As for mistakes or common pitfalls, it was often said that scales and sizing can be tricky. Incorrect meshes or sizes can make 3D game art props feel unwieldy or unrealistic. Our producer on this task confirmed this, which proved to be a key element of managing the big picture – size management.

If a prop ended up the wrong size, it couldn’t simply be squashed or stretched to the right proportions as this would ruin the textures. Instead, the objects were remade from scratch to ensure the quality was preserved. To avoid this problem, the artists recommended good reference photos and, if possible, checking the real-life dimensions of the object.


If you’d like to leverage our expertize and years of 3D game art outsourcing experience, get in touch today! Our 3D Game Art Services are second to none and will seamlessly blend into your art and aesthetic, no matter the genre or style.

We hope you enjoyed this look into the world of 3D game art and game prop creation! If you’d like to leverage Ringtail Studios art production expertize, get in touch today! As part of the Magic Media team, we can offer game art services at any scale alongside an array of video game and entertainment services! Reach out to our team today and discover our one-stop studio’s services today.