We often hear about art and artists in gaming. VFX artists and concept artists are mentioned all the time but 3D artists can sometimes go unappreciated. 3D art, as you can imagine in the modern gaming world, is quite important!
So, we sat down with some of Ringtail Studios’ 3D artists to ask about their work, what purpose it services in game development, and if they had any tips or tricks to share.
The Basics of 3D Art in Gaming
The purpose of 3D art in games is fundamental to its existence. 3D art brings games to life. The world, the creatures, and elements within it, are often delivered by 3D artists. Whether environments, characters, or objects, these pieces make up the basis for the game world and its experience. Without these there’s barely a game to play, never mind be immersed in!
The basic skills of a 3D artist includes modeling, texturing, and rendering. And for those looking into tools to learn the art, there’s a few to consider. For 3D modeling, we typically use Maya, 3ds Max, and Blender. ZBrush and Marvelous Designer are great modeling tools for more organic shapes and clothing. Substance Painter is fantastic for texturing and baking textures.
Knowing how to use these tools is what separates a good artist from a great one. The stellar 3D artists at Ringtail Studios understand the array of skills required. Clean and consistent modeling, accurate and grounded texturing and rendering, all of which are supported by a keen eye for detail. Outside of technical skills, our 3D artists emphasise one key tip is to understand how to collaborate and communicate with your team. And that time management is integral in such a time sensitive industry.
Tips for a 3D Artist: What to do, what to avoid
When asked what a 3D artist should focus on, the Ringtail 3D artists had a few answers:
Pay attention to the details – even the most fantastical and absurd creations still follow some pattern. Everything has details that can be enhanced and encouraged that will wow players or immerse them further.
Keep your 3D models organized – time management is important and having easily navigated models will make everyone’s life easier.
Use plenty of reference materials – whether inspiration or a style to follow, reference is the lifeblood of any artistic pursuit. Find the style and aesthetic, fill your board with references and grow from there.
Never stop learning – this extends to new techniques, software, and tools. It also includes other artists’ work. Keep up to date technically and mechanically. But never stop learning from other artists, let yourself admire and be inspired by other artists!
They also mentioned a few things to avoid:
It’s best, on average, to avoid creating low-quality models with unoptimized wireframe – cutting corners might be quicker but it will hinder you in any longer project.
Always check copyrighted material’s permissions – this can cause huge problems for any project. Always be sure you have permission.
Don’t overly rely on pre-made assets – they are invaluable in so many projects but don’t use them as a crutch!