What is 3D Game Art and How Do We Make It?

What is 3D Game Art?

3D game art is a huge umbrella but simply put, it covers almost everything you see in a modern game! It might not specifically be every explosion, gunshot, or magical ability. But every character model, every car, every weapon, all of the tangible 3D objects that fill and create the game worlds we inhabit, is 3D game art.


The Importance of 3D Art for Games

Even for very stylized 2D games or sidescrollers, it’d be difficult to find a game created in the past decade without at least some degree of 3D art utilised. 3D art, aside from the code and literal functions of a game, are what games are made of. Without art and artists, we would be in a very drab and plain world. Perhaps still navigating RPGs using text boxes and fighting using basic text arithmetic. 

3D art, and all art in gaming, is what gives us such beautiful landscapes, weapons, and characters to feast our eyes on. Great artists, like those here at Ringtail Studios and Magic Media, work tirelessly to deliver a visual language that is easily understood and consistent with the world we are playing in. The importance of great 3D art and its consistency is clear. Creating weapons mods and VFX for a game like Remnant 2 cannot be approached in the same way as our work on Destroy All Humans!. While they are both somewhere in the worlds of sci-fi and fantasy, they cannot be put side-by-side and called similar.

Genre and gameplay aside, Remnant and its successor sit in a dire and harrowing world of organic monstrosities, post-apocalypse nightmares, and terrifying deific creatures that haunt your every step. Its art is so good because it captures you immediately because it is so far removed from normal. Destroy All Humans! is defined by absurdity, colourfulness, and humour. They both involve players wiping out their enemies but no one in Remnant is happy to be there. Crypto, however, is very happy to put down a few humans!

Good 3D art immediately tells players what they’re getting into. It sets the scene and allows itself to be a platform that the game builds upon for the experience and the atmosphere.


How do we create 3D Art for Games?

All art production goes through similar stages. At Ringtail they look something like this:

1. Concept and Ideation

The art is explored through rough sketches and exploration pieces. Initial stages of art development must begin by discovering the piece and trying out different interpretations of the brief or idea presented.

2. Modeling

Once the concept is settled on, modeling can begin. 3D modelers will begin to work using tools like Maya, Blender, 3ds Max, and more to create a 3D model of the final concept.

3. Texturing

Here the final 3D model will be what is called “high poly”. Which is a highly detailed model with a large file size. The model will then be textured and turned into a “low poly” version with the high poly details baked on as a texture. This means you can save on size without sacrificing detail.

4. Shading

Shading is almost a part of texturing, it’s where we make the parts of the model look like the materials they’re made out of. Wood, leather, metal, these things have different properties and must react accordingly when hit by light.

From here, the model would be handed off to the animators for it to be rigged and animated so that it could be controlled and inserted into the game with the proper controls. The last elements would be taken care of by 3D modelers as well which involve the finalisation of lighting whenever needed – which is all about the interaction of light and shadow in environments and the things in them. Lastly, a 3D model will be rendered. It’s here that the model becomes exactly what you see in the game!

If you’d like to utilise our 3D modeling and art production expertise, get in touch today. We’re always excited for the next challenge. And, as part of the Magic Media group, we have the capacity to scale and grow to meet any project! Don’t hesitate, it’s always a good time!