Characters are one of the most important aspects of the development of any game. Users identify with the main characters while sympathising or opposing other characters. In other words, an emotional attachment to the game is formed. That is why 3D characters should be created with great care and detail.
Creating 3D people and other characters is difficult, but the effort is rewarded with user engagement. In this article, you’ll learn the fundamentals of modelling characters for games and how the process can be streamlined with the help of a 3D modelling company.
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How does 3D Character Modeling Work for Modern Game Development?
3D character modelling is a multi-stage process in which a 3D artist creates a character for a game or other form of media using various software and tools. The character is usually a person, animal, robot, or mythical creature. Furthermore, a character can be the main character (the beings with whom a player interacts during a game), the secondary character (the beings with whom a player interacts), or even exist only on the periphery.
The creation of a 3D character usually starts with the most basic task — the creation of a primitive form. A 3D artist, for example, can create a cube, modify it with various tools, and then edit the model in other programmes. As a result, even though their software has limited capabilities, they can achieve an organic result.
3D character styles
Typically, specialists create 3D human models for both main and secondary characters. The styles of the characters are determined by the game’s setting and goals. There is no clear definition, but five main playable character styles can be identified: creative, life-like, cartoonish, abstract, and blocky.
A creative style, for example, implies an unusual design for characters and their clothing. It could be an alien with human characteristics, a savage, or a combination of human and animal external characteristics. The cartoonish style, on the other hand, implies drawn characters that resemble cartoons.
Which Character Modeling Type is Best?
Spline and polygon modelling are the two main methods for 3D modelling a person or other character type. But which method is best for creating game 3D characters? The answer to this question is provided below.
Polygon 3D modeling
Polygon modelling is the process of creating 3D models from polygons or polygonal shapes. These polygons are connected in a specific way to form a polygonal mesh that forms the entire model. A polygonal model resembles a 3D puzzle in appearance.
The 3D artist can modify and edit each poly separately, which makes this method unique. As a result, the character model has details and bumps. Furthermore, the individual poly is simple to animate. Polygonal modelling is frequently used to create not only characters but also various game assets for these reasons.
Another advantage of polygonal modelling is that it allows you to create complex models by using either high poly or low poly methods. High poly contains a large number of polygons, which affects the final detail and realism. This method is typically used to create models that are visible and close to the game camera.
Low poly models, on the other hand, are made up of fewer polygons and represent basic models with a low level of detail. As a result, models that are far from the game camera and play no significant role are typically created.
NURBS 3D modeling
Because NURBS stands for non-uniform rational basis spline, this method is also known as spline modelling. The NURBS principle states that models are not made of polygons but of numerous flexible curves and points that connect them.
This method is also used in modelling, and the models produced as a result are quite smooth. The disadvantage of spline modelling is that the parameters of the model are set using mathematical formulas, which is one of the reasons that individual parts of the model are difficult to edit without compromising the overall structure. As a result, NURBS modelling is used much less frequently to create game models and characters.
How to 3D model a character: a step-by-step guide
Planning is essential when beginning any project. That is why it is important to become acquainted with the 3D character modelling workflow and steps so that you can grasp the big picture of a process. So, take a look at the following beginner-friendly guide on how to create a 3D character model.
3D character concept
Before you become a 3D anime character creator or a 3D Character creator, consider their backstory and how to visualise it through this person. Collect as many references as possible to help you understand who and how you will create. Plus, working on a playable character is much more enjoyable when you know their backstory and what makes them unique.
3D character Blocking
You can begin creating your 3D model by combining primitive shapes into the desired character’s shape. For example, you could connect several cubes or cylinders as different elements of the future model. This will help you visualise your character’s appearance.
3D Character Sculpting
When you begin sculpting a character, be it a 3D cartoon character or 3D anime character, you have a smooth model that lacks distinguishing features, which must be added by the 3D artist. The sculpting procedure is similar to clay modelling. A sphere is cut for the character’s eyes, cheekbones and a chin are created, and a long cylinder is transformed into a finger. Material can be added or subtracted.
Creating 3D Character Topology
The surface structure that determines the visual characteristics of the model is the game character topology. For example, it enlarges the details of the face (mouth, eyes). Furthermore, the correct topology is required in order to animate the model’s individual parts.
Polygonal modelling is commonly used to create the topology of a 3D model. Because polygons can have multiple corners, it is critical to select a shape that allows you to easily edit and animate individual parts of a figure.
3D Character Model Rigging and Skinning
The rigging process begins with the creation of the character’s skeleton. This is required in the future in order to animate the skeleton or bones separately and thus make a 3D human model move. Typically, software used to model characters and other game assets includes pre-made skeleton samples.
Skinning comes after rigging. This method is typically used for bipedal characters, and its purpose is to secure the model’s skeleton and surface together. In other words, at this point, the skeleton becomes a part of the character, which means it can now move because animating the model’s surface is impossible.
3D Character Rendering
The process by which an artist creates a scene for a 3D model using computer graphics and converts it to a 2D image is known as 3D rendering. Artists change the lighting of an image, the camera’s direction, and the texture of a frame. This image is then frequently used in advertising and promotion.
3D Character Animation
The final step in character creation is model animation. Artists bring characters to life by animating their body movements and creating facial expressions. Special tools are frequently used to manipulate individual parts of the body when working on facial expressions, gestures, and movements.
You can also animate your character using video references. Furthermore, large studios frequently employ motion capture, which is a technique in which game actors imitate facial expressions and movements on camera, which are then transferred to a computer model.
It is frequently difficult for one company to handle all of the 3D animation tasks on its own, especially during crunch times. As a result, Dezpad strives to assist anyone who requires not only content but also a dependable partnership. Join us and start your journey today.