3D Character Modeling: Full Infographic Guide, Tools, & Marketplaces

The way characters perform, interact, and appear in a game is one component that draws consumers’ interest. The characters are what connect users to the game’s story. The appearance and functionality of the characters have a significant impact on the users.

Characters let users connect emotionally with the game. The consumers’ strongest character connection is with the primary protagonists, while they may feel pity or hostility towards others. If the characters can establish an emotional connection with the players, the game will be a surefire success.

Advances in 3D modelling services and custom 3D modelling service with new technologies such as virtual and augmented reality are driving the increased demand for efficient 3D rendering solutions.

What is 3D Character Modeling?

The process of producing 3D characters is referred to as 3D Character Modelling. A 3D character is one that is based on movement in three-dimensional space, i.e., length, width, and depth. Computer procedures and software are used to produce the character. As a result, 3D character design necessitates consideration to many factors such as modelling, rigging, rendering, and so on.

Unlike drawing and making 2D characters, 3D characters are developed through a number of steps. First, you must imagine and draw the character. Then you must construct a 3D model of it. After that, the model is textured and wired.

When all of these steps are accomplished, the character is ready to be animated.

How Does 3D Character Modeling Work?

There are several methods to define 3D modelling:

#1 Organic Modeling

All living objects, such as humans, characters, animals, and critters, are included in organic 3D modelling.

#2 Inorganic Modeling

Non-living things and flat surfaces, such as tables, chairs, weapons, the interior environment of buildings, walls, doors, and so on, are included in inorganic 3D modelling.

Both sorts of 3D modelling can be done by its specialised pros and artists.

The artists use two separate modelling approaches for creating 3D models.

  • Polygon Modeling
  • Box Modeling

Box modelling is best suited for inorganic surfaces, whereas polygon modelling provides finer details. As a result, working with organic surfaces is preferable.

This discussion focuses on 3D character modelling in particular. First, let’s go over the work technique.

3D Character Modeling Pipeline (Step by Step Infographic)

To model a 3D character, the artist must have a clear thought process from the design of the character to the finalisation, which is about optimising the implementation of that developed 3D model into the Game Engine. Following the two ends of this process, the artist must go through these steps.

Phase 1: Concept Art

It is the stage at which all of the character’s concepts or features are put on paper so that everyone can understand how it will seem in-game and how it will function.

Character artists will brainstorm about the character’s relevant accessories, weaponry, and power-ups at this phase, making the character’s existence more visible and end-user/gamers more interested in it.

Phase 2: Blue Print

A blueprint is an image that contains various orthographic views of the character, such as front, side/profile, back, and top views.

It is necessary for the character to be in uppercase T-pose or A-pose before entering this phase.

Phase 3: Base Model

Artists begin this phase by creating the character’s base model in CAD software. In this stage, 3D mesh is essential, covering up all of the character’s silhouette elements.

Phase 4: Sculpting

During this stage, the artist imports the base model into 3D sculpting software such as Z brush, Mudbox, and others. Fine features like as hair, skin, wrinkles on the body, and so on are created by the artist.

Phase 5: Cloth simulation

During this stage, the artist crafts clothing for the character based on the concept provided. Clothes simulation software, such as Marvellous designer, provides high-fidelity elements such as wrinkles and simulation based on real-world tailoring knowledge.

Phase 6: UVW Unwrapping

This is the first stage of the texturing process. So, before beginning this step, all 3D modelling pieces must be ready in both high-poly and low-poly.

UVW unwrapping is the process of flattening all curved details of a polygon on a planar in the Z*n plan or resolution. As an example,

  • 1024 x 1024
  • 2048 x 2048 (2k)
  • 4096 x 4096 (4k)
  • 8192 x 8192 (8k)

The artist must adhere to the planar resolution of the game’s targeted platform for better optimisation. Specifically, the screen resolution at which the character must be displayed.

Mobile screens, for example, can barely accommodate 2048 pixels vertically. In comparison, PCs and consoles can support resolutions of up to 4K or 8K.

This eliminates unnecessary iterations while texturing a character, as well as extra labour and time.

Phase 7: Baking

It’s all about optimisation here.

The baking technique involves transferring all of the information of a high-poly sculpted mesh to an optimised mid or low-poly mesh. The character’s texture mappings will then be generated. Using those maps reveals all of an optimised model’s finer elements. The following maps will be generated after the baking process.

  • Ambient Occlusion (AO)
  • Curvature
  • Thickness

Phase 8: Texturing

Using the produced maps from the baking process, the artist must provide all details for the various materials of the character. Of course, in this space, many more things can be done, such as colours, reflection, roughness, ordered features, specularity of each substance, and so on.

Phase 9: Character Rigging

In this step, the rigging artist will construct the bone structure within the character while considering how the character will be animated and which parts will move out based on the animation.

Phase 10: Skinning Process

After correctly inserting all of the bones, the rigging artist will assign specific weight values to the connecting bones’ vertices.

Phase 11: Stretch Test

A stretch test will validate whether all of the weight values are appropriate for the specific bones.

A stretch test animation will be applied to the bone structure by the rigging artist. The artist can examine the weight amounts on the vertices while all of the bones spin in their local rotations. Weight values must fall off smoothly between bone joints.

Phase12: Animation and export

Animators will animate the character in various scenes such as idle, walk, run, jump, and so on.

Animators will export animation clips or files that may be imported into the game engine once the animation is completed.

Benefits of 3D Character Modeling

Developers can use 3D Character Modelling to build more realistic, appealing, and intricate characters. The more realistic the character appears, the more consumers can relate to it and enjoy the game. 3D Character Modelling has various advantages.

#1 Visually Attractive

Three-dimensional character models are significantly more colourful, substantial, and alive than two-dimensional drawings, and they allow a 360-degree view.

#2 Realistic

3D Character Modelling enables developers to pay attention to even the slightest features and texture, allowing them to build photographic characters.

#3 Adjustability

The finished model can be simply altered or added to thanks to the sophisticated capabilities of the 3D Software. Updates are simple to create if necessary.

#4 Ease in Animation

3D characters are 3D models that can be readily controlled and animated. As a result, the designers are not required to redraw the model in various stances and scenarios.

Top 10 3D Character Modeling Software

3D modelling opens up a world of possibilities. To develop the most appropriate character, the artist must have exceptional talent and creative vision. They should also be well-versed in texture, expressions, and character presentation, among other things. The greatest 3D Models are those that most closely resemble a living person. Everything, from attitudes to dress and texture to movement, should be accurately portrayed.

Several 3D Character Designing software programmes can assist you in creating the best 3D Characters. All of this software has both advantages and disadvantages. We will look at the Top 10 3D Character Modelling Software used by experts all over the world.

#1 3ds Max

Designers may use 3ds Max to produce nearly anything related to character design and 3D rendering. Autodesk created the tool, which is intended for specialists. To utilise the tool, the individual needs have a specific skill set after completing a proper training. There are numerous plug-ins and ready-made models supplied that you may use right away.

#2 Maya

Maya is another Autodesk product. It does not focus on character design, but rather on assisting the character’s animation to blend with the game. On this platform, artists can concentrate on elements such as character movement and minute details such as hair, clothing, texture, and so on. This tool aids in making the character appear more realistic, attracting the greatest number of users.

#3 Zbrush

ZBrush, created by Pixologic, provides an incredible set of powerful tools that experts may use to design and construct appealing and realistic 3D characters. ZBrush also has a brush that may be used to give details and depth to the character. The following are the tool’s highlights:

  • Colours can be added by a modeller while sculpting.
  • A shadow and highlight adder that works automatically.
  • Rendering in real time.

#4 Blender

The Blender tool is a well-known “Beginners” option. It’s a free and open-source application that includes free online classes. Rendering, Modelling, Sculpting, Animation, Rigging, VFX, Simulation, Video Editing, and other applications are possible with the programme. Blender also includes industry-leading libraries to help with the design process.

#5 Houdini

Is a cutting-edge 3D Designing tool that provides outstanding VFX Simulation. It provides designers with incredible freedom and control using a node-based procedural approach. Houdini now has Vellum shelf tools for cloth, inflated objects, hair, grains, and a faster simulation option.

#6 Daz Studio

Daz Studio is yet another free 3D character design tool. The programme works with the Nvidia Iray engine to build high-quality 3D characters. It has a wide database of important additions, such as diverse textures, 3D objects, and a functional plug-in and extension system.

#7 Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D is a software solution for professional 3D modelling, animation, simulation, and rendering. It includes quick and powerful toolkits for developing and rendering 3D characters. Furthermore, it has many modelling styles that may be used to construct the ideal and realistic 3D character.

#8 Modo

Modo is a fantastic modelling, rendering, and texturing programme. Modo has evolved from a simple subdivision surface modeller to a full-fledged digital content maker software. Modo is one of the quickest modelling programmes, including flexible procedural modelling, the MeshFusion Boolean toolset, and built-in sculpting capabilities.

#9 Lightwave 3D

The 2020 update of Lightwave 3D made it famous, allowing users to construct intricate and photorealistic 3D characters. It consists of two programmes: Modeller (for creating assets) and Layout (for texturing, lighting, animation, and rendering). Furthermore, the application includes a fast, interactive PBR renderer as well as various tools to help with the design process.

#10 Rocket 3F

Rocket 3F is a fast and easy-to-use polygon modeller for Windows. It has a professional-looking, fully customisable UI. Designers can incorporate a plethora of tools into their bespoke interface. The tool also includes sculpting, retopology, and non-linear subdivision edge creasing capabilities.

How to hire a 3D Character Designer?

#1 Freelance Portals

If your project is not complex or does not necessitate the hiring of an in-house 3D character creation team, you should consider hiring a Freelancer 3D designer.

Where to look:

Some of the greatest venues for finding and hiring 3D Character Designers are LinkedIn, Upwork, and Freelancer. By handling the payment process, the intermediary services provided by Upwork and Freelancer safeguard both parties from potential fraud.

#2 Hire In-house/Remote Employees

If your 3D character design job is complex, consider hiring an in-house or remote employee. As team members, in-house/remote employees will work on the 3D character design. Furthermore, once the game is released, the in-house/remote employee can work on character upkeep and updates, or you can have them work on new characters.

Where to look:

You will need to identify 3D character pros looking for a new work in order to hire a team of employees. LinkedIn, Remote, Hired, YouTeam, and Gun.io are several portals to find your team.

#3 Outsource

If your 3D character project is complex and you do not want to recruit a team to create it, you can outsource your project to a 3D Character Designing Company. The 3D character designing team will then use their talents and experience to produce the most acceptable and amazing character for your game.

Where to look:

You may get a list of top 3D character design companies on websites like GoodFirms or Clutch.

You can also Google “3D character design company” and choose the best one from the results after reviewing their website and portfolio.

Here at Dezpad we have a group of very talented individuals who not only specialises in 3D Animated Model but also in 3D Product Modeling Services are ever ready to be apart of your team to create something special.

If you are looking to hire a 3D modeling agency, Contact Us and book your first consultation today.

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