Invogames
What is 3D Character Modeling? Full Process and Software

What is 3D Character Modeling? Full Process and Software

Invogames

Game Animation

|

June 23, 2023

|

4 min read

3D character modeling is a process of developing character anatomy, features, body, and overall structure using specialized tools, techniques and software. 

 

In 3D character modeling, there are a number of processes that are involved to create the final and humanoid look which we will be discussing under this blog. Let’s start it. 

 

3D Character Modeling 

 

3D character modeling can be done for any type of character such as robot, mythical creature, humanistic character, animals, inorganic objects, and many other kinds.

 

The purpose of 3D character modeling is to bring the realistic touch to the shape, gestures, and body movement of the character. In terms of inorganic objects, the 3D modeling is to make them look as realistic as in the real world environment.

 

Types of 3D Character Modeling

 

Even though 3D character modeling is a refined and complete process itself, there are different types to it. The types of 3D modeling are used to further enhance the look of the character depending upon the game genre, environment, look, and other requirements. Here are some of the most popular types of 3D character modeling:

 

  • Ultra-Realistic Digital Double and 3D Character Modeling 
  • Semi-Realistic background 3D Character Modeling 
  • Stylized 3D Character Modeling 
  • 3D Creature Modeling 
  • Cartoony 3D Character Modeling 
  • Polygonal Modeling 
  • NURBS Modeling
  • Retopology Modeling

 

3D Character Modeling Software 

 

3D character modeling accompanies a number of processes such as skinning, rigging, baking, lighting, and a lot more which is why they need multiple software to develop a 3D character. The most used and globally acknowledged tools for 3D character modeling are ZBrush, 3ds Max, Daz Studio, Blender, Houdini, and Autodesk Maya

 

Process of 3D Character Modeling 

 

The 3D character modeling process involves a number of steps such as skinning, rigging, baking, redmering, and a lot more which makes the process extensive intrinsically. Let’s take a look at the process in detail. 

 

3D Character Concept

 

It all starts with the character concept in which the game requirements, character’s overall look, and other game characteristics. These factors help in determining the character look, its costumes, makeover, gestures, and body movements. Once the character concept gets as clear as diamond, it will be easier to carry out the rest of the process.

 

The character concept art also helps the artists in making the rough designs, drafts, and different characters look from three dimensional planes. It also involves brainstorming and other referential work to develop the preliminary work of the character and set its tone. 

 

Blocking 

 

This process entails attaching all the primitive shapes that were developed in the conceptual art of the character in one. After attaching all the shapes into one, this will give an overall and bit refined look of the character’s anatomy. 

 

Sculpting  

 

After the character blocking has been done, the process of sculpting starts in which the character artist starts with the digital clay to smooth the anatomy. Using digitized clay, the character’s body is carved and formed into the shapes to give more defined looks and clear body structure. 

 

UV Unwrapping 

 

UV wrapping in 3D character modeling is the process of mapping a 2D texture onto a 3D model's surface. It involves unwrapping the model's geometry and creating a flat representation of it called a UV map. This map is then used as a guide to apply textures accurately onto the model, ensuring that they appear correctly and without distortion. UV wrapping is done by manipulating the UV coordinates of each vertex, aligning them with corresponding areas on the texture image. This process allows for realistic and visually appealing texturing on 3D character models.

 

Texturing

 

After the main processes of 3D character modeling have been completed, the texturing comes in. The process of texturing entails adding the minor details to the characters so that it looks realistic. The texturing is mainly done on the character costumes, character props, and character backgrounds. To add more to it, the texture is done to add folds and creases to the clothes, wrinkles on the body, face and other important details that can make the character look real. 

 

Rigging and Skinning 

 

The process of rigging and skinning are important for animating the character so that the skeleton moves aptly for making it look realistic to the maximum scale. 

 

To explain them separately, rigging is the process of developing a character's skeleton. Studying the anatomy of the character, the skeleton is developed which is then further refined using skinning. The skinning process is utilized to move the skeleton to the character in order to move the character i.e. animation. 

 

3D Character Animation 

 

This is the final product of the whole process to achieve the moving character for the game or any video. Sometimes, the character animation is processed using different models or renders as well. The animations can be captured using capture motion, ready-made mockups and keyframe-animation.

 

Character Export to the Game 

 

The last step to take for 3D character animation is to export the game character or 3D character to the game engine such as Unreal, Unity, or any other game engine you use. The most common file formats that game artists use are FBX and OBJ. 

 

If you want to preserve the object hierarchy in one intact package, use the FBX file type. It is crucial if your mesh has moveable elements or if you need certain elements to be divided. 

 

How Much Does it Cost to Create a 3D Game Character?

 

The cost of 3D character modeling depends upon a lot of factors such as project requirements, size, complexity, timeline, and the number of resources aligned on the project. Let’s say if a project has a short timeline then the costs increase. 

 

What factors affect the cost of 3D Game Character Modeling?

 

There are multiple factors that affect the cost of 3D game character modeling in order to achieve desired results and create character that boosts player engagement. Let’s take a look at those factors:

 

  1. Type of character
  2. Level of detailing required in the character
  3. Game engine 
  4. Resource allocation
  5. Rigging/Skinning
  6. Project timeline 

 

From conceptualization to the creation of a character model and its animation, it can take about 70-120 hrs to achieve ultra-realistic quality.

 

How to hire 3D Modelers and Character Artists?

 

There are multiple ready-made libraries, however if that is not your choice then hiring a 3D character artist. For hiring 3D character modelers and character artists, it is essential to outline your requirements so that you find a game studio that fulfills project demands. Once you have mapped out the project requirements, start looking for game studios on various platforms such as LinkedIn and review websites.

 

The most important factor that will help in choosing the best 3D modeling company would be the portfolio. You can check the portfolio on the company/studio’s website or other websites like Behance and ArtStation. 

 

You can hire 3D modelers and character artists for your project either on hourly basis or product development. It depends on the project requirements and its timeline.

 

3D Character Modeling Glossary 

 

3D character modeling talks about different processes and hence gets pretty difficult for the readers to accumulate and understand it once. Here is a quick glossary for 3d character modeling that will help you in learning and understanding it. 

 

3D character Modelling

 

Benefits of Outsourcing 3D Character Modeling 

Outsourcing has always proven to be beneficial for the companies as it allows them to drive the development as per the requirement. Here are the five main reasons on why you should outsource 3D character modeling to a game studio:

 

Expertise and Specialization 

 

3D game studios are equipped with game designers, game artists, and CG artists with years of expertise and proper talent which can help you to excel in your project for game development. Furthermore, 3D model sculpting requires intricating details which demand for the professional artists and their expertise. Hence, it is important to work with the artists that specialize in those with extensive hands-on experience. 

 

Flexibility and Scalability 

 

Outsourcing gives you the chance to allocate the resources as much as you want and according to your preferences. Adjustment of the resources according to the project requirements and demands can help you choose from a big pool of resources and further utilize their expertise to the full potential. This flexibility and scalability enable efficient production processes and the ability to adapt to changing project demands.

 

Access to Latest Technologies 

 

As the core purpose of game studios is building and working on gaming projects, they are always equipped with the softwares. By outsourcing the 3D character modeling, you will be able to have it developed on the premium and latest software which would give impetus to the working - resulting in the high quality art production. 

 

Time Saving

 

Hiring the right talent and further elaborating or training them can consume a lot of time. In order to save time, outsourcing 3D character modeling can prove to be the right thing as it allows companies to leverage the professional modelers and artists while focusing on other important projects. 

 

Cost Effective

 

Character modeling requires a lot of time, tools, and resources which can only increase the expenses. However, by outsourcing, the overhead costs of tools, paid softwares, hiring resources, and maintaining costs are reduced. Furthermore, it also helps in building the business and getting the required resources at competitive prices while also focusing on the other projects.

 

 

Recent 3D character modeling developments include the extensive use of real-time rendering technologies, which enable more realistic and lifelike characters in video games and virtual experiences. The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning enables procedural and automated character generation, hence simplifying artist workloads. The demand for extremely detailed and expressive 3D characters is driven by augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications. 

 

Furthermore, the industry is seeing an increase in demand for personalized avatars in a variety of areas, from social media platforms to virtual conferences. Collectively, these themes contribute to the progress of 3D character modeling, pushing the frontiers of realism and interaction.

 

Outsource 3D Character Modeling | InvoGames 

 

We offer 3D character modeling services from scratch to build highly-realistic game characters with humanistic body movements. This will make the game look professional that will further resonate with the gamers and captivate them in its realism. Hire our game artists and modelers to take your game character development to the next level. Reach out to us at sales@invogames.com and let’s get connected. 

3D character modeling is a process of developing character anatomy, features, body, and overall structure using specialized tools, techniques and software. 

 

In 3D character modeling, there are a number of processes that are involved to create the final and humanoid look which we will be discussing under this blog. Let’s start it. 

 

3D Character Modeling 

 

3D character modeling can be done for any type of character such as robot, mythical creature, humanistic character, animals, inorganic objects, and many other kinds.

 

The purpose of 3D character modeling is to bring the realistic touch to the shape, gestures, and body movement of the character. In terms of inorganic objects, the 3D modeling is to make them look as realistic as in the real world environment.

 

Types of 3D Character Modeling

 

Even though 3D character modeling is a refined and complete process itself, there are different types to it. The types of 3D modeling are used to further enhance the look of the character depending upon the game genre, environment, look, and other requirements. Here are some of the most popular types of 3D character modeling:

 

  • Ultra-Realistic Digital Double and 3D Character Modeling 
  • Semi-Realistic background 3D Character Modeling 
  • Stylized 3D Character Modeling 
  • 3D Creature Modeling 
  • Cartoony 3D Character Modeling 
  • Polygonal Modeling 
  • NURBS Modeling
  • Retopology Modeling

 

3D Character Modeling Software 

 

3D character modeling accompanies a number of processes such as skinning, rigging, baking, lighting, and a lot more which is why they need multiple software to develop a 3D character. The most used and globally acknowledged tools for 3D character modeling are ZBrush, 3ds Max, Daz Studio, Blender, Houdini, and Autodesk Maya

 

Process of 3D Character Modeling 

 

The 3D character modeling process involves a number of steps such as skinning, rigging, baking, redmering, and a lot more which makes the process extensive intrinsically. Let’s take a look at the process in detail. 

 

3D Character Concept

 

It all starts with the character concept in which the game requirements, character’s overall look, and other game characteristics. These factors help in determining the character look, its costumes, makeover, gestures, and body movements. Once the character concept gets as clear as diamond, it will be easier to carry out the rest of the process.

 

The character concept art also helps the artists in making the rough designs, drafts, and different characters look from three dimensional planes. It also involves brainstorming and other referential work to develop the preliminary work of the character and set its tone. 

 

Blocking 

 

This process entails attaching all the primitive shapes that were developed in the conceptual art of the character in one. After attaching all the shapes into one, this will give an overall and bit refined look of the character’s anatomy. 

 

Sculpting  

 

After the character blocking has been done, the process of sculpting starts in which the character artist starts with the digital clay to smooth the anatomy. Using digitized clay, the character’s body is carved and formed into the shapes to give more defined looks and clear body structure. 

 

UV Unwrapping 

 

UV wrapping in 3D character modeling is the process of mapping a 2D texture onto a 3D model's surface. It involves unwrapping the model's geometry and creating a flat representation of it called a UV map. This map is then used as a guide to apply textures accurately onto the model, ensuring that they appear correctly and without distortion. UV wrapping is done by manipulating the UV coordinates of each vertex, aligning them with corresponding areas on the texture image. This process allows for realistic and visually appealing texturing on 3D character models.

 

Texturing

 

After the main processes of 3D character modeling have been completed, the texturing comes in. The process of texturing entails adding the minor details to the characters so that it looks realistic. The texturing is mainly done on the character costumes, character props, and character backgrounds. To add more to it, the texture is done to add folds and creases to the clothes, wrinkles on the body, face and other important details that can make the character look real. 

 

Rigging and Skinning 

 

The process of rigging and skinning are important for animating the character so that the skeleton moves aptly for making it look realistic to the maximum scale. 

 

To explain them separately, rigging is the process of developing a character's skeleton. Studying the anatomy of the character, the skeleton is developed which is then further refined using skinning. The skinning process is utilized to move the skeleton to the character in order to move the character i.e. animation. 

 

3D Character Animation 

 

This is the final product of the whole process to achieve the moving character for the game or any video. Sometimes, the character animation is processed using different models or renders as well. The animations can be captured using capture motion, ready-made mockups and keyframe-animation.

 

Character Export to the Game 

 

The last step to take for 3D character animation is to export the game character or 3D character to the game engine such as Unreal, Unity, or any other game engine you use. The most common file formats that game artists use are FBX and OBJ. 

 

If you want to preserve the object hierarchy in one intact package, use the FBX file type. It is crucial if your mesh has moveable elements or if you need certain elements to be divided. 

 

How Much Does it Cost to Create a 3D Game Character?

 

The cost of 3D character modeling depends upon a lot of factors such as project requirements, size, complexity, timeline, and the number of resources aligned on the project. Let’s say if a project has a short timeline then the costs increase. 

 

What factors affect the cost of 3D Game Character Modeling?

 

There are multiple factors that affect the cost of 3D game character modeling in order to achieve desired results and create character that boosts player engagement. Let’s take a look at those factors:

 

  1. Type of character
  2. Level of detailing required in the character
  3. Game engine 
  4. Resource allocation
  5. Rigging/Skinning
  6. Project timeline 

 

From conceptualization to the creation of a character model and its animation, it can take about 70-120 hrs to achieve ultra-realistic quality.

 

How to hire 3D Modelers and Character Artists?

 

There are multiple ready-made libraries, however if that is not your choice then hiring a 3D character artist. For hiring 3D character modelers and character artists, it is essential to outline your requirements so that you find a game studio that fulfills project demands. Once you have mapped out the project requirements, start looking for game studios on various platforms such as LinkedIn and review websites.

 

The most important factor that will help in choosing the best 3D modeling company would be the portfolio. You can check the portfolio on the company/studio’s website or other websites like Behance and ArtStation. 

 

You can hire 3D modelers and character artists for your project either on hourly basis or product development. It depends on the project requirements and its timeline.

 

3D Character Modeling Glossary 

 

3D character modeling talks about different processes and hence gets pretty difficult for the readers to accumulate and understand it once. Here is a quick glossary for 3d character modeling that will help you in learning and understanding it. 

 

3D character Modelling

 

Benefits of Outsourcing 3D Character Modeling 

Outsourcing has always proven to be beneficial for the companies as it allows them to drive the development as per the requirement. Here are the five main reasons on why you should outsource 3D character modeling to a game studio:

 

Expertise and Specialization 

 

3D game studios are equipped with game designers, game artists, and CG artists with years of expertise and proper talent which can help you to excel in your project for game development. Furthermore, 3D model sculpting requires intricating details which demand for the professional artists and their expertise. Hence, it is important to work with the artists that specialize in those with extensive hands-on experience. 

 

Flexibility and Scalability 

 

Outsourcing gives you the chance to allocate the resources as much as you want and according to your preferences. Adjustment of the resources according to the project requirements and demands can help you choose from a big pool of resources and further utilize their expertise to the full potential. This flexibility and scalability enable efficient production processes and the ability to adapt to changing project demands.

 

Access to Latest Technologies 

 

As the core purpose of game studios is building and working on gaming projects, they are always equipped with the softwares. By outsourcing the 3D character modeling, you will be able to have it developed on the premium and latest software which would give impetus to the working - resulting in the high quality art production. 

 

Time Saving

 

Hiring the right talent and further elaborating or training them can consume a lot of time. In order to save time, outsourcing 3D character modeling can prove to be the right thing as it allows companies to leverage the professional modelers and artists while focusing on other important projects. 

 

Cost Effective

 

Character modeling requires a lot of time, tools, and resources which can only increase the expenses. However, by outsourcing, the overhead costs of tools, paid softwares, hiring resources, and maintaining costs are reduced. Furthermore, it also helps in building the business and getting the required resources at competitive prices while also focusing on the other projects.

 

 

Recent 3D character modeling developments include the extensive use of real-time rendering technologies, which enable more realistic and lifelike characters in video games and virtual experiences. The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning enables procedural and automated character generation, hence simplifying artist workloads. The demand for extremely detailed and expressive 3D characters is driven by augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications. 

 

Furthermore, the industry is seeing an increase in demand for personalized avatars in a variety of areas, from social media platforms to virtual conferences. Collectively, these themes contribute to the progress of 3D character modeling, pushing the frontiers of realism and interaction.

 

Outsource 3D Character Modeling | InvoGames 

 

We offer 3D character modeling services from scratch to build highly-realistic game characters with humanistic body movements. This will make the game look professional that will further resonate with the gamers and captivate them in its realism. Hire our game artists and modelers to take your game character development to the next level. Reach out to us at sales@invogames.com and let’s get connected. 

frequently asked questions

3D character modeling time is highly dependent on the complexity and entails of the character. Usually it takes a few hours to weeks and months as well. 

 

3D character modeling plays an important role in the game and its overall look since characters build the core of any game. Here are the three top benefits of 3D character modeling: 

 

  1. Realistic Representation

    It allows for lifelike and visually appealing representations of characters, enhancing immersion and engagement which further enable the players to relate to. 

  2. Versatility

    3D models can be easily posed, animated, and adjusted, offering flexibility for various applications such as gaming, film, advertising, and virtual reality.

  3. Time and Cost Efficiency

    Developing 3D models enables the game developers to further utilize them in another creation of the physical models or repeatedly designing characters from scratch.

It depends on the issues that raise during the 3D character modeling, However, here are some of the general solutions that you can look up to:

  1. Check Software and Hardware 

    Ensure that your 3D modeling software and hardware meet the system requirements and are up to date to avoid compatibility issues.

  2. Review Workflow and Techniques

    Double-check your workflow and techniques for any errors or inconsistencies. Troubleshoot step by step to identify and resolve specific issues.

  3. Seek Community Support

    Engage with online forums, tutorials, and communities dedicated to 3D character modeling. Seek advice, share experiences, and learn from others who have encountered similar challenges.

 

Learning 3D character modeling can be a bit difficult for the beginners as it involves technicality during the process. Using courses and learning guides, you might be able to learn it with steady flow. However, it also depends on the level of 3D character modeling you want to learn. 

 

The best strategy to start with 3D character modeling is to do your research on the concept art, understand the details and anatomy of the character, and utilize proper topology for efficient rigging and animation. Additionally, practicing good organization and file management and seeking feedback from others can help improve your skills and achieve better results.

 

The hardware requirements for 3D character modeling can vary depending on the complexity of the models and the software being used. However, generally, you would need a computer with a powerful processor, sufficient RAM (at least 8GB or more), a dedicated graphics card with good performance, and ample storage space for saving your projects and assets. A high-resolution display and a graphics tablet can also enhance the modeling experience.

dicated to 3D character modeling. Seek advice, share experiences, and learn from others who have encountered similar challenges.

 

Writer InvoGames

Written By:

Schouzib I.
Content Lead

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