Creating great 3D models for games can require both artistic skills and technical knowledge. In this article, we explore the most common techniques used to create 3D models, and also uncover the new possibilities with AI generated models.
Let's dive into the most popular 3D creation techniques, and explore examples of tools that can assist you along the way.
- Box/Subdivision Modeling
- Procedural Modeling
- 3D Scanning
- Digital Sculpting
- AI-Generated 3D Models
Box modeling, or subdivision modeling, is a versatile technique that allows you to start with a simple shape and add detail incrementally. Tools like Autodesk Maya, Blender, or 3ds Max provide robust box modeling capabilities. Begin by creating a basic shape such as a cube and use subdivision algorithms to refine and sculpt your model's structure.
Procedural modeling allows you to generate complex models using algorithms and rules. Tools such as Houdini, Substance 3D Designer, or World Machine are great for these use cases. In this workflow, you define parameters and algorithms to create intricate structures programmatically. This technique offers great flexibility, enabling quick iterations and dynamic customization, however it is quite complex to learn and takes a deep knowledge in math and modeling techniques.
3D Scanning and photogrammetry:
3D scanning captures real-world objects or environments using specialized equipment. Tools like RealityCapture, Agisoft Metashape, or Autodesk ReCap provide efficient 3D scanning capabilities. Scan physical objects or environments to generate highly realistic models. After scanning, you can optimize the resulting high-polygon models using mesh simplification or retopology techniques.
Digital sculpting allows for meticulous shaping and detailing of 3D models. Tools like Pixologic ZBrush, Blender, or SculptGL offer powerful digital sculpting features. Sculpt intricate details and organic forms, breathing life into characters and objects. With digital sculpting, you can achieve remarkable realism and unleash your artistic vision.
AI-Generated 3D Models:
AI is revolutionizing the industry, providing huge efficiency boosts and cost savings. With tools such as Sloyd, you can create 3D models effortlessly, reducing or eliminating the need for manual creation or outsourcing. These models can also serve as a starting point for traditional 3D modeling, combining AI efficiency with human creativity in an effective way. Sloyd combines parametric models with AI to make sure you get quick results that are optimized and ready to use.
Best Practices for Creating 3D Models:
- Research real-world objects to define your model's purpose and specifications.
- Optimize your polygon count to balance detail and performance in games.
- Utilize proper UV mapping techniques for accurate and efficient texturing.
- Pay attention to topology and edge flow to ensure smooth deformations and animations.
- Use tools such as Sloyd to generate objects fast that are optimized and ready to go!
Creating games is an art form, and requires a combination of technical expertise and creative vision. By utilizing the right techniques for your use case you can bring your virtual worlds to life in the best way possible. Adhering to best practices throughout the modeling process ensures optimal performance in games. Embrace these techniques, explore the tools, and embark on your journey to create immersive and captivating games!