What game 3D Modelers do:
3D Modelers, or 3D modeling artists, design 3D models withing a game engine, from concept to finalised character.
3D Modellers create assets in-game like characters, props, trees, rocks, and weapons, for example, and work towards realising the art department and game development team’s artistic vision.
What 3D modelers are good at:
Being detail-oriented, creative, and having in-depth knowledge of animation technology and software.
Working in a team and showing great people and communication skills.
Using software like Houdini, Illustrator, After Effects, C++, Maya, or Blender to a high technical level.
Drawing with different styles and techniques across different mediums, digitally and traditionally (like on paper or a canvas).
Applying different animation styles, from 3D to 2D vector animation.
Understanding technical visual language - texture, colour, depth of field, dimension, scale etc.
Storytelling through leading dynamic storyboarding and narrative development appropriate for the game and its characters.
Applying 3D art designs into game engines and understanding their technical limitations and possibilities.
Applying knowledge of technical audio equipment and software for different types of sound effects and sound mixing.
Modeling 3D designs
How to become a 3D modeler:
You can study through A-levels or Highers or Level 3 vocational qualifications in relevant subjects like Art and Design, Graphic Design, or Video Games Art
You don't need a degree to become a 3D Modeler as most employers looking for 3D Modelers tend to focus on their experience and portfolio. It’s therefore possible to start your career through work experience or an apprenticeship.
However, a degree in Game Design, Graphic Design, 3D Modeling or similar subjects as the experience may be preferred.
Learning traditional drawing, painting, and sculpting and showcasing that in a portfolio alongside 3D art is a great way to show artistic flair outside software.
“Can you draw? Can you sculpt in clay? As the tools for 3D modeling improve, the skill set resembles the plastic arts more than digital. You'll be using your hands to move volumes in virtual space as opposed to moving vertices around with a mouse. This trend will only continue, so it's a good idea to take drawing classes and anatomy for painters and sculpting if you can find them. You're better off going to art school than a technical school in my opinion as it's your eye and understanding of space that will set you apart.”
James H. Kelly, Senior Software Engineer at SpaceX
How much you could earn:
The national average salary for a 3D Artist is £29,000 in the UK.
A starting salary can range from £15,000, more experienced 3D modelers could make salaries of around £40,000, and senior 3D modelers can earn in the region of £70,000. (Source: Glassdoor)