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Phantonix

Drawing for a 3D game

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Hello all,

My question is about creating the art/character design of a 3D game. Now, what if you absolutely s*ck at drawing? Do you need to know how to draw to make good-looking games?

I mean, imagine that the whole level and the terrain and every stuff in your imagined game is in your head, but you just can't draw it out even if you wanted to, because you don't have the hand skills to do that.

In that case, do you outsource it to a game artist? But then again, that person probably doesn't know what exactly are you trying to accomplish, and the end result will look nothing like what it should look, so that's likely a moot point as well.

And I don't know how common it is to buy and/or re-use art assets, either in Unity or Unreal, but I hear that's pretty costly lol.

So if you aren't naturally good at drawing, should you first learn to draw better, or is it a bit easier when you use a 3D graphics program, like Blender? Does that make it easier, or is it just ridiculously hard for people without art talent?

Thanks for reading, and I appreciate every feedback I get!

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6 minutes ago, Phantonix said:

Now, what if you absolutely s*ck at drawing? Do you need to know how to draw to make good-looking games?

No, you don't need to have good drawing skills to do 3D art. This is a misconception you can sometimes find people claiming. However, knowing how to draw will allow you to make 2D references, and 2D concept art which can be beneficial.

There are different ways to approach 3D art, some for example:

- Polygon modeling

- Solid modeling

- Sculpting

- Displacement Maps

- Booleans

- Kit Bashing

None of the above require any 2D drawing ability.

My 2D art is so so, but most of my concepts are done by sculpting, and if I do 2D concepts it's usually gray-scale block-ins (non-line art) like this:

image.png.d4b6ecd0fc0d6423dcf90fceb4ad1285.png

 

Sometimes I make basic sketches like this one for my goblin concept:

image.png.83eb9092134cafad344a689eb9e6d344.png

 

image.png.a1b780accd070d400db04ae32167b15d.png

image.png.fc5a65ee5c8ca4c7736a1a0ff229db6a.png

Most of my stuff is actually just sculpted concepts then I clean them up. If I'm working on hard-surface models then I pull from a lot of references online. It is also still a good idea to use references regardless. Either way what I can accomplish in 3D doesn't require any 2D drawing on my part, even though I lack in that department I sometimes make references. Normally I just sculpt or use photo references and work that way because the amount of time it takes me to make 3-sided references far out weighs what I can do in 3D from other sources.

39 minutes ago, Phantonix said:

I mean, imagine that the whole level and the terrain and every stuff in your imagined game is in your head, but you just can't draw it out even if you wanted to, because you don't have the hand skills to do that.

The key is to take everything in bite sized chunks. Rushing out and trying to complete a whole scene is a recipe for disaster. You should mark out what you need then create each piece one by one then form your scene with those assets. You don't need to be good at 2D drawing for this either, just visualize what you think it might look like, then make a list of all the objects and make them. Once you're done you then take those objects and place them into a 3D scene to concept out what you might want.

42 minutes ago, Phantonix said:

In that case, do you outsource it to a game artist? But then again, that person probably doesn't know what exactly are you trying to accomplish, and the end result will look nothing like what it should look, so that's likely a moot point as well.

When you outsource art you're going to have to accept the fact they have their own art style. This is why you look for artists which match the style you like.

43 minutes ago, Phantonix said:

And I don't know how common it is to buy and/or re-use art assets, either in Unity or Unreal, but I hear that's pretty costly lol.

Asset flips are a good way to rip away any uniqueness to your game's visual look. I suggest doing this only for learning, or placeholders, not production. If you're forced to use pre-made assets then so be it.

44 minutes ago, Phantonix said:

So if you aren't naturally good at drawing, should you first learn to draw better, or is it a bit easier when you use a 3D graphics program, like Blender? Does that make it easier, or is it just ridiculously hard for people without art talent?

You can learn to draw, but it's  a different medium than 3D modeling, and sculpting. You would be better off spending the time actually building the skills you're going to need for 3D art such as understanding the different modeling techniques, edge flow, topology, uv mapping, baking, texturing, animation (which is another major time sink to learn), rendering, hard-surface vs organic, and more... I would skip the 2D stuff for now and dive into 3D right away if 3D art is your goal.

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Thanks for the thorough response! I'll check out these 3D modeling styles then, and learn it as I go :)

I'm trying not to burn out while having ideas too far out of reach, I'm trying to stay realistic lol.

With a part-time job now, I can only focus on this while I have free time.

1 hour ago, Rutin said:

There are different ways to approach 3D art, some for example:

- Polygon modeling

- Solid modeling

- Sculpting

- Displacement Maps

- Booleans

- Kit Bashing

You would be better off spending the time actually building the skills you're going to need for 3D art such as understanding the different modeling techniques, edge flow, topology, uv mapping, baking, texturing, animation (which is another major time sink to learn), rendering, hard-surface vs organic, and more... I would skip the 2D stuff for now and dive into 3D right away if 3D art is your goal.

Can you recommend tutorials that cover these topics, or are YouTube Blender tutorials suffice?

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What I would suggest is learning Blender inside and out first. Once you understand how everything works then modeling tutorials can be taken from pretty much any where ie: 3ds max, maya, ect... because the concepts are the same. This opens up more learning options so you're not stuck looking for only Blender tutorials. Mostly everything is transferable outside of application specific tasks.

You're going to want to start with Polygon modeling first, then look into sculpting - both have different workflows. I wouldn't worry about anything CAD related, or displacements, booleans, or kit bashing right now. Also you will find people teaching booleans as part of their modeling tutorials and I would caution against it until you know how to clean up topology.

Start here:

If you have more specific questions feel free to ask me at anytime.

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