What 3D Modeling Software is Used for Video Games

3D Modeling Software for Video Games

3D modeling software now provides incredible opportunities for game developers. These programs are almost weekly updated, optimizing by acquiring new or improved modeling tools. But what is the best software for 3D modeling? We will try to answer this question in this text. Let’s dive deeper into this topic!

Benefits of 3D Modeling

Before we look at different 3D modeling software, let’s have a look at its benefits. It truly opens up a new world of design possibilities. Moreover, it opens up new avenues for creativity and innovation. This technique provides the following two major advantages:

  • Speed

In brief, 3D modeling allows you to produce a design or plan in a fraction of the time it would take using traditional approaches. This means that production times may be reduced. Furthermore, a corporation can increase its efficiency and productivity.

  • Accuracy

3D modeling eliminates inconsistencies in measurements and provides an exceptional level of precision. You can design items down to the smallest detail. Furthermore, you may alter parameters, scales, and measurements in an instant without having to re-create the entire model/design.

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3D Modeling in Game Development

The most well-known application for 3D modeling is, of course, game development in the video game business. Motion graphics artists employ 3D models to create characters, environments, props, and entire worlds in video games. Immersion is essential to every excellent game, and 3D modeling is a terrific approach to creating engaging content.

3D modeling is especially crucial in the field of virtual reality gaming, which is a very interesting industry. Virtual games reality completely immerses you in the game experience, allowing you to explore entire three-dimensional environments.

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Workflow of Creating a 3D Model

This section will be useful for those who just want to start or are starting their journey in 3D modeling. Our experienced specialists at RSG have collected for you the main steps, after which you will receive quality work.

  • Visualization

Beforehand, think through your 3D model as thoroughly as possible, seeing it in your thoughts first or finding a good reference on the Internet. If you, your clients, or even your art director knows exactly what you want, the result will be quick, and the workflow itself will be quicker.

  • Sketching

If you can precisely depict what you want in 3D on paper, you will achieve 98% of the output (always leave room for errors). Inexperienced 3D artists skip this phase and begin constructing a model right away.

  • Modelling

Just now we can get into the technicalities of 3D modeling. Box modeling is the most basic approach for improving and changing an object, and it is simple to master even for a newcomer in this field.

  • Texturing

When you’ve determined the shape, proportions, and overall accuracy of your object, it’s time to apply colors and materials to give it a genuine appearance. This is known as texturing in the 3D community.

  • Lighting and shadowing

Without this, your models will be as flattened as 2D, and your efforts will be futile.

  • Rendering

We are almost there! Now the CPU (central processing unit) and GPU (graphics processing unit) get to work. At this point, your 3D software should read and commit all of the data that you have gradually loaded into your object throughout the previous five steps.

What 3D Modeling Software is Used for Video Games?

When we already have enough information about 3D modeling, the most important part is to find the best software. There are a huge number of programs, but not all of them are really good and will help you create exciting models that can compete with the works of other game artists.

Beginning with 3D software may appear daunting, and this is not far from the truth. The learning curve for powerful 3D applications is notoriously steep. It requires appropriate software and some experience for a user to start feeling at ease. There is a wide range of modeling software available, and each one is more suited to certain modeling tasks than others. Some 3D design software also offers a higher return on investment than others due to greater industry relevance and transferable skills learned.

Game artists and specialists in 3D RSG have extensive experience in creating 3D models in the form of game characters, icons, environments, and objects. This list of 3D game software is based on the recommendations of our colleagues, and we therefore hope that it will be useful to you.

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How to Choose the Best 3D Modeling Software

3D modeling software allows you to create models of characters and objects from scratch and take them to the level of being photorealistic.

Starting with 3D software may seem intimidating, and that is not far from the truth. Powerful 3D software is notorious for having a discouraging learning curve. It takes suitable software and a fair bit of practice for a user to start feeling in their element. There is a great variety of modeling software and each one is a better fit for some modeling jobs than others. Some of the 3D design applications also have a higher return of investment than others due to higher industry relevancy and transferable skills you receive while learning it.

Choosing the right software for the task is essential for saving time and achieving the best results. Below you will find a brief overview of the applications you might consider learning for your career in 3D modeling. We included one free option and three paid (high-cost, in fact) ones. It is always a good idea to get a free trial and test several expensive applications before investing in one.

Blender — The Best Free 3D Software Tool on the Market

To put it nicely and simply, Blender is the best open-source 3D design platform on the market. It provides you with a myriad of tools for the full cycle of 3D modeling and animation. And the most incredible thing is that it is free, which makes it the best app for someone who is just learning 3D in any case. It also enjoys an active and helpful community of users that works continuously to make the app better by sharing their feedback and pushing for usability and feature set improvements.

You might have heard about the unfriendly and tedious interface of Blender but these times are long gone thanks to the continuous development of the app, and now has a convenient and straightforward UX/UI.

✅ Pros❌ Cons
Completely free, including for commercial useNot regarded as an industry-standard
Can do just about any 3D-related taskNot a specialized application
Plenty of learning resourcesMight be challenging to learn but easier than Maya
Procedural modeling workflowNode Editing is difficult to get a hang of
Great sculpting toolkitLimited performance on weak hardware
Continuous upgrading and supportSometimes can be buggy
Huge online communityNot the best animation performance
Runs on Linux, Windows, and macOS
Blender for 3D Modeling

Maya — One of the Most Useful and Flexible 3D Modeling Software

If Blender is perfect for indie studios and individuals, Maya is a choice of big animation companies with a bit more old-school set-up. The main advantage over Blender is that it is the industry standard, meaning that there are plenty of Maya 3d modeling jobs in big organizations, and if you are intending to work for big companies, including AAA game development studios, this is the software you will need. It provides a complete toolkit for the full cycle development in visual effects, animation, and game dev. It is complex and takes time to master.

The subscription plan is mind-blowingly expensive which probably makes it not a good fit if you are just starting learning 3D modeling or even setting up a studio. It is also notorious for being slow at adopting advances made by its competitors, and slow in development in general.

✅ Pros❌ Cons
Industry-standardHigh cost: $1,785/annual subscription (a 30-day free trial available)
Can do just about any 3D-related taskChallenging to learn, especially for beginners
Superb at animationSlow on improvements, few updates
Top-notch sculptingSometimes can be buggy and crash
Easy to create scripts and pluginsNode Editing is difficult to get a hang of
Runs on Linux, Windows, and macOS
Maya 3D Modeling Software

3ds Max — the Best 3D Modeling Software for Windows

3ds Max is one of the best software for 3D game artists along with Blender and Maya. Like the previous two, it is an all-rounder and enables you to create characters and objects using 3D design, modeling, animation, and rendering. It is excellent in modeling just as Maya is excellent at animation, and has a huge number of plugins and libraries. It has, however, an even steeper learning curve than Maya and comes with a hefty price tag.

✅ Pros❌ Cons
Can do just about any 3D-related task
High cost: $1,785 annual subscription (a 30-day free trial available; free for students for the first 3 years)
Superb at modeling
Rather difficult to learn
Easy to create simple scripts
Poor collection of educational materials
Huge library of different modifiers
Poor inbuilt rendering
A large number of plugins and libraries
Small online community
Fast and lightweight
Runs on Windows only and does not work on older PCs
3ds Max 3D modeling software

Cinema 4D — Excellent for VFX and Simulation, Easy to Learn and Use

Cinema 4D is a professional 3D software developed by MAXON Computer. Just like the other three applications on our list, it has a wide span of functionality and enables you to do pretty much anything 3D-related: procedural and polygonal modeling, rigging, animation, lighting, texturing, and rendering. The main point of attraction here is that Cinema 4D has a shallow learning curve which means that contrary to many other 3D applications, you will start making nice stuff pretty early on in your training. And after that — it is famously intuitive to use. It is also integrated with After Effects, the industry-standard Adobe animation suite. And finally, Cinema 4D is known for its stability, so crashing is… rare.

✅ Pros❌ Cons
Can do just about any 3D-related task
High cost: $999 per year (a 14-day free trial available; a free education version for students and teachers)
Easy to use and get nice results quickly
Poor UV editing and weight-mapping
Superb at special effects and simulation
A well-organized UI
A great community and plenty of educational materials, including the training site Cineversity with free membership
Integration with After Effects. Compatible with many plugins and render engines.

Professional 3D modelers do not limit themselves to a single software package and frequently use supplementary software to improve the quality of their works. Besides, jobs with 3D modeling usually require the candidates to have the knowledge of a few 3D applications so that the specialists could take on various projects and use the suitable tools. Software programs like Zbrush, Modo, Marmoset, Substance Designer, and Substance Painter are used to perform tasks like sculpting, texturing, and baking. Game engines like Unity and Unreal Engine also offer advanced 3D modeling options, the ultimate objective of which is to create a 3D asset and test it within the game engine.

It is also recommended to learn about 3D rendering software solutions because professional 3D modelers utilize these packages for rendering purposes. Vray, Corona Renderer, Arnold, and Redshift are some of the most popular rendering engines. Our team prefers Corona Rendered because the software package offers outstanding rendering quality, speed, and interactivity.

Important Criteria for Game 3D Tools

As you can see, there is a wide range of high-quality 3D modeling software freely available that is just as excellent as professional solutions. In that scenario, you should familiarize yourself with the software by downloading the limited time and/or limited capability version that most providers offer.

Find 3D modeling software that is relevant with your OS (Operating System), as not all packages are designed to be used by every OS: Windows, Mac, and Linux. Finally, select a 3D modeling program based on your age and level of skill. Whether you are a novice or an experienced user, a 5-year-old child or a student, you will find software that is tailored to your needs and profile!

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Ways of 3D Modeling in Games

While it needs a high level of skill, 3D modeling has transformed the way video games are made. Here are three examples of how developers use 3D modeling nowadays.

  • Characters creating

Games would be far less intimate without the characters. These personalities and experiences you see on screen are the results of 3D modeling. As with any creative form, it’s critical to understand which aspects are most important. Finally, creators build distinctive characters who feel totally integrated into the plot.

  • Texture

Because textures might seem like squares, they are sometimes repeated. Consider how long it would take to painstakingly texture every block on the walkway in a game.

  • Measuring Scale

Real-life images can be converted into 3D models for use in video games using 3D modeling. These real-life photographs can serve as inspiration for video game settings. These locales and things must be appropriately scaled in order for the characters to feel like they are a natural part of their environments.

Fantasy Warrior Dwarf 3D Modeling Rigged Skinned

Final Words

You can definitely be called a daredevil if you decide to take up the study of 3D modeling. Along the way, you’ll be lured by treacherous lighting, intimidating sculpting, and breathtaking coloring. But the result that you get during the rendering process will show you that all your efforts and hours of work were not in vain.

Each member of our team of artists has already gone this route, although even now in our work we are faced with new tasks that require more detailed study. But we love such challenges. They make us even stronger and prove our professionalism. And also, we hope that you will not turn off the chosen path of 3D design and modeling. And may this journey bring you only pleasure and a lot of new useful knowledge!

Frequently Asked Question

Which software is used to make 3D models for games?

Maya is used by AAA companies all over the world to create the best video games on the market since it provides a nice balance of what game development artists require such as modeling, UV unwrapping, bakig, rigging, animation, and so on. Although Blender is not part of the AAA video game industry, it is an important element of the indie game production scene. Don’t forget about 3ds Max, either. Because it is most likely the only 3D Modeling Software for Video Games that can compare with Maya.

How is 3D modeling used in video games?

3D modeling for video games entails developing all of the assets that comprise a scene. Characters and mobs (short for “mobile objects,” moving non-player characters) are examples, as are their textures, lightings, environments, and settings.

Which is the best software for 3D game development?

Our personal picks as outsourced game art teams are Maya, Blender, and 3ds Max. It is this golden set of 3D modeling software that allows us to work daily with the many objects, characters, and other details that make up the games that our users and customers love so much.