The 3D model builder on a team developing computer or computer games contributes by designing objects that will appear on the screen. He or she focuses on aspects of the game like vehicles and weapons. Any furniture that appears in the game environment is also the responsibility of the 3D model builder.
This type of work will appeal to someone who has a good eye for detail, but they must also know when the work they have done is "good enough." When games are being developed, there is a specific budget that the team members need to stick to, and that is where the idea of an object being good enough for the project without spending too much time adding extra details that won’t be apparent to the user comes in.
The 3D model builder uses a number of techniques to make mathematical, wire-frame representation of the object using computer software designed for this purpose. Modelers have a number of techniques at their disposal, including patch modeling, polymodeling and box modeling. Patch modeling is used for solid objects that have some curved lines, including buildings, furniture and vehicles. Box modeling comes into play when the model builder is making game characters. Polymodeling is a technique used when the 3D model builder wants to create something that is very precise in design.
Many people who become 3D model builders have a background in mechanical or industrial design. This training helps them understand the concepts of physical engineering, balance, and adding gears to the objects they are creating. It also helps them to become familiar with different materials that are used for this purpose.
A person who is interested in working as a 3D model builder can get the training they need by completing an Associate’s degree program in 3D Modeling for Animation and Games. The courses cover a number of topics, including drawing, digital imaging, materials and textures, and storyboarding. Students are also exposed to concepts of lighting, sculpture, life drawing, character modeling, CG lighting and rendering, and environmental modeling.
The future 3D model builder may choose to complete an Associate’s degree program in mechanical or industrial design before getting specialized training in 3D model making. A person who studies mechanical design gets a good foundation in drafting and design principles as they apply to product development.
A Bachelor’s degree in industrial design is a good choice for people who have an aptitude for art, as well as mathematics and science. This program includes all three elements. Students take courses in basic concepts of industrial design, materials, design processes and design engineering.
The average salary for a 3D model builder in the U.S. is $73,000 (Indeed.com). Here’s a little more 3D artist pay information: