3D Realisation – Modelling from Life – pt 1 (of 3) – “Working from Given reference.”

Delivered as part of year 001 Games Design as a means to further show the benefits of utilising both traditional skills alongside digital skills as part of the creative process.

As part of your 3D Realisation module you are to develop further 1, your digital 3D skills as well as 2, your observation skills.

This is something we have discussed in other modules of course (Creative Futures).

In Creative Futures we discussed how designers, concept artists and traditional artist all the way back to Da Vinci have employed the use of Pareidolia in their ideation process.

Da Vinci call this embracing of ambiguity and uncertainty in the process, “Sfumato”, and making this one of his seven core creative principles.

Elsewhere in that list Leonardo mentions Observation. As he discussed his principle of “Sensazione”, or…

“The continual refinement of the senses, especially sight, as the means to clarify experience.”

Alex Galuzin on his 3D creative’s blog/site, discusses a range of skill sets that can be exploited by the 3D designer away from the computer, this includes Photography and Observational Drawing.

Magazines from 3D Artist through to Imagine FX provide tips and tutorials that suggest:

“Many industry artists believe that a good knowledge of traditional art techniques can prove very beneficial to your 3D work.” – 3D Artist, issue 40 / Q&A.

“3D Modelling can’t replace drawing and design skills, there are no short cuts to becoming a good designer…” – Imagine FX, issue 145 / Sculpt your concepts in 3D, Pro Secrets 2

But be clear, this is not about drawing and painting  pretty pictures… this is about analytical observation of the subject of your 3D modelling project.

“Basically the act of drawing has nothing to do with being an illustrator. We draw because it enables us to see. The act of drawing is perhaps the only time you pay attention to what is in front of you.” – Milton Glaser, Art Is Work (in interview with Peter Mayer), p11.

Which brings us back to our task…

The Challenge!

Part 1a – You are to draw two cards and find the corresponding physical 3D objects on the table in the studio (see example of the set up below).

Yr 1 Objects for 3D

You are then to take photo reference or other visual recordings (including a mandatory set of observational drawings – from multiple angles) of the object in situe, ready to go back to your computer and begin modelling the object/s to scale (be aware, some items include several objects in combination).


If you have completed the first model to the tutors satisfaction, you should return to the table and begin to model your second item.

Part 1b – Following the modelling of your object, you will take part in a session that looks at the unwrapping and texturing of 3D objects.

Once you have fully modelled two of the objects and textured them to an acceptable finish, you are free to choose any other item from the table to practice and develop your skills further (and repeat).

By the end of this project you should be able to evidence (document you process!):

  1. Your application of broad three dimensional realisation techniques such as building from existing digital primitives (i.e. using cubes and spheres as starting points).
  2. Your exploration and evidence of a broad range of design processes and conceptual thinking including observation techniques (enhanced by observational drawing); the taking of reference photographs and/or video; the understanding and use of relative scale.
  3. Your employment of transferable industry relevant 3D software skills in a given production context in this instance 3DS Max amongst others, SketchFab or P3D (for presentation of your work).

~ by hesir on November 26, 2014.

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