Starting out as a 3D modeler - lots of questions

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  09 September 2012
Smile Starting out as a 3D modeler - lots of questions

Hi all! This is a long post, but I'll thank you in advance for looking into it!

Let's just start out with saying that I'm kinda new to modeling, although I've followed several courses on (3DSMax) and I've got some questions I just can't answer myself.

Allow me to start with the first one; is 3DSMax going to be 'alive' in the future? I've heard some rumours left and right about firings, and although appearently (from what I've read) Autodesk isn't going to kill 3DSMax, but it has got me worried that they are seizing development on some parts of 3DSMax almost making me think they will seize more in the future. Should I be worried about learning 3DSMax considering its future?

Another thing I'm a bit confused about is making models game ready. There seems to be little recent resources about how to make models game ready. I'm actually interesting in creating and selling game props, allowing game creators to buy them for cheaper than it would cost if they had to do it either themselves or have a full-time modeler-texturer for this. Any tips or references on how to make a model game ready are truly appreciated!

What I'm wondering is this; should I model for next-gen games (with higher polycounts) such as Grand Theft Auto for example, or is it better to stick to games that stick to lower poly models, such as free to play online shooters. I've noticed that there are huge differences in model quality (polys) between recent games and can't decide what to model for. Ofcourse it also depends on the market. My gut feeling tells me that less popular titles usually have less quality engines and thus models; and are therefore commonly on a budget. Which might be a market for me, since they might not always have the cash to pay several modelers or the time to do it themselves; and I could have a whole library of items ready for them.

That brings me to my next dilemma. As I would do nothing rather than work at my own pace from home (like a lot of people want to) designing props for games might be a big risk. Because the diversity of games is so high, and LOTS of specific objects need to be modeled that cannot be anticipated by myself, I wonder if it is worth modeling props in the first place (for either a living or extra income).

I've seen a handful or large sites such as 3dexport, 3docean and some more who sell a lot of items, but I always keep asking myself; who'd go online and try to find a 1000 urban game objects on a dozen different sites? All created by different authors, with different quality, and different pricing. It would take a lot of effort and I'm beginning to understand the necessity of having a modeler in-house. However, there are a lot of games in genres that share equal environments, and specifically game creators on a budget might be looking for libraries of cheap game ready props.

There's one more dilemma I've got but I totally forgot about it just now. I might come back to that later.

Anyways, thanks for reading through my topic, and if you're going to reply, thanks in advance!

Kind regards, Rudolf
  09 September 2012
3ds Max is going to be just fine, it's their most popular software and they aren't going to destroy it.

However, the seem to want to focus development onto the things that 3ds Max is mostly used for, which is modeling for games and architectural visualization. In your case this is just fine since you're looking to go into games.

Game ready can mean different things depending on the engine, typically it means a low-poly model. But different engines have different workflows. Scales might be different between engines, so it's probably impossible to create something that would be perfect on each engine.

I don't think trying to just sell props is a viable option, games have many different requirements and it's unlikely that you would have something that looks the way they want. And since most games don't use typical types of props then that limits what you can actually sell.

Some people do make money off things like Turbosquid, I don't know that there's anyone who can make a living that way though.
The Z-Axis
  09 September 2012
Remember that 3ds Max is a tool and only that. If you are good at modeling it doesn't matter what package you know. It would take you a week to find all the tools you were used to in your previous package.

Like previously mentioned it is impossible to make any model that fits all game engines. First of because of all the differences between engines but mostly because every game is different and has different requirements.

On that note. It is very rare that companies outsource to one person. At least regarding 3d. I've seen it done with concept art. Mostly they outsource to a studio instead of an individual. Among many reasons is because they need a lot of objects and fast. A single person wouldn't be able to meet that demand.
David J. Saiz
My Blog
My reel
  09 September 2012
You may want to look at learning Zbrush or Mudbox also.
It will help in the long run.
  09 September 2012
1. Focus on modeling, not the software, learn principles and practice, everything and all the time, you can always change software later if you don't like/use/goes down or whatever.

2. Try all the things, more experience you have, better modeler you are.

3. Most studios have at least one in-house modeler. There is a simple logic to that, not everything can be bought online and more often than not you need custom built model, or you need someone to do changes or fixes on the bought model.

4. Learn sculpting, UV-ing and texturing, it multiplies your value as a modeler.
New web portfolio:
  09 September 2012
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