A 3D concept artist is a person who creates visual representations of objects and characters in a three-dimensional medium which can later be used in media such as video games, animated TV shows, and movies, or as just general art pieces to be admired. A 3D concept artist must have excellent drawing skills to create sketches that can be turned into photorealistic images on the computer. The following are some tips for how to become an incredible 3D concept artist.
Concept sketches are initial drawings created by the artist to show how they think an object or character should look in a three-dimensional format. A 3D concept artist starts with these sketchup rendering plugins, then renders them into photorealistic images using computer software that converts drawings into 3D models through computer graphics techniques such as ray tracing, radiosity rendering, and texture mapping. This is the first step towards the completed image.
Establish Mass, Mood, and Palette
The 3D concept artist next establishes the mass, mood, and palette of the object or character they’re creating. The mass refers to how heavy an object should be and affects how it should be lit, shaded, and how it would be carried, whether it be something that’s held or a part of the character’s body. Weight can easily lend itself to the realism of something or break the illusion of 3D entirely by looking out of place. Too heavy or too light, either look a little ridiculous and can become distracting. A box has a different feel than a human body; therefore, the two must be rendered differently to create a photorealistic image.
The mood of an object or character defines its overall effect upon the viewer and must be established to develop a coherent image. A photo-realistic sketch is flat; therefore, the 3D concept artist must extrapolate the size of objects and characters through rendering to really give the illusion it’s a real, tangible object.
Adding Color and Details
The 3D concept artist next adds color and detail to the object or character. The amount of detail a 3D concept artist puts into an image is based on the client’s needs. If there is little time, less effort will be put into details; however, more effort will go into the details if the client has plenty of time. Rarely are concept sketches created in full color; however, many are sketched using complementary or analogous colors to give it a basic feel of the object or character design.
Get the Lighting Right
The lighting is a critical part of realism and can be easily misread by a viewer. A cube faces different directions when lit from above or below; therefore, the 3D concept artist must carefully assess the correct way for the object or character. The skin of human characters needs to be rendered differently from other objects such as steel walls because the skin is less hard and reflective.
A 3D concept artist must have excellent drawing skills to create sketches that can be turned into photorealistic images on the computer. With practice and experience, anyone can become a 3D concept artist.