Basic Skills of 3D Graphics Artists

Creating 3D graphics is a part of the initial stages of the game development. It is also a very important stage, as creating memorable characters or interesting weapons can greatly influence the success of the game. The people responsible for those are called 3D artists. But what does it take to be one? Well, being a 3D artist requires a particular set of skills, such as creativity, having sharp attention to detail, or for example having spatial imagination.

3D graphics artists tend to focus on certain things only. Those who lean on the technical side usually create weapons or vehicles, while those who are more artistic focus on characters. Let’s take a look at some types of artists and what basic skills does their job require.  


Concept Artists

Concept artists are the first to draw sketches of environments, characters, or buildings. Because they are the starting point of all the artwork, they are a vital part of the game’s development. Concept artists need to be really good at drawing by hand, they need to understand the composition and also be able to draw according to the genre of the game, be it fantasy, cartoon, or sci-fi. 

They also carry the burden of being the most creative ones, because they need to imagine how the characters, weapons, or vehicles will look like in the first place – the start of their job is only a written brief. But not only that, they also need to think about the gamers and fans and think about the way the art will be perceived by them.

3D Modelling Artists

These guys create the models for all the 3D assets in the game – from vehicles and weapons to characters and trees. Very often, they start with a very basic 2D drawing from a concept artist and based on that, they build their own 3D models. Interestingly enough, in one graphics studio, 3D modelling artists sometimes create whole levels of a game, and in other studios they focus only on one particular asset – such as vehicles or weapons.

3D modelling artists need to have strong artistic abilities, great understanding of form, colours, textures, and also light. But that isn’t everything – they also implement the art into game engines and understand their technical constrains and possibilities. Unlike concept artists, 3D modelling artists need to be very well acquainted with the gameplay, as they need to imagine how their weapon or vehicle will be experienced when a game is being played.


Animators take the motionless 3D objects created by 3D artists and make them move and thus breathe life into them. Their job is to create movements for characters and vehicles. Moreover, it is not only about making them move, but also to give them a certain personality, emotions, and realism.

Because game animation is often a complicated process, combining different types of movement, animators create “libraries” of all the movements so that they can use them again for each and every character. Furthermore, they also need to have a deep understanding of programming and game engines and they work in a way that makes the best use of the game’s technology.

When it comes to their artistic skills, they need to create the character’s movement so that it kind of reveals the attitudes, emotions, and moods through it. Also, they need to have spatial awareness and a feel for movement over time. This goes hand to hand with the knowledge of the game engine, as they need to create the animation that works well within that one particular engine.

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