How To Become a 3D Modeler

Today, 3D technology plays an important role, especially in entertainment. For example, since Avatar which the first film to be shown in 3D format was born, many films applying this technology have increased exponentially.

3D Modeling refers to representing any object or surface in 3D format.

More and more fields apply technology, leading to increased opportunities for 3D modelers. Hence, it is no surprise that this profession has become one of the fastest-growing career options for young professionals.

So how to be a 3D Modeler? Let’s find out now!

How to Become a 3D Modeler

Being a 3D Modeler is not easy.

Being an expert in 3D is not easy. You will need the right path to succeed in this field. If you are a beginner, refer to our three steps below.

Step 1: Get Comprehend 3D Modeling’s Basics

3D modeling combines many cutting-edge technologies, problem-solving skills, and creative thinking in a fast-paced environment.

We can see the presence of 3D technology in any field, from video games and TV commercials to Hollywood blockbusters. However, the role of a 3D Modeler is not limited to entertainment.

These modelers also have an essential role in the scientific field, and their task may be to design models for various research purposes.

So, what preparation will you need to pursue such a multifaceted and complicated career?

The 3D concept can be straightforward to understand. However, it is not simple to learn or master. The research needs of a medical lab will be different from those of Hollywood blockbusters.

Therefore, it is essential to understand the basics related to this technology.

Step 2: Earn a Degree

Not all employers require candidates to have a degree, but most of them do.

Also, getting a degree is well worth it as it allows you to stand out from the rest of the candidates. It is proof of your knowledge, skills, and understanding.

You can pursue an associate’s degree or strive for a bachelor’s degree for more career opportunities.

It would be best to consider schools that offer programs in 3D animation or design to prepare you for what you need for a career later.

Majors in graphic design, computer animation, and game art are also wise choices for aspiring 3D modelers.

Here are topics you should cover during your college or university training:

  • 3D modeling
  • Digital shading and texture
  • Spatial proportions
  • Animating scripts
  • Character development
  • Movement in animation
  • 3D animated environments

Step 3: Learn The Design Software’s Basics

It is okay to do some sketching on paper for planning your designs. However, most modelers will use computer design software for their 3D projects.

You will need to invest in quality equipment. For example, you’ll need a computer with a powerful enough graphics card to run top design programs.

You should also equip a tablet to import designs easily. Once you have the right equipment in hand, you need to install the various popular CAD software.

Then you need to complete all tutorials to know how to achieve certain features and effects.

Step 4: Discover Various 3D Design Niches

3D Modeling has many niches. Choosing the right niche will allow you to more easily find a suitable job where you can work on projects you love.

However, you also may not be fixated on a particular niche. Knowing many different niches will allow you to be appreciated by potential employers.

Thanks to that, your chances of getting a job in a good company are excellent.

Here are some niches related to 3D modeling that you might be interested in:

  • Forensic and medical animation
  • Game design
  • Architectural modeling
  • Product visualization
  • Filmmaking
  • 3D printing
  • Advertising
  • Virtual and augmented reality

Step 5: Complete At Least One 3D Modeler Internship

Through internships related to 3D modeling, you will learn how to apply your technical knowledge and skills in simple projects.

These internships will help you improve your design skills, interpret actual design briefs, and interact with partners or clients.

In addition, by participating in these internships, you will have access to industry experts who will bring you valuable knowledge that you cannot get in school.

Step 6: Prepare A Portfolio

This step refers to preparing to showcase your skills to future employers through a portfolio of skills and experience you gain through internships.

At this step, creating a website that allows you to store the necessary file types to display your work is essential.

In addition, you will also need to include a brief description of your project. That way, employers or clients can clearly understand how you turn an idea into a finished 3D work.

Step 7: Optimize Resume For 3D Modeling

Before you start looking for entry-level jobs for 3D Modeler, you’ll need to update your resume to highlight your 3D skills.

In this step, you need to list any relevant certifications, the types of software you are proficient in, and details of your completed projects.

What is 3D Modeling & What’s It Used For?

3D technology is present in many fields, especially in entertainment.

3D modeling is the usage of computers to create an object in 3D space.

The 3D Modelers will be responsible for creating the models before they can be animated or apply VFX.

Depending on the goal, these modelers may be responsible for work from scratch, other 3D designs, concept art, or optimizing scan data to make models.

These experts may also work on the topology or the way edges and vertices are arranged and ensure these models are ready for the following steps in the project.

A successful 3D modeler often has unique and creative ways to complete projects on time while still ensuring the perfection of the final work.

The models of these modelers are often utilized in almost movies, TV shows, VR apps, and games.

For example, for the blockbuster “The Incredible Hulk”, modelers were tasked with creating this legendary Marvel character for the blockbuster The Incredible Hulk.

For missions like this, high precision is required to maintain the integrity of the original Hulk character while fitting it to today’s preeminent technological standards.

On the other hand, for Overwatch, a hit game from Blizzard, modelers have to be well-versed in organic and hard modeling.

Hard surface refers to buildings, weapons, spaceships, vehicles, and some things like that. Organic includes plants, animals, and outdoor environments.

Nowadays, 3D modeling is utilized in various fields, including architecture, entertainment, engineering, film, game development, special effects, and more.

A famous example of 3D tech is its usage in major motion pictures. Just think of the scenery in the movie Avatar (2009) by James Cameron.

What Does a 3D Modeler Do?

3D Modelers are often responsible for the entire process of creating a 3D model, from conceptualizing to editing the final effects.

For example, they will be responsible for how their model looks, how it moves, the colors they use, etc.

The role of 3D modelers may vary, depending on their field.

The day-to-day duties of these modelers can vary depending on the company or type of project they are pursuing. Yet, most 3D modelers have the following general job responsibilities:

  • Discussing an idea with clients
  • Storyboard
  • Research design ideas
  • Draft character designs
  • Collaborate with voice actors
  • Implement physics and movement mechanics
  • Define object proportions
  • Import and export files

3D Modelers typically work in an office environment, where they meet with clients and collaborate with advertisers.

However, when producing their model, they will work independently but regularly check in with other modelers or the project lead to continuously tailor their work to the project’s requirements.

There are still some modelers who work remotely and regularly communicate and work with their team through telecommuting.

Skills for 3D Modelers

3D modelers must possess many skills to be successful.

If you want to be successful in this field, you will need to equip yourself with the following skills:

Multitasking

As a 3D modeler, you will likely have to work on multiple projects simultaneously.

As a result, you’ll need to use multitasking and time management skills to prioritize projects to get everything done efficiently.

Creativity

The main task of these modelers is to create designs and turn them into 3D models. Hence, they will need creativity and ingenuity.

They will have a creative vision to create unique models for the project.

Knowledge of Materials

Knowledge of the properties of different materials will allow you to create highly realistic 3D models.

For instance, you can leverage your knowledge of materials to create a realistic-looking metal object using the right colors and textures.

You can also use this knowledge to create objects that don’t exist in real life, like the Hulk.

Computer Skills

Since you have to use design software to create your works, you need a basic knowledge of computer, software, and IT literacy.

So, you can fix any problems yourself during the completion of your project.

Communication Skills

After you complete your 3D model, you will have to describe it to other employees, superiors, or customers. Therefore, you will help them understand what you convey, thanks to good communication skills.

Teamwork

3D modelers will often work alongside other employees, including other modelers, editors, and writers.

So, teamwork skills are needed to enable them to coordinate with other employees to complete projects efficiently.

Attention to Detail

Professionals in this field also need this skill to ensure their work is accurate and precise. This skill can also help them identify and correct any flaws in their work.

3D Salary and Job Outlook

3D modelers can expect to earn well-paid salaries for their specialized skills. A 3D Modeler can achieve an average annual salary of $65,640.

Of course, individual salaries vary greatly by geographic location, company, education, experience, etc.

3D Modelers can advance their careers by becoming more specialized in a specific field.

They may also move into supervisory or leadership positions, where they will oversee the work of lower-level 3D modelers.

Also, these modelers can move into related fields like game design or 3D animation through further training and education.

FAQs

1. ​​What training do you need to be a 3D modeler?

If you want to stand out from the crowd, you will need a degree, a strong portfolio of work, and an impressive skill set.

2. Do I need a degree to become a 3D modeler?

Having a degree is not required. However, we recommend pursuing an associate’s degree or completing a bachelor’s degree.

Having a degree will make employers appreciate you more, and your career opportunities will be more open.

3. Is 3D Modeling a promising career?

Yes. It’s a great career pick as 3D modeling is a vast technology utilized in various areas, such as movies, architecture, video games, engineering, illustrations, and advertising.

4. Is being a 3D modeler hard?

Learning the basics of 3D Modeling is straightforward, and you can learn the necessary software and the tools in a few weeks.

Yet, mastering 3D Modeling is incredibly hard with all its intricacies.

5. Is 3D Modeling Difficult to Learn?

Unlike most graphic arts areas, 3D modeling is fantastic but challenging.

6. What 3D Modeling Software Should You Use?

3D modeling software will allow you to design models of characters or objects.

Therefore, they should be fully featured and provide the tools you need to create the best models possible.

The following are the highest rated software:

  • AutoCAD
  • ZBrush
  • 3DS Max from Autodesk
  • SketchUp
  • Blender
  • And more

The Bottom Line

You have reached the bottom of this article. Hopefully, you’ve got everything you need to be ready to pursue a career in 3D modeling.

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