Today we’ll briefly touch on a few technical details regarding character modeling for games. When creating a 3D character model, there are various aspects to keep in mind before passing it on to the rigging and animation department. Of course, some of your main concerns as a character artist will always be that your model has a great design, that it looks cool and believable and so on.
However, the technical side is equally important if the character is supposed to move at some point, which is a given for most use cases. So unless you’re working on a statue, you may want to take a quick look at the following pictures.
Keeping an eye on the polygon count is still relevant in today’s games, so don’t splurge by adding unnecessary edge cuts or subdivisions. An exception are areas of the model that will bend or stretch heavily, such as elbow or knee joints. These are sections that can benefit from a few extra loops to allow for good deformation. Do this and you may get some free coffee from your rigging and animation colleagues for making their life easier.
Another way to score points with the rigging department is to be mindful of elements that are very close together, such as pieces of clothing. Painting deformation weights in these regions can be tricky, so avoid overlaps in your model and keep some space between the various elements. If possible, don’t merge or fuse the elements. Instead, keep them as separate objects or give them material IDs to allow for easy selection and weight painting.
Have a nice day!