Part 3. The appearance of models: dreadfully creepy

Warning! At some stages the creation of 3D animation may be scary for the client.

Picture from the Monsters Inc. animation

We didn’t order THAT!

Once those scripts we mentioned are approved, it’s modeling time – i.e. working on 3D models of all characters and objects in the video.

Model approval can be the first real stress test for some clients. In fact, we once got a call from a client 7 minutes after he received some model variants. He wanted to know what the hell he just saw!

Well, the point is that black and white 3D models have little in common with those beautiful portfolios. But let’s stop here a moment… First things first.

The beginning of modeling

In the beginning, an experienced artist draws a detailed concept of a future model. Did you catch that? An experienced artist. Not every picture suits 3D modeling – you can’t just take one from some ancient magazine and make a relevant 3D.

Verdict: we create 3D models based entirely on the concept that is drawn in the right way.

There are various types of models – nature, characters, technology, architecture. They are all very different, but one thing unites them. They all are netted, in grey, black and white.


Each cell of such a net is called a polygon.

Polygons can be triangular and rectangular, there is no big difference. But personal experience shows that rectangular polygons are easier to edit and to render.

While working with polygon net, it’s important to pay attention to every aspect of the model’s form and details. All those proportions, dimensions, bulges, concavities… It’s a huge job!

The results can often surprise the client. Black and white polygon net is not very pleasing to the eye. So when our client sees this ‘beauty’ for the first time, he is usually terrified that this is the unconditional final version.

That’s why we’re cautious. Another well-trained expert gives the client special psychological counselling, especially if it’s his first time with 3D. ‘Keep calm’ we say. Black and white 3D will be beautiful later. We’ll turn this ‘ugly duckling’ into a swan! And now, let’s approve those models…


One more thing…

Once 3D models are approved, you can’t change their shape and size. Dummies are animated at the next stage, so any change demands complete animation reworking.

A costly exercise.