What Does A 3D Modeler Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

Alyssa OmandacCareer, Overview

Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

3D Modelers

3D Modelers create 3D models using computer software. Depending on the project, 3D Modelers may create environments, characters, and props for use in video games and other digital media, such as animated movies.

Bachelor's degree
Interest Match

Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

Working as a 3D Modeler involves more than just designing 3D models. 3D Modelers require strong computer and math skills, along with creativity and a keen eye for detail.

While many people think of 3D Modelers working on video games, they are involved in a variety of industries. 3D Modelers may work in advertising, graphic design, and even the aerospace industry.

However, becoming a 3D Modeler is not always easy. Learn more about the responsibilities of a 3D Modeler before pursuing this career.

What they do

3D Modelers create 3D models using computer software. Depending on the project, 3D Modelers may create environments, characters, and props for use in video games and other digital media, such as animated movies.

Create 3D Models Based on 2D Concept Art

3D Modelers working on video games or animated projects spend most of their time creating 3D models using specialized computer software. The 3D models are often based on 2D art created by Concept Artists.

3D Modelers may create a variety of 3D models for a project, from characters and props to vehicles and plants. The scope of the 3D Modeler’s duties often depends on the size and budget of the project. With a large project, 3D Modelers may only create characters and essential objects while other Artists create the environment and textures.

Design 3D Skeletons and Wireframes

Along with finished 3D models of characters and objects, 3D Modelers may create skeletons and wireframes that animators or programmers can manipulate. Depending on the project, the 3D Modeler may create the skeletons or wireframes before creating the skins or textures that are wrapped over the model.

Revise 3D Models Based on Feedback

After creating 3D models, 3D Modelers submit their work to a senior member of the project, such as the Project Lead, Art Director, or Lead Artist. The 3D Modeler may then receive feedback and suggestions for revising the model. 3D Modelers may revise a prop or character several times before finalizing the design.

Revisions are also often required in other industries. For example, a 3D Modeler that generates 3D models for parts manufacturing may need to revise designs if a defect is detected.

Design Detailed Models for Manufacturing

Outside of the video game and animation industries, many 3D Modelers work for companies that manufacture parts. This includes all areas of manufacturing, from automotive to medical.

Many manufacturers rely on CNC machines, which are computers that control machines. The CNC machine often receives instructions based on 3D models designed using computer-aid design (CAD) software. 3D Modelers may apply their skills to develop the required 3D models.

Keep Track of the Latest 3D Modeling Software

Due to the competitiveness of this career, 3D Modelers often need to keep track of the latest tools of the trade, including 3D modeling software. When a company releases a new version of a popular 3D program, 3D Modelers may test it to explore the latest features.

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What is the job like


You Get to Work on Interesting Projects

3D Modelers have the chance to work on a variety of projects during their careers, which helps keep this job interesting.

You Go Behind the Scenes

Working as a 3D Modeler provides behind-the-scenes access to the development of video games and animated projects.

You Can Develop and Express Your Creativity

3D Modeling is a creatively fulfilling job. It allows you to develop your artistic skills and learn from other creative individuals.

Working as a 3D Modeler Provides Job Flexibility

Many 3D Modelers work as freelancers, which gives them more flexibility when choosing where to live or when to take vacations.


People May Not Always Appreciate Your Creative Choices

3D Modelers are often required to use their creativity to design interesting models, but people may not always agree with their choices.

You May Face Criticism and Negative Feedback

Failing to meet the quality standards of the project can result in negative feedback, which can be discouraging.

Where they work

Film and Television Industries
Video Game Industry
Advertising Agencies
Design Firms

Aerospace and Environmental Agencies

3D Modelers are often employed by video game design companies to produce assets for video games. The film and television industries also hire 3D Modelers for projects that involve computer-generated images (CGI). Outside of the entertainment industries, 3D Modelers may find work at graphic design firms, software companies, architecture firms, and other companies that offer services to the public or other businesses.

How to become one

Step 1: Study Art and Computers in High School

3D Modelers use their artistic skills to generate 3D models using computer software, which high schoolers can explore using free 3D programs.

Step 2: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

Most 3D Modelers have Bachelor’s degrees. Common majors include Graphic Design, Fine Art, and 3D Art. However, 3D Modelers working in the medical field may major in a scientific field.

Step 3: Build a Portfolio of Your Work

Use a portfolio to showcase the quality of your work as you seek 3D Modeler positions.

Step 4: Apply for Entry-Level 3D Modeler Jobs

Many 3D Modelers start as Junior Modelers or Texture Artists before finding work as a full-time 3D Modeler.

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Artist

People with this personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.

You can read more about these career personality types here.

3D Modelers need to be analytical individuals, due to the need to design detailed 3D models that accurately represent real objects. This job also requires a certain level of creativity to design original models, especially when working in video games or animation. 3D Modelers also benefit from self-motivation, as it takes a self-motivated individual to become successful in this challenging career.

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