How to Get into GameDev and Become a 3D Modeling Artist in India?
Artwork by Chithra Stanley
At the beginning of the century, it took the efforts of ten people to make all the assets for a video game. Since then, the sophistication of content has grown, and large companies hire up to fifty contractors in addition to thirty in-house specialists. Moreover, 3D technologies have gone far beyond video games, conquesting all the fields you can imagine.
What you can make as a 3D Artist
Video games are everywhere: on computers, mobile phones, consoles, inside airplane seats, and car media systems. As a digital artist, you can create a variety of projects by working in a big studio or maintaining your own project. Modeling skills are also extremely helpful if you are an indie creator since controlling the developing process and reducing costs will be much easier.
Films and cartoons both use computer graphics. We’re not just talking about things like Avatar, where the background comprises thousands of 3D models. There is invisible yet vital work with previsualization in the world of cinema. The film is sketched in 3D and then re-shot with real actors. It is called Previs and allows filmmakers to “rehearse” a movie before the cameras start rolling.
Just like paint and a brush, modeling skills can be used to create anything: portraits and medieval scenes, plush toys and spaceships, this and that. While conventional artists often stick with one particular technique, 3D artists are more flexible. In digital artwork, it is possible to make a photorealistic image and then transform it into a watercolor drawing.
The thing is, 3D models are in great demand. Interior designers need furniture models, engineers want models of cogwheels, virtual clothes — for fashion houses, computer-drawn buildings — for architecture bureaus, and so on and so forth. Whatever you design, you can sell on special platforms.
Art Education is a must
Gaining an arts degree is common in India. However, it is unnecessary to graduate from a university to work as a 3D modeler. Employers focus firstly on artist resumes and portfolios, then on test assignments. Proper education might help during the learning process, but you don't have to be an artist to start. You will get to grips as you work.
It is as hard as a nuclear science
This misconception arose due to the vast number of buttons in all popular specialist software. Yes, there are hundreds of functions, though you don't need 90% of them. 3D is a broad field, so artists use the same software for different things: animation, rigging, particle simulation, lighting, rendering, and countless other tasks. Nevertheless, the essentials needed for modeling can be learned in a few days.
3D modeling — for young people only
This legend exists because the computer graphics field began to develop rapidly in India just in 2000, so many specialists haven’t achieved their fifties yet. Give this case another ten years, and you will see gray-haired old men playing with grandchildren in breaks between modeling and texturing.
How to study
In a university
If you want to gain academic knowledge in the field of 3D, there are higher education institutions in India providing suitable four to five years programs:
Ambedkar University(Delhi) offers a Master’s in Design in Animation and Game Design, which covers 3D modeling, animation, game design and other related fields.
Frameboxx Animation and Visual Effects(Mumbai) is a private institution that offers a range of diploma and degree programs in animation and visual effects, including 3D modeling and animation.
By your own
You can find enough to get a smooth start online. If you know how to organize self-education, these resources will be helpful:
Blender Guru is a YouTube channel dedicated to teaching the 3D design software Blender. It is run by Andrew Price, known for his clear and concise teaching style and his ability to break down complex concepts into easy-to-understand steps. Besides tutorials, Andrew features tips and tricks, product reviews, and interviews with industry professionals.
CG Geek is a YouTube channel for 3D artists run by Steve Lund. He makes easy-to-follow tutorials that cater to both novice and experienced specialists. Due to Lund’s funny tone and artistic talent, the videos are engaging, even if you are not into 3D modeling.
CRNT DESIGNERS is an Indian YouTube channel that pays much attention to the topology. It affects the way that a model deforms and animates. Sounds boring? Just give it a little bit of time learning 3D, and you will be eager to enhance your technical proficiency in this thing. By the way, lousy topology becomes a real pain during texturing.
Gamedev.in is perhaps the biggest game-developing community in India, and their Discord server is even better than the website. You can find more than 30 chats inside, from so-called “mem-o-drom” to special threads containing different job opportunities. It’s a great place to ask questions and network.
Creative Gaga is an Indian design magazine that features art projects of both local and international professionals. It covers various creative fields, including graphic design, photography, animation, and 3D illustration. Every issue also brings interviews with well-known experts, shows their works, and provides valuable insights.
Coursera and Udemy are the most popular educational resources, with numerous modeling courses. Want to create a fighter girl? You got it! Interested in 3D printing? They surely have something about it. There are also a lot of materials for developing soft skills and receiving relevant training in computer skills. However, the quality of the courses is not always good.
3D MODEL IN ZBRUSH
Understand the essentials of character design in just a week. Explore the interface, learn to sculpt, streamline your work, and start the journey as a 3D Artist.
This is one of the best ways to start a career, as employers often provide internship programs and entry-level positions on job portals. Also, their portfolio-building tools alongside search filters may help you find the most suitable place.
Naukri — The biggest Indian job portal with a lot of vacancies for 3D Artists without work experience. In most cases, these are full-time jobs in the office. Nevertheless, it’s an excellent chance to gain teamwork skills and learn from colleagues.
Indeed is an international job portal with a strong presence in India. It's not that different from Naruki, but it lists slightly more positions in foreign companies.
LinkedIn — Indian companies tend to use LinkedIn to recruit trained 3D Artists. Apart from this, it may be useful to gather some knowledge about your dream employer. Following the companies' pages will help you to understand their expectations and develop the necessary skills in advance.
If you don’t have an opportunity to work full-time, Freelancer, Upwork, and Fiverr will help to set your professional workflow and choose which projects you want to undertake. Such a level of flexibility is difficult to achieve in a traditional job. On the other hand, freelance websites are incredibly competitive, with many 3D specialists vying for the same projects. Additionally, be prepared to adjust your working hours, as some clients may live on the opposite side of the world. These peculiarities can make it challenging for new artists to get their foot in the door.
Artstation is especially great if you want to find a job in the external market. All the big companies have accounts there, and their HRs constantly look for new employees. However, you should consider the social media elements on this platform. The more people follow you, the more reactions you get — the more often your works appear on the main page. Thus, it is good to maintain your Artstation profile like you do Instagram.
Create 3D models for sale
On this path, the odds are stacked against you. In a nutshell, you can always sell your works — for example, you can create skins for Dota 2 or design an industrial windmill model. With some luck, these assets can be sold for several months and bring you a car or even an apartment in the end. Yet, without the proper experience, this way seems more like a lottery. So if you are ready to take risks, go for it! Otherwise, It’d be better to start with a more conventional approach.