3D Modelling

This page describes creating 3D models in more detail.

In order to populate a 3D game world with objects, you create 3D models and then import them into your game engine (eg: Unreal, Unity or your game own engine).

A 3D model is created using 3D modelling software such as Maya, 3D Max or Blender. You can find how to create a particular model with your software online – there are a lot of video tutorials available.

For example, this tutorial shows how to make a chair using Maya.

It is a good idea to learn the basic tools of the software that you are using first, then the video tutorials will make more sense. If you can afford it, I found it helpful doing a basic 3D modelling course first.

Process Overview

In order to create a 3D model you do the following:

  1. Find some reference images of the object that you are doing online or you can use photos of the object.
  2. Use the 3D modelling software to create the object in 3D
  3. Create the UVs for your model (more info on UVs is here)
  4. Create the texture for your model (more info on Textures is here)
  5. Export the 3D model
  6. Import the model into your game engine to see how it looks. Some game engines (eg: Unreal) allow you to further modify / enhance your model

This video explains a 3D modelling workflow.

Creating Indoor Environments

To create indoor environments, it is good to create the rooms in modular pieces. This means that you create small floor / wall / ceiling pieces and then put them together to make a room in your game engine. For example, you could create a 2m x 2m floor piece, then duplicate them in the game engine. That way, you have some flexibility in making some of the pieces different by using different textures, but the 3D model is still the same.

Creating Outdoor Environments

To create outdoor environments, it is also helpful to create modular pieces. You can create pieces of buildings for example, and then put them together in different configurations. This will save you work rather than building individual buildings. An example is here.

3D modelling software and some game engine software can help you to create landscapes. Some examples are using the Unreal Engine and Maya.

There is also a foliage tool in Unreal Engine to create shrubs and trees. Other 3D modelling software may also have this capability.


Some games developers will build simple 3D models first and add them to a game level and test the gameplay. This is called greyboxing. Once they are happy with the gameplay, they will then add more detailed 3D models to replace the simple 3D models.

More details on greyboxing is here.