Open source three-dimensional (3D) modeling is the process of using open source tools to create 3D models and, while the programs are open source, the best tips can be applied to either open or closed source programs. Artists should have a reference before beginning a 3D model, because this will help with rendering. Polygon count also should be low, to make rendering easier on the computer. Understanding how light works will assist greatly in open source 3D modeling, because poor lighting will make models look unrelated to their surroundings. Movement, which is just as important as light, also will help a 3D model look realistic.
When beginning a new model from scratch, the artist is left to his or her own devices, with nothing to reference; this can be a bad idea. Using no reference means the end result may look sloppy or unrealistic, and it can leave the artist constantly changing the model based on spontaneous ideas. Before starting open source 3D modeling, the artist should collect references. These can be images, stills from a movie, or even a drawing. This will help the artist focus and will allow him or her to see what a realistic model looks like.
Many artists who use open source 3D modeling like to use a high polygon count, because this adds more detail to the model. It is best practice to use the lowest amount of polygons possible, however, for several reasons. A lower count means less memory will be needed for the model, so the computer can run better; bone rigging will be easier; and it will be easier to correct potential errors in the design. Artists should try to make a model with a 2,000- to 5,000-polygon count, though some models may require more.
After the details are built, the open source 3D modeling workflow continues on to lighting. Realistic lighting is essential to making a 3D model, because poor lighting will make it look like the model was just thrown randomly into a background. The lighting should reflect the background the curves and the angles of the model.
While the model may look good when it is static, artists also must consider movement for their 3D models. Amateur 3D models are rife with jerky and uncoordinated movements that reflect on the artist’s ability. If an artist wants to create a professional-quality 3D model, he or she should think about the model and how it realistically would move in an environment.