How do game industry work?


After several searches of a good human topology (which seems hard because images are often small), I was wondering this :

  • How do game industry work?
    I’m talking about blockbusters like : EA Sports (Fifa, NHL, NFL, etc), Rockstar (GTA V), etc.

Do they model their characters like us? (by hand with a mouse and a graphic tablet)
Or is there a “magical” face/body scan that directly transforms the real human into a polygon model with good topology?

Do game industry hire people using free software? When I check job offers about 3D/Graphism, they always want you to use “Adobe” or expensive softwares… Sometimes it’s even useless IMO, for example one job was just for making labels on bottles… :eek: Can’t we do that with GIMP and/or Blender?

If the goal is photorealism, then characters are most of the time photoscanned. For faces or “naked” body parts, low poly models with good topology is projected on the photoscanned asset and textures are baked from there. For bodies and cloth, because outfits are probably different for each characters, this is often retopologized by hand. Some objects will still be 100% hand made (belts, buckles, hard surface stuff).
There are always some steps where the artists would fix/improve/stylize the results from the photoscanned data.

If the characters are cartoony (like Overwatch), it’s all hand made.

Most studios use Maya / Photoshop as base softwares nowadays, but artists can also use a lot of other softwares (Agisoft, RealityCapture, Zbrush, Topogun, Modo, Mari, Substance Painter, 3dsmax, rarely Blender - for now).

Studio tools are usually made for Maya (rigging and animation for instance) so this is usually the bridge to bring your art into the engine. But nothing really stops you from modeling in Blender and importing to Maya using FBX/OBJ.

About hiring people using free softwares… if you only know free softwares, it can be a problem, you need to know maya basics at least, I would say. But the portfolio is the most important, a great character artist using Blender could easily be hired if his portfolio is top notch. You can pick up Maya / 3dsmax quickly if you know Blender, it would take much longer to learn anatomy / sculpting / game workflows :slight_smile:

Indie studios are usually more open to use open-source softwares, because software licences aren’t cheap, but big companies don’t care much. If you have to buy for a tool that would save you X amount of time and save you money, they are fine with paying for it.

And what about games animation? The all hand made or they use motion capture

Depend of the game, hand made is the normal. But when they use mocap anyway they need polish animation a lot.

Game industry hires talent and hard workers. Nothing different than other creative jobs. Like movies the game industry is wast.

From mobile games to VR.

If you’re great of making facial animations and know the ins and out of facial expression then you’ll be the “head”-animator :smiley:

As DcVertice said, mostly mocap for anything humanoid, but there is again a lot of manual work for solving and polishing the mocap data :slight_smile:

One of the reasons for specifying software is to ensure consistent output. This is incredibly important when dealing with branding - you can’t have one version looking one way, and another looking like something else. In-house workers operate with the same software to streamline IT, licensing, and procedural requirements (woe to those who decide “Meh, I’m just going to install ____”). Freelancers/independent contracts have a little more freedom in choice, but if the client dictates starting with or implementing specific templates or content, not doing so will not only involve a lot of extra time but also risk not meeting the requirements.

So, software licenses can be expensive; it’s the cost of doing business (you think Adobe is expensive? Try some specialist engineering applications). That means budgeting properly - you need to charge enough to cover your work and licenses, or have the client provide you with a license as part of the contract.

Normally the “output” scale/rotation is something that you can configure.