Difference Between Modeling for Games and Movies

Even though 2D animation production companies still have something to surprise and offer to viewers and players, the 3D direction is moving much wider steps towards a highly technological future.

When talking about 3D modeling, we usually tend to generalize. 3D models are indeed used in video games, the film industry, architecture, advertising and design. The software, with a few exceptions, is also the same: classic 3ds Max, Maya, or ZBrush. In general, models are created according to the same principles, but there is still some distinction, understanding which you can see the difference between 3D modeling for games and 3D modeling for movies.

We’re going to look into this and discover this distinctive line.

Modeling in Games and Films: Essentials

The main problem in finding the difference is erasing edges. Game graphics develop and improve the visual presentation, making it as realistic as possible and similar to the film. Films, on the other hand, often use the most advanced technology in the gaming industry to create impressive effects.

The 3D model remains the same both in the film and in the video game. It is a three-dimensional object, environment, or effect that has height, width, and depth. The model is created exclusively using special software: we have already mentioned some of the names.

The Distinguishing Features We’ve Been Waiting For

Number of Polygons

Most likely you know that a 3D model consists of polygons a plane consisting of several points in space connected by edges. Polygonal modeling is a sequential connection of polygons in order to create the desired shape of an object. Typically a polygon has the shape of a triangle, square, or rectangle, and when connected to others, it forms a mesh of the desired shape.

The number of polygons matters: it’s not for nothing that models are divided into high-poly and low-poly ones. The more they are, the more detailed the model will be, but it will also be much heavier in terms of file size. And here we find the first important difference.

Filmmakers have no limits other than budget and time. Therefore, using the models, they make them as detailed as possible, without paying attention to the completely insane number of polygons. Game developers cannot afford this: they have to reckon with hardware limitations and carefully balance on the edge of low- and high-poly modeling, choosing optimal solution.

Time of Creation

Both a high-level game and a high-budget film are produced on average for several years. It would seem that it is difficult to find the difference here. However, it is important to highlight some time frames:

  1. For films, modeling is the post-production stage when the main material is filmed.
  2. For games, modeling continues throughout the creation of the game.

Considering that the game is mainly composed of 3D models that must be adapted to technical constraints, the simulation takes much longer. Films do not have any restrictions and are often much faster at modeling.

Financial Base

Filmmakers often do not take this point into consideration. When it comes to a widespread and popular genre like fantasy action films and comic book adaptations, then no one is afraid to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in a film. The likelihood that the costs will pay off is very high.

Known game titles are also ready to shell out millions, but still not in such quantities. The revenue from the sale of games, even if the whole world is waiting for them, is not comparable to the revenue from the rental of a top blockbuster. Therefore, publishers most often prefer not to inflate the budget in excess of $ 50 million.

Story Line

This is a very interesting difference that we decided to save for last. You know that the movie has a fixed script and nothing new will happen when you watch it again. The same models will move around the screen in the same sequence and timeline.

With games, everything is much more curious, especially if we are not talking about a platformer with a linear passage, but about a large-scale open-world game. With each new playthrough, you will see different objects, environments and, accordingly, models. Entering the room that you missed in the previous game session, you will find something completely unexpected. The scenario changes in dependence on the actions of the player. All the charm and appeal of the game lies in that. Therefore, modelers need to think over a much larger number of models than for a film in order to cover all corners of the game world where a player can wander.

Final Thoughts

Now you can see that, despite some similarities, there is still a difference between the duo 3D modeling for games vs movies. Game worlds continue to evolve and offer more and more stunning levels of realism, but they still have room to move to reach the cinematic level. And here the point is not at all in the skill of the modelers, but in the technical limitations of computers and consoles, which, possibly, will eventually come to naught and give developers much more freedom.

If you are planning to develop a game, then you cannot do without 3D modeling. You can learn this on your own, but it will take a lot of time that could be spent more rationally. For example, find a ready-made team of 3D experts who will fulfill any of your orders without any restrictions. Pay attention to this studio primarily operates with facts, not empty words. More than 8 years on the market, an impressive portfolio of various projects, a large team of creative and qualified modelers and an unquenchable game development enthusiasm set them apart from others. And here the point is not at all in the skill of the modelers, but in the technical limitations of industrial computers and consoles, which, possibly, will eventually come to naught and give developers much more freedom.


Editorial Staff at TechWaver is determined to inform their users regarding the latest tech news, tips & hacks, software & product reviews, and much useful information from all over the world.

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