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What Can a 3D Designer Do?

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If you have a 3D design project and aren’t quite sure how it all works, we’ve got you covered. Here we’ll explain the core role of a 3D designer – and what, exactly, they’re charging for.

3D Designer vs. 3D Modeller – What’s the Difference?

We’ll let you in on a secret; a 3D modeler is the same thing as a 3D designer. They’re interchangeable terms, the very same job. BUT different design professionals will describe themselves differently. That’s not an ego trip but reflects the awe-inspiring variety of sectors that rely on 3D modeling, rendering, and design.

What Sectors Use 3D Modelling?

You’re likely to find 3D designers in:

  • Video and film production studios.
  • Gaming software organizations.
  • Advertising, marketing, and graphic design.
  • Web design agencies.
  • Software development.
  • Product design.
  • Manufacturing – from home appliances to commodity prototyping.
  • Aerospace applications.
  • Environmental agencies.
  • Automotive companies.
  • Government agencies.
  • Criminal laboratory environments.
  • Interior design and construction.
  • Building technology.

We’ll stop the list there – but we could go on for another couple of pages. 

You’ve got several skilled professionals serving a vast range of businesses, each with specific skill sets and industry know-how. With such a wide variety of options, we’d recommend looking for freelance 3D designers who have experience in your niche – because the best contractor in video game development isn’t going to be much help with your landscaping project.

What Does 3D Design Involve?

Going back to the original question, what can a 3D designer do, let’s assess what’s involved in the actual work. Usually, a 3D designer starts with concept art. They’ll build an environment, object, or character digitally by painting and wrapping 2D textures around a digital frame. Yes, that means it’s a computer-based role, so most 3D designers use one of these programs:

  • Maya
  • 3DS Max
  • Pixar’s RenderMan
  • POV-Ray

The 3D images could be characters and worlds for a video game, a film effect, a geology model, or a remodeling image for an architect. It’s a unique blend of technical skills and creativity. 3D designers are a combination of mechanical engineers, computer whizzes, and artists. 

That means it isn’t a skill you can pick up without a lot of effort, study, and practice – excellent photoshop skills are nothing compared to a 3D designer who imagines objects from thin air and brings them to life on a screen.

How Can I Choose a Great 3D Designer?

Now, if you’re wondering how do you find a 3D designer, you’ll want to consider all these factors and define what you need to design. Even a vague spec is better than none. That job spec acts as a baseline for your recruitment process. 

If you post a vacancy for a 3D designer on a freelance platform, you should include as many details as possible, ensuring that applicants will be relevant for the role.

Shortlisting a 3D Designer

Like any hiring process, you’ll want to work through a few due diligence checks and rely on your gut instinct to determine whether you’ve found a good fit for the job.

Doubtless, many 3D designers spend hours working remotely, but that doesn’t mean you want to hire someone you don’t feel confident collaborating with.

If you’re not familiar with the 3D terminology of your project (and we all know technical languages can get pretty intense!), a great 3D designer will act as a translator helping you understand all your design options.

Check out their references, ask questions, visit customer testimonials, and look at previous jobs to see the quality of the designer’s work.

Is Hiring a 3D Designer Expensive?

Cost is a whole different conversation – and it’s dependent on the size, duration, technicality, and scope of your 3D design project. Remember that creating these detailed graphics is more advanced than creating a technical drawing or a 2D image, and the longer it takes, the higher the cost.

Average projects can start from $300 for something simple, up to several thousand dollars. Get your specification ready in advance, and you’ll get more accurate quotes back from 3D designers because they’ll instantly know the extent of the project.

A good quality 3D designer can be indispensable in making your ideas a reality, so take the time to find a good fit for your project!

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