High Priority – Game Art

Quick tips to make your 3D assets look good

A small list of quick methods that our art team, and you, can use to improve your 3D work. Some are basic but can add a lot to your work. Especially during production with deadlines, these can be easy to remember and use.

Height Gradients

Especially powerful for characters. But applicable for all assets. By adding a very light height gradient. Dark at the bottom, light at the top. You give your assets a more visually pleasing look that helps guide the viewers eye. For characters it lays the emphasis on the torso and head, the most important part of a characters. Drawing the viewers eye toward them.

Gradient Example


Especially important for environment artist. When placing your assets. If you group them together in small interesting mini compositions. The viewer can glide from group to group when looking through your work. Making it visually pleasing to the eye and interesting to discover small pockets of interest. Giving the viewer’s eye points to rest at.

Grouping Example

Grouping Example 2

Keep your assets & textures read-able

Especially when your using photo textures from online platforms. Be careful that the amount of (grunge/greeble) detail can have a negative affect on your overall model. Losing the read-ability and visual calms because there is too much happening in the design. The viewer’s eye has no place to rest, it doesn’t know where to look at. The same applies to the mesh and details of the model. Group details together (see point above), so there are pockets your viewers eye want’s to look at and rest.

Readability Example 2

Readability Example

4) Silhouetting, Eye squinting & Mirroring

Another set of basic methods. When designing you asset you can use such methods to see what pop’s out, where the emphasis is, where the viewer will look first or rest his eye’s. Through this you can design your models so they are easier to read, visually interesting, and it’s purpose is achieved. For example, making the viewer understand that there is a interactive button on your model.

Mirroring is a good way to trick your brain so your work looks like a new fresh piece. Giving you a fresh view on it so you can catch design issues. Make a screenshot, slap it into photoshop, and mirror it.

Look how easily you can identify what type of human character this is:

Silhouette Example

5) Slight Texture Sharping

An old trick from back in the day before all the current tools like Substance Painter. To get just a little bit of an extra detailed look to your textures. At the end once your texture(s) are done. Add a 20%, or 0.2 sharpen to the overall map. You will barely see it, but enough to have details pop out just a little. If you look at Substance Painter smart materials, you will notice that many already have a small sharpen effect applied to them.

Sharpen Example

See you next time!

The High Priority Team