Seeing my game characters broadcast by Esports and streamers is just an amazing experience, and I’m so thankful for people who like to cosplay them! Having passionate fans is another level of satisfaction that comes back to me as a gift.

3D Character Modeling for Real-Time Games

Animation Mentor: In your mind, what’s so cool about modeling these characters and working in the games industry?
I enjoyed the time Hong took to improve our models in real time. It was really nice to personally see someone proficient in ZBrush/Maya build off what we did in class!
-A 3D Modeling Student

HCL: Well, Introduction to 3D Character Modeling is all about how you can create appealing characters using 3D modeling and 3D sculpting techniques.

Q&A with Blizzard Lead Character Artist

We sat down with Hong Chan Lim to chat about his new workshop, why he loves modeling game characters, and the difference between high-poly and low-poly models.
3D Character Modeling 02 for Games is focused on how you can build these sculpted 3D characters into a real-time ready model for a game engine. They’re both fun and teach important skills for anyone who wants to be a character modeler.
Hong Chan Lim: I’ve worked on both feature film and game characters, and each is a unique experience. For me, real-time game characters are fun because after they’re finished you will be able to interact with and play them!
Learn 3D Character Modeling from Blizzard Senior Character Artist Hong Chan Lim. Hong has worked on games like Overwatch, Superman Returns, and Godzilla Unleashed! Visit our website to learn more about this workshop: understand the required skills, read the syllabus, or browse our frequently asked questions by clicking below.

Black Widow 3D character model detail by Hong Chan Lim
Black Widow 3D character model and detail by Hong Chan Lim.

The video game industry is booming and studios like Blizzard, Ubisoft, and Riot Games need skilled character modelers to create visually-stunning characters. 3D Character Modeling 02 for Games teaches the workflows every artist needs to create high-quality character models, based on current real-time production techniques.
HCL: High vs low poly refers to the mesh density of a model. In early game development, engines weren’t capable of handling models with lots of detail in real-time. It became very common to have a very high-quality sculpt or model of a character and then a lower (or low-poly) version for in-game use.
What that means for modern character modelers is that you get to create high-quality models with lots of cool details AND translate those details to the actual game. You still have to optimize your model so it works within the game engine and is ready for the rigging, animation, and shading pipeline, but you have much more creative control than previous modelers did.
Check out Hong’s portfolio on ArtStation.
As technology has advanced, the capabilities of game engines have increased and the mesh detail they can handle in real-time has grown. In the 1990s, a typical game character had 200 polygons. Today a character can have upwards of 150,000!
AM: What’s the difference between high-poly and low-poly models, and how do they apply to modern video games?

In-game character model comparison between Goldeneye (1997) and Assassin's Creed Valhalla (2020)
In-game character model comparison between Goldeneye (1997) and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (2020)

AM: What do you think students will be most excited about in this new workshop?

3D model of Marvel's Black Widow by Hong Chan Lim
3D model of Marvel’s Black Widow by Hong Chan Lim

Meet Your Mentor: Hong Chan Lim

Take the character you designed in Introduction to 3D Character Modeling to the next level by optimizing it for AAA games. Learn efficient retopology flow, texturing and shading techniques, and portfolio-ready presentation, and become a character modeler in just 6 months!

Hong is a lead character artist at Blizzard Entertainment working on Overwatch. Hong Earned a BFA in 3D Graphics and Technology at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago and started his career making Superman Returns NDS at SCG for Electronic Arts back in 2005. After shipping three console games, he moved his career to NCSoft Corporation (Carbine Studios) to help build the MMO project Wildstar as a senior cinematic/marketing artist. More of his work can be seen in Overwatch, Overwatch 2, and StarCraft.

Black Widow 3D Character Model by Mentor Hong Chan Lim

Ready to level up?

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