View Full Version : Form, Shape, & Structure in 3D Modeling & Texturing
04-20-2010, 05:21 PM
Bobo recently posted a job listing for vigil:
In the post he said
Candidates should have an exceptional understanding of form, shape, structure...These are, of course, critical to any artists fundamental understanding of how to design, break down, and critique art across many fields.
That said, I have found the terms to be a bit nebulous. They are explained and precieved a little differently everywhere you go. On the simplest level Shape is 2D and Form is 3D but the way an artist uses these tools often varies.
So I ask the question: How do you understand/use Shape, Form, & Structure when designing or discussing 3D models and art for games.
Also, how important are these concepts to you, and how much are they apart of your thought process?
04-20-2010, 05:57 PM
The way I look at it is, you need to have a good eye for anatomy, scale and proportions. You need to be able to tell whether a model looks a little off due to it's structure.
Maybe I'm way off though.
04-20-2010, 06:25 PM
Yeah I agree, I think a lot of critiques center around how the accurate (realistic) the anatomical structure of the piece is, or how it reads from a design (psychological) stand point.
However, you don't often hear the terms shape and form used in critiques, but they do exist. We use the concepts every day even if we aren't aware of it, and in the hands of a master they can be just as important as the structure of a piece.
Perhaps this is due, in part, to many 3D artists lack of a strong fine arts background where the concepts of form and shape are more prevalent.
Then again, shape is often used as as a substitute for the term proportions. The way I understand it they are interconnected but not necessarily interchangeable. As proportions speak to the ratios and relationships between any number of points on a model and shape speaks to the 2d dimensional impression it leaves and also the psychological effect that impression has on the observer.
04-20-2010, 06:58 PM
I think shape could also describe the general silhouette of a model. A model could have a very flat, rounded shape. But then you could make it's silhouette (shape) more attractive by modifying it.
04-20-2010, 07:11 PM
Yes this is true, but the difference is that silhouette only describes the overall shape where as shapes, by themselves, may be found where silhouette is not. Any form can generate a shape and any shape can imply a form, but silhouette, but the definition I understand it, can only imply the contours of forms (the outer most edges of them).
In other words silhouettes have shapes but shapes don't necessarily have silhouettes. Like the nose of a face viewed from the front wouldn't have a silhouette but it would have a shape.
What makes silhouettes unique and so useful is that if forces the observer to consider the 2D implications of forms as a whole and not separate. Its the overall imprint a given group of forms makes in 2D space.
Also shape can be used to describe a lot more than silhouette. For example, when used in a composition you can increase the sense of unity a piece has by making the elements feel as though they belong together:
04-20-2010, 07:47 PM
I want to address a different issue here, which is the language used in those job descriptions. Maybe you as a possible applicant should question the writing a bit more.
Ever noticed that 99% of those job descriptions read the same, request and expect the same? It's because most of the people writing those texts don't know the hell themselves what is common and what it is they really want themselves. So what they do is look at competitors and other well known companies and more or less copy the same requirements.
It's just like terms and conditions you agree on with any software, or law stuff you agree on in daily life. Most people do not really know all the times what all of that word bingo means but with common sense they usually know what to expect.
And I think when applying for job positions the same applies there - just use your brain and common sense to really read between the lines and guess what they mean actually. In the end anyone can apply and what really matters is your portfolio.
Candidates should have an exceptional understanding of form, shape, structure...Means that they want to have people who did the stuff they do already for a couple of years. Because the more time you worked so far the more experience you have.
Exceptional could be interpreted as above average but then again every company even crappy ones wants to have the best fruits. No one would write that they are happy with noobs or people shitty skills.
Just apply and have them sort out if you match their description. I'd say most job descriptions are bullshit bingo and proof of how unsure they are themselves when it comes to setting up a proper description of what you should really expect when working there.
Personally I'd like to see more honest and written descriptions with some thoughts and personal words instead of those clich'e ones. Just have someone at the company really think about what they want in a clear and honest way - without trying to confuse anyone. And avoiding words like: best, exceptional, extraordinary, special, best,... because those are not objective at all and in the end really come down to the portfolio anyway - so safe the words.
04-20-2010, 09:22 PM
Actually one of the intentions of this post was to establish just that, the appropriateness of using that type of language in a job description for a 3D artist. I think have a very valid point.
Another way of looking at the statement is that they want people with a firm grounding in fine arts since that language is most commonly found there.
Then again I do know some 3D artists who readily use fine arts language but I think it sometimes takes a away from the clarity of what they are trying to say rather than lending to it.
Anyways, that made me wonder how game artists actually understand fine arts and apply it on a day to day basis.
I think it means you have to be good.
04-20-2010, 09:31 PM
lol, yep, obviously the proof is in the pudding. A good piece of art would probably be using all those things well. So if its good, you got it.
04-20-2010, 09:47 PM
Another major difference between our industry and lets say the one of banking is that the writing matters less as the portfolio. I would say that portfolio is not only first but also like a 95% part of the decision to meet based on a first impression.
Writing a decent cover letter and all those other stuff is way easier and less important as a slick and just impressive presentation of your works. Preparing a good portfolio is a big piece of work not just in terms of creating / collecting content but also working on the actual presentation (website, print,...).
My personal ranking of importance and impact would be:
50% content aka your art
40% presentation (no fucking pop ups, bloated loading times, eye cancer 'web-designs', let it shine / pop out!)
10% formalities (contact details, writing, quick response,...)
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