How to Create 3D Animal Models and Visualization

Animals often become objects of work for 3D artists, while not every 3D rendering studio can provide a truly high-quality result. Meanwhile, real and fictional animals are often planned as participants in a project, and to make this character attractive, it is necessary to do a hard work.

3d animal models

Big and small animals can be found in many computer games, cartoons and films, commercials or simple static renderers. 3D animal models are present in the web in large numbers, for example here.

Usually you will meet 3D animals in such file formats:

  • Cinema 4D (.c4d)
  • Autodesk FBX file (.fbx)
  • 3D Studio Max file (.max)
  • Maya (.ma .mb) [2014 or Above]
  • Wavefront (.obj)

So, they can be used as a basis for further work. If you want to create a 3D animal from scratch, you need to perform the same algorithm of actions as for modeling any other object: build its geometry, create a three-dimensional model, apply textures and work on adjusting the light. How much 3D rendering costs, will depend on its complexity.

As a basis for creating a 3D animal that exists in reality, photographs or drawings are usually taken, depending on your goal. If you are planning the development of some non-existent animal, for example, an inhabitant of another planet for a fantastic cartoon, the illustration and design of the animals here will be based solely on sketches, which should clearly demonstrate not only the geometry of the surface of the object, but its anatomical features – especially if later you are going to animate this animal.

The covering of the body of animals is fur, feathers, scales or skin, and for their visualization it is necessary to properly design the textures with which the character is covered. As in the case with the model itself, you can use ready-made textures, and you can create your own and make the character more unique. Among all of the above, the most difficult is the creation of realistic fur, and working with the skin is a bit easier.


Any animal is a being that moves with a musculoskeletal system consisting of a skeleton and muscles attached to it. This means that for the animation of the animal’s 3D model, it is also necessary to create such a skeleton, based on the alleged anatomy of the animal. This process is called rigging, and in most of the programs for creating 3D characters, there are packages that allow you to design skeletons for the subsequent animation of any moving models. including animals.

Animals have their own emotions, which, when animated, must be shown on the model

In addition to the movement of the animal’s body, a separate moment is the facial animation, which in animals is present exactly the same as in humans. Animals demonstrate surprise, aggression, interest and other emotions, and if this “humanized” character, like the heroes of the famous cartoon “The Secret Life of Domestic Animals” or the Rocket Raccoon or even the 90s classic johnson and friends – then their emotional spectrum will be even wider. In order to make a realistic movement of the jaws, it will be necessary, just as in the case of the body, to riggize, that is, equip them with bones like a real animal skull.

3d animals.

To implement the emotions of the animal, the morphing method is also used – one of the most modern ways to show emotions on the face of any creature. Typically, animators resort to multi-purpose morphing, which allows you to change several parameters at once to achieve the desired expression of emotion.

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