Well executed 3D art can seriously spice up a design portfolio. The extra dimension provides an added sense of depth that is very hard to recreate in 2D. With the introduction of more affordable and free 3D software in recent years, more and more artists are creating incredible 3D art – here are some prime examples...
This Chimpanzee sculpt was completed in two days by artist Damien Guimoneau, with a further two weeks of work going into the incredible 3D art to refine the textures and fur in Mari and KeyShot. “Since I didn’t have a lot of time, I decided not to use V-Ray and displacement like I have done in my old projects," says Guimoneau. "I was especially curious to see how far I could go with the SSS materials in KeyShot.”
02. Bed Monster
Digital 3D modeller and animator Aamir is the man behind this brilliant 'You picked up the wrong bed, monster!' 3D art illustration. Specialising in character and creature creation, Aamir nails the stylised look, modelling and lighting in this inspiring scene.
03. One Is The Loneliest Number
This awe-inspiring, sci-fi 3D art scene was created by digital artist and designer Stefan Morrell. With a clear love of the genre, this talented artist's portfolio is full of beautiful, intricate sci-fi landscapes – but this gorgeous piece is our favourite.
04. Sick Sad World!
By day, Pierrick Grillet is a CG generalist who works in a Parisian post production studio, but in his spare time he creates stylised cartoon characters like this. Inspired by the work of Peter de Sève, character designer for films such as A Bug’s Life and Ice Age, this suicidal octopus took just three days to make, using 3ds Max, ZBrush, V-Ray and Photoshop.
05. Prom Night
3D generalist Mickael Riciotti lets the 3D art do all the talking in this inspiring illustration 'Prom Night' – capturing this young lady's nerves and anticipation of her big night perfectly, Riciotti's brilliant piece is a far cry away from (and refreshing change to) much of the busty female-inspired artwork you see.
06. Stroll in the Swamp
Anthony Guebels is currently working as a 2D/3D artist for Ubisoft Montreal. He specialises in creating promotional artwork, used for the marketing of the different brands of the studio. A personal project, Stroll in the Swamp was created with 3ds Max, ZBrush and Photoshop.
07. Space Girl
Carles Gonzalez has worked for several companies and titles, in videogames and film. Gonzalez worked on this 3D art piece Space Girl in his spare time, with it taking him several months to complete. "My favourite part of the creative process is the sketching and initial stages," he says.
08. The story of courage, betrayal and love!
In this inspiring example of 3D art, motion designer Yaroslav Primachenko used ZBrush to model this cool character, 3ds Max for preparing the rest of the scene and retopology, V-Ray for rendering and Photoshop for the scene's post-production effects.
09. Level 10
Toni Bratincevic is the senior environment modeller for a major videogame company, but has experience in all aspects of 3D, from rigging and animation to final compositing. This particular piece of 3D art took him around four to five weeks, working, on average, two to three hours a day on it.
10. Sunny Sunday Morning
Tiago Alexandrino is the CEO and founder of Arch-Factory, a collective specialising in creating architectural visualisations for private clients. Taking just five or six days, he created this perfect, relaxing Sunday 3D art scene using 3ds Max and V-Ray.
11. Ebola Virus
Medical artist Alexey Kashpersky has won international competitions in scientific visualisation, and his beautiful 3D art rendering of the Ebola virus is a fine example of his skills. "I wanted to transform Ebola into something fantastic and something that had its own unique character," he explains. The image took him three months to complete, with everything modelled by hand.
12. Exodus from Delta B-56
Freelance illustrator and graphic designer Jonathan Ball spent three to four weeks working on this image in his spare time. With a passion for 3D modelling, Ball created the vibrant scene with Blender using the Cycles engine, before completing the composition in Photoshop.
13. Southern ground hornbill
No, we haven't included a rouge photograph to trick you, this is really 3D art. The stunning Southern Ground Hornbill image was crafted entirely in 3D by artist Léandre Hounnake. The realistic render was achieved using a combination of Sculptris, 3ds Max, Mudbox, V-Ray, MultiScatter and Hair and Fur.
This breathtaking piece of 3D art was created by Tamás Török using open source 3D software Blender and Gimp for texture painting. Using a leopard model he'd developed previously, this Legacy image took Török, unbelievably, about two and a half weeks to complete.
Neil Maccormack is a freelance 3D and concept artist based in Geneva, Switzerland. His online portfolio is full of awe-inspiring 3D art, but his most recent, and our favourite, is this cool robot character, which he created using Lightwave and Photoshop.
16. Teacher's Nightmare
This pair of mischevious looking characters were created by modeller Omer Messler and 3D generalist Adi Cohen. The entire scene was created using 3ds Max and Mental Ray renderer. Working together was a new experience for the duo, but as two minds are greater than one, they managed to complete the detailed piece of 3D art in just two months.
17. A New Dawn
Brazilian artist Fabricio Moraes started work on 3D art piece A New Dawn as a modelling study in the middle of 2013, but didn't finish it until July 2015; however he estimates that the total time spent on it was about a month. A partner at Gingerpic studio, Fabricio developed his career by working on games like Batman Arkham Origins and Max Payne 3, and his games background shows through in this bold fantasy illustration.
Freelance 2D and 3D designer Nitin Khosa's inspiration for this brilliant illustration came from Naga, which is the Sanskrit/Hindi word for king cobra and also the name of this slightly retro, open-top two-seater concept sports car. Created using a combination of Maya and Photoshop, the striking 3D art took approximately four weeks, from sketching ideas to the final render.
19. One Small Step
It may have been one small step for Neil Armstrong, but recreating it in 3D was an epic project for senior 3D artist Tomas Kral. This epic space scene took Kral three weeks to complete, with most of the geometry created in sculpting software ZBrush and some textures taken from CG Textures.
20. Malaysian Dream
Ani Atanasova is studio director and lead artist at Pixelhunters, with over 14 years experience in creating 3D art. The artist was inspired to create this idyllic scene after visiting Borneo in Malaysia. The initial 2D design was created by Iliya Atanasov before Ani spent a week bringing it to life using Maya, terrain generation software Vue and compositing program Fusion.
21. Back to the Great City
This show-stopping piece of 3D art was created by concept artist and matte painter Bastien Grivet. Unbelievably, this image began as five simple 3D cubes of different sizes and shapes, which the talented artist then manipulated using Cinema 4D and Photoshop.
22. GT40 in Monte Carlo
As Ford no longer produces the GT40, digital artist Luis Nieves decided to build his own, only in 3D. The talented designer spent nine months building the classic model from scratch in his spare time. And Maya, Mental Ray renderer, Photoshop, and After Effects CS6 were the tools that enabled him to do it.
23. Far Far Away
Two years in the making, Far Far Away is a celebration of children's imaginations created by Warsaw-based artist Peter Nowacki. "It’s the first part of a three-part project," he explains. "Children are now focusing on video games instead of playing outside and I wanted to showcase a time when their imaginations were all they had."
24. Robin Hood
3D character artist LrZo is a huge fan of comic books and animation and so based this brilliant design on French comic book Robin Hood by Brremaud and Simon Loche. To give some of his favourite characters that added dimension, LrZo used Maya and sculpting program ZBrush.
This impressive 3D art was created entirely by creative production studio Taylor James for Heimet Berlin and their client DIY store Hornbach. The team created CGI hands and integrated them seamlessly with photography shot in the company studio to give the impression of a man pulling a tree from the ground.
Freelance animator and creative designer Aram Vardazaryan is the man behind this brilliantly detailed 3D model of a chameleon. Working in VFX and specialising in modelling, the 3D art project took Vardazaryan about a week to complete. Yes, you read that right, just a week!
Whoa! We certainly wouldn't mess with this guy! This awesome 3D art of Wolverine was created by 3D artist Aamir, who specialises in character modelling and animation. Aamir crafted this guy's bulging muscles and razor claws using a combination of Maya, 3D sculpting program ZBrush, and Photoshop CS6.
28. Rocket and Groot
Antone Magdy works as a 3D character artist at Snappers in Egypt, and he started work on Rocket and Groot to improve his professional skills. "I think the key to personal growth is to have some sort of plan when practising and creating personal art," he explains. The striking wooden sculpt is inspired by the work of another games artist, Javier Burgos from Rovio.
29. Stan 'The Man'
From a comic book character to a comic book legend, this amazing 3D art portrait of Stan Lee was created by Andrew Hakim Lie. The talented 3D artist produced this image using 3ds Max, ZBrush, V-Ray renderer, and Photoshop, for the final part of an intensive CG course.
30. Abstract surrealism interior
The concept for this 3D scene came about after artist Igor Kulkov saw some pictures in a surreal style and wanted to use the idea to form an interior. With just over two years' experience of working in CG, it's hard to believe this brilliant image took Kulkov just 10 days to complete using 3ds Max and V-Ray renderer.
Always fascinated by the ability that some creatures have the ability to blend into their environment, 3D artist Laurent Pierlot decided to put his own spin on things in this awesome CG scene. Pierlot crafted this cute but creepy image using 3ds Max, V-Ray renderer, ZBrush, and Photoshop.