30 top examples of 3D art

11. Chimpanzee

Guimoneau sculpted this incredible 3D chimp in just two days

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.”

12. Bed Monster

This monster picked the wrong kid to mess with!

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.

13. Cambot – Memory

Liang did things a bit differently to create the rain

Dong Liang is a 3D surfacing artist based in Singapore. His personal project, Cambot – Memory, shows off his talents. “Every artwork begins from a story I try to tell,” he explains. 

“To start with, I usually do a bunch of concept sketches to explore the design and composition while also looking for reference images. Once there is a decent sketch, I start blocking in the low-poly geometries in 3D.” 

From here, Liang begins working on the detailing and lighting. This piece, however, posed a unique challenge. “The rain effect was done a little bit unconventionally,” he reveals.

“I randomly instanced five different streak models onto a nParticle system to mimic the rain streaks instead of using motion blur to  do so. Rendering noise-free motion blur is too heavy for my machine.”

14. Sanctuary

Adekile created this landscape with tools including Nuke, Photoshop and V-Ray

This 3D sci-fi landscape was inspired by artist Akin Adekile’s Nigerian roots, and took him just under three weeks to complete. “I started off with a concept that I painted in Photoshop,” says the Gnomon graduate.

“My favourite part was when I put my image into Nuke and Photoshop,” he says, because “I was able to take advantage of the render passes, adjust the brightness and contrast, and add additional textures and effects... All those trees and vegetation can slow my machine down, but this was alleviated by using V-Ray proxies and minimising polycount.”

15. Welcome to Paradise

This final year 3D art project by 3D animation students at the University of Hertfordshire was created over eight months. “We spent the summer discussing the story and created some rough concept art, but it was only in the final year that the project took off,” says Veronika Epsteina.

The animation is inspired by a piece of concept art created by the artist Gennaro Grazioso, which portrayed small nomadic people with big robots. “A storyboard was created, and based on that, a really rough animatic – where we filmed ourselves playing out the scenes. This helped with the editing, to get the timing and camera angles right,” says Epsteina. 

“One of my favourite shots to work on was the reveal of the alien planet. We knew it would be one of the most important shots in our film so we put a lot of time and effort into it.”

16. Muhammad Ali

Salah says: “Anatomy has been the biggest challenge, but also the most enjoyable challenge.”

This six-month Muhammad Ali project was completed during artist Mahmoud Salah's Think Tank mentorship programme in 2016. “To push myself to do my best, I had to choose the greatest role model in pushing oneself – Ali,” he says.

In a breakdown of his approach, Salah says: “I started with modelling, sculpting, unwrapping and texturing in a T-pose. As soon as I got to the posing stage, I did a lot of sculpting again, particularly on the torso... I used 3ds Max and V-Ray for rendering and Hair And Fur for the hair.”

17. Apex the Robot

Claver based Apex on artwork he found online

Artist Alvaro Claver created Apex the Robot over four months, putting into practise the skills he learned from training with one of the world’s best texture artists, Justin Holt. The piece was based on artwork by Dan Jones.

Claver pinpoints learning how to texture in Mari as the most challenging part of the project, but says that it was also very rewarding. “There is nothing you can’t do, combining [textures] with good, proper masks and baked maps,” he says.

“My workflow involved creating multiple channels for every material including diffuse, specular, gloss, and bump.” Claver rendered in V-Ray and had “an HDR very similar to the location where I took photos of the sculpture.” As he edited the video in Premiere after comping, he says, “It was so nice to see Apex come to life!”

18. Hover Car Garage

Suyang Wang poured lots attention to detail into this scene

“I spent four weeks on this project – almost 100 hours of modelling and 50 hours of texturing,” says Rico Suyang Wang, from China, who’s studied at Gnomon School of Visual Effects, Games & Animation in Hollywood. The concept was inspired by Alejandro Burdisio’s work: “He is one of my favourite artists and I have always wanted to turn his designs into 3D art with a realistic style,” says Suyang Wang.

The biggest challenge was making everything look convincing and functional in 3D, explains Suyang Wang. “I modelled the scene in Maya, textured in Photoshop and rendered with V-Ray. I spent a lot of time blocking the scene and defining the mechanical details. For the texturing, nuance is crucial and reference is key. My mindset is very simple: when I feel something is wrong, I know it must be wrong, so I change it very quickly.”

19. Waiting for the Bus (Leech Girl)

Steiner's piece certainly does make you look twice

“The goal for this 3D art project was to study and introduce Substance Painter into my workflow, and also to test Marmoset 3,” explains Mariano Steiner, a character artist and digital sculptor who created this piece in two months. “I wanted to provoke a weird feeling when the viewer sees it,” he reveals. With its realistic setting but unusual character, it’s certainly a piece that will make you look twice.

“In my personal work, I always try to input a bit of what I’m excited about in that moment, and always try to push the level in some way,” he adds. With Steiner finding inspiration through movies, games and toys, as well as nature and space, it sounds like he certainly won’t be short of interests to fuel his imagination.

20. Fight Like a Girl

Rocha Prates says that a good story inspires her work

Self-taught illustrator and graphic designer Aliel Rocha Prates shows what it really means to fight like a girl with her boxer 3D artwork based on an original concept by her friend Rayner Alencar. Taking 12 hours to create, Rocha Prates’ determined fighter was an exercise in getting the pose and character right.

“I also enjoyed reproducing the lights and reflexivity of the slightly wet skin,” she explains. “The composition and post- production in Photoshop takes longer for me. I like to explore all the possibilities, you can completely change the mood of an image by just editing it in Photoshop."

 Next: 10 more 3D masterpieces