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As a programmer, I am not very good (yet) at making game art. One of the many issues that often causes me trouble is asset creation.

Often I will want to create a house that a player could enter, and when the asset is made in blender, it looks right. But then once the asset is imported into whichever engine I am using I will find that the proportions of the doors or windows look completely inconsistent with all the other assets. Sometimes even the entire buildings proportions are off in comparison to the rest of the buildings.

Even worse, I find that my player model is either dwarved or enlarged by the scale of my models. Resizing the models doesn't help because of the proportions.

The question is, how does one design consistently proportioned assests that fit the scale of the player?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you have any pictures of this? Also, in proportion can mean a lot of different things... This is also not really a design issue, units in blender are proportional to units in unity therefore, building your assets in blender - as long as have some reference like the size of grid lines you can create your assets accordingly. \$\endgroup\$ – Vitulus Sep 25 at 1:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Vitulus I will try to find some pictures of this. \$\endgroup\$ – joeldesante Sep 25 at 1:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modulor from an architectural perspective this is what they teach us at school. \$\endgroup\$ – Felipe Gutierrez Sep 28 at 23:50
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Preventing bad proportions

Aside form using actual measures (which is what, being and engineer, I would do for architectural and mechanical designs), there are a few practices that would help an artist keep proportions:

  • Always add a "measure of a man" model. That is a humanoid model of the right size and proportion of the avatar in game to use as reference. It does not need to have any detail – all that matters is that it has the proportions you need. You can move it around to see if it fits doors and if windows are at the right height. In fact, you can have multiple (standing vs sitting, child vs adult, and so on). This also means you will not be exporting the whole file, just export a selection.
  • Have multiple models that need to work together in a single file. You are exporting selections anyway, thus, if you need multiple things to work together, then work on them together... this ensure they are consistent. This also means that any models that need to be worked together get assigned to the same artist.
  • Decide on width/height ratios, document it. In particular, you can use the golden ratio (which is not uncommon in architecture). Make sure that elements such as doors and windows follow the proportions you decided. See also the standard paper sizes (ISO 216).
  • Have a minimum thickness for elements (walls and bevels in particular). In games, this could help with visual artifacts (such as shadows effects). It is also vital if you were doing models for 3D printing.
  • For modeling complex things, in particular organic things, I would argue for using photo references (or even tangible references). And no, using references is not "cheating".

Also check is the field of view of the perspective camera, if you are working with a different field of view in the editor than in the game, you could be making the wrong judgment.

Addendum: About the "measure of a man" model, sometimes a simple block will do. For most cases a block for the head, a block for each arm, and a couple blocks for the legs is all you need. However, if you have a rigged low-poly model, why not use that?


Checking for bad proportions

Aside from using actual measures and from having a reference model you can use to compare...

Change to orthographic projection to check. I mean, in your 3D editor. While humans are very good at guessing proportions in perspective, we are also capable of tricking ourselves. Which reminds me, do not forget to inspect the model from different angles and zoom levels. However, I am guessing you already do that.

If all else is failing... I suppose the next best thing is to import often as part of the modeling proccess.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Just using measures like "1 unit = 1 meter" is enough. \$\endgroup\$ – Ocelot Sep 25 at 3:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Very solid answer. Thank You. \$\endgroup\$ – joeldesante Sep 25 at 17:18

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