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3D for 2D artists, or how to speed up the drawing process

3D for 2D artists, or how to speed up the drawing process My Image Host

How to prepare models for painting in Adobe Photoshop and how to paint them afterwards? We tell you about the example of the course. Tips and materials from the text can be used outside the course.
2022-01-18, by ,

#3D || #2D || #Design ||

Table of contents:

Why does a 2D artist need knowledge of 3D programs

The main advantage of working with 3D is speed. With it, you can quickly achieve the correct construction and correct chiaroscuro, which will be an excellent base for further drawing. By entering 3D into the working pipeline, you can practically "skip" through the initial stages of creating a drawing.

It seems too easy. Newcomers still have doubts: whether to consider 3D models as "cheating". In real work, such questions do not arise – the speed of production is more important than how you achieve the result. Especially if the methods have a positive effect on quality: the time saved on purely technical things like building a perspective can be used to convey the right atmosphere, thoughtful selection of colors and elaboration of details.

From 2D towards 3D

In addition, everything is not so simple: 3D blocks are not taken out of thin air. When creating them, artists look for references, think over the future drawing, often make a series of sketches and then begin to model. Everyone combines 2D and 3D in completely different ways. Some pros immediately start working on a three-dimensional model, others first make a rough sketch in 2D, and already on its basis – a model for drawing. It turns out a chain of 2D-> 3D-> 2D.

If a 3D professional needs to master a lot of skills at once (modeling, retopology, mapping, texturing and much more - see below), then the "dvadeshnik" will not need all this science entirely. To create models for the outline, a basic acquaintance with 3D tools and making hyper casual games in unity is enough.

3D models are indispensable when you need to draw several concepts from different angles: instead of drawing each frame from scratch, the artist simply moves the camera. You can also set several lighting scenarios.


In the 3D for 2D course, students learn the basics of working in several 3D editors. They are selected according to the principle of "quick start in 3D". Since the course is aimed at 2D artists, they only need to learn modeling and the basics of rendering — it's not so much. The first editor, the easiest to learn, is SketchUp. It has a free web version, it works directly from the browser. You can start getting acquainted with the program with it. They talk about different versions of SketchUp here.

The interface of the program does not frighten beginners with an abundance of buttons, all its functions can be studied in a week if desired. At the same time, it will be enough to create simple models based on chopped shapes – small objects, stylized or not very buildings. 2D artists (including comics artists and mangak) often use SketchUp to draw backdrops, especially interiors and architecture.

The complexity of the models in SketchUp is actually limited only by the skills and patience of the author. Some professionals create very realistic works in it: game art services.

SketchUp has its own renderer built in, but many artists prefer third-party programs to it. Why? The models in the editor itself are not very detailed: there is already some perspective, but the shadows look quite schematic.

Ted Jackman

Ted Jackman contributor to
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