3D Art in Marketing Videos

Blog is written by Wolfgang: Game Artist/Motion Designer @ justDice

Part 1: A Dive Into Blender

In the gaming industry, 3D art is a crucial element of marketing videos that can make a game more visually appealing, realistic, and engaging for potential players. It allows game developers to showcase the game’s unique features, create a strong brand identity, and experiment with various textures, lighting, and camera angles.

This blog will explore how Blender 3D, a popular open-source software, can create high-quality 3D art for gaming marketing videos. I will detail Blender’s applications in the gaming industry and some tips and tricks for creating stunning 3D art.

Let’s Get Started

When working on user acquisition videos for games, the usual assets you’ll get are gameplay videos or builds to record gameplay with. And while this is crucial in conveying what the game is about, it’s also about how to show gameplay and claims to make the video stand out. I want to address one thing that can help: Leveraging game assets.

Getting your hands on the source files can be challenging. Some studios won’t provide them or use different 3D software than you do. But you will have all you need if you can acquire the game’s Unity files. If not, ask for the FBX files of the character or objects you’d like to leverage. Just be sure to ask for the textures as well.

There are several ways to animate and render these models, and some handy add-ons exist. The one I want to talk about today is only using Blender, a free-to-use 3D software.

The Blender Solution

Open Blender, select File – Import – FBX and choose the character you want to import.

The Rig or Armature will look broken even with “Automatic Bone Rotation” checked. The bones disconnected and wrongly oriented, like in the example picture. This happens if the model was initially made using another software.

To fix this, select the Armature, and go to edit mode (ctrl + tab or using the dropdown menu on the top left of the 3D viewport).

Dotted relation lines will help you determine where the bones should be connected. Select the origin of the bone and hit shift+S to select “cursor to selection”, then the end of the bone that should align at this position. Hit shift+S again, but select “selection to cursor” this time. Then select the original bone again and hit the “connected” checkbox in the “bone properties” window. Repeat this for the foot-, leg-, spine-, arm- and finger bones. Note that some bones, like the shoulders and upper legs, don’t need to be connected. The hand bone needs some eyeballed adjustment.

Feel free to delete the so-called leaf bones without purpose, like on the tip of the head, fingers and toes.

IK Setup

In edit mode ctrl + tab or dropdown on the top left of the viewport, hit shift + D duplicate the foot bone, uncheck connected, add “.target” to its name, extrude the knee, uncheck connected and move it forward. Name it “pole.L” or “pole.R” depending on its side.

Unparent the foot target bone and change the parent of the pole bone to the root bone.
Switch to pose mode “ctrl + tab” and select the foot target bone and, secondly, the leg bone; hit shift+I to add an IK. Fill in the target and pole bones in the constraint properties, set the Chain Length to 2 and adjust the Pole Angle if needed.

Select the foot bone and add a copy rotation constraint. Fill in the foot target bone and select a different layer pressing M to hide the foot bone.

Setup Materials

Switch to Shading mode and Drag and Drop the model’s textures into the node window. Connect the corresponding Channels and add needed Nodes by hitting shift + A.
Some textures store maps like metallic, roughness or ambient occlusion in their RGB channels. 

Use the Separate RGB node to assign them and the Mix RGB node to mix textures like diffuse and ambient occlusion.


Switch the Layout to animation, enter pose mode and activate auto keyframing. Now pose your character, go forward in time and pose it yet again. 

Hit A to select all bones, select all the first keyframes and use shift + d to duplicate them and move them to the end of the animation. With all keyframes selected, hit shift + E to make them cyclic for a perfect matching loop.

Render Setup

switch Render Engine to Cycles, and if possible, the Device to GPU Compute. For much faster render times, reduce the max samples to sth around 250. With these relatively low samples, it is of the essence to have denoise enabled. Additionally, turn on Transparency and based on taste motion blur.

Now add a plane to the feet of the character and turn it into a shadow catcher in the object properties under visibility.

Add some lights and a camera. For easy camera placement, you can hit num 0, then N, go to the View option and check camera to view. Now the camera will follow your view. Once you’re happy with the placement, uncheck camera to view.

In the output properties, select an output folder and name, then choose png as file format and rgba as color.

Finishing Up in After Effects

Add your rendered png sequence to After Effects and add your claims and background elements. If you want to add camera movement, turn it into 3D layers.

With plugins and add-ons, this can be taken further, like retargeting animations and exporting the Blender camera to After Effects.

What’s Next?

In conclusion, 3D art is essential to gaming marketing videos, enabling game developers to create more visually appealing and immersive experiences. And now that we’ve dived into Blender, some of its features and applications in the gaming industry, this is just the beginning. There’s so much more to learn.

In part 2 of this blog, we will dive into Mixamo, a web-based platform for creating 3D animations and rigging, and explore its applications in the gaming industry. So stay tuned for more exciting content on creating 3D art for gaming marketing videos.