Explain and demonstrate the workflow involved in creating 3D character assets, addressing the differences between assets designed for games versus for film or other non-game uses. Target your presentation for students in a first semester, introductory course.

  • Engage students to participate in discussion
  • Assess students current level of familiarity with subject matter
  • Have students identify, and distinguish between Games/VR (interactive assets) and Film/TV (non-interactive assets)
  • Students will know that Game/VR assets require efficiency and flexibility
  • Students will know that Film/TV assets require complexity with limitations.
  • single page worksheet (hand out after 'show of hands' activity)

Introduction1 min
  • What are the differences between digital assets built for Games/VR vs Film/TV?
  • Definition: Digital Asset (in this context) is a 3d model, rig, animation, or texture.

Activity - 2 min
'Show of hands' Q&A (test group responsiveness)
  • By show of hands: "How many of the students have played a video game?
  • Follow up individually: "What was the most recent game played? Was it fun?"
  • By show of hands: "Who has seen a film recently with 3d elements?"
  • Follow up individually: "What film did you see? Would you recommend it?"

Activity - 2 min
Identify images: Games or Film?
Hand out worksheet with the following images. Students examine asset images 1 through 6 and do the following:
  • Identify if the assets shown are intended for Games/VR or Film/Television?
  • List the image number in proper column of worksheet: Games/VR or Film/Television?

1. Dino Hunt

2. Acolyte

3. Living Room

4. Logan

5. Paper Boxes

6. L.A.V.

Discussion - 3 min
"How could you tell?"
  • Instructor reveals which assets are created for Games/VR (# 2, 5 and 6) and which are for Film/TV (# 1, 3 and 4).
  • (Responsive group) Ask students individually "How could you tell which column (# asset) belonged in?"   ~or~
  • (Unresponsive group) Show of hands Q&A: suggest differences between the assets that could reveal where they belong. Students raise hands to agree.
  • Instructor records answers on whiteboard; the identified differences between Games/VR and Film/TV assets.
  • Introduce the concept of interactive media and non-interactive media. Games/VR = interactive, Film/TV = non-interactive (*usually)

Activity - 4 min
  • Using same 6 images, students work in pairs to catalogue on the worksheet: what are some common qualities shown in Game/VR (interactive) assets? What are some common qualities shown in Film/TV (non-interactive) assets? 
  • Students suggest possible reason(s) why Game/VR (interactive) assets are made differently than Film/TV (non-interactive) assets.

Activity or Discussion - 2 min
  • (Responsive group) Student pair presents findings, with one member of group reading their worksheet aloud.
  • (Unresponsive group) Discussion: instructor gathers worksheets and reads out responses, show of hands: who had this as a possible reason?
  • Instructor records summary on board of 3 items: Games/VR asset qualities, Film/TV qualities and Theories of why they are different.

Discussion - 4 min
Why are they made differently?
  • Instructor uses the summary list of common differences between interactive assets and non-interactive asset to ask: Why are Game/VR (interactive) assets made differently than Film/TV (non-interactive) assets?
  • Bounce questioning - ask a student a question, then ask a second student to clarify what was said. (Keeps them paying attention to what other students are saying.) Record responses on whiteboard

The Summary of Why?

   Games/VR (interactive) =


(keep it simple) for memory limitations, and allow for real time rendering.

(re-usable) to be seen from many possible angles and be re-used.

   Film/TV (non-interactive) =


(lots of detail) allows for large theatrical viewing and matches with reality.

(only works for one thing) build only what will be shown to reduce time/cost.

Extension task – students come back with one image of a Game/VR (interactive) and one image of a Film/TV (non-interactive) asset that highlights the differences between them.

For example: an image of a digital character from a film and the same character from a related game. IP (Intellectual Property) franchises with both game and film versions would work well here: Assassin’s Creed, Batman, X-Men, Marvel etc.

18 min, 2 min for additional questions

Thanks for your time and attention.