Discover where to find textures, models, and resources to give your 3D projects an edge
When starting a 3D project or assembling a mood board for one, one of the most important steps is researching and gathering reference images. This stage will give you a more precise and more defined idea of what you will need to create the final project in terms of assets, models, textures, and other graphic elements.
To help you find free textures and varied types of assets, Ali Sahba (@alisahba), a multidisciplinary designer and photographer, shares a list of the sites he uses in his projects and what you will find in each of them.
When searching for textures
This site features numerous royalty-free textures but is mostly limited to 1k (1024 x 768 pixels) or 2k (2048 x 1080 pixels) resolutions. These images are not ideal for close-ups, but you will find varied textures—fabrics, ceilings, floors, metal, and many others—and you can use them to have a general idea of how your project will end up looking
This texture and model collection is huge and has a unique trial tier that allows you to preview the results before buying the assets. It is ideal for testing projects. It is also highly recommended by several professionals in the field but with one major caveat: it uses a subscription model, so you cannot buy a single texture.
In Poliigon you will find very high-quality textures for projects focused on photorealism and with generous trial terms. You can use the trial versions for free in full resolution with a watermark or at a low resolution without one.
Created by Adobe, Substance gathers several resources for 3D artists and is a canonical reference in the industry. Textures work in all 3D programs, even those not from Adobe, and the variety is astounding. You can try the complete collection for a limited time.
All files are free and available for personal and commercial use in this collection. However, the textures tend to be simpler and more limited, especially in resolution. However, they are ideal for testing or doing training exercises.
When searching for 3D models
Turbosquid features several models of cars, animals, characters, vehicles, buildings, decoration elements, clothing, anatomy, and technology. The website is a marketplace where professionals can sell the models they have created, but most models have free versions.
Sketchfab is very similar to Turbosquid: a store where several people can sell their own models. The difference is that you can test these files before buying them, both in an online editor or your favorite 3D modeling app. Sets of characters, cars, weapons, robots, fantasy elements, technology, and many others are available free of charge as well.
This open-source project offers free models of sculptures without copyright restrictions. It is useful and easy to use, ideal for any type of 3D project.
Free 3D offers a wide range of free models, but they tend to be simple, without many polygons or vertices. This changes in the premium version, which provides higher resolution and more complex models. You'll find characters, vehicles, architecture, furniture, animals, plants, and many more in the catalog. This is an ideal website for those who are beginning to study 3D modeling and do not want to spend big bucks on their first projects.
Do you like these sites? Learn how to combine different digital tools to create photorealistic illustrations from scratch in Ali Sahba's course Abstract 3D Art.
English version by @angeljimenez
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