Outsourcing 3D Modeling

Has anyone at their work outsourced 3D modeling? We primarily use illustrator at my work, and 3D has never been a major component. However, with the changing times and people working from home we are looking into using more 3D and less physical sampling. We also have like many reduced our work staff since Covid (im in he US) and I am weighing the difference between bringing on a dedicated 3D designer, vs what it might be like to outsource that 3D work. There maybe time when the work load is heavy, and other parts of the year that are less busy which also makes me think outsourcing those projects would be good. Looking to hear any thoughts on this topic.


In my experience, it depends on if you’re doing form development that leads to mechanical engineering of testable parts, or doing 3D work for animating and other brand asset support, or both. I’m currently outsourcing rendering and animation of some 3D models (Fusion) we did in house to create a high fidelity animation (Blender) that shows components, features and dynamic realism with a soundtrack and over dubbing. Our challenge is to get the animation to look and feel like the real thing in physical reality.

I contract with Jack Koby when I need a little outside CAD help. Always super professional and exceeds expectations. https://www.jack-koby.com

Yup lots of freelancers out there. http://briantruhlar.com/ - This guy used to be one of my interns back when we needed a ton of stuff modelled for VR. Always did a solid job. Ultimately I’d say figure out what niche you want (hard surfacing, softgoods, etc) because to find someone who is great at everything might be tough. Just because someone can sculpt an awesome dragon doesn’t mean they can do a great job modeling a shoe.

so true, Mike!

Yes a lot of companies do it. At my last job we did some projects for clients and other design companies that needed modeling assistance whether it was work overflow or DFM. Some questions or details you might want to think about when looking for a person or studio.

  1. Will you be providing clear and detailed illustrator drawings for the person to execute the design or will these be rough concepts with a fair amount of creative license for the person to execute. This will dictate the amount of back and forth reviews and revisions.
  2. Do you want “dumb models” to use as props or do you want to be able to edit them
  3. What software you would like the models in
  4. Would you need any design for prototyping, dfm or light engineering.

Good luck

and how many renderings do you want (provide examples), studio renders or environmental… if environmental will you be buying stock photography or expecting the modelers to do that?

I’ve used ID consultants for 3D work. If they aren’t busy, you can get competitive rates. For renders, there are dedicated render places, although the cost can be high.

Here’s a place that I can recommend in Montreal. 3D studio - 3D experts located in Montreal - PIXI Studio

I recommend it because all branches of 3D modeling have their own specialists, plus these are widely available for attractive rates.
The field has been developing rapidly and quality has been more and more consistent.

It is key always to communicate what the model will be used for, final dimensions and specific file formats, and what room there should be for future improvements / alterations, so as to develop a solid workflow and prevent having to redo things from scratch.
The spec has to be very precise, from

  • model me a soccer boot (sucky)
  • model me a soccer boot for jewelry casting like this one here (better)
  • model a Nike Mercurial Superfly 7 soccer boot using surface modeling techniques, final format STEP, 26mm length, without undercuts and 0.1mm min. detail for jewelry investment casting (best)

We’ve used product development consultants for jobs like this in the past. Typically they will embed a CAD expert in your company to work side-by-side with your staff. One guy we used from Product Creation Studios - this was a long time ago - was really, really good at surfacing in SolidWorks. His end deliverables had a well-organized feature tree and it was obvious he was an expert with the tools. Another guy years later milked us for two months before it came to light that he was a hack. Going with a product development/engineering group will likely get you better results if your goal is manufacturability.

Outsourcing your 3d modeling tasks to third-party companies is a wiser option when you are overloaded with the work. But you should be very careful in selecting the correct outsourcing company. Before choosing, check whether they are willing to do a free sample to understand their work quality.

Some of the benefits to mention.

  1. You will get better quality rendering output
  2. You can cut down the hiring full-time employee cost and other infrastructure costs
  3. There will be an increase in projectivity and project delivery
  4. You can get access to a lot of advanced resources

If you need any clarification get in touch.