The time to create a 3D model for a game depends on complexity and polygon count. A simple environmental prop like a barrel may take 1-2 days. A main character with textures and animations can take 1-2 weeks. Complex vehicles or architecture may take 2-4 weeks.
Here are some key factors to consider:
Model complexity – Simple props like a barrel may take 1-2 days, while a highly detailed character with animations can take 1-2 weeks. Environments and vehicles fall in between.
Polygon count – Low poly models are quicker, while highly dense meshes take more time for modeling and optimizations.
Textures and materials – Simple flat textures add little time, but complex shaders, normal/displacement maps, and texture atlases can add days.
Rigging and animations – A static model is fastest. Rigging for animation can add a week or more. Unique animated movements take additional time.
Technical specifications – Models matching a specific polygon budget, texture resolution, or performance target require more iterations and optimizations.
Concept/reference quality – Clear and detailed concept art and references accelerate the process. Limited references make modeling and texturing harder.
Team size – More modelers working in parallel speed up asset completion, while solo work takes longer.
Software and workflows – Experienced teams with efficient pipelines produce models faster. New software or techniques slow things down.
Revisions and changes – Models requiring multiple iterations, fixes, and tweaks take longer to lock down. Changes in scope also add time.
Providing modeling partners with detailed specifications, high quality concepts, and reasonable time estimates makes development smooth and efficient. Building a buffer for revisions is also recommended.