3D Production Pipeline – pre-production

Over the next few weeks, I will be writing a few blogs about the 3D production pipeline used and perfected by many industry veterans. It won’t go into too much detail, but it will explain what the stages are and some examples of them being executed.

The major stages in a 3D production are:

  1. Pre-production and blocking
  2. 3D Modelling of required assets
  3. UV Mapping
  4. Texturing
  5. Rigging
  6. Animation
  7. Lighting
  8. Rendering
  9. Compositing

This blog will be about the first stage, pre-production.

Pre-production is the process of conceptualising an idea for a project and then further expanding the idea to have full documentation explaining every aspect of it. This can last a long time, resulting in months, perhaps even years of time spent perfecting the idea. Pre-production must always come before production as it is the entire moving force of the project. Production is usually completed along a schedule that should be followed as closely as possible so the desired product can be completed by the desired due date. Pre-production determines this by setting what will be made which can be broken into tasks which each have their own tasks, which have time estimations.

The culmination of time estimates produces the amount of man hours, which determines the amount of money required to be placed into the project to bring it to completion. Most of the time, estimations aren’t prefect and they can be completed before or after the date specified for the task which can throw off other aspects of the project. If the task takes too long, then sometimes it causes other tasks to be delayed and more money to be spent to pay for the extra time. Though if the project has been given a set amount, then the longer it takes to complete the project than expected, then the less amount per hour worked, possibly resulting in a loss of profit.


The above image displays the stages in pre-production, production, and post-production which can be applied to most industries, but specifically to 3D production in this case. In any project, the stages before production are about conceptualization, prototyping, and then designing. In animation, the prototyping stage is creating an animatic which is a rough version of an aspect of the final product, showing the potential to either a team or investors, even if this could just be you.



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