Sometimes you’re working on a project with a tight deadline and need to pull pre-made assets to complete your work on time.
Maybe you just need some miscellaneous items or environment objects to fill out a scene. Or perhaps you want to practice animation and don’t want the bother of making your own rig.
Whatever your reasons, this article contains a long list of excellent models and rigs that we at Concept Art Empire have found online, all ready to go for 3D project work.
Please note: Just because the models are free does not mean you can use all of them in professional applications. Please refer to each individual model’s licensing rights for usage guidelines.
Rigging is a difficult practice.
You need to find or make a model and then skin it onto a skeletal mesh.
Considering animation is one of the most difficult skills to master and it requires the most practice, sometimes you’ll want to skip all the tedious set up.
Or maybe you already are a skilled animator and want to prove it in your portfolio without having your own models.
Well here’s a list of some great rigs to use in Autodesk 3DS Max. Also if you prefer Maya we already have a list of rigs for that.
This biped rig has a very pleasing cartoon aesthetic that would be perfect for some colourful animation.
Exaggeration is an important principle of animation and having a cartoon character allows you to practice this to the extreme. It’s a pretty common feature in the genre.
This model comes with 3 preset poses, a standard T-pose, him holding the sword over his shoulder and a final pose of him in a battle stance.
You may need to play with the IK’s to get the rig to move as expected. If you’re familiar with 3DS Max this shouldn’t be an issue.
This is another cartoonish rig that you can use to practice your animation with.
What makes this one different from Mask Boy is the fact it uses the “morpher” modifier to have some facial animation.
This allows you to add a new layer of life to your project.
It comes in a standard T-pose which is common in rigged models.
Made by the same artist who made Mask Boy, this Medieval Girl Warrior is another cartoon style biped mesh you can practice animations with.
This model comes ready to use in games with several preset animations.
She has an idle pose, a running animation, and she even jumps.
The textures are very detailed and of high quality, but the mesh itself is very low poly so it would work well in lightweight games for PC or perhaps even mobile.
Forest Guard is a bipedal rig but this one is of a more mystic creature.
The joy of animating this piece is the fact that it’s a fictitious creature. You can animate it any way you want as there is no real world standard to base it off.
This character also has very large ears that are individually rigged to their own bones so you can animate them separately to give your Forest Guard more character.
On top of this, the hair and even eyebrows are rigged so you can add your own expressions. There really are a lot of options with this character.
This is another pretty neat fantasy character. However instead of a small cute goblin it’s a terrifying Golem, complete with a rigged mouth that you can open to roar!
The usefulness of this character is while he is still bipedal like the others he is very top heavy.
This is something you will have to keep in mind when animating the weight behind this monster’s hulking shoulders.
Weight is another important principle of animation you need to practice to make your characters look like they behave realistically. This is an excellent model to hone that skill.
So this is an important model for practice due to it being a quadruped.
The way a horse moves will be completely different from any biped you’ve used previously. And it’s good practice for any animals you may animate in the future.
Be sure to study reference images of how horses walk or gallop to make sure you get the foot positioning and weight shifting correct.
This rig even comes with a pre-made animation of the horse jumping.
The film Frozen came out in 2013 and became a worldwide sensation grossing over a billion dollars at box office.
This rigged model is of Marshmallow, Elsa’s enchanted snow monster bodyguard from the film. It allows you to make your own scenes or experiment more with weight like the Golem rig.
It is also very low poly so it can be used in a game engine if it takes your fancy.
Modeling is sometimes a long and tedious process. Populating a busy scene for a client can feel like an endless task.
Maybe you’re making a game and you don’t have time to model everything from scratch. Or maybe you just want to practice specific techniques on pre-built assets.
Whatever your reasons, this section should prove very useful for sourcing some assets.
Please note: While rigs tend to only work in the software they were made in, most models can be used in any 3D software as an .obj or .fbx file.
Myriam is a high poly, photo-realistic model of a female. She comes fully unwrapped with an 8k resolution texture and looks very, very real.
She comes pre posed(having likely been laser scanned) and is not suitable for rigging or animation.
Due to her high poly count she also isn’t suitable for any game scenes.
However she would look excellent in a high quality architectural visualization or similar. Adding people to these kinds of scenes really adds life to them and can make them stand out much more.
If you’re modeling a gym scene or something similar anytime soon then I highly recommend this model.
Here we have a low poly Chinese Dao Broadsword.
Due to its very low poly count and optimized textures this would work well in a game engine like Unity or Unreal Engine 4.
It could even be combined with some of the rigs mentioned earlier in the list.
Maybe “Mask Boy” would look nice with a different sword to fight with?
This is a very nice high poly model of an RPG-7 hand-held anti-tank grenade launcher.
Due to its high poly count I wouldn’t recommend using this in a game scene. It also does not come with a pre made texture you can use.
Yet it is a very good quality model to use to practice your UV unwrapping.
Then you can have fun making your own textures for it. I recommend Substance Painter for this if you have access to it.
Pretty basic and commonplace is this model of a white wall phone.
It is modeled in such a way that it does not require a texture, although you may want to add some of your own to make it even more realistic(such as fingerprints or dust).
This model would look very nice in an interior render.
Its high poly count means it’s not ideal for use in a game environment but you can use it as a base for your own model, or perhaps optimize it yourself.
With a pretty cool style we’ve got this race car made in the low poly classic art style.
It is very low poly so it will fit well in any type of scene for games, animations, whatever.
Would look very nice in a game scene assuming you’re consistent with the art style.
The way it’s been made means it’s very easy to change the colors if you prefer. And if you remove the stripes and hood scoop it would look quite nice as a standard street car.
This is another very high quality model, this time of a Sci-fi Generator.
Like all other high poly models, this one probably isn’t well suited for a game environment but would look awesome in a rendered scene to add into your portfolio.
It also doesn’t come with any textures and isn’t unwrapped, so it’s another good piece to practice those skills on!
Who would think a piece of cardboard could be so interesting?
With a low poly cardboard box model you get this incredible asset with a cute jumping animation.
This would be perfect for any game scene. Its low poly count means it will not slow down your scene. The animation style means you can add interaction with the object too.
It comes textured and includes the original Photoshop file so you can even make your own edits and change the color/logos on the side.
Here we’ve got a base mesh of the now extinct T-Rex.
This apex predator of the late-cretaceous period can be brought to life in your modeling software of choice(3ds Max included).
The fact it’s in a neutral pose means it is perfect to rig so you can animate and bring out this inner beast.
You also get to decide what this creature looked like in its prime by making your own textures. Will he be bright and fearsome, or dull and camouflaged? It’s up to you!
Due to this meshes low poly count it can even be added in as an asset in a game as a fearsome final boss!
One look at this simple design and you’ll probably think of a few good uses for it. This windmill on a small floating island is in the same low poly art style as the racing car earlier.
It’s made from bright vibrant colors that are sure to catch anyone’s eye.
Due to the low poly count this can also be used in any indie or studio game(assuming the right license).
It would look very nice in a fantasy setting, similar to the floating mountains from James Cameron’s Avatar.
Next up is a photorealistic model of a minimalist coffee table with books on it.
This model comes with all its textures so it’s ready to use in your scene immediately.
This model is well suited to an interior architectural render due to its realism and medium poly count.
It could potentially be used in a game environment, but I would recommend removing some of the chamfers on the edges to optimize the poly count.
Wherever you use it, it’s sure to make your virtual rooms look more homely.
Quite a lovely interior scene of a bedroom and it’s got plenty to look at.
It comes with all textures included and the scene is set up to render straight away.
The usefulness of this scene is mostly to practice rendering.
The settings are already set up to give a nice result, so you can play with the lighting and texture setting to see how they affect the way the final render comes out.
You can then take the knowledge you learn from this into your future scenes to improve your work.
This is meant to be a rendered scene so the poly count overall is too high for a game. However some of the individual assets are okay, like the bed for example. Use at your discretion.
These are very high poly models that are intended for interior architectural renders. They are unsuited for games.
If you combine these with the bedroom scene you could turn it into a living room as another source of render practice.
They do not come with textures but tileable cloth textures are easy enough to come by to bring these assets to life.
I’m sure after the last few on the list you’re now a master of interior environments, and you’re excited to try some exteriors.
In that case this asset is for you: a pack of 4 different grass shapes that can be arranged into any overall pattern you like.
Grass can be something very hard to model or represent well with textures. So having some presets ready to go is very helpful.
Note that these are too high poly for game engines, but many such as Unreal Engine come with their own grass presets that you can use there.
One more cartoon styled asset, this time it’s a small forest with a quaint tree house.
It is low poly and comes with all the textures you need to put it in a game engine, or use it as rendering practice.
It’s made by the same artist who made “Mask Boy” and “Medieval Girl” so it can serve as a nice backdrop to animate them. Plus they all fit the same cartoon aesthetic.
Here is one awesome model of a Pacman arcade machine.
The interesting part of this model is the animation on the arcade screen itself really bringing back some retro vibes.
The textures and low poly count means it’s perfect to put in your game environment, but it’s also high quality enough to be used in a render.
Maybe it’s a collectible in some teenager’s bedroom, or maybe you want to make a full arcade scene from this cabinet.
If you know what you’re doing you can easily edit the texture to change colours and the game type to have many different arcade cabinets.
Here’s a really neat pirate ship on a small island being used as a storefront.
This cartoony model comes inside a skydome to make the whole thing feel very fleshed out.
The most impressive part of this model is the attention to detail. You can zoom right into the shop and see the whole thing has been meticulously modeled, and even textured with hilarious signs.
I think this would be another fun scene to animate in. Making the seagulls fly about and the crabs walk along the beach would make for a simple and fun project!
I hope you found some of these models and rigs at least a bit useful for your practice or project work.
The websites linked to in this post all have a lot of free models available if you’re ever looking for more, and when it comes to free 3D assets there are many other sites to browse too.