1) Gather Reference
3D artists rarely create any art from scratch. Normally, reference material is either gathered, created by a concept artist, or both. At the very least, a 3D artist will have a “visual guide” to work with in order to create an appropriately styled piece of art. Reference is important to plan out what is to be created, since many elements of the model may be important to the player, signifying hidden items, the path forward, or explosive or hazardous materials.
2) Low Poly Model
A low poly model is a model created using a relatively low number of polygons (Though standards change each generation of consoles) made to be rendered in real time in the game engine. Since rendering becomes more and more difficult for each polygon added to the model, extraneous details are excluded from the low poly model.