To create the best 3D models, an artist has to rely on 3D modeling techniques. But it is not just about the art. Before one gets to see the final artistic product, he or she has to observe the scientific rules behind the software in use. In fact, the 3D graphic designs, animations, and visualizations don’t just happen. It’s all thanks to the scientific process known as 3D modeling.
Due to its mathematical nature, 3D modeling involves the use of several vertices to create a mesh, which is then turned into a visual 3D object. While some software allows for the automatic creation of the 3D models, others require the artist to manipulate vertices to create the desired object.
In this article, we introduce you to the world of 3D modeling and expose you to the science and art behind it. Read on.
What Is 3D Modeling?
3D modeling is the process through which 3D representations of an object or surface are created by manipulating mathematical vertices, edges, and polygons in a virtual 3D space. It is done the same way a sculptor would work on a physical object only that it involves the use of a software.
At the end of the process, the artist is able to create 3D models for use in video games, architecture, movies, illustration, commercial advertising, and engineering. The purpose of 3D modeling is to produce a digital object that can be fully animated.
The artist starts out with a mesh of mathematical vertices, which is essentially multiple points in a virtual space. After the points have been mapped on a 3D grid, they are joined together to form polygons, especially quadrilaterals and triangles. Each vertex or point has a unique position on the grid and combining them into shapes creates the surface of the object.
After the model has been created, it could be exported to a different software to be used in movies, games, and so on. However, there are a number of 3D modeling software which allows for the objects to be brought to life through a process known as rendering. The technique involves the use of top-notch lighting algorithms to make the 3D scenes look realistic.
Where Is 3D Modeling Used?
A number of creative careers depend on 3D modeling and they include architecture and engineering. In these fields, 3D modeling is used to design and plan all types of work. Also, video game designers and animators depend on 3D design to give life to their ideas.
If you are a fun of the blockbusters from Hollywood, you must have noticed how 3D modeling is used to produce special effects, cut costs, and hasten the production process.
The other industries where 3D modeling is used include geology, architecture, medical devices, and manufacturing. When it comes to manufacturing, the 3D models created virtually are used to print realistic objects. It could be a prototype of the product or the product itself.
Due to their wide application, 3D models are in high demand in all kinds of online platforms. As an artist, you may join websites such as CGTrader and TurboSquid to create 3D models either individually or as part of various teams.
How 3D Modeling Works
At the earliest stages of the creative process, primitive objects like planes, spheres or cubes are used. The artist then uses several modeling tools to manipulate and build upon the basic form. The basics of 3D modeling dictate that you start with the simple and slowly move towards the complex.
3D modeling is a precise art form that involves the use of standalone vertices to create the contours that define the final object. In its exterior, the mesh contains polygons that are divided into smaller triangles and quadrilaterals to create detail. If you intend to animate the 3D model, the subdivisions will come in handy.
For example, if you are creating the frame of a human being, joints that require to be bent like elbows and knees will require the additional polygons for smooth motion.
To speed up the 3D modeling process, you can apply the mirroring technique to create a symmetrical model simply by working on one half or quarter of it. You can use this technique to create half of a character and then mirror it to create perfect symmetry.
Once you are through with creating the model you had in mind, you can go ahead to paint and texture the surface. The purpose of texture is to give your surfaces certain details so that it looks more complicated than it actually is. Video game creators use this technique to great effect.
What 3D Modeling Software Can You Use?
3D modeling can be done using all types of software including AutoDesk Maya, Blender, SketchUp, Cinema 4D, AutoDesk 3ds Max, Houdini, and SolidWorks. Your choice will depend on your budget and the types of work you intend to do. If you are just starting out, you could opt for Blender which is available free of charge and is easy to learn.