3D Modeling is one of the first stages of creating a 3D asset. Once you choose an object, you have to research sufficient information for its creation. Usually, it includes photos and details about the size and function of each element. Once this is done, it is time to create the model's geometry - the 3D mesh. It can be done by 3D Modeling, Sculpting or scanning. To be fair 3D Sculpting is a technique for 3D Modeling not an alternativе to it. While scanning is a semi-automatic way of producing a detailed geometry that usually has to be modified afterwards. We will talk a little bit about each of those methods here.
2D vs 3D
First, let's start with the basics. We've all heard the term "3D", and most of us know that it refers to three-dimensional. The three dimensions are the length, width and height. In contrast, 2D is a flat surface with only length and width. You can see the difference between 2D ( Shape ) and 3D ( Form ) on the image here. If you add the dimension of time ( movement ), then you get 4D, but we will talk more on that in a future post.
Now, let’s see what а 3D space ( three-dimensional space ) is and what it looks like within a specialized 3D software. 3D space is a geometric setting where a position of an element can be determined based on the three parameters ( dimensions ) - length, height and width ( x-axis, y-axis, z-axis ). The model is usually constructed out of polygons, edges and vertices. You can view those as the building blocks of the asset. Each of them has a specific role in building the model, and they are almost always connected.
3D Modeling is the process used to create a three-dimensional representation of any object or form within a specialized 3D design software. Once created, this object is called a 3D model, and it can be used in a large variety of ways. For example, 3D models are used in Movies, Games, Augmented Reality ( AR), Virtual Reality ( VR ), 3D Scanning, 3D Printing, Product Design and Manufacturing, Interior and Exterior Design and Visualization, etc. Professionals who provide 3D modeling services are called 3D Modelers. If they specialize not only in Modeling but in other parts of the production of 3D art - texturing, materials/shaders, lighting, rigging, animation, skinning, fur etc. They are called 3D Artists.
There is much 3D software available online (also called 3d modeling programs). Based on your preferences, you can choose between software made primarily for 3D designers, Video Game Developers, Animators, Architectural Visualization, Product Design & Production experts etc. There are also excellent free 3D Modeling Softwares to use if you are a beginner. Below you can see a statistic of the most popular paid and free software out there.
Types of 3D Modeling
There are different types of modeling techniques, but they are all a different path to the same goal: Box, Spline, Nurbs, Procedural, Sculpting, Image-Based Modeling are some of those techniques. Most of the times, the process of modeling a realistic 3D object involves a lot of research and study. If you are creating a real-world object, then you will need photos, blueprints and measurements. Many times one or two of those prerequisites is missing, and that makes the 3D artist's job that much harder. If you are missing all three, however, then you move towards the real of concept design or product design. In regards to the result of the modeling process, you can achieve the same visual effect and results using different techniques or by combining techniques. The type of 3D Modeling also varies based on the way it is going to be used. For example, 3D models used in Movies, Games, AR & VR, Marketing, Architectural renderings, 3D Printing are not all equal and have different specifications. Each industry has its requirements for the mesh ( geometry ) of the 3D Assets.
3D Modeling as a Service
Since there are several big industries that are hungry for 3D stock models, 3d modeling services have become more and more popular in the last ten years. Big freelancing platforms house a large amount of 3D Artists looking for work and experience. However, if you are looking for high-quality results for an important project, it is better to choose the services of a 3D Studio. The most significant difference between the studio and the freelancer is the reliability and volume of production. A team of highly trained 3D Artists that have years of experience under their belt can handle a large variety of 3D projects. Varying from basic 3d modelling to the most advanced production of photorealistic 3D models, a studio can be more flexible in matching your needs.
Why Use 3D?
Regardless of the method used for the creation of the 3D model, a photorealistic 3D asset can be a precious thing, especially for producers, business owners and designers. Here are a few examples of why you may want to use 3D Models even if you are not in the Game, Movie or AR/VR industries:
- Market the benefits of your products better.
- Boost your sales with top-notch 3D presentations.
- Outperform your competition by giving your customers a closer look at your product using 3D.
- Allow your customers to envision your product within their environment or with their specifications using 3D.
- Save time by testing your product within a 3D Space.
- Bring your idea into reality using 3D as a means of prototyping.
- Present your product to clients or investors.
- Create your business totem/mascot character.
Who Needs 3D Models?
Apart from the big industries, we mentioned above many, many people and business around the world use 3D to market themselves, to produce, to design to show an idea or a vision, to get ahead in their niche. Many others need 3D but don’t know it - small business owners, students and entrepreneurs.
How are 3D Models Being Used?
Hollywood has been using 3D for more than 20 years. Bringing us closer to the characters on screen and telling us stories that can’t be said in any other way. The animation and gaming industries rely heavily on 3D models for their environments, characters as well as a user interface. Architectural studios, besides the cad software projects, create amazing photorealistic presentations of their interior and exterior projects. They are allowing their clients to see their future home long before the construction starts. 3D Printing and 3D printers are getting more and more popular with uses ranging from toys and souvenirs on one end of the spectrum to 3D printed organs, cars and homes on the other end. Marketers all over the world use 3D models daily to showcase their products. TV stations use 3D assets in the news in VR studios as well as in infographics. The truth is that 3D is everywhere. If you look closely enough, you will see it on TV, on Social Media, or advertisements all around your town as well as on the products you have within your home. Pick any domestic product in your home and chances are that 3D played some role in this product’s development, creation and marketing.
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