3D modeling is most often associated with computer games or the film industry, but this direction is also in demand in other areas of activity. 3D specialists should be able to create any object, whether a game character or a production part. In this regard, it can decide that entry into the profession is open only to professional artists with higher education and experience. However, this is not entirely true, and almost anyone can become a 3D modeler.
Advantages and scopes of 3D Modeling
3D modeling is the construction of a model of an object in three-dimensional space. This way of representing objects began to be used in the 1960s when computer engineers were doing it. Modern 3D modeling technologies allow you to design complex 3D models, test them and make changes at various levels.
The main disadvantage of two-dimensional graphics is that sketches and drawings cannot give a complete picture of an object’s actual appearance. As a result, the drawings are usually supplemented with a layout showing the arrival of the future project. Thus, if there are errors in the calculations, it is necessary to make changes to the already finished object, which significantly complicates implementing the plan.
3D modeling systems make it possible to obtain a model of an object even before the production of test samples and, therefore, to discern the weaknesses of the project and determine its compliance with the original idea. Another, but also quite significant, an advantage of 3D modeling is the extreme degree of persuasiveness and clarity of three-dimensional pictures and videos.
Three-dimensional graphics are used in almost all areas of activity, from logo development to large-scale projects at the construction level of a residential complex or district.
Cinematography, computer games, and animation
The creation of virtual worlds and fictional characters were created thanks to a unique technique for using polygons. They are simple geometric shapes with three or four faces, which form one object by connecting under various hums. You should perform multiple manipulations to make it move – stretching, moving, and rotating. Since they together represent a single whole, it resembles the tension of a web – the deformation of one element leads to changes in the rest. Each segment occupies a smaller area. The more of them in the aggregate, the more significant the clarity of the image. It uses such a thing as graphics quality – you can adjust it in various games. It makes sense when the computer does not have sufficient resources to display all the fragments quickly.
Thanks to 3D scanning, it is now possible to detect damage to organs and tissues that are invisible to a conventional x-ray machine. Such technologies make it possible to establish an accurate diagnosis when one could not do it during previous examinations. In addition to virtual mock-ups, when new technologies are introduced, many healthcare institutions also purchase special 3D printers. Using a visual representation of the tomography result, you can create an implant of a tooth, a hearing aid, a heart valve, or a limb prosthesis. In addition, bioprinting is new and constantly improved technology, when the paint is replaced by living human cells.
The primary need arises among specialists from technical fields – engineers, electricians, and builders. They work with solid or hollow objects, the characteristics of which have a strictly defined value. Therefore, companies purchase the necessary software with broad functionality and a large set of tools with the expectation of the entire department. It is also used for teaching in technical and architectural universities to develop design skills in students in a comfortable environment. Work in CAD is carried out with an electronic geometric model. Draw drawings of any section in any image at the right angle. Thanks to this, many graphs are replaced by one layout.
Therefore, one file using different layers can be simultaneously edited by various employees and even departments, which allows for the following:
- adjust the parameters of the entire product by changing the value of one specific value
- determine the value of any indicator, both at the current moment and in the forecasted version
- carry out program control of a machine tool or other CNC equipment
- create a three-dimensional model for presentation using a 3D printer
- render the layout by rendering, i.e., applying textures to represent the final appearance.
Principles, types, stages, and methods of 3D modeling
Visibility is a property of the image, consisting of the correct and precise representation of the object being modeled. Visualization is achieved through the exterior design of a three-dimensional model, which includes colors, designations, the shape and size of elements, and texture. Visibility implies the possibility for the viewer to perceive a three-dimensional model’s shapes, sizes, and content. The more detailed the model, the more it includes elements with more details. At the same time, the image’s clarity is increased by optimizing the data and hiding insignificant objects.
Informativeness is a property of three-dimensional images, which depends on the number of various spatial characteristics. A three-dimensional image’s most significant information content is achieved with a comprehensive representation of the model’s appearance, position in space, sizes, and shapes of all essential elements. To evaluate the chosen option for achieving the set goals, it is necessary to obtain information about the planned position and height of objects and the reliability of these data.
Polygonal modeling involves building a three-dimensional figure on a flat surface marked with a grid. The mesh is made of lines called edges that intersect at points called vertices. Edges divide the surface into separate polygons. At the program level, actions are performed with edges and vertices until the object takes the desired shape, while the polygons are shifted relative to each other at different angles. The number of polygons can reach tremendous values. As it increases, the mesh more closely resembles the contours of the object created, becoming more and more as intended. It is analogous to how a regular polygon becomes a circle as the number of edges increases. Also, separate two-dimensional figures, called splines, can act as polygons. They can look like simple, different lines or composite shapes. Together they are combined into one three-dimensional figure. This modeling method is appropriate if the author wants the viewer to see the elements that form a 3D sculpture. Polygonal modeling is most common in science, architecture, computer games, augmented and virtual reality, 3D printing, graphic elements for a web interface, special effects in films, and sculpting.
A sketch is first created in parametric modeling, with which changes are subsequently made. It is based on a mathematical model with suitable parameters, changing the values
Model geometry creation. In the first stage, a spatial geometric model of the object is created that does not consider its physical characteristics. Then, the dimensions and the construction of the object’s shape are calculated. Finally, rotation, extrusion, extension, and polygonal modeling methods are used.
Object texture creation. At this stage, it is determined what materials will build the object, and its texture is developed. At this moment, the model’s degree of realism is set.
Choice of lighting. At this stage, difficulties arise since the perception of the model depends on these parameters and how plausible it will be. The tone of lighting, the degree of brightness, sharpness, and saturation of shadows are indicated.
Rendering. The ideal display settings are refined at the final stage of 3D modeling. In particular, special effects, such as glare and fog, are added. If there is an animation, its parameters are adjusted. Visualization parameters, such as the number of frames per second and the final video format, are also defined. If the result is a 2D image, you should select its format and resolution.
Post-production. At the end of the 3D modeling process, special effects can be included in the finished material using software tools such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premier Pro, Adobe Illustrator, etc. In other words, post-production takes place when the final result is improved using various technologies.
Scanline. Due to its speed, scanline rendering is used in video games and interactive scenes. If you have a powerful video adapter, you can use it to get a clear image with a frequency of more than 30 frames per second. The render action is based on the implementation of the row-by-row principle. First, the required polygons are located along the largest vertical coordinate. After that, each image row is formed by crossing with the polygon closest to the virtual camera. Finally, polygons are removed in the transition between the rows, which disappear from the field of view.
Raytrace. The purpose of this method is to obtain an image with maximum resolution and detail. At the same time, rendering takes much time and is unsuitable for creating real-time animated graphics. When using the Raytrace method, rays are drawn from a virtual camera for each pixel on an imaginary screen to the nearest three-dimensional object. The point’s color is determined based on what things the imaginary ray collides with.
Raycasting. With this method, the same thing happens as in the previous case, but here only the first surface on which the ray falls is calculated. Then, depending on the characteristics of the object and the illumination, the color of the image pixel is determined. Further processing of the rays reflected from the object does not occur in this case.
Radiosity. This rendering means that the object’s surface is illuminated by direct light sources and other characters that reflect light. In this case, the point of view does not matter, which increases the load, but the resulting image is of high quality and realism. We can achieve the best result by using the Radiosity and Raytrace methods for rendering simultaneously.
Software and necessary skills for working with 3D modeling
A variety of 3D modeling programs are currently being used. There are more and more of them every year as software manufacturers strive to meet the needs of a wide range of users, so when new requests arise, they release new products.
3D Max is a widely used program suitable for professional work and provides impressive functionality. With its help, you can create animation and three-dimensional graphics, and there are opportunities for drawing complex models. The resulting objects are detailed and can then be animated.
Maya is a professional software program used for making movies and making games. Therefore, it has ample opportunities for creating realistic models of high quality.
AutoCAD is a tool for spectacular 2D and 3D modeling and has a multilingual interface, which you can understand without special skills. For example, you can draw a two-dimensional model and translate it into a three-dimensional image. You can also create individual objects, large structures, and game textures.
Cinema 4D is a multifunctional program for three-dimensional modeling and animation.
Compass 3D is software for creating three-dimensional models. It is based on mathematical calculations and is an excellent engineering project option. The program’s capabilities include building a model and mathematical calculations for its subsequent manufacture.
Rhinoceros is used in architecture, shipbuilding, design, and multimedia technology. It has become widespread due to its voluminous functionality and the ability to import and export various files.
Blender is a program that allows rendering, animation, editing, and post-processing. The presented functionality can be extended using plugins. Suitable for learning the basics of 3D modeling.
Wings 3D is a basic 3D modeling program that allows you to work with simple models. A simple and uncomplicated interface dramatically simplifies the task for beginners. Also, the source code of the program is open for modification.
Google SketchUp allows you to create and modify many types of models, supplementing them with new elements and textures. It has extensive functionality for working on objects of varying complexity.
Of course, one software is not enough to work with 3D modeling. Both desire and skills are required. A good specialist is in great demand because he can draw anything.
What should a 3D artist be able to do? His primary skills are working with specific software, knowing the basics of anatomy to give realistic movements to animated characters, and being able to draw by hand at a decent level. If you are terrible at drawing, you should not get into such a profession.
In this profession, perseverance is essential, such as the willingness to spend hours figuring out the features of the work of specific programs. A 3D modeler must be attentive to detail, scrupulous, and somewhat pedantic. It is widely believed that modeling is only for artists and designers. But, as practice shows, there are many talented modelers without art education and, in general, self-taught – all information is now easy to find on the Internet. Of course, it is essential to understand the basics of composition, body composition, and light placement, but you can learn these aspects without special training.
A 3D model is not a frozen picture; all changes can be observed on the model in real-time, allowing you to make decisive decisions without a physical presence. Furthermore, the interaction of software tools with other calculation modules makes it possible to widely use volumetric modeling in various fields such as media, architecture, communications, medicine, education, etc.