3D Applications

Developed for the first time in the 1960s by the creator of Sketchpad, Ivan Sutherland, 3D modelling is the future of any industry application.

Ivan Sutherland
Ivan Sutherland

image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/c921a9a1-b2d8-4e7b-b87b-77524f9734f6 by Dick Lyon

It can be simply defined as the process of creating a three-dimensional digital visual representation of an actual object using specialized CAD software, that allows incorporating real-time data into the model and interaction with the object which can be rotated, flipped, exploded, or manipulated in all sorts of ways on the screen.

Types of 3D modeling

A wireframe model is a skeletal description of a 3D object. There are no surfaces in a wireframe model; it consists only of points, lines, and curves that describe the edges of the object. Because each object that makes up a wireframe model must be independently drawn and positioned, this type of modelling can be the most time-consuming.

Surface modelling is more sophisticated than wireframe modelling since it defines the edges as well as the surfaces of 3d model. The surface modeller defines faceted surfaces using a polygonal mesh that can approximate curved surfaces.

Solid modelling is the easiest type to use: 3D objects can be made by creating basic 3D shapes such as boxes, cones, cylinders, spheres, wedges and tori (donuts). You can then combine these shapes to create more complex solids by joining or subtracting them or finding their overlapping volume. You can also create solids by sweeping a 2D object along a path or revolving it about an axis.

3D model surface types
3D model surface types: A: mesh-quads, B: mesh-quads, smoothed, C: NURBS. (Available at: https://andrewevs92.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/127/).

image source: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/3D-model-surface-types-A-mesh-quads-B-mesh-quads-smoothed-C-NURBS-Available-at_fig1_322096576 uploaded by Predrag Novaković

what is 3d modeling used for?

Sutherland opened the first-ever department of computer technologies at the University of Utah, attracting numerous talented professionals such as Edwin Catmull, the current head of Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios. 3D modelling is in fact not only useful in architectural design. It can be used in just about any industry including consumer products and even for educational purposes.

When used within the scope of engineering or architecture, such as prototypes or building designs, solid 3D modelling offers a precise resemblance of what the final object will look like and function like in a real-life scenario. The same thing applies to other fields of study, such as biology or chemistry, where 3D models are used as visual representations of body organs or the chemical structure of an atom. It is mainly used to bring life to animation and video games.

CNC machines used for printing 3d objects
CNC machines are used for printing 3d objects.

image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/56ebe60d-b785-412e-a926-107dabc9f47f

CNC machined dollar sign
CNC machined dollar sign

image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/158a2d19-3c6a-469b-9cf5-84be7cb0523b


One of the most widely used 3D applications by professionals, and students alike, is “Autodesk 3ds Max”. Autodesk actually has a ton of programs for 3D modelling, animation, and special effects, but 3ds Max is optimal for someone who is learning 3D and wants to take it into a profession.

“Autodesk Maya” is an award-winning application that is used in all kinds of post-production studios across the world.. Maya uses the Maya Embedded Language (MEL) and Python scripting. It has amazing character animation and modelling tools, and gives you the ability to create breathtaking visual effects for film and television.

Besides the fact that it is free, Blender offers high-quality modelling and animation tools: with features like Python scripting, bullet physics, dynamics support, advanced rigging, animation and even exportation to popular renderers.

Maxon Cinema 4D is one of the most user-friendly 3D applications available. Whether it be post-production, architectural visualization, or even engineering, the different bundles have different modules to fit any need. Cinema 4D has different modules (such as Sketch & Toon, Thinking Particles, Hair, and Mograph) that allow you to utilize different tools.

Maxon's Studio Cinema
Maxon Studio’s Cinema 4D is one of the most developed creative tools.

image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/0aa5122a-8305-4507-8d0d-273fef0045d8 by Creative Tools 

info source: https://www.cadcrowd.com/blog/3d-modeling-overview-history-industry-applications/

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