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3D modeling is used to model many things we see in everyday life. From video games to architecture, we’ve probably all benefited from 3D modeling technology.
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But what exactly is 3D modeling? What is it used for and how does it work? Here, we explore the intricacies of 3D modeling and all the amazing things it’s used for.
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Let’s start with a definition of 3D modeling. 3D modeling is the process of creating three-dimensional representations of an object or surface. The 3D models are made in computer-based 3D modeling software, which we will explore a little later.
During the 3D modeling process, you can determine the size, shape and texture of the object. The process works with points, lines and polygons to create 3D shapes in software.
A 3D model basically consists of vertices, which join together to form a mesh and act as the core of the 3D model. Any point on the model can be manipulated to change shape. Using coordinate data, the software identifies the position of each vertical and horizontal point, all relative to the reference point.
The most common way to start making a 3D model is to start with a basic shape – a cube, box, sphere, or whatever you think fits best. From your initial shape, you can start shaping and refining it into what you want.
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Many industries use 3D modeling for a range of projects; there are probably many 3D modeled items that we use without even realizing their participation. With 3D modeling, the possibilities are endless. It is a very versatile medium that can be used for a variety of different areas. Let’s explore some common uses of 3D modeling:
Perhaps the most famous use for 3D modeling is game development. 3D models are used to create characters, settings, props and entire worlds in video games. Immersion is the key to any good game, and 3D modeling is a great way to build immersive experiences.
3D modeling is of particular importance in the world of virtual reality gaming, an extremely exciting sector. Virtual reality games completely immerse you in the game experience, creating entire three-dimensional worlds to immerse yourself in.
It makes sense that 3D printing would not be possible without 3D modeling. 3D printing allows 3D models to become physical objects that can be used for anything you can think of. It is much more than small figures and toys from home printers; there are endless useful ways to use 3D printing.
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As we discovered in our open pitch on 3D printing in healthcare, 3D printing in healthcare is often used with life-changing effects. It is used to make custom prostheses and implants and to create anatomically correct models for surgical planning.
Another common use of 3D modeling is architecture. 3D modeling allows architects to plan beyond the traditional method of hand-drawn building plans. As technology has evolved, we are now able to create a three-dimensional visualization of a building before it is fully constructed.
This is extremely useful for visualizing the final product during pitches or to other stakeholders. 3D modeling can reveal potential problems with building structures that 2D plans may not show and is critical to modern building design.
Once you have a 3D model, it can be fully rigged and animated – which is very useful for animation. Animators use 3D models for a clean, seamless effect when creating movies and TV shows. Throughout the process, 3D modeling is used to create scenery, characters, props and more.
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Most animated films use some form of 3D programming software. However, the animation capability is not exclusive to animation. It is also available for special effects in movies, among others.
Many of the products we see around us in our daily lives would have something to do with 3D modeling. By creating a virtual 3D model of your product before it is physically created, we can spot any errors and adjust the product accordingly. Being able to see the size of an object compared to other products can even make a big difference in the production process.
It’s also useful for pitching product ideas to investors, as products can be displayed at a 360-degree angle, allowing stakeholders to fully visualize the end result. It’s also less wasteful than creating samples and making fake products all the time, and sustainable product design is a great step in the right direction.
With so much potential and variety in 3D modeling, there is such a wide range of software to match. 3D modeling software comes in different price ranges, is specific to different purposes, and all have unique features. Let’s research some examples of 3D modeling software:
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This is an open source 3D modeling software available for free download. It’s a great place to start your 3D modeling journey and can be used for a variety of media.
Common uses for Blender include visual effects, animation, and 3D printing models, to name a few. It supports almost all aspects of 3D modeling, so it’s great if you want to work on different projects.
Another computer-aided design software, AutoCAD is a drafting and design software that can be used for both 2D and 3D projects. It is common among architects and engineers. It is also very useful for product design and helps prevent product defects before production.
Unlike Blender, this 3D modeling software is not available for free download. It is worth noting that you can download a free trial to familiarize yourself with how the software works.
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This software is extremely powerful and is mostly used for animation (even by top animation studios). It is even considered the industry standard for animation and is much more advanced than Blender.
However, it is much more expensive than most. For that reason, it’s probably worth starting your journey with free or cheaper software until you become an expert. In addition, it is much more difficult than Blender because it has so many additional features.
So with so many options to choose from, how do we know which 3D modeling software is the best?
This is a complicated question to answer, as it will depend entirely on you and your projects. The software comes in different levels of complexity, some are better for certain projects, but they all have different features.
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If you’re looking for a good 3D modeling software for beginners, we recommend Blender. The software is easy to use, readily available, multi-purpose and free to download. Often described as easy to learn, this 3D modeling software is great for those new to 3D modeling software.
By now, you’re probably wondering how to start learning 3D modeling. The good news is that resources for this are readily available. All you need is motivation to learn and access to the internet!
Many of the software needed to teach yourself the basics are free to download, or at least offer free trials, and there are plenty of resources available online to help you along the way.
There are many ways to learn 3D modeling software at home. Online courses are a great way to get started and often walk you through the entire process until you are comfortable with the software. The easy way is to have someone show you the ropes anytime, anywhere.
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Once you are comfortable with the basics of 3D modeling, you will be able to practice and improve your skills. You’ll be creating games and designing buildings in no time!
What your first 3D project is will depend a lot on where you study and what you study. However, it is always a good idea to start simple. Get the basics together and get comfortable with the software you use. Eventually you’ll pick up the pace and create full 3D models of anything your heart desires.
Since many online courses will walk you through the process of doing something, you’ll probably start with their recommendation. You can also play around with the software and see if you can make a personal project once you know the basics.
In our Introduction to 3D Modeling course, you will learn the basics of 3D modeling and get the chance to make your own 3D model project.
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The answer is simple – absolutely! The industry is very fast paced, with plenty of room for creativity and employment opportunities. Whether you want to find a new hobby or try to get into a fun technical career, 3D modeling is the way to go.
The 3D space is full to the brim with new possibilities. Take the metaverse, for example, a fully three-dimensional environment that occupies the earth. It is even predicted that the 3D mapping and modeling market will grow by 17.2% between 2022-2027.
As the 3D modeling space is relevant in many industries and growing in popularity with technological advancements, it is a great area to work in. Some of the roles that could be won with 3D
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