3D modelling as the name suggests, is the process of sculpting a three dimensional object by manipulating geometric data within a software package like 3DS Max, Maya or ZBrush to name a few. This manipulation, in essence, creates a wireframe representation of the three dimensional object. 3D modelling began in the 1960’s with various flight training simulations and has since expanded into the realms of modern day film, education and video game applications.
Following ‘Pre-Production’, 3D modelling takes all of the concepts, style guides and other constraints and begins bringing them to life. During this process, modellers often work closely with various artists and producers that might be receiving the model later down the pipeline to ensure the assets stands up to their requirements.
There are various methods to build a 3D asset that suit various purposes or skill levels. The first and simplest method is ‘Primitive Modeling’ which uses geometric shapes like cylinders, cubes, spheres and cones to make more complex objects by combining them.
‘Polygonal Modeling’ is slightly more advanced than primitive modeling and involves connecting points in space or ‘vertices’ to be exact in order to create polygons.
This polygon is one sided meaning that only one side of the polygon is visible and used in graphical calculations like shaders for example. This side of the polygon is also referred to as the ‘Normal’. There are however some limitations to ‘Polygonal Modeling’ however, such as the fact that it cannot create exact curved surfaces. Another limitation of this technique is the hidden unknown quirks that only become revealed with experience, for instance three sided polygons can lead to unexpected lighting and bump imperfections that only become apparent during later phases of the production pipeline.
‘NURBS & Spline Modeling’ is very similar to ‘Polygonal Modeling” except it allows the creation of curved smooth surfaces.
Keel Image: http://www.pilot3d.com/NurbSecrets.htm
What is 3D Modeling?, Accessed 7th June 2015, http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-3d-modeling.htm
Understanding a 3D Production Pipeline, Accessed 6th June 2015, http://blog.digitaltutors.com/understanding-a-3d-production-pipeline-learning-the-basics/
Gulati. Pratik, Step-by-Step: How to Make an Animated Movie, Accessed 6th June 2015, http://cgi.tutsplus.com/articles/step-by-step-how-to-make-an-animated-movie–cg-3257