3D Modeling

In 3D computer graphics, 3D modeling is the process of developing a mathematical coordinate-based representation of any surface of an object (inanimate or living) in three dimensions via specialized software by manipulating edges, vertices, and polygons in a simulated 3D space.

Three-dimensional (3D) models represent a physical body using a collection of points in 3D space, connected by various geometric entities such as triangles, lines, curved surfaces, etc. Being a collection of data (points and other information), 3D models can be created manually, algorithmically (procedural modeling), or by scanning. Their surfaces may be further defined with texture mapping.

Uses For 3D Modeling & Design

While these industries are some of the most common users of 3D, a use for 3D modeling can be found in almost any industry.

We offer 3D Modeling & Design to our customers who need to create and bring their ideas and projects, parts, components to life from sketches or ideas. We can incorporate 3D Scanning in the project or use the old fashion methodology with the ruler and caliper, this will however increase the cost as the manual methodology is both a labor- and time-intensive process.

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Some of the industries where 3D is heavily used, to name a few:

  • Film/TV – Used to create CGI characters, objects, environments, animations and titling for movies and commercials

  • Video Game Development – Used to create the entire visual 3D component of the game with many aspects of animation being the same process as used in Film/TV.

  • Architecture – Used to create interactive renderings of buildings and structures; the vast majority of all architectural items are created via 3D CAD modeling for real-life construction.

  • Engineering – Creation of to-scale designs to then be produced in a CNC environment and/or via a more manual, hands-on method of fabrication.

Uses For 3D Modeling & Design Methodologies

There are several 3D Modeling & Design methodologies. The top-three popular ones are:

  • Polygonal Modeling – Points in 3D space, called vertices, are connected by line segments to form a polygon mesh. The vast majority of 3D models today are built as textured polygonal models, because they are flexible and because computers can render them so quickly. However, polygons are planar and can only approximate curved surfaces using many polygons.

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  • Curve Modeling – Surfaces are defined by curves, which are influenced by weighted control points. The curve follows (but does not necessarily interpolate) the points. Increasing the weight for a point will pull the curve closer to that point. Curve types include nonuniform rational B-spline (NURBS), splines, patches, and geometric primitives

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  • Digital Sculpting – Still a fairly new method of modeling, 3D sculpting has become very popular in the few years it has been around. There are currently three types of digital sculpting:

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  • Constructive solid geometry

  • Implicit surfaces

  • Subdivision surfaces

  • Displacement, which is the most widely used among applications at this moment, uses a dense model (often generated by subdivision surfaces of a polygon control mesh) and stores new locations for the vertex positions through use of an image map that stores the adjusted locations.

  • Volumetric, loosely based on voxels, has similar capabilities as displacement but does not suffer from polygon stretching when there are not enough polygons in a region to achieve a deformation.

  • Dynamic Tessellation, which is similar to voxel, divides the surface using triangulation to maintain a smooth surface and allow finer details.

  • These methods allow for very artistic exploration as the model will have a new topology created over it once the models form and possibly details have been sculpted. The new mesh will usually have the original high resolution mesh information transferred into displacement data or normal map data if for a game engine.

  • The modeling stage consists of shaping individual objects that are later used in the scene. There are a number of modeling techniques, including:

  • Modeling can be performed by means of a dedicated software, such as, Cinema 4D, Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3DS Max, Blender, LightWave, Modo, or an application component Shaper, Lofter in 3DS Max, or some scene description language as in POV-Ray.

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  • 3D Models can also be created using the technique of Photogrammetry with dedicated programs such as RealityCapture, Metashape, 3DF Zephyr, and Meshroom.

  • Cleanup and further processing can be performed with applications such as MeshLab, the GigaMesh Software Framework, netfabb or MeshMixer.

  • Photogrammetry creates models using algorithms to interpret the shape and texture of real-world objects and environments based on photographs taken from many angles of the subject.

  • Complex materials such as blowing sand, clouds, and liquid sprays are modeled with particle systems, and are a mass of 3D coordinates which have either points, polygons, texture splats, or sprites assigned to them.