3D Modeling

In 3D computer graphics, 3D modeling (or three-dimensional modeling) is the process of developing a mathematical representation of any three-dimensional surface of an object (either inanimate or living) via specialized software. The product is called a 3D model. It can be displayed as a two-dimensional image through a process called 3D rendering or used in a computer simulation of physical phenomena. The model can also be physically created using 3D printing devices.

3D modeling software is a class of 3D computer graphics software used to produce 3D models. Individual programs of this class are called modeling applications or modelers.

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 by hand, algorithmically (procedural modeling), or scanned. Their surfaces may be further defined with texture mapping. 3D models are widely used anywhere in 3D graphics and CAD. Actually, their use predates the widespread use of 3D graphics on personal computers. Many computer events used pre-rendered images of 3D models as sprites before computers could render them in real-time. Today, 3D models are used in a wide variety of fields. The movie industry uses them as characters and objects for animated and real-life motion pictures.

3D modeling is a manner of creating 3 dimensional objects. When it comes to 3D printing, 3D modeling is often done through a 3D files can be affected to the desired dimensions of the print. Without a 3D model, a 3D print is impossible. 3D modelling is process of creating a 3D object using 3D modelling programs. CAD modelling visually represented as two-dimensional image using 3D rendering or visualization techniques. There are 3 general types of 3D modelling methods, which are listed below.

Polygonal Modelling: A polygonal model represents points in 3D space connected by line segments to form a polygon mesh. Polygonal mesh files are planar, which means that they are represented by a series of flat facets. Therefore, curves can only be approximated through surface subdivision with a defined resolution. Polygonal meshes are convenient because they are lightweight and visualizations can be rendered quickly.

Curve Modelling: Another type of modelling that relies on curves to generate surface geometry. Curve modelling can be both parametric (based on geometric and functional relationships) or freeform, and rely on NURBS (nonuniform rational B-splines) to describe surface forms. The curves are driven by mathematical equations that are influenced by the designer using weighted control points. Check out our entry on Rhinoceros to learn more about curve modelling.

Digital Sculpting: This is a relatively new type of 3D modeling where the user interacts with the digital model as you would modeling clay. Users can push, pull, pinch, or twist virtual clay to generate their model. Sculptris is a great example of digital sculpting.

Code-driven modelling: this is a growing area of modelling where geometry is generated autonomously based on conditions set in place by the designer. To read more about how this works, check out our entry on Autodesk's Deamcatcher . This type of modelling is excellent for 3D printing as it can be used to generate 3D structures that can't be manufactured through any other means.