What Is 3D Modelling, and What’s It Used For?

Have you ever seen a 3D movie and marvelled at the realism of the objects on screen? Or played a video game where you could almost reach out and touch the pixels?

That’s thanks to 3D modelling. So, what is 3D modelling exactly, and how is it used? In this blog post, we bring you a beginner’s guide to 3D modelling – including what it is, how it’s done, and some common applications.

3D Design Definition

The creation of a three-dimensional representation of an object on a flat surface is called 3D modelling. Various software solutions are used for designing and creating 3D objects, and each has its application in specific industries.

All software solutions allow you to determine the size, shape, and texture of the 3D model. Each object is defined by polygons, lines, and points. The difference is in how you manipulate them to create the final form. Some software solutions have strict dimensional input, while others have tools allowing you to shape objects by manipulating the mesh.

Most people think of graphic design as creating 2D images on a computer screen. However, graphic design is much more than that. Graphic designers use various techniques to create visual communications that can be both digital and print. They may use photos, illustrations, or even 3D models to convey a message or tell a story.

While some designers work in 3D software, this is not the same as 3D modelling. Graphic design is all about using different mediums to create a visually appealing message, while 3D modelling is just one tool that graphic designers may use.

What Is 3D Modelling Used For?

3D modelling technology finds its application in multiple industries, so it’s not far-fetched to say that everyone benefits directly, even if you are unaware of it. Most products, such as the mouse and keyboard you are using, are first designed in a piece of software before they end up on the assembly line in a factory.

Here are just some of the industries that benefit greatly from the use of 3D modelling software:

  • Gaming
  • Engineering and architecture
  • Product design
  • Movie and TV industry
  • 3D Printing

Gaming Industry

Games are the most obvious example of an industry where 3D modelling is essential. Entire gaming environments, characters, and in-game items are made by someone who works as a 3D modelling artist in a gaming studio.

There are multiple ways to approach the design of models in gaming. The styles of 3D objects vary significantly depending on the game’s art style and what kind of atmosphere the studio wants to create. Still, it’s impressive to see what artists are capable of creating and how immersive the worlds they build are.

Engineering

What is modelling in engineering? Most often, it’s referred to in connection with architects and civil engineers using CAD software, which stands for Computer-Aided Design. With 3D modelling, you don’t have to rely on two-dimensional plans, and seeing buildings in three dimensions can help with the engineering and design process.

Before any building is constructed, its blueprint must first be created. 3D modelling software is used to design both the exterior and interior of a structure. This way, the engineers and architects can get an idea of what the final product will look like and catch potential problems early on.

Implementing 3D designs in a model also allows for better organization and coordination between all the teams working on a project, as everyone is looking at the same thing. Also, visual aids created through such modelling programs allow for the creation of much better material for pitching projects to investors.

Besides using it to create buildings and floor plans, mechanical engineers can use it to design intricate machine parts and whole cars with all the internal mechanisms, from nuts and bolts to the engine itself. Besides visualizing their designs, engineers also have other specialized tools to virtually test those models under different kinds of stress and conditions.

Product Design

3D model design is essential for most products we use daily. In the product design industry, 3D models are used for multiple purposes, from research and development to marketing. First of all, it’s a great way to see what your product will look like before committing to any materials or manufacturing processes. This is especially important when designing something that will be mass-produced.

Creating 3D design of models is often the first step in the product design process. Next, you can generate 2D drawings for manufacturing. A model can also be 3D printed to create a product prototype. This enables you to test how a product works and looks in real life and make necessary changes before going into full-scale production.

Marketing and advertising are other areas where 3D models are essential. They can be used to create images and videos of a product for social media, TV ads, or even trade shows. Seeing a product in three dimensions can help potential customers better understand its features and functions and see if it’s something they need.

The Movie and TV Industries

You will not be surprised to learn that the movie and TV industries rely heavily on 3D model animation. In today’s day and age, almost anything you see on the screen that’s not a live-action shot is likely created with CGI (computer-generated imagery). This includes entire environments, buildings, and landscapes. Even some of the characters you see on TV or in movies are computer-generated.

Creating realistic CGI requires a lot of skill and experience. Artists need to be able to create models that look like they could exist in real life and then animate them convincingly. This is no easy feat, but the results can be truly amazing.

3D Printing

What is a 3D modeller’s dream? Many will tell you it’s to see their creations come to life. Their solution is 3D printing.

3D printing is a relatively new technology that’s constantly evolving. It allows you to create three-dimensional objects by layering materials on top of each other. The most common materials for 3D printing are plastic and resin, but you can also print with metals, concrete, and even food.

3D printing is often used for prototyping products. With this technology, you can quickly create a physical model of your design without having to go through the hassle and expense of traditional manufacturing methods. This way, you can test the product and make sure it works before investing in mass production.

3D printing can also be used to create one-of-a-kind products. If you can design it, chances are you can print it. This opens up a whole world of possibilities for artists and designers.

Typical Tools Used for 3D Modelling

With diverse purposes for creating 3D models, many types of 3D modelling programs are available to suit your needs. Here are some of the most popular ones:

AutoCAD – 2D and 3D CAD software used by architects, engineers, and construction professionals. While it’s mostly known for creating 2D drawings, it has precise 3D modelling features.

Blender – A free and open-source 3D creation suite that’s great for character modelling, 3D printing, and creating animations. Despite being free to use, Blender is a powerful tool with a steep learning curve, which can be used for game design and even for creating blockbuster animated movies.

SketchUp – 3D modelling software used mostly by architects and interior designers. It has free and paid versions and is great for quickly creating models with textures and intricate renders. It can also be used for 2D drawings.

3ds Max – Powerful animation, modelling, and rendering software used in architecture, gaming, and the film industry. The software was developed by Autodesk, and it’s not cheap, but it is packed with features.

Maya – Another piece of 3D software from Autodesk used by professional artists and animators. Maya is used in the creation of movies, TV shows, and video games.

ZBrush – A digital sculpting tool used for creating high-resolution 3D models for movies, games, and illustrations. Unlike other tools, you don’t sculpt with polygons but with digital “brushes” that can add, remove, and deform the model’s shape.

What Are the Benefits of 3D Modelling With a Drawing Tablet?

A drawing tablet can be a great tool for creating 3D models. Here are some of the benefits of using a drawing tablet for 3D modelling:

  • Extremely versatile and can be used for a variety of modelling applications.
  • Offer a high level of precision, making it easy to create detailed models.
  • Very user-friendly and easy to learn how to use.
  • Allow you to create models quickly and easily.
  • Wide range of features and options, making them perfect for both novice and experienced users alike.

If you prefer to use Apple products, you can even turn your iPad into a drawing tablet. It’s easiest to pair with a Mac, but there are ways to use it with a PC as well.

How To Learn 3D Modelling

Now that you know what 3D modelling is and what it’s used for, you might be wondering how you can learn this skill. If you’re interested in learning 3D modelling, there are a few ways you can go about it.

One way is to take an online course or tutorial. Sites like Udemy and LinkedIn Learning offer comprehensive courses that will teach you the basics of 3D modelling and how to use different software programs.

Another way to learn about animation and 3D model design is to find free resources online. YouTube is a great place to start, as there are many helpful tutorials available. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can move on to more advanced concepts.

You can always sign up for a workshop or class if you want a more hands-on approach. These will allow you to learn in a more interactive environment and get feedback from an experienced instructor.

And finally, the best way to learn is by doing. Start creating simple models and work your way up to more complex projects. The more you practice, the better you’ll become at 3D modelling.


FAQ

What can 3D modelling be used for?

3D modelling has a wide range of applications, including product design, engineering, architecture, 3D printing, and CGI for movies and TV.

What is 3D modelling?

3D modelling is the process of creating a three-dimensional representation of an object or scene. This can be done by using various software solutions available for PC users.

What is the process of 3D modelling?

The process of 3D modelling can vary depending on the software being used. Typically, it involves creating a wireframe of the object or scene, adding surfaces and textures, and then lighting and rendering the final image.

Milica Milenkovic
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