Aviva Directory » Computers & Internet » Software » Multimedia » Graphics » 3D Graphics & Modeling

Three-dimensional (3D) computer graphics and modeling software are the focus of resources listed in this guide.

In 3D computer graphics, modeling refers to the process of creating either a real-world object or an imaginary object in a 3D virtual world. The process is called modeling, and the product is known as a 3D model. Once created, 3D models can be displayed as a two-dimensional (2D) image through 3D rendering, used in a computer simulation, or created as a physical object through the use of 3D printing devices.

There are two types of 3D models: stylistic and photorealistic.

In stylized modeling, the goal is not to create an object that looks just like the real-world example. In this type of modeling, the 3D artist seeks to create an abstract model. A 3D cartoon character would be an example of stylistic modeling. Someone viewing a 3D rendering of Daffy Duck might recognize the character as a duck, although it doesn't truly look much like an actual duck.

Photorealistic styling attempts to simulate a 3D object that looks like the real-world object. This type of modeling is used in the medical and dental fields in products such as 3D renderings of body parts, such as lungs or teeth, and we have seen it in the movies when CGI is made to look like actual video footage. Through photorealistic 3D modeling, Hollywood has even brought back actors who have been dead for years, as well as dinosaurs that have been extinct for millions of years. While photorealistic 3D models do not always appear exactly like the real-world example, that is the goal, and the technology is constantly improving.

While 3D modeling can be done manually, using plastics arts or sculpting, it can usually be accomplished better and quicker through computer software technology, and sometimes a combination of manual and computer graphics modeling is used.

The most common way to create 3D models is through the use of 3D software applications. There are ways to create 3D models using Java or other programming languages, but this requires familiarity with the language and far more time than it would take to achieve the same result through software.

There are several commercial and open-source software applications for 3D modeling. Some popular ones include Autodesk 3DS Max, Autodesk Maya, Cinema 4D, LightWave, Rhinoceros 3D, and SolidWorks. Professional 3D modeling programs, such as these, do not come cheap, however.

There are lower-priced and even free and open-source options, but they tend to be limited. Daz Studio is a popular software application produced by Daz 3D and offered for free. Blender 3D is a free and open-source graphics toolset used for 3D printed models, animated films and motion graphics, computer games, and other visual effects. Some of the free and open-source alternatives compete well with the expensive commercial products.

Any software designed for 3D graphics and 3D modeling is appropriate for this category, whether commercial, open-source, or freeware.



Recommended Resources

Search for 3D Graphics & Modeling on Google or Bing