There’s hardly any industry that hasn’t been impacted by 3D modeling in one way or the other. From gaming to architecture, healthcare, manufacturing, and more, 3D models abound. However, as the prevalence of digital content grows, the demand for high-quality 3D graphics also strengthens globally.
But what exactly is 3D modeling? What is the process of creating 3D animation models? And how do you go about creating a 3D model? In this blog, we’ll go deep into the intricacies of 3D modeling for animation.
What Is 3D Modeling?
3D modeling is the process of producing a three-dimensional image of an object or a surface. Looking at the influence character modeling has today, it is used pretty much in every sector.
Modeling is a vital step of 3D animation created using computer-based 3D modeling software. Depending on the project and your needs, you can employ various 3D modeling techniques, which we’ll discuss in the next section.
The Most Popular 3D Modeling Techniques
Thanks to the evolution of technology, there are various techniques 3D modelers employ for animation 3D modeling.
Let’s go over the most famous 3D modeling techniques recognized in the industry.
- Digital 3D Sculpting
- Laser Scanning
- Box Modeling
- Solid Modeling
- NURBS and Curve Modeling
- SubD Modeling
- Architectural and Product Visualization
Digital 3D Sculpting
Digital sculpting is a relatively new modeling approach quite similar to clay modeling in the real world. It is a careful technique that has transformed the workflow for animators, giving them the freedom to add small and large details to the 3D model.
Laser or scan-based modeling was introduced with the advancement in laser scanning technology. This technique collects data from an existing object to produce a digital representation. The collected data is then converted into an animated 3D model using the software.
Box modeling is another technique for animation 3D modeling. In Box modeling, the process begins with a cube. The animator then extrudes the cube to form the physical features of the 3D character, including the arms, fingers, legs, etc. Lastly, all the details are added, and the final product is refined.
Solid modeling is by far one of the most frequently used techniques. In solid modeling, animators work with simple shapes like cubes and spheres. Objects created with this technique have true volume and can be rotated, modified, and manipulated while remaining solid from all angles.
NURBS and Curve Modeling
NURBS (Non-uniform rational B-spline) modeling is increasingly beneficial in product visualization and architecture industries. It is a mathematical model type that relies on smooth curves and surfaces that are accurate and lifelike and is excellent at portraying rounded shapes.
The most common technique for making forms in a 3D world is undoubtedly subdivision modeling. Models with scalable detail that render well are made using this technique. Using SubD modeling, the emphasis is frequently on defining form first, then subdividing it and enhancing it with additional polygons.
Architectural and Product Visualization
Architectural and product visualization is another beneficial technique that visually communicates ideas, concepts, and proposed designs with realistic elements in a 3D world. Today, many companies utilize this to represent an architectural model or product before even it is made.
A Step-by-Step Guide on the 3D Modeling Workflow
Regardless of technique or style, there is a standard step-by-step process for creating a finalized 3D model. The 3D modeling process comprises the following six stages:
Step 1: Preparation
A 3D artist must prepare for the assignment before going on to the dynamic phase of the process. The target object must be studied from several angles to determine how the details might be portrayed realistically.
Step 2: Blockout
The 3D modeling process starts here. Blockout is creating a basic framework for a future model to determine how it should appear. If you are familiar with the software and have good references, you can complete this stage quickly and effectively.
Step 3: Detailing
At this stage, the 3D artist selects the modeling style, such as high poly, which breaks the model into numerous polygonal figures. They then modify every poly to add detail and give the model a more organic shape.
Step 4: Texturing
A model can be estimated as complete at the primary level after the previous three steps but still lacks a lifelike appearance without texturing. The expert now produces a digital substance to cover the object and incorporates effects to highlight the texture and give it a more realistic appearance. The texturing is divided into UV unwrapping, painting, shading, lighting, and mapping.
Step 5: Rendering
The entire procedure is complete; the model’s background is prepared, color and lighting have been used, and the idea may be permanently captured. Rendering involves digitizing the entire picture into a static, 2D image that typically resembles a real picture.
Step 6: Final Edits
The 3D modeling for the animation process ends here. Finally, when all the steps are completed, the 3D modeler looks for unwanted errors and fixes mistakes as soon as possible. The final edits are also made to reach a perfect model.
Top 10 Industries Transformed by 3D Modeling
The impact of 3D model animation is seen everywhere! Let’s go through some industries where 3D modeling makes its influence felt.
1. Entertainment and Film Industry
Think about all the stunning special effects in movies – from Harry Potter playing quidditch and flying all over the buildings to King Kong soaring down a mountainside, you’ll spot the use of 3D models and images in almost every movie and entertainment content.
2. Automotive Industry
High-detailed 3D models are frequently used in the automotive industry to debut concepts and designs of new vehicles or individual parts. It also helps save time and money in producing and assembling vehicle parts to check their form and fit before construction.
3. Retail Industry
3D modeling is used widely in the retail industry worldwide. Considering the virtual catalogs, some top retailers utilize, 3D modeling is the key to making all this possible. For instance, when a customer visits IKEA and wants to see how a specific item would look in their living room, these catalogs offer a realistic look.
4. Architecture Industry
Before 3D modeling was invented, architects used 2D drawings to illustrate their ideas for new structures. These days, they may utilize 3D modeling to develop a visual representation of their ideas and showcase it to other stakeholders from about any aspect. Using effective 3D architectural animation services, investors can also take a virtual tour inside the model.
5. Gaming Industry
The game industry is one of the most well-known applications for 3D models. Since the first Mario game, we’ve come a long way. The need for 3D content and realism in video games has increased. The scenes, the furnishings, and even the people in today’s video games look authentic enough to jump out of the game and sit down to play beside you.
6. Manufacturing Industry
Making 3D models of a product to enhance overall designs have dramatically sped up the manufacturing process thanks to 3D modeling. Using 3D printing and building some materials, you may replace conventional production and the assembly line by creating a 3D model.
7. Publishing Industry
We don’t typically consider the application of 3D modeling in publishing. Yet, 3D modeling can help textbook publishers better visualize terrain that is difficult to access. Producers of fiction books can employ 3D modeling to create almost lifelike images.
8. Marketing and Advertising Industry
Employing a photographer to take photos for advertising is necessary when businesses promote a new product. Thanks to 3D modeling, such a photo shoot may not be necessary as it enables businesses to create images of products before production. This enables them to launch the product’s promotion much early.
9. Sciences and Geology
Using 3D modeling to represent the earth’s movements is extremely helpful when scientists study phenomena like earthquakes or landforms. This is quite useful when researching all flight patterns and the various stresses’ consequences.
10. Healthcare Industry
The healthcare sector greatly benefits from 3D modeling, which creates and prints items like prosthetics, arch supports, etc. For instance, they can take an X-ray of the injured tooth and feed it into 3D CAD software, which will quickly print out the crown instead of making repeated appointments with the dentist.
Which Is the Best 3D Modeling Software?
Before you jump to making 3D animation models, you must have the necessary skills and expertise to use animation software. While many options exist for designing a 3D model, which is best for you?
The answer to this question can be uncertain, as it depends entirely on your needs and the level of project complexity. Here’s a list of the most used 3D modeling software. Take a look below and find your ideal fit!
Blender is a free and open-source 3D modeling and animation software. It has a robust toolset for producing professional-quality 3D animation, including modeling, texturing, rigging, skinning, sculpting, rendering, compositing, and editing.
2. Cinema 4D
Cinema 4D is another popular animation software whose learning isn’t as steep as others. It allows seamless integration with tools like Adobe After Effects. As a result, it is more suitable for those interested in producing motion graphics.
Maya by Autodesk is the industry standard software in 3D modeling for animation. It is incredibly beneficial to be used by both beginner animators and professional studios to create one-of-a-kind animations.
SketchUp is a standard tool used by architects and landscape designers. Its user-friendly interface makes it ideal for beginners who want to begin 3D modeling for architectural work. Starting with basic shapes, you can produce high-quality animations with this tool.
Zbrush is a Pixologic, Inc. product. It is the most sophisticated modeling and sculpture software available. This software’s use of conventional sculpting methods on a digital platform makes it outstanding. If you’re a beginner, using Zbrush might be challenging. Thus, it is best suited for professionals.
6. 3Ds Max
Another software from the Autodesk family, 3Ds Max, has powerful modeling capabilities. This software allows you to model, animate, and render highly realistic objects. It is widely used for video game animation, architectural visualization, TV commercials, and engineering.
Mudbox is used mainly for displacement, texture painting, mapping, and high-resolution digital sculpting. It provides a high-performance environment and tools of the highest caliber to produce realistic 3D characters, environments, and props quickly.
The Final Words
The future of 3D modeling is almost predictable; it’s a fast-growing industry with lots of creative freedom and learning opportunities. Thus, we know it’s here to stay. Since everything in a 3D animation must be generated or modeled, 3D modeling of the characters, objects, and environments is essential to every 3D animation pipeline.
We hope this guide helped expand your knowledge and master the art of 3D modeling for animation. Ready to avail all the perks 3D animation has to offer? Connect with Anideos for professional animation services.
Last Updated on March 10, 2023 by Adam