3D Modeling: An Overview on Various Techniques


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Presently, 3D modeling and animations are being used in various industries, including video games, movies, publishing, architecture, medical science, geology and others. 3D modeling is the creation of 3D images of different objects, where it is mathematically represented in three dimensions. Here, you will come to know about the different types of 3D modeling. At the outset, developing these animations call for creativity and an advanced knowledge on software.

Subdivision/Box modeling

This is a type of polygonal modeling, where the artist uses a geometric shape, like a cube, cylinder or sphere and shapes it until the intended appearance is achieved. Box modelers carry out the process in different stages. They start with a low-resolution mesh and then refines the shape. Then they sub-divides the mesh, ensuring that the hard edges are smoothened out and add the necessary detail. They repeat the process of refining and subdividing, till enough polygonal detail is present in the mesh, that can convey the desired concept. Box modeling is one of the most common polygonal modeling techniques and is used in combination with edge modeling techniques.

Contour/Edge modeling

Edge modeling is another type of polygonal modeling technique, although it is different from box modeling. In this process, the modelers develop the model piece by piece, instead of refining a primitive shape. This is done by placing the loops of polygons along the outlines and filling the gaps that lie between them. This process is applied, as it is difficult to complete certain meshes through box modeling. For instance, the human face cannot be completed only through box modeling. You can collaborate with one of the reputed modeling companies to get these models designed. The experts carry out the 3D modeling process with dexterity and develop the desired models.

Spline/NURBS modeling

This type of modeling is extensively used in the industrial and automotive modeling processes. A NURBS mesh does not have any edge, face or vertices. These models come with surfaces that can be interpreted smoothly. The modelers can develop the concept by lofting a mesh between the splines. NURBS curves are developed using a tool, similar to the pen tool used in Adobe Photoshop or MS Paint. The modelers draw the curve in the 3D space and edit them my moving the control vertices, which is a series of handles. The curves are to be placed along prominent contours and the space between them is automatically interpolated by the software. Alternatively, you can also create a NURBS curve using a profile curve, revolving it around a central axis. This is one of the most extensively used 3D model design techniques used to design objects like vases, wine glasses and plates, that are radical in nature.

Sub-division modeling

Sub-division modeling is created by mixing polygonal modeling and NURBS modeling techniques. In this hybrid process, the 3D models are created through a polygon model and then it is converted into sub-division model. The artist enjoys the control over the refinement of the 3D model in certain areas. Besides, they can easily transfer these models between various software. The polygon needs to be subdivided and refined, until the details are clear enough to display the desired model. With greater subdivision, the surface becomes smoother.

Digital sculpting

The tech industry has integrated various 3D modeling processes, that they call disruptive technologies. The experts use advanced 3D modeling software to develop these models. The automobile industry has also evolved, with these technologies making their way into the product development and marketing strategies. Digital sculpting is a type of disruptive technology, and it has leveraged the 3D modeling process to a great extent. The modelers now need not carry out the painstaking constraints of edge flow and topography. This enables them to design the 3D models, in a way similar to the process of sculpting digital clay.

Here, the meshes are organically created. A tablet device is used to shape the model, just like a sculptor uses a brush on chunks of clay. With digital sculpting, creature and character sculpting has reached newer levels. The modelers can carry out the process much faster and with greater efficiency. The artists can work with meshes containing high resolution, with millions of polygons.

Procedural modeling

Procedural modeling refers to the designs that are generated algorithmically, and are not created by the artist manually. Here, the objects and scenes are developed on the basis of user-defined parameters or rules. In various environment modeling packages, the modelers can create entire landscapes by modifying the parameters like elevation range and foliage density. They can also choose from landscapes like coastal areas, desert or alpine. Various modeling techniques for games are used for developing 3D designs.

Procedural modeling is extensively used in organic objects like foliage and trees, where the complexity and variations are more infinite. These models are extremely difficult to be drawn by hand. These objects can further be tweaked through various editable settings. For instance, you can change the density of branches, height of tree trunks, curls and angles, as per your needs.

Image-based modeling

In image-based modeling, 3D objects are derived algorithmically from a set of 2D images, that are static in nature. This type of modeling is used in cases, where the modeler faces budgetary or time restrictions, and are not able to develop fully realized 3D images. This is one of the most common type of 3D modeling in the film industry. Over the years, image-based modeling is increasingly being used in the entertainment industry.

Surface modeling

Surface modeling helps in creating a 3D spline. The process involves the incorporation of a 2D spline, and it is different from NURBS. This modeling technique is primarily used to generate organic 3D models in films. It offers a good amount of flexibility to the modelers. They can easily create a 3D representation with various requirements, using geometric entities like curves or surfaces.



Leave a comment


  • Gaurav Verma

    March 23, 2020 , 11:51 am / reply

    CG industry is very intersting. I am alredy struggling to get my dream job in CG . But still i love the CG and explore new tips and tricks about CG
    • osmanassem


      March 23, 2020 , 6:39 pm / reply

      Good luck. My dear is to keep studying and practicing and you will be better in CG the more you practice.