3D modeling combines creative and technical work in a unique way. Today, it is widely used in many fields and is one of the most important skills in fields such as game development and animation.
The market for skilled 3D artists is huge and growing. And with the current state of home hardware, it’s an accessible option that almost anyone can choose.
With this in mind, what is 3D modeling really good for? Most of us are familiar with its popular entertainment apps, but it goes way beyond that. Let’s look at several ways 3D modeling has an impact.
1. Game Development
Modern games rely heavily on 3D art. Although 2D titles still exist and are released regularly, many gamers invest hundreds, if not thousands, in their gaming PCs, and they want to see the results.
3D modeling in game development usually revolves around specific constraints. Artists need to know how to create the shapes they want, while minimizing the use of actual geometry.
This is an area where technical skills shine as much as creative skills. Artists working in game development need to understand the limitations of the hardware they are producing for, as well as how to work with appropriate budgets. This is a very different use case from, say, someone creating templates for static image renders, where trade-offs with optimization are much more acceptable.
Pixar has shown us time and time again just how amazing 3D art can be when brought to life by a team of professional animators. Pixar’s work, even its older films like the first Toy Story, remain staples of movie history.
Today, 3D modeling is sometimes used in combination with traditional cinematographic techniques. Many films actively take advantage of the capabilities of modern 3D applications, often to fill in the gaps left by traditional effects.
3D animation also has various applications outside of major film productions. It’s a great tool for visualizing complex movements, creating guide animations, and more. It can also be used to produce works that look like 2D cartoons, but are actually heavily influenced by 3D behind the scenes.
Many fans of cartoons like South Park, Archer, and Futurama might not even realize that their producers rely on 3D modeling software to compose their scenes and move characters around.
3. Architectural visualizations
3D modeling is widely used to visualize architectural designs. It offers many advantages over traditional methods and is becoming the preferred medium in the sector.
For example, 3D models can be created in a modular way, reusing components from different versions in a mixed way. It is also very easy to change properties such as textures, lighting and materials used on different objects on the fly. This can allow architects to showcase their work from as many different perspectives as possible.
Some specialized tools are used in this area, although traditional 3D modeling software such as Blender and 3D Studio Max can also work here. Modern versions of these suites even support working with realistic dimensions.
4. 3D printing
3D printing has taken the world by storm, moving out of the realm of department stores with expensive 3D printing equipment, and into individual users in home settings.
And with that, the tools used to produce the models for printing have also evolved to be more user-friendly. Modeling for 3D printing often requires the use of specialized software, as models need to be translated in certain ways in order to work with 3D printers.
The combination of affordable printers and easy-to-use software to create 3D models has led to an explosion in this market. Many people have started to realize the huge potential of this field, including the ability to print items for home repairs and maintenance. This market will likely continue to grow rapidly in the future.
Archaeologists and other professionals who frequently work with damaged or partially destroyed objects are also active adopters of 3D technology. 3D modeling has been used successfully to reconstruct models of ancient figures and artifacts, and can sometimes be combined with 3D printing techniques to bring these works to life.
It’s a complex field that requires a deep knowledge of ancient methods, not just an aptitude for 3D modeling itself. But it’s also very lucrative and sought after, and those with the right skills usually have a lot to gain by exploring this field.
6. Physical simulations
Modern 3D modeling suites are often equipped with advanced physics engines capable of simulating complex situations, even on relatively low-powered hardware. It has been used for various purposes and continues to be actively explored in many aspects. Here are some examples :
- Car crash simulation
- Aerodynamic visualizations
- Fluid and gas flow
- Fire propagation simulations
3D software allows us to preview the results of different scenarios without having to simulate them in real life, which has led to significant cost savings in many industries. We have reached the point where even hobbyists at home can produce complex works with minimal interaction, which has further increased interest in the field.
As we continue to explore the possibilities of combining 3D modeling and simulations, the hardware we use keeps getting better. With that in mind, the future should prove to be very interesting for those who follow the field.
Get to know 3D modeling
Many people associate 3D modeling exclusively with games and other forms of entertainment. But it goes way beyond that. It is a powerful tool that is still being explored in many ways, and we are always discovering new ways to harness its power.
It’s also not difficult to get started with. So, if you want to find out how 3D modeling works, you already have plenty of opportunities ahead of you!
With Mixamo, you can easily import a custom 3D model and start applying animations. Here’s how to start.
About the Author