MODELLING IN THE
It seems that 3D Models are appearing nearly everywhere in
the media industry, it can be found in various places;
TV & Film
HOW ARE THEY
TV & Film
In TV and Film 3D Models are used to create large effects such
as the robots in Transformers or to create environments and
characters in films like Avatar.
There are minimal limits and the models can have a high poly
count because they're not rendered out at real time, they're
rendered for playback.
In animation the visual is commonly very cartoon looking,
simply for the reason that the film is entirely animated,
rendering times would be insane if everything were to look 100%
realistic. Wreck It Ralph (2012) is a good example of a recent
HOW ARE THEY
Just about everything in video game is 3D
modeling, these can be simple things like triggers
or could be more complex entities such as
characters or the environment they live in.
Unfortunately video games render the models in
real time meaning they can't have as many
polys, although some advancements have been
made over the years.
HOW ARE THEY USED
Educational Purposes –
3D Modelling allows teachers to show their students certain
objects from body organs to engine parts. Everything can be
shown on screen using a 3D model, where as getting the
actual objects is pricey and sometimes may be a hassle.
HOW ARE THEY
3D modelling is used to create prototypes or even parts that
can be printed off using 3D printers, this is much more
precise than doing it manually as laser beams and
mechanics are way more stable than the human hand.
HOW ARE THEY
For example if we look at Half Life 1 compared to Portal 2, both games developed by
Valve and running on the same engine, Source. I’ve used these two games because of
the reason stated before, they’re ran with the same engine so there is no having to
compare different game engines.
If were to zoom in on Portal 2’s graphics we would still see some straight edges on
things that appear to be circular, however the player is usually focusing on an objective
no the graphics luckily.
MODELLING AT HOME
The internet allows anyone to purchase
and/or download 3D modeling software so
that they can create their own models.
Here are a few different programs that allow
people to create their own:
3D Studio Max
BLENDER - SOFTWARE
Blender is an open source program which is a good for
amateurs who are wanting to get into animation and
modelling, with easy interfaces and for the simple reason
that it’s free, so anyone can upload a tutorial on how to use it
for anyone to learn.
This image to the right shows
the interfaces within
blender, everything seems to
have it’s place and it looks
somewhat neat. It’s also
customizable, so you can
rearrange tabs to your own
CONSIDERING IT’S FREE
Blender has been used for special effects in TV and
feature films, Friday or Another Day (Vendredi ou un
autre jour) - a french film used Blender for it's special
effects and won an award at the Locarno
International Film Festival.
It has also been used on TV programs, Red Dwarf for
instance in Episode 6 Season X, Blender was again
used for special effects.
Autodesk Maya is a professional piece of software that is
commonly used for creating video games, It can be used for
3D Modelling and Animation as well, Some people prefer to
build a base model and improve it within some software
Autodesk Maya allows the user to create 3D
Modelling, Texturing, Rendering, Dynamics & Effects
(Hair, fur, Particles, nCloth) and 3D Animation.
Cinema 4D is a professional software used for various
things, ranging from architecture to engineering. On to the
MAXON website - below is an image of what the program can
be used for.
Cinema 4D looks to have a less complex UI, so it's probably
suitable for new comers to 3D modelling, however I cannot
include my own opinion as I have not used the program
before. However I do have an image of the UI. There are also
courses dedicated to teaching the software to people who
are interested in it.
3D Models are made up of smaller shapes, which are called
polygons, these polygons then contain vertexes. The
polygons are mostly triangles which can be manipulated by
the vertexes to make larger shapes.
Depending on the amount of polygons justifies the speed
that the model will render at, Polygons are nicknamed
"polys" just for ease. Polygons do have a constraint to how
many can be rendered per second.
WHAT ARE 3D POLYGON
MODELS MADE UP OF?
Vertexes are pin points where edges intersect.
A face is the surface inside of the edges, these can be
quadratic, or can be triangulated. Edges are single lines –
Maya has a feature that allows to user to create a polygon
with as many edges as they want, they can change it later
using a split tool to cut it up and create more faces. When
extruding edges it’s likey you’re going to want to get the
vertexes as close to one another as you can, and merge them
to make it one whole object.
Box modeling is when the user starts out with a single cube and then
manipulates and subdivides the cube to turn it into the shape they desire.
Although this method is quick and easy to learn it's not easy to add
Sculpting is when the user starts out
with a sphere and manipulates it by
pulling and pushing around vertexes
and creating subdivision layers, a lot
like the sculpting of clay, hence the name.
Z-brush is a great software for sculpting.
Extrusion modeling is a lot like box modeling however the user start out
with a line instead of a cube, it's the extruded out to create a face and then
continues to create an object, although this method is quick it's hard to
make curves without a large amount of polygons.
Common primitives are the basic shapes that a most commonly used in 3D
modeling, common primitives are included within most 3D software, these include:
The image to
the left shows
what they look
Torus - Ring
And in some cases
Helix – Spring
The best thing about common primitives is their extremely low poly count.
Graphics API is coding that tell the graphics card what it
needs to be doing, if the coding is wrong it won’t work. Two
common API’s are Open GL and Direct X.
Direct X is distributed by Microsoft and is compatible with
Windows 95 and any later versions of the operating systems.
It’s also used for the XBOX console.
Open GL however is mainly used on PC and PlayStation3.
and is multi language, meaning it can be written in
Java, C++, not French and Spanish.
Textures don’t come in all shapes and sizes however they do
come in different… shiny-ness?
There are 4 main textures in Autodesk
Maya, Blinn, Phong, Phong E, Lambert – Autodesk Maya
allows the user to change the glow, transparency and
reflectivity, there are other options that can be changed to
get the desired effect, for instance, glass or water.
When texturing, models will be UV mapped, for instance
when texturing a face the base image will look pretty
scary, however once on the actual face it will look rather
normal – if done correctly. Any blemishes can be detailed
further by using bump mapping.
Raytracing is a shader/rendering technique in which light is
directed through pixels and generates the shadow, I have created
a demonstration using a glass texture from the video game
Minecraft, inside I have made a smaller object with a transparent
texture and have added made it more reflective by changing the
Bump mapping is an option to give a texture more “oomf”, by
giving a texture a bump map it will allow the user to add
depths to textures, it’s mapped out by using image files.
Bump mapping is great as it doesn’t take as long as
individual polys but still gives the desired effect.
As seen here, I have used Minecraft textures again to show
how bump mapping works and looks.
What are the limits of using 3D Modeling?
Over the past few years technology has advanced meaning
more processing power - meaning it's faster, which is why video
game graphics have improved; the polys are rendered in real
time and are a lot quicker, however there is still a limit.
Polycounts need to be kept fairly low so that frame rates are
smooth, other processes need to be kept in
consideration, consoles and devices also need to run
There is a restriction to how many polys can be rendered per
second, however this needs to be divided by the frames per
second the game runs at, commonly 30fps, however some
games are upgrading to 60fps. (fps - Frames Per Second)
Depending on the amount of fine detailing on models will
effect render times, if a animated film is on a deadline and
their animation takes too long, they could miss their
Video games aren't as effected by this because everything is
rendered into the game when it's needed, that's why it's
common for enemies to spawn. However if a video game has
cut scenes with high detail a lot like Halo 4 (2012 343
Industries), then there is a small possibility of this
CONSTRAINTS – FILE
The effects video games mostly, video games are commonly
judged on their graphics, which is probably why Rockstar went
full out on their game LA Noire, the face detailing is really well
done, however the game is spread out onto 3 discs for that
Players will take variety of paths meaning that enemies or
events must be rendered in according to what the player
does, where as films and movies are linear, not interactive so to
speak, unlike video games.
Halo 4 cut scenes actually fooled a few people, the cut scenes
are animated but few people though it was real actors - however
they're cut scenes so luckily the were rendered before hand. But
the game still needed a second disc for multiplayer.
3D Modellers are very commonly freelance workers and to find the best you
may have to hire someone from across the globe, now this brings up a
constraint - Internet speeds. the more polys 3D models and/or rigs have the
bigger the file size. It's very likely that whole scenes will be sent with
multiple objects each object being built up of 1000's of polys, possibly more
depending on what the scenes are used for. There is however a way to
resolve this issue and that is to send hard drives and disks via the postal
Downloading video games for example will also be an issue, When
downloading a video game it will download all assets, including 3D models
(more than likely embedded). The bigger the game, the longer it takes.
Multiplayer has to render objects within an area, for example Battlefield 3
known for it's big maps and huge multiplayer will need a good internet
connection in order to play smoothly. Video games are getting much bigger
and the filesizes are improving. GTA for example, just released has a
secondary disc in order to download all the assets so the game is
smooth, even within the huge map.