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Getting started in 3D

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  • Getting started in 3D

    (NOTE: SOME LINKS ARE NOT SAFE FOR WORK, Click at your own discretion)

    Most of the programs listed have crossover points. Investigate each one to determine what suits your ability, goal, and budget.

    3D basics

    3D can encompass a wide range of skills and programs to achieve and end result. As a designer implementing 3D elements may be requested. There's several ways to easily product 3D art. For a graphic designer the simplest methods involve 3d text or simple shapes in illustrator or photoshop. If that doesn't suffice then outside of hiring a 3d agency their are other solutions. Time and training may outweigh the code of hiring a 3d agent.

    A model is also referred to as "mesh" or "object (obj)" this is the visual 3d object.

    Classifications of 3D (in simple terms)

    Model Creation - This involves creating a model from scratch. You'll need to learn a modeling program such as those posted below. Model creation involves knowing how to manage the polygon count, mesh grouping, morphs, joints (bones), kinetics, and creating texture maps.

    Texture Maps - (UV MAPS) these are what give the model color, bump, displacement, texture, specular, reflection, refraction, subsurface etc. Without these the model is very toon-like.

    Tiling - Some objects such as ground surface and buildings can use tile maps. These do not need a uv map and can be assigned to a mesh group via the render program.

    Lighting - Lighting is very important in making your model look lifelike. Lighting is what creates the reflectiveness in eyes or shiny objects, it also creates the translucency in skin when paired with a subsurface map (or shader). You may come across HDRI which in effect is a lighting effect that projects real world lighting scenarios.

    In the larger 3D houses there may be one person for each job. One person models, one person creates the meshgroups and another person will "rig" the model with bones and morphs. Then it will go to another department where one or more people will create the textures, then one to the "hair & clothing" department for dynamic moving hair and clothing. Then on to lighting and rendering.

    Content creators for Daz and Poser may take a month or more to create that one character or set of clothes or building. Most Graphic Designers simply do not have the time or skill set or budget to devote to a "one off" for a client.

    Using prebuilt models and a render program is the easiest way to enter into 3d. There are several programs that are for this specific purpose. There is still a learning curve of learning the program and using content.

    Pose and Render
    There are two main programs for low cost and high return on rendering. There's very little special effects, but still allows you to create fantastic results. Poser and Daz Studio do not have model creation capabilities other than a few primitives. Carrara is an all-in-one studio that supports poser content as well as modeling capabilities - however what is built in Carrara stays in Carrara - it doesn't like to share models outside it's own program.


    Daz Studio


    Prebuilt content
    can be found for these programs across the web. Below is a few links. Always read the license on downloaded content for commercial purposes.

    Programs to build Models from Scratch





    Mud Box

    Wings 3D


    SoftImage (XSI)



    UV Mapper

    Environmental programs



    Render assistant programs (plugins to other render programs or renders are exported to these programs.)


    Pro Composition programs (light, camera, animation)
    Daz, Poser, and Carrara all have animation or animation plugins, but are not considered professional in the industry.




    Absolutely Pro (for those who are seriously needing ultimate solutions)


    The Gear - let's face it, your $699 computer will not handle massive 3D render programs...period. Dual Quad or Dual 6 core systems with a minimum of 24Gig Ram and a huge GPU (nvidia). Budget for these types of computers start at $6k for an individual workstation. Many true 3d agencies will have render farms which is a series of computers linked together to form super computers, or have true super computers.

    Boxx - From personal experience these are mini super computers - wow. I've still maxed ours out on few projects. (8500 series)

    Cad2 (uk) - I've seen it mentioned but have no experience with them.

    Dell and HP also offer high end computers, but in comparison we found the Boxx to be better and more specifically built for rendering.

    Custom built is also an option, but your mileage may very.

    Industry sites and magazines

    CG Society (website)

    3D World (magazine)

    ImagineFX (magazine)

    Ballistic Publishing (very inspirational)

    I'm pretty sure I've probably missed some links, but this is a good start.

  • #2
    Need information about 3D tools

    Hi Drazan,
    Thanks for a lot of information there in the the given thread. I am new to this area of 3-D modelling. I wanna design a 3-d modelling tool. So am doing a research with the requirements. I wanna know that are those 3-D modelling tools like Blender or MudBox etc. were designed on some engine(like game engines) for the subdivision of meshes when we try to change the structure of the object? Or they just coded an algorithm for playing with those polygon meshes.. Please help..


    • #3
      Hi skyline and welcome to GDF!

      We ask that all new members take a few minutes read through important threads here and here. These will explain our rules, answer frequently asked questions and explain some of the long running jokes you'll run into.

      Please keep your arms and legs inside the forum at all times, and leave your keyboard in its upright and locked position. If forum pressure should change, panels over your seat will open revealing bacon. Secure your own bacon before helping others.

      Enjoy your stay.
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      • #4

        The main difference between the two types of 3D tools is that one is based on a loose definition of size with little definite measurements - Most of the links in my first post fall under this category. And the other is based on pure measurements - Drafting and engineering programs like those listed at Autodesk.

        The ones listed in my main post are mainly used for games, animation, movies, etc. Although there are aspects in each of the 3D tools mentioned above that also can be used for products.

        The second type of 3d modeling tool is specifically geared toward engineers creating new products.

        Autodesk has broken their software down to specific tool sets depending on what type of model / product you want to create. You may need to take some time to research what you need.

        Many of the Autodesk programs have utilities which can produce a file able to be read by CNC machines. In fact if you are looking to build the tool to be cut on a CNC machine there are several specific drafting programs to assist that workflow.

        No matter what you go with, you will have a learning curve.


        • #5
          A few updates to this:

          Bryce does not run with any version of OS/ least not the newer Lion series.

          ZBrush has a free version called sculptris. Please understand that ZBrush and Sculptris are very memory intensive. Thus far, it's the only app I find that can crash with 8GB of RAM. It does recover nicely though.
          "Go ahead, make your logos in PS. We charge extra money to redraw your logo into vector art so it can be printed on promotional product. Cha CHING! " - CCericola


          • #6
            3D modeling is lots of fun. I have used 3D max for creating 3D models.


            • #7
              Originally posted by william22 View Post
              3D modeling is lots of fun. I have used 3D max for creating 3D models.
              Correction, Finishing a 3d model is lots of fun, But when you in the middle and you encounter a problem its the worst haha, Or at least for me.

              Have you guys heard that after effects now lets tiff files run in their program meaning you don't have to render in c4d before you inter it in ae


              • #8
                Nice piece of information for beginners to know about 3D object and 3D space. I tried installing Maya and other applications like Bryce. Practicing started.


                • #9
                  Hi RihhanaNZ and welcome to GDF!

                  We ask that all new members take a few minutes read through important threads here and here.
                  These will explain our rules, answer frequently asked questions and explain some of the long running jokes you'll run into.

                  Enjoy your stay.
                  Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.


                  • #10
                    Is anyone know how make a packaging box, and then can check with 3D ? I mean draw a 2D structure, and check the folding myself, and view 3D. Which softwrae do you use? Thank you so much.


                    • #11
                      I really don't know anything in 3D but I have learned just 1 or 2 lessons on my schooling. I came to know at that time that their are a very tough algorithms behind to move the object. We really never us to think that how much effort it would take to make a cartoon on 3D software.
                      I want to learn more and more about 3D animation. So. if anybody having good knowledge then please share.


                      • #12
                        Hi Victory3D and welcome to GDF.

                        We ask all new members to read very important links here and here. These explain the rules, how the forum runs and a few inside jokes. No, you haven't done anything wrong, we ask every new member to read them. Your first few posts will be moderated, so don't panic if they don't show up immediately. Enjoy your stay.
                        Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.


                        • #13
                          Keep Sharing: thats a cool post for beginner


                          • #14
                            that's it - thank you






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