3D Technical Report
Applications of 3D
There are many different types of industries which use 3D, it can be used in product design, animations, TV, film, web, games, education and architectural walk-throughs. The type of modelling varies within each industry.
One of the main uses for 3D modelling is in product design. When people create products they can go to modelling companies and get them to create 3D models of their product, these models can then be used to alter the product, see what it looks like, get the specifications, measurements etc. An example of this is a company like IKEA could use product design, they can plan a new style of furniture, draw out designs, get someone to model it and then see what people think of it by showing the model. From seeing the model, they can then confirm the model or alter it so that it looks better.
3D models are widely used in animations; this is because they can easily create the starter model then animate the limbs from there. 3D modelling gives them a higher level of accuracy than normal animation software could offer. An example of this is in Toy Story they could model one of the characters then edit the limbs to make it look like its moving. It works well in animations because it can give it a nice realistic look because high level 3D software was used to make the model.
3D models are widely used in many types of TV show; Game of Thrones is one of the biggest TV shows that frequently uses models. For example, throughout Game of Thrones models are used to films the unrealistic aspects, like buildings or animals like dragons, giants and monsters. These are made by using 3D models because they’re unrealistic and cannot be filmed in real life, modelling allows good looking models to be created that look photorealistic and can be used in the TV show.
Many movies use 3D modelling, especially cartoony, animated movies. For example in movies like the ones created by Pixar they 3D model the characters then make animations for them from there, also then they can add special effects and other fun interesting effects to the characters. This is because the characters are not realistic and cannot be filmed in person. 3D modelling opens up the availability of making different, unique movies that aren’t realistic.
3D can also be used when designing websites or other web applications, mostly animated webpages. For example, if they need a good background then they can create one in a 3D modelling program like Maya, they can then screenshot this and use it as an image. Another example is animated web pages, they could have it where something is clicked and a spinning sphere comes out or something similar, the sphere could be 3D modelled and textured. They model things like this because they can make their own models to their preference and edit them to fit the scene exactly how they want it to.
3D modelling plays a huge role in the gaming industry, it affects both the gameplay, and aesthetics. The 3D modellers design the shapes and how everything looks so that it can then be textured to look like something in-game. One part that sets 3D modelling in gaming apart from the other industries is that the player will actually interact with the models in-game, everything like the guns in shooters or the football in football games are intractable with and they were all created by 3D modelling applications.
3D models can also be used in education, they have multiple different functions and ways that they can be used. For example, a teacher could create interactive models online, or even animated models that the students can watch and learn from. For example, the teacher could model a 3D character, they could then animate this character and make it say information. This gives teachers a fun way to teach the children through avatars on-screen, it may help the, learn quicker or more information.
Similar to product design this is where you have a product, or structure and you create it in a 3D program, with architectural walk-throughs they will make everything to scale. For example, if someone was creating a building and they needed to plan out the size of interior rooms then they can get someone to make them a model of it, form this model they can go throughout the structure and see how it all functions. This is done so that they can plan a building properly before spending money on building it, also building companies can pitch this to potential buyers.
Displaying 3D Polygons and Animations
Application Programming Interfaces
Direct X is one of the main APIs used. It is software that communicates with all the components and handles tasks that include rendering 2D and 3D graphics. So for example if a game has 3D graphics then generally Direct X will be handling how the computer receives them. Having Direct X greatly improves the speed and quality of rendering graphics of models and games. OpenGL is similar to Direct X and offers the same things, however OpenGL is open source. So for example if someone needs something extra included in their API then they can simple edit it or add it with OpenGL. This offers a lot of customisation, however it is only for advanced users.
There are 4 main parts to the graphics pipeline, these being lighting, modelling, texturing and shading, all play huge rolls on how models are displayed. Lighting is the first, this is one of the biggest parts because without it you wouldn’t be able to properly see the model and everything it has to offer, for example you might only be able to see the top half if the lighting is badly done. Secondly is the modelling, the modelling is the most important factor, you need to be able to create a high LOD model, whilst not using too many polygons. Texturing is also highly important, without it all the models would be a white default colour, texturing adds character to the models and makes them look much more realistic in-game. The final part is shading. Shading is where different levels of light are used to make the model stand out or look like light is hitting it, for example the closest point of the model might be lit up, whilst the back of the model will have shadows and be dimmer.
There are a variety of different techniques which can be used when rendering, from improving the render quality, to angling the model to show off its better sides. For example if a model has a high level of detail then they will want to show I off to it full potential, so they might turn up the render quality. This helps make the model look as good as they possibly can and it will show off how good they will look in game.
Shadowing is where shadows can be used to create visual effects and make something look more realistic. For example in a 3D model render a lighting affect could be used, this would create shadows on the model and make it look more realistic and higher detailed. This can be used to make models look like they’re in an environment.
Level of Detail
The level of detail is how many polygons are in the model. For example something with a high polygon counter will tend to have a much higher level of detail, compared to something with a lower poly count. So if you want a higher quality model then more polygons can be used to make more intricate, defined designs.
Vertices and Edges
A vertex is simple just a point on a shape; every shape consists of vertices and edges. In between each set of vertices, there is an edge. For example, your average 2D square will be made up of 4 vertices and 4 sides, all connecting to make the shape. All of these sides and vertices add up to make a face, and usually objects have multiple faces, for example, a cube will have 6 faces.
Polygons are one of the most important factors of 3D modelling, all of the lines and vertices connect together to make a polygon. Generally, higher polygon models have a lot more intricate details; however, they also put more strain on the computer when rendering or being used in a game. For example, a large high-detail model will have a lot more polys than a smaller lower-detail model, causing the render times of the high-detail model to be a lot longer. Polygon count is a constraint when it comes to modelling and it restricts people from creating huge, HD models with unlimited polygons.
An object is a term used to refer to the overall model, or mesh. For example, a simple 3D cube is the object, or an edited character model all starting from one primitive mesh is also an object. These objects consist of multiple vertices, edges and faces and they all make up the overall object.
Primitive meshes are the basic objects that the modelling software already has made by default. For example, they are usually basic shapes like cubes, spheres and cylinders. These primitive meshes are used as a base or starter point for a model, so for example they could use a cube and then edit it into a square-type building. This is done to make it a lot easier for the user and so they don’t have to a shape from vertices, edges and faces, they can just drag in a base primate mesh.
Box modelling is one of the many techniques which can be used in mesh construction, this is where you take a cube and then you edit it to create your model. For example you can take a box and then edit it to make a building, but all whilst only using the original box. This type of modelling has many advantages, first being it’s incredibly easy to use because of the basic shape style, and you only need to focus on one box. However because you’re only using one type of primitive shape it could limit your options and the level of detail which you are able to put into the model.
Extrusion modelling is another method of mesh construction, this is where you extend or “Inflate” parts of a mesh in order to create a model. For example, you could have a box which represents a house, then you extrude part of this and make a balcony section to the house. Essentially extruding is just extending, shortening and enlarging parts of the model. This is quite an accurate way of modelling and it has a lot of potential when making natural looking scenes.
This is the easiest way to model shapes, common primitive mesh construction is simple using the basic meshes that are included in the program, usually there is a variety of basic, and default shapes like cubes and spheres that are included in the primitive meshes. For example, if the player needed a cube then they can simple drag a basic cube into the level. This is good because it makes basic modelling fast and easy because of the premade shapes, however the shapes are limited.
3D Development Software
There are multiple types of software when it comes to 3D modelling, these include 3D Studio Max, Maya and Mudbox. Each program offer similar things whilst all having their own styles. 3D Studio Max is the first program; this was made by Autodesk and is mostly used for animations, models, games etc. One of the main reasons this software is used is because it has multiple capabilities, for example, someone can start with nothing, model something and then animate it, all within the same program. The next program is Maya, Maya is another 3D modelling program which is created by Autodesk. It is very similar to 3D Studio Max and has similar capabilities. One of the main advantages of Maya is its advanced modelling tools. It has many tools from extruding models to rendering scenes and animations, Maya can pretty much cover anything to do with creating models. The final program is Mudbox. Mudbox slightly differs from the other programs. Mudbox is mainly used for editing previously creating models, this can be done by painting, sculpting or adding effects. For example you could transfer a model into mudbox and then colour in some sections and also add a worn out look to the model. This all adds detail to the models which make them look better.
There are multiple different file formats used in these programs, with these being 3ds, mb, obj and fbx. 3ds is used is the default format which is used in 3D Studio Max. MB is the default format used in Maya and FBX is a file format used to export something that will later be imported into something like Unreal Engine. Each file type has different capabilities.
Polygon count is one of the main constraints when it comes to 3D modelling, this is because which each model you need to limit the detail you put into it. For example if you’re creating a statue for a game then you need to make it as high detail as you can, whilst not using too many polygons. This is because you do not want to hinder the games performance, or rendering times of the models because you’ve used too many polygons. So sometimes making a lower resolution model can be better than higher-quality models.
Another constraint is file size. File Size is affected by things like how many polys were used and the level of detail in the model. For example if the model is huge, with a high level of detail and its used lots of polygons then the file size will be a lot larger than a lower res, smaller version of the model. This means that this is another thing to consider when making models at a high level of detail.
Rendering wont necessarily make the model look worse or affect how its put into the game but it could take up a lot of precious time. For example if a high detailed model needs to be rendered then it could take all of the computers capacity to render it and this could take some time, this would then hinder progress and make the machine almost unusable until the rendering process is completed. This means that they need to consider the rendering time when creating 3D models because they need to efficiently render the models in a good amount of time, whilst still making them look good.
Some information taken from “3D Application” assignment
Information on Shading