3D Modeling in the Real World - dummies

3D Modeling in the Real World

By Shaun Bryant

As technology and computer hardware have moved forward and become much faster and much more capable, 3D models are now widely used anywhere in 3D graphics and CAD. Their use predates the widespread use of 3D graphics on personal computers nowadays, and many computer games used prerendered images of 3D models as sprites (not the soft drink) before computers could render them in real-time.

Today, 3D models are used in a diverse variety of fields:

  • The medical industry uses detailed models of organs, which are created with multiple two-dimensional (2D) image slices from an MRI or CT scan.
  • The movie and television industry uses them as characters and objects for animated and real-life motion pictures in film and television (think Avatar, Star Wars, and Game of Thrones).
  • The video game industry uses them as assets for computer and video games. If you’ve used an Xbox, a PlayStation 4, or a Nintendo, you’ve used 3D assets in the games you’ve played, regardless of how cartoony or real-life they are.
  • The science industry sector uses them as highly detailed models of chemical compounds, such as the human genome project.
  • The architecture and construction industry uses them instead of traditional, physical architectural models to demonstrate proposed buildings and landscapes. However, some of those 3D models then become 3D printed models to show the new building or landscape in place in a city environment, for example.
  • The engineering community uses them for the design of new devices, vehicles, and structures, as well as a host of other uses, such as nondestructive prototyping.
  • In recent decades, the earth science community has started to construct 3D geological models as a standard practice. City modeling is now common practice within government departments in an effort to become more environmentally sustainable with the study of light and wind to create a more “green” world in which to live.

3D models can also be the basis for physical devices that are built with 3D printers or CNC machines.