All You Need to Know About the Future of 3D Modeling

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Three-dimensional graphics are fast becoming the norm for digital art, and you might not have realized they’re already everywhere. You see 3D in e-commerce, where online shops display almost every dimension of their product. You also see it in your smartphone camera’s features, where you can capture your subject from different angles. So it’s not difficult to understand why people still wonder what the future of 3D modeling holds.

Businesses derive a lot of advantages from 3D modeling. With 3D models, you’re able to illustrate your message better, and your audience gets to perceive your product in a more comprehensive light. A 2012 study found medical students were able to understand complex processes better because of 3D graphics. In other words, it’s an effective way to convey your message. And because of this, the future of 3D modeling will see a lot of advancements ahead. But first, let’s have a better grasp of 3D modeling.

Image credits to Pixabay

What Is 3D Modeling?

The 3D art you see everywhere is the result of several art creation stages, including 3D modeling. It is the stage where the artist forms a distinct object using a particular type of application. Popular 3D modeling applications include ZBrush and Autodesk Maya. In a previous blog post, we said 3D models are created by plotting points “on a Cartesian plane to simulate depth.” The artist shapes and reshapes polygons until they arrive at the desired appearance of the object. 

According to Hacker Noon, this is how you make 3D models.

First, plot the points in your software’s virtual canvas to form your mesh’s desired shape.

Second, create your 3D object by “manipulating the vertices” or “deforming the mesh.” But you can also automatically produce your 3D object. 

Forming 3D models is simple, but remember that it’s merely a stage in creating 3D art. The step succeeding 3D modeling is called 3D rendering. Some sources say, however, the two are wholly separate from each other.

Is There a Difference Between 3D Rendering and 3D Modeling?

Many consider 3D rendering as an elevated alternative to 3D modeling. The former produces more realistic images than the latter. This is a good and even accurate way of looking at 3D rendering. After all, 3D rendering does add finer details to an object. 

But at NarraSoft, we think of 3D rendering as a necessary step after 3D modeling. They are essential parts of the same process. In the 3D modeling stage of art creation, we generally create high-poly and low-poly models for our clients, depending on their needs. After, we render these models to produce a more refined output.

Image credits to Pexels

How 3D Modeling Impacts the Future of Industries

Businesses across industries greatly benefit from 3D modeling. You can use it for any business objective, even if your end-goal is to educate, entertain, or persuade.

3D Representation in Medical Video Explainers

To understand the human body, one must mentally recreate the intricate networks and movements that make it fully-functioning. This is no easy task. And trying to understand it through text and two-dimensional stills slows down the process of learning. Did you know people’s understanding of a concept increases by more than 70% when learning through video? So if you want to convey a complex medical process, your target audience — whether they’re students, patients, or potential customers — will understand your medical video explainers better if you present your subject in 3D form.

Learning through 3D Models

Experiential learning is the best way to learn, according to John Dewey. But as Jeffrey Pomerantz, an information scientist and associate professor at Simmons College, accurately points out in his research, not all fields allow for this approach to take place. According to his report Learning in Three Dimensions: Report on the EDUCAUSE/HP Campus of the Future Project, there are fields, such as law and medicine, that encompass bodies of knowledge which students can experience merely by proxy.  

For example, not all medical students can experience what it’s like to witness a human body at work. But an accurate depiction will significantly help students understand how body parts work and how they relate to one another. A 2016 study shows that interaction with 3D models is a productive approach to help students understand the “spatial relationships of anatomical structures.”

Apart from medicine, 3D models are helpful learning tools regardless of the audience and topic. A younger audience can better learn concepts through 3D model visualization, and new customers can better understand a new product in the same way. No matter who you’re addressing, 3D models are a great way to engage and hold your audience’s attention.

The Future of 3D Modeling in Video Games

Three-dimensional video games have existed and thrived for decades. Thanks to popular 3D games such as Resident Evil, big companies have continued pushing the boundaries of 3D, incorporating hyperrealistic characters, environments, and objects into their video games. So expect nothing but steady growth in the future of 3D modeling in this industry.

The process we follow in creating 3D elements for video games is straightforward. First, we create high-poly models of game assets to make sure they appear as photorealistic as possible. Then, we optimize game elements through a process called low-poly modeling without sacrificing the quality of the game assets. Lastly, we add texture to the assets and render them so they appear realistic.

Advertising with 3D Models

Traditional advertising approaches are quickly becoming outdated, and consumers continue to find new ways to engage with a product before purchasing it. People predominantly receive ads online, which means companies must keep up with the possibilities this advanced space offers. 

A study published in Harvard Business Review conducted a survey measuring what dimensions of creativity people found most appealing in advertisements. They found elaboration and artistic value to be the most powerful dimensions. Elaboration pertains to “unexpected details or [extending] simple ideas so that they become more intricate and complicated.” Artistic value, on the other hand, is the “high level of artistic creativity [involving] aesthetically appealing verbal, visual, or sound elements.”

With 3D modeling, your ads can achieve both of these creative dimensions. Three-dimensional models can form intricate, multi-dimensional details and visually stunning elements that will capture your audience’s attention and positively influence their purchasing behavior.

Image credits to Pixabay

Technologies, Techniques, and Trends that Shape the Future of 3D Modeling

AI: Photogrammetry & Automated 3D Generation 

Artificial intelligence speeds up a lot of repetitive processes, and the process of converting real objects into 3D models is no exception. Two popular 3D modeling technologies using artificial intelligence are photogrammetry and automated 3D generation. Photogrammetry is the process of converting the 2D representation of a subject into 3D. The first thing you do is capture 2D images of your subject. Then, process the 2D images on a special application to transform the data you gave into its 3D counterpart. Topographic mapping and engineering commonly use this technique, but photogrammetry can create 3D models for entertainment purposes as well. Google Maps is a popular example of photogrammetry in action.

Automated 3D is another rising trend in using AI to generate 3D models. It’s similar to photogrammetry in that they’re both powered by artificially intelligent software. The main difference is automated 3D generation includes a wide array of techniques to create 3D models, including cloud computing and 3D scanning.

Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality 

The innovative move to place 3D models in spaces other than our screens has significantly changed how we interact with these nonmaterial yet hyperreal objects. Virtual reality (VR) completely transports a user to a different environment, which means 3D objects in virtual reality are accessible through specific equipment. Experiencing 3D objects in augmented reality (AR) simply means accessing these objects through a context-aware application. And lastly, mixed reality is a combination of both virtual reality and augmented reality experiences.

To experience 3D through these advanced environments, you need to have the proper tools. For example, Unity is a great engine for developing VR, AR, and mixed reality games. It has features such as the High Definition Render Pipeline and Mixed and Augmented Reality Studio, which give developers access to all the technology they need in order to develop VR, AR, and mixed reality gaming experiences.

3D Green Lantern Gloves by NarraSoft
Green Lantern 3D Model by NarraSoft
Full-Body Green Lantern 3D Model by NarraSoft

3D Modeling Software

Manually creating 3D objects will never go out of style. This is because creativity is a prerequisite to forming unique 3D objects. It’s good to have additional tools to aid digital art developers in building 3D models. But to bring your vision to life, you have to rely on the eye and expertise of artists — and not solely bank on artificially intelligent software. Manual 3D modeling software has always been relevant, and it will remain relevant in the future.

3D Modeling Software NarraSoft Uses

ZBrush is a high-level sculpting tool that can create extra fine details through high-poly modeling. We use it for sculpting toys and collectibles.

Autodesk Maya is the perfect tool for creating realistic game assets. We add textures to 3D models by assigning 2D images on their surface through its UV mapping feature.

Adobe Photoshop works well in conjunction with Autodesk Maya’s UV mapping feature. Here we create razor-sharp details on 2D images, which we will use to design the 3D models.

Substance Painter & Substance Designer is another tool we use to create realistic textures, which we can apply to our 3D models.

In Summary

Three-dimensional modeling is the stage where artists make the basic shape of their object by using a special type of software. It comes before 3D rendering, another necessary step toward forming 3D objects.

Industries that can expect to grow from the future of 3D modeling include:

  • Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals
  • Education and eLearning
  • Video Gaming
  • Marketing & Advertising

Technologies that shape the future of 3d modeling are:

  • AI, including photogrammetry and automated 3D generation
  • Virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality
  • Classic 3D modeling software

NarraSoft uses the following 3D modeling software to create high-quality 3D art assets:

  • ZBrush
  • Autodesk Maya
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Substance Painter 
  • Substance Designer 

Interested in partnering with us on your next 3D modeling project? Check out other samples of our 3D modeling output on our portfolio to see more of what we can offer you.

NarraSoft’s outsourcing services range from project development to business processes. You can expect services involving data entry, technical support, 3D art creation, software development, and so many more. If you’re interested in outsourcing to NarraSoft, send an email to sales@narrasoft.com!

Justine Jordan

Justine Jordan is a content and copy writer. She has written for a popular business daily in the Philippines and for various startups across the globe before transitioning to work for NarraSoft. She graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines-Diliman with a bachelor's degree in journalism.