Chosen field – 3D modeling

I chose to focus on 3D modeling within the industry.

There are two types of models, hard surface model that includes anything machined, man made, environments and organic model such like humans, animal, plants etc.

There are variety of 3D modelling programs within the modeling arsenal. Each programs are specifically made for different modelling purpose.

Programs such as Maya and 3DS max are widely used for hard surface modelling.

Like wise Zbrush and Mudbox are specifically used to organic models.

However it does not mean that Maya and 3DS max cant be used to make organic models and vice versa. It may just not have the wide range of features that is required to model a specific type of model.

Pipeline for creating models

The first step in the modeling pipeline process is Research, witch is done before modelling beings. It requires finding range of concept arts, real world examples, blueprints, photos, inspiration from movies or games etc.

For example if a modeler is required to model a car, he will find lots of image reference of the car from all different angles or its even better to find a blueprint or physically see and feel the real car itself.


Audi R8 5.2 q 2010Capture

A blueprint of the car will be very useful to accurately model the car. Blueprints can be placed inside the 3D program where the modeler can see the image references within the 3D space.

There are few rules that a modeler has to follow. Models that does not have clean topology or has to many unnecessary polygons will create a problem for texturing and rigging. Also having many unnecessary polygons will cause longer rendering time and bad performance issues in games.

Its important to avoid creating triangles and Ngons. Triangles consists of 3 sides or edges connected by 3 vertices. Ngons in the other hand is made up of five or more sides or edges connected by five or more vertices.

Triangles and Ngons causes a lot of issues when deforming the model, it causes rendering issues. They also cause issues when trying to smooth a model. The extra vertices and edges can cause bumpiness in the model when smoothed. The only way to avoid all this is to make sure your models are all made up of quads.


Example of Triangles


Triangles when smoothed

Common 3D modelling techniques

Box/Subdivision Modelling

Box modelling is probably the most common form of modelling. It is a polygonal modelling technique in witch the modeler starts with a geometric primitive (cube, sphere, cylinder, etc) and then refines its shape until the desired appearance is achieved.

Modeling is done in stages, starting with a low polygon mesh, refining the shape, and then sub dividing the mesh to smooth out hard edges and add detail. The process is repeated until the mesh contains enough enough polygons to convey the intended concept.


The image above shows the process of box modelling.

Edge/ Contour Modelling

Edge modelling is another polygonal technique  though fundamentally different from its box modelling counterpart. Instead of starting with a primitive shape the model is build piece by piece by placing loops of polygonal faces and filling any gaps between them.

This form of modelling is quite complicated, but is required for certain meshes that are difficult to complete through box modelling alone, the human face being a good example.


NURBS Modelling

In contrast to polygonal geometry, a NURBS mesh has no faces, edges, or vertices. Instead they are comprised of smoothly interpreted surfaces created by lofting a mesh between two of more curves. This modelling technique is mostly used for automotive and industrial modelling.


Digital Sculpting

In digital sculpting, , meshes are created using a tablet device to mold and shape the model almost exactly like a clay sculptor would using rake brushes on a chunk of clay. They are mostly used for creating character and organic creatures. This technique allows artists to work with high resolution meshes faster and more efficiently.


Difference between Game and Movie modelling.

Although modelling for games and modelling for movies are very similar in techniques, the process can be different. One of the most obvious difference between the two is the polygon budget thats found in any game development process. There are limitations for how many polygons can be used in a particular game to be able to run it smoothly.

Games are rendered in real time right in front of the player, so in order to keep the game running at a stable frame rate and maintain throughout the gameplay, the 3D models must be created at a level thats not taxing on the game engine. as there are thousands of different asset all being rendered at one time on the screen, it takes a lot of precessing power.

The polygon budget of a game is also determined by what game engine or hardware its being played on. For example

The model on the left is from the early PlayStation console that required lower poly count due to its current gaming systems. The model on the right is of PlayStation 3, as you can see there is more polys but has tons of details that previous generation consoles couldn’t handle.

When it comes to modelling for movies or a live action film with CG integrated models, theres not really a limit on the amount of polygons that can be in any given model. As long as the rendering can be done on time there is no reason for movies to create low poly models. In movies there is free range to use however many polygon it takes to get the model to look good on screen, because it is what matters the most.

Figure06.jpgHere you can see the differences between game and movie models. The movie model has extremely high poly and very detailed while the game model is minimum.

R&D video

Fixing triangles: I started by deleting the triangle and cleaning the edges around it. I used the multi cut tool to create new edges.

Box Modelling: I started by using cylinder primitive. I arranged the cylinder to fit the whole wine glass and added edge loops where the model will be curved. I selected the vertices of the model and scaled them to desired shape.

Edge Modelling: First I created a plane for the glass handle and extruded the edge to create a cylinder. Then I selected all the top edges of the cylinder and extruded them up into the shape of the glass, I did the same with the bottom stand.

Nurbs Modelling: To create a Nurbs I first used the EP curve tool and drew the lines around the outside of the glass. After i created the curves I selected the curve and used the revolve tool from the surfaces menu.