3D Modeling In the Film Industry

3D modeling and design, architectural viz, 3d rendering


Have you ever been spellbound by a character’s facial expressions in a movie or the intricate details of an action sequence? Chances are, 3D visualization, animation and modeling techniques were used to bring these characters and scenes to life! Now that more filmmakers are taking advantage of this technology, there is no telling what kind of exciting new visuals we can expect. In this blog post, we’ll talk about some common modeling techniques seen in the film industry and how they can be used to create breath-taking images on screen. So sit back, buckle up, and get ready as we explore these amazing technologies!

Box/subdivision modeling

Box modeling is a polygonal modeling in which the artist starts with a geometric primitive- in this case, the shape may be a cube a sphere, cylinder etc. then it is refined into a shape until the desired shape is finally achieved. Designers that have specialized in box modeling often works in stages. They start with a low resolution mesh then refining the shape then refine the shape and sub-divide the mesh to smooth out the hard edges and add detail. The process of subdividing the image is carried out continuously until the mesh contains enough polygon detail.  This is done so that it is able to properly convey the intended message to the target audience. Box modeling is the most common form of polygon modeling used hand in hand with the edge modeling technique

Edge/counter modeling

The edge modeling technique is as the same as the polygonal technique.  Though different from box modeling, here the designer does not start with a primitive shape and molds it until the desired shape is achieved. Instead you are required to build piece by piece by placing loops of polygonal faces along prominent colors then filling up any gaps that may be between the resultant shapes.

As simple as it may sound, certain meshes are quite difficult to attain in the counter modeling technique. Take for example the human face; for a designer to properly model a face, he is required to employ very strict management of energy flow. And also the general topology of the shape, the precision that is afforded by counter modeling can in some cases be invaluable

NURBS/spline modeling

This is a technique that is commonly used in the automotive and industrial modeling. NURBS models are comprised of smoothly interpreted surfaces that are created by lofting a mesh between two or more Bezier curves that are known as splines. The curves in spline creation are created with a tool that works similarly to the pen tool in MS paint or in the adobe illustrator. The curve is drawn in 3D space and is then edited via moving a series of handles called control vertices. To model such surfaces, the artist is needed to place curves along prominent contours.  Then the software automatically interpolates the space that is in between

Digital sculpting

This is also referred to as disruptive technologies. The reason is due to the fact that it gets rid of the pains of topology and edge flow.  It allows them to create three dimensional models in a fashion that is similar to physically sculpting a digital clay.

Digital sculpting involves the designer sculpting the shapes organically such that one shapes it virtually with the aid of a Wacom tablet. The sculpting process is improved such that it is faster, efficient and allows the designers to work with high resolution meshes possessing a large number of polygons

Procedural modeling

In the computer world, the word procedure is used to refer to anything that is generated algorithmically rather than being created manually with the aid of the artist. In this process, the scenes are created based on user definable rules or parameters. In this method, entire landscapes can be created via the artist modifying environmental parameters such as foliage density and elevation range.  Sometimes from choosing from landscape items like desert and costal landscapes.

This type of modeling is commonly used for constructs like trees and foliage where the variation and complexity of the model would in the long run be very time consuming fir an artist to capture by hand.

Image based modeling

Here, the transformable three dimensional objects are algorithmically derived from a set of static two dimensional objects. Such items are employed in a situation where time and budget do not allow for the complete manual development of a 3D image.

3D scanning

3D scanning is whereby there is the digitalization of real world objects where photo-realism is required. A real object is scanned, analyzed and the raw data that is obtained is then used to generate an accurate polygonal mesh. Scanning is often used if the actual digital representation of the real world actor is required.

3D scanning have however not replaced the traditional skills.  Bulk of objects that are modeled for the entertainment industry have no real world equivalents since most of the features in modern movies are creatively designed.

In conclusion, 3D modeling and animation have become integral to the filmmaking process. From creating incredible movie sets to creating expansive and beautiful digital worlds, these techniques allow filmmakers to truly bring their vision to life. We’ve explored the common 3D visualization, animation and modeling techniques used in the film industry today, from CGI to facial scanning technology. As we move further into a world of virtual reality and 3D experiences, we’ll undoubtedly see more unique techniques applied in filmmaking. For now though, the techniques explored in this article demonstrate just how powerful and versatile 3D can be when it comes to bringing a story to cinematic life – something that is sure to be incredibly useful for aspiring filmmakers out there.

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