What is 3D Modeling: Everything You Need to Know

what is 3d modeling
✔ Boost your 3D modeling skills and learn about its basic components.
✔ Explore the industries that use and benefit from 3D modeling.

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Today we’re going to delve into the world of 3D to discover what is 3D modeling. How long has it been around and what industries use it the most?

If some time ago the word “3D” was met with confusion and questioning gaze, nowadays you wouldn’t probably find a person that hasn’t heard about it. 3D stands for “three-dimensional” which is a way of presenting computer objects in realistic forms. 

So, whether you’re a novice who wants to start a career in hard surface modeling, or someone who is exploring new ways of improving a business, we’ll help you get a better understanding of this technology. 

However, to begin with we’ll cover what it actually is.

What is 3D Modelling?

how to create a 3d model
The process of creating a 3D model

3D modeling is a process of developing a mathematical, coordinate-based, three-dimensional representation of animated or living objects and surfaces. 3D model, as a result of 3D modeling, is a collection of data that is created by manipulating vertices, edges, and a polygon mesh in a 3D space. 

Sounds relatively simple, doesn’t it?

But wait till we get to the technical stuff.

These points in virtual space are called vertices that comprise a mesh – the collection of vertices (virtual points) an object is formed with. All these points are mapped into the 3D grid. Then each point has its position and is combined into shapes, objects, or surfaces.

So, technically, 3D modeling is a collection of points connected by lines, triangles, curved surfaces, and other geometric entities in 3D space. 

As you might have guessed already, specialized software is used to create 3D models. Nevertheless, you can still create it manually or automatically by 3D scanning. 

How does it work?

Let’s find out.

How Does 3D Modeling Work?

3d polygon mesh
A polygon mesh (source YouTube)

Being as complex a concept as 3D modeling is, it is always a good idea to start simple and develop towards complexity. When you learn how to 3D model, it usually starts from creating a primitive form like a plane, sphere, or cube.

Then the form is manipulated by adding individual vertices with various modeling tools to get the contours of the future object. The achieved mesh is divided into polygons that are subdivided into smaller shapes to create more detail correspondingly. 

Note: 3D modeling is a process that requires exceptional diligence and might seem too complicated to complete. Still, multiple tools help you to achieve desired forms faster. 

mirror technique 3d
Mirror technique (source YouTube)

There are various modeling tools that go with a built-in mirroring technique for building symmetrical models working on a half or a quarter of the object. The other technique is a subdivision that enables designers to simulate a higher polygon count and preserve the original work if they need to experiment with the forms. 

Then there is a quick deformation used to displace the mesh with the noise texture to get a more organic surface. And finally, after all of these processes, the object is not complete until you paint and apply texture maps to it to add details and create a more complicated model. 

Though it seems to be enough already, 3D modeling constantly develops to provide more advanced models. 

However, was it always like what it is known to be now?

3d modeling process
How 3D models are created

The History of 3D Modeling

Since 3D modeling is based on mathematical calculations it is not a surprise it was invented by people who worked in computer engineering and automation. The pioneer of 3D graphics is Ivan Sutherland, the father of Sketchpad who invented 3D models back in the 1960s. 

However, he wasn’t alone. Sutherland with his colleague, David Evans, opened a department of computer technologies at the University of Utah attracting various professionals who contributed to the industry. 

Note: Sutherland and Evans were the first to create a 3D graphics company in 1969. It was an establishment of the 3D modeling industry that was first used for television and advertising. 

While many still don’t know what is 3D modeling, it has been incorporated in various other spheres we come across every day. Nowadays we have modern programs like Blender and Sketchup.

3D Modeling in Action

If you haven’t seen 3D technology being widely used around you, it only means you don’t pay much attention to it. Anything from films and games to design and medicine use 3D modeling to improve and develop.

Here are the industries that use modeling continuously. Some wouldn’t even manage to succeed without it.

1. Architecture and Real Estate

3D for real estate floor plan
Floor plan model

Drafting interior areas, exterior landscapes and buildings has gone a long way from rolls of blueprints to using 3D models on desktops and tablets. Architecture and real estate are some of the many industries 3D modeling technology revolutionized. 

3D modeling not only changes the way architectural designs are presented. It significantly reduces designing costs and speeds up the process. This allows designers to identify potential drawbacks before they turn into serious issues. 

Moreover, you can visualize entering your dream house or gathering around a dining table before the first brick is even laid out. 3D modeling is a real game-changer for these industries after all.

Did you ever think something like this would be possible?

2. Science and technology

3d product modeling for technology and science
Product model

This is the easy one. You can imagine how 3D modeling is used in science and technology. From mapping data sets into 3D models to printing them in real size for better visualization and research. 3D models help scientists to examine complex concepts avoiding high production costs and huge amounts of time required.

Besides, 3D modeling significantly facilitates the work of engineers. It allows them to visualize the 3D model of a projected mechanism without even drafting a process.

3. Advertisement and web design

Having a multitude of copywriters and world-class marketers working on your product advertising campaign doesn’t guarantee success unless you have a compelling image to present your product. 

A few years ago marketers and ad experts only wondered what is 3D modeling and how they could benefit from it. Now it is an essential component of a converting marketing campaign.

Product Blender Animation Tutorial

3D models not only help customers to get a comprehensive understanding of a product but visualize it as well. 3D models convey the message. They complete concept of the products that look and feel better. 

Dull 2D images are a relic of the past. They don’t pay off when compared to attractive and engaging three-dimensional pictures. Just have a look at the amazing product animation tutorial.

Isn’t it more engaging for a customer?

4. Entertainment

Entertainment as one of the most lucrative businesses also incorporated 3D modeling as a better way to present objects. Games, films, TV, and animation would never manage to stay afloat if it wasn’t for modeling. 

Would Game of Thrones or Avatar be so popular without all of those fancy 3D models?

character creation
Creating characters in 3D (source YouTube)

Take a guess.

While films and television use 3D modeling to create CGI characters, environments, objects, and animations, modern games build entire visual 3D components to convey a real-life experience.

Nevertheless, the list can go on and on since if you look into it you’ll discover 3D modeling is used throughout almost every industry in many different ways. 

How to Use 3D Modeling?

Regarding the number of industries that use modeling, don’t be surprised to discover you can also benefit from it in a certain way. And once you do realize it, here is how you can use 3D modeling in your business. 

how to use 3d modeling


No modern designer or architect can do without 3D modeling services that help them to visualize their future project by combining material, textures, lighting, and other effects. Be it landscape architecture, industrial, or fashion design, none would be as convenient as modeling makes it.

3D Printing

It’s time to learn more about other types of 3D models. 3D printing is a revolutionary technology derived from modeling that allows you to create a 3D model and print objects of different complexity by overlaying thousands of layers. 

This manufacturing technology eliminates the need for expensive molds or multiple parts of the object to be assembled. 3D models can be prototyped and tested before manufacturing since 3D printers can create an object with moving parts comprising the same object.

Can you believe that?


Assembling multiple points in a 3D space to get the three-dimensional object is not often the final result of 3D modeling. Nowadays, most 3D objects get animated and used throughout various industries from showing animated movies to conducting 3D tours.

3D Modeling as a Way to Go

3d modeling for architecture interior scenes
High-end interior model

3D modeling is a complex technology you can not learn enough of overnight. However, it is a new way of presenting computer-generated objects that have been around longer than we’d imagine. 

It’s revolutionized a lot of industries and continues to convert our vision of entertainment, cinematography, games, and technology. Even if you don’t notice it too often, removing 3D modeling technology from our lives won’t go unnoticed.

So, If you haven’t found the best way to use 3D modeling to your benefit yet, you’ll come to it soon enough since it is one of not many technologies that will stick around for a long time. 

Be it a 3D modeling career or incorporating it into your business strategy, just choose the best 3D modeling software and start now. You’ll thank yourself later.

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