What Is 3D Visualisation?

3D Visualisation (also known as 3D rendering, 3D graphics or computer-generated images) is the art of creating three-dimensional models, figures, landscapes and more. They are used either in still images or for animated video when visual effects are applied. This work is carried out by a 3D Artist, as the job requires a mix of artistic and technical skills to achieve the best results.

3D Visualisations make up quite a lot of your daily experience, even though you might not be aware of it. You could have most commonly seen 3D imagery on the front of a building site for a new housing development, for example. But they are used across a much larger spectrum of work practices. 3D is common in industries like:

  • Real Estate Agents
  • Architects
  • Rail Engineers
  • Ship Builders
  • City Planners
  • Product designers
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Why Do We Use A 3D Visualisation?

3D can be used over filmed mediums for many instances because of the possibilities it can bring. It’s very easy to make an animated character do (almost) anything you like. Whereas with a human it can be a bit harder, as they have their limitations! It’s also a very cost-effective way to create and bring ideas to life. With only a few computers and a few people, you can create whole environments which would be much more time consuming and and time costly if they were filmed with actors.

3D’s uses comes in different forms depending on the job at hand. Some 3D imagery is used for presentation purposes, when a company wants to present a forthcoming project to raise fund or sell something. Ahead of it’s finalisation, a 3D image will show the beneficiary what the completed project will look like. Some 3D is also used to visualise spaces that can’t be seen so easily, for example with a railway engineer, especially one who has to work underground. They will benefit from understanding their environment a bit more before they have to start working in it. As animators, we use 3D exclusively for presentation purposes, and to do this we need the correct software.

How Are They Created?

There are a few options when it comes to choosing a 3D software, a selection of what’s on the market are.

  • Autodesk Maya – Ask any 3D artist to name the best 3D modelling software, and most will choose Autodesk Maya.
  • Houdini – Widely used in the VFX industry for creating a range of amazing 3D imagery, Houdini’s node-based procedural approach provides digital artists with an unprecedented level of power, flexibility and control.
  • Cinema 4D – Maxon’s Cinema 4D has been around for many years and is highly regarded in the worlds of motion graphics, visualisation and illustration.
  • Autodesk 3ds Max – 3ds Max is Autodesk’s PC-only 3D computer graphics program, used for TV and feature film production and for architectural and product visualisation.
  • Blender – For CG artists on a budget, it doesn’t get any better than Blender, the free modelling, texturing, animation and rendering app.

Maya is the industries software of choice, it is where you create characters and the geometry of characters, like a skeleton, or an airplane. Other objects for animation and the character animation, like their movement, is also created in Autodesk Maya. Pipeline scripting is also something done within this software, which is animation based coding/scripting. Maya is really at the centre of a lot of what 3D artists do and what other 3D studios will use in their work. Houdini is the second on the list and the second software artists will use for creating movement in their characters.

Once your character is done and created in Maya, it will need to be moved to another program to add animation, scenery and more. When you need to move an animated character, Alembic is the name of a format you will use to move characters between Maya and Houdini. Another format like OBG can be used, which is a static format, so no animated characters can be used with this one.

References: Creative Bloq.