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The Main Types of 3D Modeling

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3D modeling is the process of creating a 3D representation of an object, surface or person. It involves taking into account the three dimensions: length, width and depth. 3D models can be created for a variety of purposes, such as architecture, engineering, product design and video games. There are a few main types of 3D modelling: polygonal, solid, and surface modelling, and some others. In this article, let’s look at them and also at second-hand software licences  in more detail.

In What Fields is 3D Modeling Used?

The creation of three-dimensional models is used in various areas:

  • Architecture and construction — for the development of projects, evaluation of buildings, calculation of their stability;
  • Medicine — for the creation of models of organs and tissues, planning operations;
  • Industry — for the production of three-dimensional prototypes of products before starting mass production, as well as for advertising purposes; 
  • Art and Entertainment — it is widely used in the cinema and gaming industry.

The number of areas where three-dimensional modeling can be used is constantly expanding, as it is a very convenient and fast way to create a model of any object. So, let’s move on to the main types of three-dimensional modeling.

Polygonal Modeling

It is considered the most common type. This type uses polygons as its basic building blocks. A polygon is a two-dimensional (2D) shape with three or more straight sides. To create a 3D model, multiple polygons are put together to form the surface of an object. Polygonal modelling is sometimes also known as mesh modeling.

The advantage is that it can produce very detailed models. However, the downside is that it requires a lot of processing power to render these models and so may not be suitable for real-time applications such as video games. Some common software packages used for polygonal modelling include 3ds Max, Maya and Blender.

Solid Modeling

It is the creation of objects as solid shapes. In other words, it involves creating a three-dimensional model of an object from its two-dimensional representation. 

Solid models can take into account factors such as weight and stress, which are important for engineering applications. So, solid modelling is usually used for engineering purposes, such as when designing parts for machines or vehicles. The models are often used in conjunction with polygonal models in order to create a complete picture of an object. Some of the most popular solid modelling software programs include Autodesk Inventor, SolidWorks and PTC Creo.

Wireframe Modeling

It is one of the simplest types of 3D modeling. As the name suggests, it involves creating a model using only wireframes or lines that connect at points. This type is often used for conceptual purposes, such as when designing a building or machine. It can also be used to create basic models that will be fleshed out later using another type of modeling. 

The advantage of wireframe modeling is that it is relatively easy to create and edit. It is also very efficient in terms of processing power since there are no complex surfaces to render. For these reasons, it is often used for early stages in the design process or for applications where processing power is limited. Some common wireframe software packages include Rhino 3D and SketchUp.

Surface Modeling

It is the creation of three-dimensional models by working with NURBS surfaces. NURBS are mathematical representations of curved surfaces that can be used to create very smooth and precise shapes. Surface models are often used in product design, as they allow you to create complex organic shapes that would be difficult to create using other types of 3D modelling. Some popular software programs include Rhinoceros 3D, Alias Wavefront, and CATIA Surfacing.

Box Modeling

It is a type that involves creating a model by combining basic geometric shapes. The most common shapes used are cubes, but other shapes such as cylinders, spheres and cones can also be used. 

Box modelling is often used for character design. Its advantage is that it is relatively easy to create complex shapes. The downside is that it can be difficult to control the overall shape of the model, and so this method is not always suitable for creating precise models. It is relatively easy to learn and use, making it suitable for beginners. Some common software packages used for box modeling include 3ds Max, Maya and Blender.

3D Sculpting

3D sculpting involves shaping a model by adding and removing material in a similar way to how a sculptor would work with clay. The advantage of 3D sculpting is that it can produce very organic-looking shapes. However, the downside is that it can be difficult to achieve precise shapes with this method. Some common programs used for 3D sculpting include ZBrush and Mudbox.

CAD Software for 3D Modeling

In order to create a 3D model, you will need specialized software that can generate it. Thanks to second-hand software licenses that you can purchase on the ProCadIs online store, you will be able to use all popular CAD programs.

There is a wide range of software available for 3D modeling. The type of software you use will depend on the type of model you want to create and the purpose of the model. 

For example, if you want to create a detailed polygonal model for a video game, then you would need to use a powerful program such as 3ds Max, Maya or Maxon Cinema 4D. However, if you just want to create a simple wireframe model for prototyping purposes, then a less complex program such as AutoCAD, SketchUp, or Rhinoceros 3D would suffice.