Ever since the development of 3D software, we start to see an increase in spatial development, 3D architecture, and art. Ever since its first origins in 1976, we’d start to see how it became a powerful component within our daily lives.
But it all starts with the 3D model. 3D modeling has been used for decades to help create software, art, and technological improvements within their respective fields. Due to all of this, the 3D modeling industry is expected to achieve up to 16.6 Billion USD within the year 2020.
But, What is 3D Modeling?
3D modeling is a technique that’s used to create a 3D representation of any surface or object. An artist uses special software such as Cinema 4D, 3DS Max, Maya, Blender, etc. to manipulate points within virtual space (called vertices). This helps them form a mesh, which is a group of vertices that create an object.
These 3D objects can be created automatically or through manually deforming the mesh, or by manipulating the vertices. 3D models are used for a myriad of mediums including movies, illustration, video games, architecture, commercial advertising, and engineering.
The 3D modeling process creates a digital object that’s capable of becoming fully animated, making it an important process for special effects and character animation. The mesh is a collection of multiple points in space. Each of these points adds up to create the final 3d model in your design.
The points are then mapped to on a 3D grid and are combined as polygonal shapes, usually quads or triangles. Each vertex or point has their own unique position on the grid, and once these points are combined into shapes, the object surface is created.
Next, the 3D models are exported to other software programs to be used for movies or games. But there are some 3D software systems that can create 2D images through a process called 3D rendering. This technique is great for creating realistic scenes with complex lighting algorithms.
How Do Cities Use 3D Models?
Cities in the public or private sector are beginning to use 3D models to assist with city planning. A prime example of this is Virtual Brisbane. It was a project used by the Brisbane city council to create 3d models for development assessment, community engagement, and strategic planning.
Singapore is creating a new 3D powered project called Virtual Singapore. This new 3D platform will create more opportunities for urban planners.
Companies such as Dassault Systems are working with different cities to create tools to make more responsive cities. For instance, the 3D Experience Project lets urban planners digitally prototype and test their ideas. As a result, it will help them consider the short and long-term impact of urbanization.
These techniques will help integrate people, which creates a more personalized approach to development planning.
3D Modeling At Work
3D modeling is an important aspect of any creative career. Architects and engineers use it to plan and create their work. Game designers and animators use it to help bring their ideas to life.
And almost every Hollywood film production team uses 3D modeling to speed up production, to reduce costs, and to make interesting 3D effects. For instance, the popular HBO series Game of Thrones uses 3D animation and modeling to mock up everything before filming it.
3D printing is another application that’s used for 3D modeling as it gives the user complete control over the 3D mesh object.
Also, the objects can be created through sculpting or scanning, but those techniques can have their limitations when creating the final model. But what’s lost in speed is gained in precision as 3D modeling can be a tedious process.
Learning 3D modeling can be somewhat challenging. Most of the principles rely on fundamental art skills, and the programs can be difficult to learn at first. People with experience in sculpture and drawing will find it easier to learn 3D models. But, anyone with the patience and the time can learn these skills.
3D Integration to Planning Education
Since 3D modeling has become so popular, the increasing demand for spatially adept planners has increased. This adds to the importance of creating new ways to train and teach built-environment professionals.
For instance, The University of Queensland launched a project where the researchers brainstorm, design, and implement an efficient curriculum in its Bachelor of Urban and Town Planning program. By making virtual 3D models, students can develop their spatial skills.
Students are trained to use ESRI’s City Engine. The software is an industry standard platform that’s used to make 3D city models. This helps them plan, visualize, assess, and communicate new and existing developments.
Most students like the new learning opportunity to help improve their spatial skills, usually in the early stage of the learning process.
However, the students had a short time limit to learn the technology fully. And the joy of developing new areas is challenged by the student’s need to receive a good grade. Nonetheless, the students know the importance of 3D technology and how spatial learning skills will aid their professional development.
3D Design and Augmented Reality Technology
Augmented reality technology gives students a new way to conceptualize and make urban landscapes. It helps them interpret landscape representations and enhances their map reading skills. As a result, this helps the students know the digital and physical aspects of urban places.
The rise of sensor networks, the “Internet of Things,” and spatial technology helps change the urban planning pedagogy, design, and curriculum. It gives students new ways to become spatial planners and will become properly equipped for the age of co-creation.
Plus, this helps their spatial literacy and helps with co-designing an environment. This can help them become more relevant to modern design practices, become better planners, and increase their employability and competency once they enter the workplace.
Thanks to 3D modeling, we can see more efforts being made to help improve our society. For instance, it helps urban planners create new maps and help develop new cities. Within a few years, we can expect to see more 3D generated cities in the future.