“Three-Dimensional Rendering” is the art and science of turning two-dimensional images and designs into 3D models that can typically be manipulated on screen. Designs are made for stationary images, like those seen in 3D animation, and dynamic/movable models, like those seen in the design world. Modern 3D rendering can be used for entertainment purposes, such as for special effects in movies or for computer animation, but it can also be used in many business sectors to streamline a process and/or save money. Here are a few examples of how 3D rendering can do just that.
Planning New 3D Printed Designs and Product Prototypes
Modern 3D printing is advancing at a tremendous rate, but have you ever wondered why there are so many different types of printers? There are many different types because different 3D-printed objects come with their own problems and issues. Take the example in the image below.
Imagine your printer adds a thin layer of plastic from the top, bit by bit, layer by layer, from her feet up to her head. It would have had to print part of her left hand as it started to print the top of her dress. Even if you can secure the portion of the hand from moving as the printer does its job, it is going to warp when the hand/arm connects to the main figurine near the shoulder. This is a simple example of the problems 3D printing companies have. In the case of Princess Peach, her left arm was printed separately and assembled later. But what if you have a design with very intricate designs with hundreds of different printing problems you have to overcome?
Nobody can afford to print prototype after prototype and waste all that plastic, energy, and time. Instead, the designs are put into a computer, and a 3D model is created. The designer can look at each part of the design, inside and out, and guess where the printing problems will occur. Solutions can then be found, such as adding small strips of plastic to the designs to hold up parts of the model. You can see such methods used in the image below. The arches were held up by removable pieces of plastic so that they wouldn’t warp during the printing process.
Using 3D modeling, people are able to create very intricate and very complex designs for 3D printers. The same rules apply to creating prototypes for new devices, vehicles, and so forth. The problems being identified may not relate to 3D printing. Perhaps they relate to how the rubbers are molded or how the metal is to be bent into place. Creating 3D models before creating real prototypes helps to save massive amounts of time and wasted materials.
Prototyping Moving Parts Using Hit Boxes
Going a step further, it is possible to add frames, skeletons, and even hitboxes to 3D designs. In essence, you can create something very similar to a computer game with your 3D models. By adding skeletons and armatures, people can accurately judge what their prototypes will do when they are moving. This is not done through guesswork. With the correct calculations, the computer can guess how something will move, at which angles, and even at what speeds.
Adding hitboxes to these designs is a further advance. A hitbox is better known for video games. When Mario runs into a mushroom, you lose a life because his character’s hitbox touched the mushroom’s hitbox. Add hitboxes to the moving parts of your designs, add in the correct physics calculations, and it is possible to see how the moving parts of your designs will interact with each other. Creating designs this way is far faster, more streamlined, efficient, and cost-effective than creating and assembling prototypes in the real world. Doing things this way means you can eliminate most of a design’s problems long before it becomes a psychically real item or product.
Animation and Advertising
The sheer amount of 3D rendering being done in modern animation is staggering, and it is done because it is super cheap. For example, when a character has to move his or her head very slowly, that takes hundreds of frames that each need to be hand drawn. Or, you can create a 3D model, texture it like it is 2D animation, and let the computer move the head very slowly. It takes what would be weeks of work and turns it into a three-hour task. Next time you watch a cartoon where the family is sitting in a moving car, look at how the car moves in the environment, and you will see it is a 3D render. You can often tell because the lines are too perfect, and their movements are too perfect when compared to the other hand-drawn or frame-by-frame animated areas.
Robot Chicken, the TV show, used to use stop-motion animation because it was cheaper. Now, they use almost all computer animation that is modeled to look like they are still using stop-motion animation. This is not uncommon. In the TV show “Smiling Friends,” they have models that are supposedly created using Stop-Motion animation but are actually 3D renders because it is cheaper and quicker, and the 3D models can be reused over and over again.
Similar principles are applied to advertising. Companies show the insides of their products using 3D animation, or they make text appear as if it is coming towards the screen, changing color, or sparkling in the light. Plus, the models used for animating can be reused over and over again with different poses and movements, which is why many online advertisers create their videos using 3D rendering and animation.
Final Thoughts – The Actual Processing Operation is Technically Labor Intensive
The work that goes into the actual processing is quite tremendous, which is why companies and data centers that offer processing services are so popular these days. Each industry, be it gaming, vehicle design, 3D printing, and even predicting weather patterns, has its own hurdles to jump when it comes to the required processing power needed to render 3D designs. Many companies struggle to afford the hardware required for in-depth design. To then have them stop all designs while the computers/servers do the rendering is an extraordinary waste of time and resources in this day and age.
Typically, companies will go here and buy processing power from larger companies and data centers. That way, they don’t have to tie up their own computers and servers in order to render out their designs and media. What’s more amazing is that if it were not for advances in internet speeds, such as with fiberoptics, then the loading and downloading of data would take so long as to eliminate some of the benefits of using third-party processing companies in the first place. In short, it seems that things are only going to get better in the world of 3D rendering and processing.