3D computer graphics

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3D computer graphics, or three-dimensional computer graphics (in contrast to 2D computer graphics), are graphics that use a three-dimensional representation of geometric data (often Cartesian) that is stored in the computer for the purposes of performing calculations and rendering 2D images. The resulting images may be stored for viewing later (possibly as an animation) or displayed in real time.

Contents

3D computer graphics rely on many of the same algorithms as 2D computer vector graphics in the wire-frame model and 2D computer raster graphics in the final rendered display. In computer graphics software, 2D applications may use 3D techniques to achieve effects such as lighting, and, similarly, 3D may use some 2D rendering techniques.

The objects in 3D computer graphics are often referred to as 3D models. Unlike the rendered image, a model's data is contained within a graphical data file. A 3D model is a mathematical representation of any three-dimensional object; a model is not technically a graphic until it is displayed. A model can be displayed visually as a two-dimensional image through a process called 3D rendering, or it can be used in non-graphical computer simulations and calculations. With 3D printing, models are rendered into an actual 3D physical representation of themselves, with some limitations as to how accurately the physical model can match the virtual model. [1]

History

William Fetter was credited with coining the term computer graphics in 1961 [2] [3] to describe his work at Boeing. One of the first displays of computer animation was Futureworld (1976), which included an animation of a human face and a hand that had originally appeared in the 1971 experimental short A Computer Animated Hand , created by University of Utah students Edwin Catmull and Fred Parke. [4]

3D computer graphics software began appearing for home computers in the late 1970s. The earliest known example is 3D Art Graphics , a set of 3D computer graphics effects, written by Kazumasa Mitazawa and released in June 1978 for the Apple II. [5] [6]

Overview

3D computer graphics creation falls into three basic phases:

  1. 3D modeling – the process of forming a computer model of an object's shape
  2. Layout and animation – the placement and movement of objects within a scene
  3. 3D rendering – the computer calculations that, based on light placement, surface types, and other qualities, generate the image

Modeling

The model describes the process of forming the shape of an object. The two most common sources of 3D models are those that an artist or engineer originates on the computer with some kind of 3D modeling tool, and models scanned into a computer from real-world objects. Models can also be produced procedurally or via physical simulation. Basically, a 3D model is formed from points called vertices (or vertexes) that define the shape and form polygons. A polygon is an area formed from at least three vertexes (a triangle). A polygon of n points is an n-gon. [7] The overall integrity of the model and its suitability to use in animation depend on the structure of the polygons.

Materials and textures

Materials and textures are properties that the render engine uses to render the model. One can give the model materials to tell the render engine how to treat light when it hits the surface. Textures are used to give the material color using a color or albedo map, or give the surface features using a bump or normal map. It can be also used to deform the model itself using a displacement map.

Layout and animation

Before rendering into an image, objects must be laid out in a scene. This defines spatial relationships between objects, including location and size. Animation refers to the temporal description of an object (i.e., how it moves and deforms over time. Popular methods include keyframing, inverse kinematics, and motion capture). These techniques are often used in combination. As with animation, physical simulation also specifies motion.

Rendering

Rendering converts a model into an image either by simulating light transport to get photo-realistic images, or by applying an art style as in non-photorealistic rendering. The two basic operations in realistic rendering are transport (how much light gets from one place to another) and scattering (how surfaces interact with light). This step is usually performed using 3D computer graphics software or a 3D graphics API. Altering the scene into a suitable form for rendering also involves 3D projection, which displays a three-dimensional image in two dimensions. Although 3D modeling and CAD software may perform 3D rendering as well (e.g. Autodesk 3ds Max or Blender), exclusive 3D rendering software also exists.[ citation needed ]

Examples of 3D rendering
Engine movingparts.jpg
Dunkerque 3d.jpeg
Cannonball stack with FCC unit cell.jpg
Experience curiosity1.png
Far left: A 3D rendering with ray tracing and ambient occlusion using Blender and YafaRay

Center left: A 3d model of a Dunkerque-class battleship rendered with flat shading

Center right: During the 3D rendering step, the number of reflections "light rays" can take, as well as various other attributes, can be tailored to achieve a desired visual effect. Rendered with Cobalt.

Far right: Experience Curiosity, a real-time web application which leverages 3D rendering capabilities of browsers (WebGL)


Software

3D computer graphics software produces computer-generated imagery (CGI) through 3D modeling and 3D rendering or produces 3D models for analytic, scientific and industrial purposes.

Modeling

3D modeling software is a class of 3D computer graphics software used to produce 3D models. Individual programs of this class are called modeling applications or modelers.

3D modelers allow users to create and alter models via their 3D mesh. Users can add, subtract, stretch and otherwise change the mesh to their desire. Models can be viewed from a variety of angles, usually simultaneously. Models can be rotated and the view can be zoomed in and out.

3D modelers can export their models to files, which can then be imported into other applications as long as the metadata are compatible. Many modelers allow importers and exporters to be plugged-in, so they can read and write data in the native formats of other applications.

Most 3D modelers contain a number of related features, such as ray tracers and other rendering alternatives and texture mapping facilities. Some also contain features that support or allow animation of models. Some may be able to generate full-motion video of a series of rendered scenes (i.e. animation).

Computer-aided design (CAD)

Computer aided design software may employ the same fundamental 3D modeling techniques that 3D modeling software use but their goal differs. They are used in computer-aided engineering, computer-aided manufacturing, Finite element analysis, product lifecycle management, 3D printing and computer-aided architectural design.

Complementary tools

After producing video, studios then edit or composite the video using programs such as Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro at the mid-level, or Autodesk Combustion, Digital Fusion, Shake at the high-end. Match moving software is commonly used to match live video with computer-generated video, keeping the two in sync as the camera moves.

Use of real-time computer graphics engines to create a cinematic production is called machinima.[ citation needed ]

Communities

There are a multitude of websites designed to help, educate and support 3D graphic artists. Some are managed by software developers and content providers, but there are standalone sites as well. These communities allow for members to seek advice, post tutorials, provide product reviews or post examples of their own work.[ citation needed ]

Differences with other types of computer graphics

Distinction from photorealistic 2D graphics

Not all computer graphics that appear 3D are based on a wireframe model. 2D computer graphics with 3D photorealistic effects are often achieved without wireframe modeling and are sometimes indistinguishable in the final form. Some graphic art software includes filters that can be applied to 2D vector graphics or 2D raster graphics on transparent layers. Visual artists may also copy or visualize 3D effects and manually render photorealistic effects without the use of filters.

Pseudo-3D and true 3D

Some video games use restricted projections of three-dimensional environments, such as isometric graphics or virtual cameras with fixed angles, either as a way to improve performance of the game engine, or for stylistic and gameplay concerns. Such games are said to use pseudo-3D graphics. By contrast, games using 3D computer graphics without such restrictions are said to use true 3D.

See also

Graphics and software

Fields of use

Related Research Articles

Rendering (computer graphics) Process of generating an image from a model

Rendering or image synthesis is the automatic process of generating a photorealistic or non-photorealistic image from a 2D or 3D model by means of computer programs. Also, the results of displaying such a model can be called a render. A scene file contains objects in a strictly defined language or data structure; it would contain geometry, viewpoint, texture, lighting, and shading information as a description of the virtual scene. The data contained in the scene file is then passed to a rendering program to be processed and output to a digital image or raster graphics image file. The term "rendering" may be by analogy with an "artist's rendering" of a scene.

Computer animation art of creating moving images using computers

Computer animation is the process used for digitally generating animated images. The more general term computer-generated imagery (CGI) encompasses both static scenes and dynamic images, while computer animation only refers to moving images. Modern computer animation usually uses 3D computer graphics, although 2D computer graphics are still used for stylistic, low bandwidth, and faster real-time renderings. Sometimes, the target of the animation is the computer itself, but sometimes film as well.

Wire-frame model Visual presentation of a 3-dimensional or physical object used in 3D computer graphics

A wire-frame model, also wireframe model, is a visual representation of a three-dimensional (3D) physical object used in 3D computer graphics. It is created by specifying each edge of the physical object where two mathematically continuous smooth surfaces meet, or by connecting an object's constituent vertices using (straight) lines or curves. The object is projected into screen space and rendered by drawing lines at the location of each edge. The term "wire frame" comes from designers using metal wire to represent the three-dimensional shape of solid objects. 3D wire frame computer models allow for the construction and manipulation of solids and solid surfaces. 3D solid modeling efficiently draws higher quality representations of solids than conventional line drawing.

Computer-aided design Constructing a product by means of computer

Computer-aided design (CAD) is the use of computers to aid in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimization of a design. CAD software is used to increase the productivity of the designer, improve the quality of design, improve communications through documentation, and to create a database for manufacturing. CAD output is often in the form of electronic files for print, machining, or other manufacturing operations. The term CADD is also used.

Autodesk 3ds Max, formerly 3D Studio and 3D Studio Max, is a professional 3D computer graphics program for making 3D animations, models, games and images. It is developed and produced by Autodesk Media and Entertainment. It has modeling capabilities and a flexible plugin architecture and must be used on the Microsoft Windows platform. It is frequently used by video game developers, many TV commercial studios, and architectural visualization studios. It is also used for movie effects and movie pre-visualization. For its modeling and animation tools, the latest version of 3ds Max also features shaders, dynamic simulation, particle systems, radiosity, normal map creation and rendering, global illumination, a customizable user interface, new icons, and its own scripting language.

Scientific visualization Field of computer graphics concerned with presenting scientific data visually

Scientific visualization is an interdisciplinary branch of science concerned with the visualization of scientific phenomena. It is also considered a subset of computer graphics, a branch of computer science. The purpose of scientific visualization is to graphically illustrate scientific data to enable scientists to understand, illustrate, and glean insight from their data.

Non-photorealistic rendering

Non-photorealistic rendering (NPR) is an area of computer graphics that focuses on enabling a wide variety of expressive styles for digital art. In contrast to traditional computer graphics, which has focused on photorealism, NPR is inspired by artistic styles such as painting, drawing, technical illustration, and animated cartoons. NPR has appeared in movies and video games in the form of "toon shading", as well as in scientific visualization, architectural illustration and experimental animation. An example of a modern use of this method is that of cel-shaded animation.

Real-time computer graphics

Real-time computer graphics or real-time rendering is the sub-field of computer graphics focused on producing and analyzing images in real time. The term can refer to anything from rendering an application's graphical user interface (GUI) to real-time image analysis, but is most often used in reference to interactive 3D computer graphics, typically using a graphics processing unit (GPU). One example of this concept is a video game that rapidly renders changing 3D environments to produce an illusion of motion.

Low poly

Low poly is a polygon mesh in 3D computer graphics that has a relatively small number of polygons. Low poly meshes occur in real-time applications as contrast with high poly meshes in animated movies and special effects of the same era. The term low poly is used in both a technical and a descriptive sense; the number of polygons in a mesh is an important factor to optimize for performance but can give an undesirable appearance to the resulting graphics.

Software rendering

Software rendering is the process of generating an image from a model by means of computer software. In the context of computer graphics rendering, software rendering refers to a rendering process that is not dependent upon graphics hardware ASICs, such as a graphics card. The rendering takes place entirely in the CPU. Rendering everything with the (general-purpose) CPU has the main advantage that it is not restricted to the (limited) capabilities of graphics hardware, but the disadvantage that more semiconductors are needed to obtain the same speed.

3D rendering

3D rendering is the 3D computer graphics process of converting 3D models into 2D images on a computer. 3D renders may include photorealistic effects or non-photorealistic styles.

Demo effect computer-based real-time visual effect found in demos

Demo effect is computer-based real-time visual effects found in demos created by the demoscene.

Computer graphics (computer science) sub-field of computer science

Computer graphics is a sub-field of computer science which studies methods for digitally synthesizing and manipulating visual content. Although the term often refers to the study of three-dimensional computer graphics, it also encompasses two-dimensional graphics and image processing.

Computer graphics Graphics created using computers

Computer graphics is the discipline of generating images with the aid of computers. Today, computer graphics is a core technology in digital photography, film, video games, cell phone and computer displays, and many specialized applications. A great deal of specialized hardware and software has been developed, with the displays of most devices being driven by computer graphics hardware. It is a vast and recently developed area of computer science. The phrase was coined in 1960 by computer graphics researchers Verne Hudson and William Fetter of Boeing. It is often abbreviated as CG, or typically in the context of film as CGI.

A variety of computer graphic techniques have been used to display video game content throughout the history of video games. The predominance of individual techniques have evolved over time, primarily due to hardware advances and restrictions such as the processing power of central or graphics processing units.

Cobalt (CAD program)

Cobalt is a parametric-based computer-aided design (CAD) and 3D modeling program that runs on both Macintosh and Microsoft Windows operating systems. The program combines the direct-modeling way to create and edit objects and the highly structured, history-driven parametric way exemplified by programs like Pro/ENGINEER. A product of Ashlar-Vellum, Cobalt is Wireframe-based and history-driven with associativity and 2D equation-driven parametrics and constraints. It offers surfacing tools, mold design tools, detailing, and engineering features. Cobalt includes a library of 149,000 mechanical parts.

The history of computer animation began as early as the 1940s and 1950s, when people began to experiment with computer graphics - most notably by John Whitney. It was only by the early 1960s when digital computers had become widely established, that new avenues for innovative computer graphics blossomed. Initially, uses were mainly for scientific, engineering and other research purposes, but artistic experimentation began to make its appearance by the mid-1960s. By the mid-1970s, many such efforts were beginning to enter into public media. Much computer graphics at this time involved 2-dimensional imagery, though increasingly, as computer power improved, efforts to achieve 3-dimensional realism became the emphasis. By the late 1980s, photo-realistic 3D was beginning to appear in film movies, and by mid-1990s had developed to the point where 3D animation could be used for entire feature film production.

3D modeling process of developing a mathematical representation of any three-dimensional surface of object via specialized software

In 3D computer graphics, 3D modeling is the process of developing a mathematical representation of any surface of an object in three dimensions via specialized software. The product is called a 3D model. Someone who works with 3D models may be referred to as a 3D artist. It can be displayed as a two-dimensional image through a process called 3D rendering or used in a computer simulation of physical phenomena. The model can also be physically created using 3D printing devices.

This is a glossary of terms relating to computer graphics.

References

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  3. "Computer Graphics".
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  7. Simmons, Bruce. "n-gon". MathWords. Archived from the original on 2018-12-15. Retrieved 2018-11-30.