In my spare time, I enjoy writing about parenting, productivity, and home improvement.
3D modeling is an essential tool for a variety of industries, where it uses computer graphics to create 3D digital representations of objects or surfaces. Through software, you can use a collection of vertices (points in virtual space), polygons, and edges to form a complete object. This lets designers view objects from all angles and better visualize how things would exist in reality.
Architects and engineers rely on 3D modeling for planning and design, whilst animators and game designers use it to create hyper-realistic virtual worlds for films, ads, and games. 3D modeling can help cut costs, reduce lead times, and speed up production by providing inexpensive yet quick, realistic, and detailed mock-ups.
Additional benefits include easy correction and re-modeling, along with sufficient detail and accuracy at the design stage to improve the efficiency and aesthetics of the final product. Finally, 3D modeling can help designers and architects better sell their concepts to customers and other stakeholders.
Innovative uses of 3D
Major innovations in 3D modeling have already started transforming the landscape across different industries.
1. 3D printing
3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) involves manufacturing 3D objects from digital files. The 3D printer lays down successive layers of material until the object is complete.
One of the biggest innovations in 3D modeling for 3D printing is how it’s made 3D printing far more accessible for consumers and industry, especially with open source software now available. For example, schools use 3D models to create educational objects, and businesses rely on 3D modeling for rapid prototyping. The construction sector uses 3D modeling to print modular concrete sections, and in fashion, 3D modeling allows jewelers and footwear manufacturers to create customized pieces at a lower cost.
Automotive and aviation companies use 3D modeling to create spare parts, and restaurants have used it to print edible items. In laboratories, researchers depend on 3D modeling for things like modeling biological molecules; creating instrument parts; and printing sample holders, implants, and teaching models.
2. Virtual and augmented reality
By making virtual and augmented reality possible, 3D modeling enables everything from immersive gaming to realistic, accurate environments for aviation simulations and astronaut training. 3D modeling has also led to the creation of interactive models for educational purposes, including augmented reality training simulations. It’s also made possible sophisticated navigation tools in military applications, in-vehicle information systems for drivers, and overlaid content for video broadcasts.
For consumers, 3D modeling has led to the creation of virtual reality travel guides, museum experiences, and real estate tours. It’s helped create multi-sensory dining experiences, as well as apps to check the furniture for fit and placement in the home.
3. 3D advertising
3D modeling has allowed advertising professionals to create high-impact and possibly interactive marketing experiences. Additionally, a 3D rendering immediately makes an item or message stand out, and it can neutralize banner blindness online. For more complex or feature-rich products like appliances and equipment, 3D modeling gives advertisers the means to highlight features, showcase the smallest details, and help consumers understand how they work.
4. Building information modeling
Building information modeling (BIM) lets architects, engineers, developers, and builders design and document physical and functional features of buildings in 3D within a single platform. BIM incorporates factors like time, cost, sustainability, and safety, and enables project managers to run alternative scenarios.
BIM has already helped reduce the risk of major failures by allowing building designs to be easily reviewed, meaning issues can be resolved at the modeling stage before construction. BIM can drive cost efficiencies, productivity, waste reduction, higher quality, better health and safety outcomes, communication, information retainment, positive returns, speed of delivery, and shorter project life-cycles.
5. Health and medicine
Customized prosthetics and implants are among the more impressive developments in health and medicine enabled by 3D modeling. Hip replacements, skin tissue, hearing aids, crowns, and dentures have all been created from 3D modeling. Surgical preparation has also benefited from 3D modeling, with patient-specific organs for practice, along with surgical tools and equipment, being printed.
Other applications in health and medicine include customized clear aligners and braces in dentistry and frames and lenses for vision correction. Beyond printing, 3D modeling is helping with processes like diagnosing, monitoring, and training in health and medicine. It’s also enabling mental health recovery with virtual reality meditation and exposure therapy experiences. In the future, there could be 3D-printed cells and tissue, which could produce 3D-printed bones and organs for patients who can’t find donors.
3D modeling as an enabling technology for innovation
Sectors like education, construction, aviation, and health and medicine leverage 3D modeling for innovative solutions, and 3D modeling has helped improve consumer, gaming, and driving applications. For BIM, 3D modeling makes possible complex models to support better construction outcomes. These examples maybe just a glimpse of the possibilities of 3D modeling, and both industry and consumers could expect more innovative developments in the coming years.
Thomas Howcroft on December 16, 2020:
Great post, check this one out:
Larry Slawson from North Carolina on August 27, 2019:
Very informative, and very true. Thank you for sharing!
Liz Westwood from UK on August 23, 2019:
Technology is developing quickly. You give a helpful analysis of how 3D modelling can be used in beneficial ways.