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The Basics of 3D

What is 3D? How and where is it used? We'll introduce 3D in all it's glory, give you a basic history of 3D computer graphics, and an explanation of how the illusion of 3D is produced in film, games, and television.
  1. 3D Glossary (43)
  2. Frequently Asked Questions (7)

3D Defined - What is 3D?
A very broad introduction to the world of 3D computer graphics and film. We define the term in a general sense, and then explain how it relates film, games, and animation.

Anatomy of a 3D Model
An introduction to 3D models, with a breakdown of the major components of a 3D Model. We'll cover the main types of 3D models, and provide an explanation of faces, edges, vertices, and shading networks.

7 Common Modeling Techniques for Film and Games
An introductory overview of six common techniques employed by 3D modelers in today's computer graphics industry.

Polygonal 3D Modeling - Common Box and Edge Modeling Workflows
A concise walk-through of common polygonal modeling workflows for box and edge modeling.

Surfacing 101 - Creating a UV Layout
In this three-part series, we explore stage three in the computer graphics pipeline—surfacing. Shading and texture artists are responsible for developing the surface detail for a 3D model. This includes color maps, textures, bump or normal mapping, and developing a realistic shader-network to determine how the model will react with light.

How to Make Really Bad CG
We go through some key steps in creating the absolute worst CG

Surfacing 101 - Texture Mapping
In this three-part series, we explore the third segment of the computer graphics pipeline—surfacing. Shading and texture artists are responsible for developing the surface detail for a 3D model. This includes color maps, textures, bump or normal mapping, and developing a realistic surface shader to determine how the model will react with light.

3D Lighting Techniques - Lighting a 3D Scene
An introduction to the six types of lights in Maya and 3ds Max.

What is Rendering?
What is rendering exactly? The final step in the 3D computer graphics pipeline, rendering is the process by which a 3D scene is translated into a final 2D image. Read more about the techniques and software used to render a 3D character or scene.

What is Concept Sculpting?
Concept sculptors forgo traditional 2D design tools like Photoshop and Painter, and and instead work directly in a digital sculpting application like ZBrush or Mudbox. Here are some reasons to add concept sculpting to your character design toolkit

Introducing the Computer Graphics Pipeline
There are six major development steps a 3D image passes through before it can be called complete. From pre-production to rendering, we'll give you a brief overview of the entire process, known in the industry as the computer graphics pipeline.

Maya Training Series: Introduction
Part one in our step by step training series for Autodesk Maya. Oriented toward beginners, we'll walk through the Maya interface and introduce the basics of modeling, texturing, animation, and rendering.

Which 3D Software?
Wondering which 3D software to purchase? This is an overview of the different types of 3D software available, and recommendations for choosing the 3D software suite that's right for you. We'll go through full 3D packages, digital sculpting tools, game engines, and free applications.

Current Gen Gameart Workflow - What is Normal Mapping?
Normal mapping is one of the most important concepts in gameart. Let's answer some basic questions about the technology.

Maya Lesson 1.1: Introducing the User Interface
Part one in our step by step training series for Autodesk Maya. Aimed at beginners, we'll walk through the Maya interface and introduce the basics of modeling, texturing, animation, and rendering.

10 Pioneers in 3D Computer Graphics
10 pioneering computer scientists who played instrumental parts in shaping 3d computer graphics into the industry that it is today. From normal mapping to sub-surface scattering, these men are the reason today's films and game look so darn good.

More Films That Revolutionized Computer Graphics
10 more films that revolutionized the industry. These might not be as groundbreaking as the 10 in our previous list, but they're every bit as impressive and usually improved on the groundwork laid by their predecessors.

Getting Started in 3D Modeling and Animation
The wide world of 3d computer graphics has dozens of different outlets, so jumping into the learning process haphazardly can ultimately lead to uncertainty and frustration. Follow our three quick steps and you'll have a better idea of where you'd like to go with 3D and how to get there.

Getting Started in 3D: Know Your Resources
The third entry in our Getting Started in 3D series, we discuss what to do once you know what direction you'd like to take in 3D and have decided on which software you'll be using. Knowing what types of resources are available to a budding 3D artist will help tremendously in making the learning process as smooth as possible.

Surfacing 101 - Shading Networks and Surface Materials
Shaders, or surface materials, are instrumental in giving a 3D model it's visual appearance. A shader is a programmed set of instructions, which tells a 3D render engine like Mental Ray how a 3D model should interact with light.

Revolving Curves In Maya - Modeling a Champagne Flute
Learn how to use Maya's "revolve curve" tool by creating a three piece tea set. This is a beginner level Maya tutorial.

Creating Effecient 3D Illustrations - Part 2
And here's the second part of our in depth discussion on how to efficiently tackle a fully realized CG illustration.

6 Quick Tips for Interesting CG Lighting
Good lighting can make or break a render. Here are some easy tips to ensure that your 3D images always have great lighting.

Maya Lesson 2.2 - The Extrude Tool

3D Tutorial Roundup - Best of 2012 (So Far)
A collection of some of the best 3d modeling, animation, and game development tutorials (both free and paid) from 2012 so far.

5 Common Pitfalls of Beginning Modelers
In this article we explore a small handful of issues that beginners to 3D modeling often struggle with, and offer suggestions for avoiding the traps.

5 Techniques to Speed up Your Modeling in Maya
Here are five incredibly useful tools that will speed up your modeling workflow in Autodesk Maya.

Creating an Ambient Occlusion Render in Maya
A brief tutorial on how to create an ambient occlusion material in Maya to spruce up your work in progress renders.

Beginner Exercises for 3D Modelers
Some interesting and educational exercises for beginners to the world of 3D Modeling.

3D Basics - Getting Started in 3D
We take an in depth look at some of the basics of 3D computer graphics, including 3D modeling, stereoscopic 3D, and 3D printing.

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