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3D: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
Top 10 Places to Sell Your 3D Stock Models Online
A list of the 10 absolute best places to make money selling your 3D models online. These are the ten markets with the highest traffic, the best royalties, and the strongest reputations. Good luck!
How Are 3D Models Prepared for Animation?
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50 Concept Artists You Should Know
Links to 50 incredible galleries and portfolio sites from some of the best artists working in 3D computer graphics, entertainment design, concept art, game development, and animation.
How to Prep Your Model for 3D Printing in Just...
A five step look at the process required to properly prepare a digital model for the 3D printing process. We look at some tricks and techniques that will enable you to print your 3d models as easily and cheaply as possible.
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.
How to Render Glass in Maya and Mental Ray
Shader Recipe Series. We present a surefire way to create a physically accurate glass material using the Mia_material_x shader in Mental Ray for Maya.
15 Indispensable ZBrush Resources
Fifteen resources to help you make the most of your sculpting experience--from brushes to materials, to alpha sets, these free downloads will help you streamline your workflow and step up your sculpting.
9 Popular Stand-Alone Rendering Solutions
The past few years have seen a ton of relatively new rendering solutions emerge for 3D artists, ranging from immensely powerful packages like Vray and Arnold to highly specialized tools like Keyshot and Marmoset Toolbag. Let's take a look at what's out there.
Getting Started in 3D Modeling and Animation
Follow our three quick steps and you'll have a better idea of where you'd like to go with 3D (whether animation, 3D modeling, etc.) and how to get there.
8 Tips to Make Your 3D Renders More Realistic
A list of eight techniques that will improve your 3D renders and help you achieve a higher level of photo-realism.
The Best Paid and Free Full 3D Suites
A list of all the major 3D software applications in use by today's top production studios. The list is organized into categories according to the strengths of each piece of software.
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.
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.
How to Use the Modeling Tools in Maya (Lesson...
The insert edge loop tool is probably the single most important item in your modeling tool-set. It allows you to add resolution to your mesh.
List of Texturing, Surfacing, and UV Map...
A comprehensive list of software for texturing, baking normal maps, and laying out UVs for your 3D models.
How to Use the Interface in Maya (Lesson 1.1)
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.
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.
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.
Maya Tutorial Series - Basic Render Settings
In this lesson we'll begin looking at how we can set up some basic settings to help us get a good render out of Maya/Mental Ray.
Free 3D Software List
A list of useful 3d software packages that are available free of charge for beginners to modeling, animation, and rendering.
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.
5 Essential Strategies for Selling Your 3D...
Now that you know which sites you should be selling at, we'll take you through five tips to help get you on the right track in the 3D marketplace.
What Are the Best Schools for 3d Computer...
While we firmly believe that a dedicated student can become a successful animator from anywhere (even self-taught), there are a handful of schools that really do things the right way and give their students all the right tools for success.
15 Free Tutorials to Help You Master ZBrush
A selection of 15 free ZBrush tutorials from around the web to help you take your digital sculpting skills to the next level.
An Introduction to the 6 Phases of 3D Production
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.
How to Use the 'Extrude Tool' in Maya (Lesson...
Non-manifold geometry is one of the common pitfalls of beginning modelers.
Is Drawing an Essential Skill for 3D Modeling?
We explore whether or not it's time effective to focus on your 2D drawing and painting skills when your ultimate goal is a career in 3D computer graphics.
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.
List of Animation and Visual Effects Studios
A focused list containing most of the top tier animation studios and visual effects houses.
Maya Lesson 1.5: Selection & Duplication
Advanced duplication options in Autodesk Maya.
What is 3D Printing? - Exploring Additive...
Ever wanted to turn your 3D models into real world objects? Here are the basics of 3D printing, so you can try it yourself.
Best Books for 3D Modelers
I love video tutorials as much as the next guy, but books do have some definite advantages over DVDs
Where You Should Be Getting Online 3D Training...
Ten incredible sources for online training in 3D computer graphics. These are the absolute best places to go for self-paced instruction in 3d modeling, animation, visual effects, and game development.
3D Contest List - Prominent CG Competitions
In addition to forums and community sites, there are a number of additional options for showing your 3D artwork. In this list, we introduce a list of prominent 3D contests to get involved in if you've got some spare time and enjoy a good old fashioned challenge.
10 Absolutely Amazing Books for 3D Animators
A list of 10 incredible books for 3D animators, with a nice mix between traditional animation theory and practical CG knowledge.
A List of 3D Forums & Communities
Showing your work is a crucial part of the artistic process. Here's a brief list that highlights some of best CG forums & communities on the web.
Top 10 Best 3D Movies of All-Time
Here is one man's opinion of the ten greatest stereoscopic 3D films of all time (or at least, since 2008).
Maya Lesson 2.3: Combining Objects and Filling...
Using the Split Polygon Tool in Maya. Page 4.
Portfolio Building 101 - Introduction to...
The first of a three part series on portfolio building for the 3D computer graphics, animation, games, and visual effects industry.
Maya Lesson 2.4 - Scene Organization
What if you're working on a complex model, and but only want to see one (or a few) objects at a time?
A Guide to 3D Lighting Techniques for Digital...
An introduction to the six types of lights- point/omni, directional, spot, area, volume and ambient - in Maya and 3DS Max. Page 2.
Which 3D Printers are Ready to Use and Under...
We take a look at some of the 3D printers that can be had for under $1000.
How to Manage a Project in Maya (Lesson 2)
How to save your Maya scene file. Page 5.
10 Films that Revolutionized Computer Graphics
From Tron to Titanic, we present five films that revolutionized the way we think about 3D visual effects. Each entry on this list pushed technical and artistic boundaries in some way, expanding the role of 3D computer graphics in film.
How to Use Maya's Lattice Tool
A brief introduction to the lattice tool in Autodesk Maya. How to use it and how it can improve your modeling.
The Ten Principles of 3D Printing by Hod Lipson...
Not too long ago I received an email asking whether I'd like to review Fabricated: The New World of 3D
Why Some People See Blurry Lines Rather Than 3D...
3D doesn't work for everybody, and I don't mean in the philosophical sense—in some cases it really doesn't work. Why is that?
Rendering Terminology Explained
We take a brief look at some of the terminology and jargon related to 3D rendering and rendering software, specifically the difference between biased and unbiased rendering.
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.
Where To Sell Your 3D Models - Which Marketplac...
An analysis of the ten largest markets for selling 3D models online. We work through the numbers and show you which 3D marketplace will be most worth your time and effort if you want to successfully drive sales and turn a profit.
Revolving Curves In Maya - Modeling a Champagne...
Learn how to use create a champagne flute using Maya's revolve tool. This is a beginner level Maya tutorial. Page 4.
Maya Training Series - Keyboard Shortcut...
A reference sheet with some of the most commonly used keyboard shortcuts in Autodesk Maya. Perfect for Maya beginners.
Polygonal 3D Modeling - Common Box and Edge...
A concise walk-through of common polygonal modeling workflows for box and edge modeling.
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.
How to Make a Successful Demo Reel for 3D Artists
When you go looking for a job in the CG industry, your demo reel is like a first impression and first round interview all rolled into one. These six tips will show you how to put together a killer demo reel to help land you your dream job.
Surfacing 101 - Shading Networks and Surface...
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.
Beginner Exercises for 3D Modelers
Some interesting and educational exercises for beginners to the world of 3D Modeling.
How to Make Really Bad CG
Since it's ever artist's dream to create stunningly bad CG, we go through eight key steps for producing the worst 3D images imaginable. From turning off anti-aliasing, to never using reference—follow these steps and your artwork will look worse than ever before!
Roadblocks and Implications for 3d Printing -...
Continuing our series on 3D printing, we explore some of the roadblocks and implications faced by the technology in the coming years.
How To Successfully Fund Your Indie Game on...
Running a successful Kickstarter campaign takes huge amount of pre-planning, and a well-balanced course of action for generating interest and publicity for your project. Here are some valuable tips for putting together a Kickstarter campaign that people will want to support.
Rigging
An intermediary step in the computer graphics pipeline, rigging is the process by which a technical director prepares a 3D model for animation.
Finishing a 3D Render – Color Grading,...
Your raw render should never be your finished image! In this article we take a look at all the ways you can use post processing to bring your finished work to an entirely new level of polish and realism.
3D Modeling
The process of creating a 3D representation of any surface or object by manipulating polygons, edges, and vertices in simulated 3D space.
Five Reasons You Need to Learn ZBrush (Now!)
ZBrush is on the absolute cutting edge of innovation in the computer graphics industry. Here are five reasons why now is a better time than ever before to learn Pixologic's game-changing software.
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.
Finishing a 3D Render – Passes,...
Your raw render should never be your finished image! In this article we take a look at all the ways you can use post processing to bring your finished work to an entirely new level of polish and realism.
10 Films That Revolutionized Computer Graphics
From Star Wars to Avatar, we present five more films that have revolutionized the way we think about visual effects. Each entry on this list pushed technical and artistic boundaries, and expanded the role of 3D computer graphics in film.
Software Review – Marmoset Toolbag
We take a look at the Marmoset Toolbag, a standalone real-time rendering solution meant for look-development in game development pipelines.
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.
3D Modeling: 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.
Topology
The word topology refers to the geometric surface characteristics of a 3D object, characterized by polygon distribution and edge-flow.
3D Beyond Entertainment – Jobs in...
We look at ten different job markets outside of entertainment where CG artists can look for work.
3D Job and Career Sites and Postings
A list of job boards for anyone seeking a career in 3D animation, visual effects, or game development.
Box Modeling
A 3D modeling technique in which the artist begins with a low-resolution primitive (typically a cube or sphere) and modifies the shape by extruding, scaling, or rotating faces and edges. Detail is added to a 3D primitive either by manually adding edge loops, or by subdividing the entire surface uniformly to increase polygonal resolution by an order of magnitude.
Great Gift Ideas For 3D Artists
A list of fantastic gift ideas for a 3D artist. Digital artists might not need paints and canvases, but there are still a ton of things we need to keep our creative process running smoothly. Here are some of them.
Creating Plants and Trees in Maya & Mental Ray
A two part discussion on how to create foliage using paint effects in Maya.
Maya Tutorial Series - Unrwapping the Greek...
In this lesson we go through the process of unwrapping the Greek column to create UV Maps that we'll use later on in the texturing process.
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.
Maya Lesson 1.4: Object Manipulation
Introducing Maya's channel box. 3D. Page 5.
What is the Uncanny Valley?
Coined in 1970 by Japanese robotics professor Masahiro Mori, the term is explained here.
Maya Tutorial Series - Modeling a Greek Column
Gathering reference for the project. Page 2.
Quotes About 3D – Where Your Favorite...
A collection of quotes about stereoscopic 3D from some of the most important directors in Hollywood.
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.
How Important are ZBrush / Mudbox to the Gaming...
In or latest FAQ installment, we examine how important it is to know a digital sculpting app if you plan to pursue a career in game development.
Upcoming 3D Movies Summer 2013 - Blockbuster...
A list of all stereoscopic 3D movies scheduled for release during the 2013 summer blockbuster season. Covers all 3D films in May, June, and July.
Welcome to the 3D Web - 8 Mind-blowing WebGL...
The modern web browser has come an awful long way from its humble beginnings at the dawn of the internet. Here are ten amazing examples of WebGL in action!
Rendering Paint Effects Trees, Plants, and...
A brief tutorial that explains how to render paint effects plants in Mental Ray.
Five Great YouTube Channels for 3D Artists and...
Here are five (plus a bonus) amazing YouTube channels for aspiring concept artists, 3d modelers, and game developers.
Allegorithmic Substance Designer 3.5 - Software...
We go hands on with Allegorithmic's procedural texturing framework, Substance Designer 3.5, and see what the software is capable of.
Marvelous Designer 2 For Digital Artists -...
We go hands on with Marvelous Designer 2, explore its utility as a tool for digital artists, and talk about some of our first impressions with the software.
Best Cities to Start a Career in 3D - Part 1
A list containing 10 of the top places to start a career in computer graphics. From the obvious (Los Angeles) to the not so obvious (your bedroom), these are the places you want to be if you're looking for a career in 3D.
Why are Film Effects So Much Better Than Video...
Film effects and video game graphics are two sides of the same coin, but they share as many differences as they do similarities. We take a look at why film renders are so much more realistic than video game graphics.
The Under-Appreciated Art of Lighting in 3D
A discussion on the under-appreciated art of good CG lighting, and some advice to spruce up your images and set yourself apart.
15 Films We'd Love to See Re-released in 3D
Let's cut loose and have some fun! From Aliens to Akira, here are 15 classic films we'd love to see find their way back into the cinema as 3D re-releases.
New Software - nDo2 First Impressions
Recently had a go with the trial version of NDO2, Quixel's flagship normal mapping utility. Here are my thoughts and first impressions.
Visual Effects
Visual Effects (VFX) is a blanket term term referring to any method that makes it possible to create a scene or effect that could not otherwise be produced with regular photographic techniques.
Myths and Facts about 3D Films, 3DTV, and...
We take a look at some common myths and opinions about stereoscopic 3d film and television production and explore whether they’re true or false.
Portfolio Building 102 - How to Structure and...
In the second entry in our three part series on portfolio building for the 3D computer graphics, we talk about planning your portfolio and approaching the process logically and analytically.
First Look – Quixel dDo Texturing Framework
We take a look at Quixel's brand new dDo plugin for Photoshop, and examine how it can help streamline your game-art texturing workflow.
Software Review - World Machine
We take a look at the World Machine 3D terrain generator for digital artists, game developers, and visual effects.
Modular Character Design for 3D Computer...
We explore the concept of modularity in game development and see how we can apply it to character design.
Maya Lesson 1.3: Object Creation
Object creation in Autodesk Maya 2011 - Construction history and inputs. Page 4.
Current Gen Gameart Workflow - What is Normal...
Normal mapping is one of the most important concepts in gameart. Let's answer some basic questions about the technology.
Best Cities to Start a Career in 3D - Part 2
A list containing 10 of the top places to start a career in computer graphics. From the obvious (Los Angeles) to the not so obvious (your bedroom), these are the places you want to be if you're looking for a career in 3D.
How to Sculpt Great Looking Wood in ZBrush
We discuss some surefire techniques for sculpting great looking wood textures in Zbrush. Take your environment art to the next level!
Software Review - Moment of Inspiration (MoI)
Some first impressions with Triple Squid Software's Moment of Inspiration (MoI modeling suite.
How to Sculpt Wood in ZBrush - Part 2
The second part of our discussion on wood sculpting techniques in ZBrush. In this section we discuss surface grain, detailing techniques, and begin looking at the high-to-low XNormal baking workflow.
Long-term Promises of 3d Printing
We take a look at some of the most important long-term promises of 3d printing.
Supplemental Skills for Success in 3D - Part 1
A list of twelve non-3D skills that can supplement a 3D curriculum, and help make you a better artist. From life-drawing, to computer science, to acting—these are the things you should be doing when you're not making 3D.
What is Subsurface Scattering?
We take a look at a common material phenomenon known in the CG community as subsurface scattering, and explore how it can be applied to your images to make them more lifelike.
How to Learn Digital Figure Sculpture in Zbrush...
If you're interested in becoming a character artist, at some point you'll probably ask the question—what's the best way to learn anatomy? We tackle that question head on in this two part series.
Essential Texturing Resources for 3D Artists
A list of tips, tricks, texture libraries, software suggestions, and tutorials to help you successfully conquer the dark art of texturing your 3D models.
Resolution
Resolution can refer to two things in computer graphics—the number of pixels in an image, and the density of polygons on a 3D surface.
The Greatest 3D Movie Characters of All Time -...
We count down the ten greatest computer generated film characters of all time and throw in a few honorable mentions for good measure.
5 Tips For Stylized Renders
Stylized modeling and animation is hard. Because stylized renders often have simplified forms and materials,
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.
Choosing a School for 3D
Choosing the right degree program can be instrumental in your success as an aspiring 3D artist. Here are some of the things you should consider before taking out those loans.
NURBS
Non-uniform rational B-spline (NURBS) is a method in computer graphics for modeling three-dimensional surfaces.
Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing - Book...
Our book review for Fabricated: The New World Of 3d Printing, by Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman
Going Indie in 3D Computer Graphics:
We discuss the merits of pursuing an independent short animation or game development project, and why we think the stars are aligning for indie developers.
Which 3D Movies Made the Most Money?
We take a look at the highest grossing 3D films of all time, both domestic (N. America) and international.
Knald Open Beta - First Impressions
We take a first look at Knald's open beta, and delve into the software's capabilities as a GPU based map extraction tool
How to Use 3D Software in 2D Illustration and...
We take a look at some of the ways that 3D software can be combined with 2D illustration tools like Photoshop and Corel Painter to create unique, well-executed digital paintings.
Portfolio Building 103 - What Should You...
In the third entry in our series on portfolio building for the 3D computer graphics industry, we focus on what you should include in your portfolio, using a job posting from Rhythm & Hues as a case study.
Texturing
: The process of applying color and textural details to the surface of a 3D model. Texturing has traditionally
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
Diamant Modeling Tools v1.0 - Software Review
We take a look at Rich Diamant's fantastic UV mapping and brush based modeling plugin for Autodesk Maya.
Axis
The word axis most commonly refers to a dimension on the X,Y,Z Cartesian coordinate system, but can also describe directional traits of an object in local space.
Spline
: A spline is a Bezier-type curve that can be shaped and manipulated with a set number of control points,
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.
Rendering
The process of converting a 3D scene from a mathematical representation of objects in three-dimensional space into a final polished two-dimensional image.
Computer Graphics
Computer graphics refers to any image created either wholly or partially with the assistance of a computer.
Interview With CGTrader's Dalia Lasaite
An interview with Dalia Lasaite covering CGTrader's recent site relaunch, and their plans for the site's future.
Edge Loop
A set of continuous edges across a three-dimensional surface. An edge loop typically flows uninterrupted around an object with the terminal vertex connecting to the lead edge, assuming the loop always passes through four way edge junctions.
Creating Effecient 3D Illustrations - Part 1
Take your 3D scenes to the next level with this in depth discussion on how to efficiently tackle a fully realized CG illustration.
The Top 10 3D Movies of All Time - Part 2
Here is one man's opinion of the ten greatest stereoscopic 3D films of all time (or at least, since 2008).
50 More Concept Art/CG Portfolios to Inspire...
A collection of fifty additional galleries and portfolio sites from some of the best artists working in 3D computer graphics, entertainment design, concept art, game development, and animation.
Portfolio Building 104 - Creating a Personal...
If you started at the beginning and made it this far, thanks so much for sticking it out! If you're just
Overcoming an Artist's Block - Maintaining...
Suggestions for 3D artists on how to maintain productivity during a creative block.
Common Pitfalls of CG and Game Development...
Unfortunately, not everyone who tries makes it to the professional level as an artist. Lets take a look at some common pitfalls that CG and game development students fall into, and how you can avoid them.
Supplemental Skills for Success in 3D - Part 2
A list of twelve non-3D skills that can supplement a 3D curriculum, and help make you a better artist. From life-drawing, to computer science, to acting—these are the things you should be doing when you're not making 3D.
Studio Spotlight - Blur Studio
A studio profile for Blur Studio—an effects house based in Venice, CA that focuses on animation, VFX, design, and game cinematics & trailers.
Maya Tutorial Series - Detailing the Greek Column
Adding a few final details and fixing a few trouble areas on the mesh.
Mesh
The overall surface of a 3D model is referred to as a mesh.
What Will 48fps Mean for 3D Films and Cinematic...
We take a look at the future of 3D film, and how the industry will respond to the rise of 48fps frame rates.
40+ CG Profiles You Should Be Following on...
Twitter has become an information fire-hose, and most major brands and high-profile public figures are on board. Here are 40+ industry profiles to help you stay on top of the latest news in the 3D computer graphics industry!
Upcoming 3D Movies - Fall 2013
A comprehensive guide to upcoming 3D movies for fall 2013. There are (number here)--- 3D films scheduled for September, October, and November.
3D Recap May 2013 - The Month's Top CG Artwork...
A summary of some of the CG industry's top news stories and visuals from May 2013.
3D In 2013: What We're Looking Forward To in...
We've already looked back, recapping both the month of December, and some of the highlights of 2012. Now it's time to take a look forward.
3D Recap February 2013 - The Month's Top CG...
A summary of some of the CG industry's top news stories and visuals from February 2013.

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