3d modeling: easy explanation

In 3D computer graphics, 3D modeling (or three-dimensional modeling) is the process of developing a mathematical representation of any three-dimensional surface of an object (either inanimate or living) via specialized software. The product is called a 3D model. Models may be created automatically or manually. Want to know what 3D modeling is? Easy: here’s a detailed description for you with definition, origins, types and uses.

3D Modeling Definition

3D modeling is the process of creating a three-dimensional model of an object. Using 3D, it is possible to capture size, shape, and texture of a real or imaginary object.

History of 3D Modeling

The first 3D models were created in 1960s. Back then, only those professionals in the field of computer engineering and automation who worked with mathematical models and data analysis were involved in 3D modeling.

A pioneer of 3D graphics is Ivan Sutherland, the creator of Sketchpad. This revolutionary program helped to create the first 3D objects – 3D is what it is today thanks to Sketchpad. Sutherland, along with his colleague David Evans, has opened the first ever department of computer technologies at the University of Utah. They attracted numerous talented professionals from all over the country who helped contribute to the development of the industry. Edwin Catmull, a current head of Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios, was one of Sutherland’s students.

Sutherland and Evans opened the first 3D graphics company in 1969, calling it simply “Evans & Sutherland”. Initially, 3D modeling and animation was used mostly on television and in advertisement, but with time, its presence in other areas of life increased greatly.

Ways of Creating 3D Models

A model can be created automatically (with the help of a 3D scanner), or manually by a 3D modeler (using special computer programs). Oftentimes, 3D modeling refers to the process when a designer creates a 3D model using software – in this case, the term is related to digital sculpting.

  • Before-3D modeling
    After-3D modeling
    3D model grid 3D modeling 3D render

Types of Modeling

  • Polygonal
  • Spline

A 3D model is usually a preliminary result of working on a project. Depending on its future use, the method of 3D modeling may vary.

Uses of 3D Modeling

  • 3D printing
  • Visualization
  • Animation (including films)
  • Games and apps


3D modeling can help with both exclusive and mass production. You can create a 3D model for molding or for using with a printer.


3D modeling in interior visualization