Understanding 3D Visualization: an Art or a Skill

3D visualization is kind of a trend nowadays, for 3D graphics are everywhere. They are widely used in such spheres as product marketing, advertising, architecture, construction, medecine, engineering. 3D visualization is a solution to many problems some of industries and their workflows have had before. For instance, it is hard to imagine a better way to present potential investors or buyers a building which has not been constructed yet. Another example may be  interior and exterior design, where architectural renderings are used to make sure the customer is perfectly happy with the project concept.

It’s only logical that 3D artists are in a great demand. Sometimes we wonder though – what exactly do these mysterious people do? And will mastering the required software make me a 3D artist? Or I’d better not bother and outsource the task? And if 3D visualization comes down to merely creating a picture, why are there such disparities in quality among different 3D artists?!

This questions, along with many others of a similar kind, lead us to a more global problem.

3D visualization- what exactly is it? A complex craft or sophisticated art?

3D Visualization Process

To answer, we need to understand what 3D visualization actually involves.

First of all, 3D artist receives a technical assignment (specification of the project’s tasks). Along with it, depending on the task, he might get photos, sketches, drafts, 3D models. By the way, though he doesn’t need to create 3D models, he has to know how to work with them. Therefore, he has to master some basic 3D modeling software. Based on the data given, he creates photorealistic images of the objects and spaces. Depending on the type of project and the software used, the process varies. Let’s have a look at the main stages of 3D visualization.

3D Visualization for a Sublime Cafe Interior

3D Visualization Workflow

  1. Creation of the scene out of 3D geometric primitives.
  2. Setting surface characteristics and lighting.
  3. Camera setting: choosing the perspective.
  4. Rendering: putting the 3D picture on a flat surface (a screen).
  5. Post-production: adding surroundings, people figures, effects etc to give the image emotional appeal.

To do that, 3D artist needs to master specialized software for 3D visualization, such as AutoCad, V-Ray, Rhino, ZBrush etc. Well, obviously, it is not an easy task, for learning each of those programs is like learning a separate language. That is, levels of proficiency can greatly vary. Like with any skill, great results in 3D visualization only come with a lot of learning and practice. Which is exactly what good craftsmen do.

So, does it mean that 3D visualization is a set of skills? All you need to is to learn how to use appropriate software?

To be honest, that is a point of view many people hold. However, there is a major problem with this theory: it doesn’t take into account many aspects of the work of a 3D artist. 3D visualization process goes far beyond those stages.

What Defines an Art?