What Is 3D Modeling?

Worker with CAD drawing in office Credit: Monty Rakusen
Monty Rakusen/ GettyImages

3D modeling is the process of creating a 3D representation of any surface or object by manipulating polygons, edges, and vertices in simulated 3D space. 3D modeling can be achieved manually with specialized 3D production software that lets an artist create and deform polygonal surfaces, or by scanning real-world objects into a set of data points that can be used to represent the object digitally.

How 3D Modeling Is Used

3D Modeling is used in a wide range of fields, including engineering, entertainment design, film, visual effects, game development, and commercial advertising.

The most common popular example would be the modern resurgence of 3D technology in major motion pictures where this technology is used, which began with the success of the film Avatar, the 2009 blockbuster from director James Cameron. The film helped to transform the SD industry and used many of the concepts of 3D modeling.

3D modeling is closely related to the concepts of digital sculpting and polygonal mesh.