3D computer graphics
(in contrast to 2D computer graphics) are graphics that use a three-dimensional
representation of geometric data (often Cartesian) that is stored in the
computer for the purposes of performing calculations and rendering 2D images.
Such images may be for later display or for real-time viewing. Despite
these differences, 3D computer graphics rely on many of the same algorithms
as 2D computer vector graphics in the wire-frame model and 2D computer
raster graphics in the final rendered display. In computer graphics software,
the distinction between 2D and 3D is occasionally blurred; 2D applications
may use 3D techniques to achieve effects such as lighting, and primarily
3D may use 2D rendering techniques.
3D computer graphics
are often referred to as 3D models. Apart from the rendered graphic, the
model is contained within the graphical data file. However, there are differences.
A 3D model is the mathematical representation of any three-dimensional
object (either inanimate or living). A model is not technically a graphic
until it is visually displayed. Due to 3D printing, 3D models are not confined
to virtual space. A model can be displayed visually as a two-dimensional
image through a process called 3D rendering, or used in non-graphical computer
simulations and calculations.
In 3D computer graphics,
3D modeling is the process of developing a mathematical representation
of any three-dimensional object (either inanimate or living) via specialized
software. The product is called a 3D model. It can be displayed as a two-dimensional
image through a process called 3D rendering or used in a computer simulation
of physical phenomena. The model can also be physically created using 3D
Printing devices. Models may be created automatically or manually. The
manual modeling process of preparing geometric data for 3D computer graphics
is similar to plastic arts such as sculpting.
There are a multitude
of websites designed to help educate and support 3D graphic artists. Some
are managed by software developers and content providers, but there are
standalone sites as well. These communities allow for members to seek advice,
post tutorials, provide product reviews or post examples of their own work.