Introduction to 3D Graphics

By Jody S. Ginther Copyright © 2016 - All Rights Reserved

What is 4D?

First we must get rid of the deception that 4D graphics, movies, et. even exist in our dimension. The Bible and physicists now do agree that there are more than 3 dimensions. The problem is that we perceive only a 3D dimension. Apart from our "sixth sense" we have senses that can only detect a 3D reality. That means 4D or a fourth dimension is not perceivable or real to us through our senses. When you see any kind of promotion using the term "4D" it is just a meaningless name, there is no real 4D games, 4D rides, or other 4D products we can buy in our reality. Using the term 4D is an attempt to brainwash buyers into thinking 4D is bigger and better than 3D. This term is an ego trip or deception invented by marketers to make you think there product is better. So unless you are talking physics rather than products or entertaining rides, 4D is not a relevant term.

3D Cube created in Blender 3-D frog created in Blender dancing frog animated gif

What are 3D graphics?

You can think of 1D as a line on a piece of paper and 2D as objects drawn on the paper. You can use artistic skills of perspective to make a painting drawing or cartoon seem to have depth on the paper by tricking the eyes. However, no matter how hard you try, everything you draw on the paper is still on a 2D plane. It has no real depth and only exists on the x and y axis. Tom and Jerry Cartoons and the dancing frog image are examples of 2D animation. Learn more about 2D animation and graphics.

With 3D you are adding the Z axis of depth or height to create objects that you can walk around or see from every angle in our reality. 3D printers can create 3D objects from a 3D scan. We use the term "3D" rather loosely to refer to anything that appears to be 3D to our eyes. Of course a character in a 3D movie or 3D game is not truly 3D and can not walk around in our reality. However, to our eyes these 3D objects and characters appear to be 3D as the digitally created camera moves around them within the game, movie, or software. 3D can refer to cartoon characters in movies that appear to be 3D such as in the "Ice Age" movie series or the 3D frog image. 3D games give the illusion of 3D objects and space such as the shooting game CS. 3D is also used to describe the use of various methods and devices to create the illusion of 3D to our eyes. Some examples would include the use of special glasses, screens, and film to create the illusion. Types of 3D include anaglyph, polarized, stereoscopic, and the list continues to grow in time. Our concern here is only on 3D graphics as they are related to the creation of 3D animation, 3D games, art, and 3D virtual realities.

So What is 3D Modeling?

3D modeling is the creation of a 3D world, 3D character, scenes, and objects within 3D software such as Blender. These can be used as "assets" for the creation of games, movies, 3D cartoons, or creating a virtual reality "walk through" of a building for architects and their customers. Engineers also work with 3D in CAD software. In this article we won't go into why we chose Blender 3D as our focus. You can read about that in my previous article "Why Choose Blender 3D for Animation." If you plan to dive into the world of 3D graphics or you want to save a lot of money by creating your own 3D assets for games, you will need to start investing some time to develop 3D modeling skills. You can begin learning 3D modeling by watching our free Blender 3D Animation Video Tutorials.

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