What Is 3D Modelling? Types, Uses, Software & More

What Is 3D Modelling? Types, Uses, Software & More

What Is 3D Modelling? Types, Uses, Software & More

What Is 3D Modelling? Types, Uses, Software & More

Find out everything you need to know about 3D modelling, including its types, uses and the popular software used for creating 3D models.

Find out everything you need to know about 3D modelling, including its types, uses and the popular software used for creating 3D models.

Find out everything you need to know about 3D modelling, including its types, uses and the popular software used for creating 3D models.

Jul 17, 2023

Jul 17, 2023

Jul 17, 2023

what is 3d modelling
what is 3d modelling
what is 3d modelling

3D models have become an integral part of our lives, from video games and movies to product design and engineering.  These realistic and detailed models have revolutionized the way we visualize and create objects, making 3D modelling one of the most sought-after skills in various industries.

But what exactly is 3D modelling?

In this article, we will explore the basics of 3D modelling, including its types, uses, software and how to kickstart your journey in the 3D industry.

What Is 3D Modelling?

3D modelling is the process of creating a three-dimensional representation of an object or surface using specialized software. It involves creating a digital model, also known as a 3D model, that can be manipulated and viewed from different angles.

Unlike traditional 2D drawings or images, 3D models are more realistic and provide a better understanding of the design or concept. They allow users to see the finer details, textures, and even simulate real-life scenarios.

Let’s try Pixcap 3D design tool to create 3D models in just a few clicks!

How Does 3D Modeling Work?

3D modeling starts with a concept or idea that is then translated into a digital design using specialized software. The process involves creating 2D shapes and manipulating them in three dimensions to create the desired object.

This can be done using various techniques such as polygonal modeling, where you piece together flat shapes (polygons) to create complete models; Nurbs/non-uniform rational b-splines, which are great for smooth, curvy surfaces in industries like automotive and aerospace design; or box/solid modeling, which is widely used in architecture and engineering for precise spatial calculations.

Once the 3D model is created, it can be textured, animated, and rendered to produce a final image or video.

Interested in customizable 3D models instead? Check out our library of high-quality 3D illustrations available for download.

Types of 3D Modeling

There are many types of 3D modeling and each type has its own unique features and is used for different purposes. Here we will discuss the three main types of 3D modeling – solid, surface, and wireframe.

Wireframe Modeling

Wireframe modeling is the most basic type of 3D modeling. It involves creating an outline or skeleton of an object using lines and curves, without any surfaces or details.

This type of modeling is used for conceptualizing and visualizing the early stages of design and is often used as a starting point for more detailed 3D models.

Surface Modeling

Surface modeling involves creating a digital representation of an object's surface by defining its boundaries, edges, and curves. This allows for the creation of smooth surfaces with precise control over details.

This type of modeling is commonly used in industries like automotive and product design, where aesthetics and form play a crucial role.

Solid Modeling

Solid modeling is the most advanced type of 3D modelling, as it involves creating a digital model that is fully enclosed and has volume. It allows for realistic simulations and accurate measurements, making it ideal for engineering and architectural applications.

What Are 3D Modeling Techniques?

Besides the types of 3D modeling, there are also various techniques that can be used to create these models. Some popular techniques include:

  • Polygonal Modeling: Using flat shapes to create objects

  • Nurbs/Non-uniform rational b-splines: Creating smooth, curvy surfaces 

  • Box/Solid modeling: Creating precise spatial calculations 

  • Sculpting: Manipulating digital clay to create organic shapes and characters 

  • Photogrammetry: Using photographs to create 3D models 

  • Animation: Adding movement and lifelike qualities to 3D models

Uses of 3D Modeling

Now that we've waltzed through the basics of 3D modeling, it's time to explore its applications across a wide array of industries:

Game Development

Let's start with the big kahuna—the gaming industry.

3D modeling is the cornerstone of creating immersive gaming experiences that transport players to breathtaking virtual realms.

Game developers utilize advanced 3D modeling software to craft interactive worlds filled with lifelike characters, stunning landscapes, and enough action to make your head spin.

3D Printing

One of the most exciting uses of 3D modeling is in the realm of 3D printing.

Designers and engineers can create digital models that can then be printed using specialized 3D printers, bringing their ideas to life in tangible form.

This technology has revolutionized product design and manufacturing, making it faster, cheaper, and more customizable.

Architecture & Engineering

In the world of architecture and engineering, 3D modeling has become an indispensable tool.

It allows architects to create detailed models of buildings, both interior and exterior, before construction even begins. This helps in identifying potential design flaws and making necessary changes early on, saving time and resources.

For engineers, 3D modeling is used to simulate designs and test their functionality before production.

Film & TV

Have you ever noticed how things seem to come to life on the big screen? That's thanks in part to 3D modeling.

From special effects and CGI characters to elaborate movie sets, 3D modeling plays a crucial role in bringing fantastical worlds and creatures to life. It allows filmmakers to create visually stunning scenes that were once only possible through imagination.

Product Design & Prototyping

Creating a new product involves multiple stages of design and iterations before reaching the final prototype. 3D modeling streamlines this process by allowing designers to create virtual models that can be easily modified, tested, and refined before producing the physical product.

From cars and furniture to electronic gadgets, 3D modeling has revolutionized the way products are designed and brought to market.

Choosing a 3D Modeling Software

The first step in creating 3D models is choosing the right software. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to decide which one to use. Here are some popular software we recommend:


Blender is a free and open-source 3D modelling software that offers a wide range of features, making it suitable for beginners and professionals alike. It has a user-friendly interface and can be used for various purposes such as animation, simulation, and game design.

Autodesk Maya

Autodesk Maya is a comprehensive 3D computer graphics software used by professionals for creating high-quality models, animations, and visual effects. It offers advanced tools for modeling, texturing and materials, lighting, and more.


SketchUp is a user-friendly 3D modelling software that is popular among architects and designers for its ease of use and quick learning curve. It offers a variety of tools for creating detailed models and has a large library of pre-made 3D objects.


ZBrush is a digital sculpting software used by artists to create organic shapes and characters. It uses a unique "brush" system that allows for intricate details and realistic textures.

How to Learn 3D Modeling? Checklist for Beginners

If you're interested in starting a career in 3D industry, it's essential to start with the basics. Here's a checklist to get you started:

  1. Understand the fundamentals of 3D modeling, such as shapes, forms, colors, and perspective.

  2. Familiarize yourself with the software interface and tools.

  3. Practice creating simple objects using different techniques. 

  4. Learn about texturing and materials to add realism to your models.

  5. Explore animation techniques.

  6. Join online communities and forums to learn from experienced 3D artists and get feedback on your work.

  7. Continuously practice and challenge yourself with new projects.

Tips for Learning 3D Modeling

To truly excel in the world of 3D modeling, it's essential to follow best practices that elevate your skills and make your creations shine.

So, let's dive into some golden rules that will set you apart from the pixel-pushing crowd.

Always Start with a Blueprint

Just like an architect wouldn't build a house without a blueprint, you should never start a 3D model without a detailed plan.

Take the time to sketch out your concept and visualize the overall structure. It may seem tedious, but it will save you countless revisions in the long run.

Keep It Real

Realism is the name of the game in 3D modeling.

Take inspiration from the world around you and pay attention to shapes, forms, and textures. The more you observe and incorporate real-world elements into your designs, the more authentic they will appear.

The Art of Efficiency

Optimization is key. Strive to create efficient models by using only the necessary polygons and minimizing unnecessary complexity. Balance aesthetics with performance, and your models will soar.

Master Topology Techniques

Topology is the secret sauce that ensures smooth animations and believable deformations.

Study the art of topology and hone your skills in creating clean and efficient edge flows. With mastery in topology, your models will come to life with fluid animations and captivating realism.

The Future of 3D Modeling

As technology continues to advance, we can only expect 3D modeling to become more accessible and advanced. With the rise of virtual reality and augmented reality, 3D models will play an even bigger role in creating immersive experiences.

Furthermore, with the development of 3D printing technology, 3D models will be used in manufacturing and prototyping at a larger scale.

The possibilities for 3D modeling are endless, and it will continue to be an integral part of many industries in the future.

3D modeling is a valuable skill that can open up many opportunities in the creative and technical fields. Whether you're interested in animation, game development, product design, or architectural visualization, 3D modeling is a versatile tool that can bring your ideas to life.

Final Thoughts

3D modeling is a fascinating process that combines art and technology to create realistic digital representations of real or imagined objects.

With the various types and techniques of 3D modeling, along with constantly advancing technology, there are endless possibilities for creating immersive and engaging visuals. Let's start learning, exploring, and creating!

Discover a new dimension of branding

Create designs that convert. Take your ideas from flat to 3D today.

Need 3D mockups, icons, illustrations, editable templates and more?

Need 3D mockups, icons, illustrations, editable templates and more?

Need 3D mockups, icons, illustrations, editable templates and more?