This article is an inspiring presentation of Simon Danaher’s book on Digital 3D Design 2004, which I found both immense and insightful. In this article he has covered the origins and evolutionary developments that 3D Digital Design has under gone, by depicting sharp and well resourced information that collaborates many aspects of the 3D industry. Also individual areas that has been influenced by 3D Design in many ways, that has also brought 3D Design to a substantial level of creative design, high quality and advanced methodology. From basic methods in calculation, to advanced 3D techniques.  Through this book I have learnt a great deal from the many aspects of how 3D has evolved, which is why I have extracted bits of information from particular articles, that has not only caught my interest but has given me a clearer insight into the specific areas of 3D Design development. Which I chose to analyse these certain areas of 3D, as a means of enhancing my own skills as a 3D Designer.


Based on the first article on the History of 3D, the 1960s was known to be an interesting period of exploration and development, where artist Charles Csuri. Set himself a task to produce images of a certain quality through using computers. By achieving this he enlisted the aid of mathematicians and professional programmers. The steps that he took through using computer programmes, such as Sketchpad. Which was a revolutionary computer program written by Ivan Sutherland in 1963 (Wikipedia/Sketchpad, 2010). Which was the tool he used back then to produce the first computer simulation, with the help of American Computer Scientist Ivan Sutherland. Together they created the very first virtual reality system, originally used for helicopter flight tests. I found it innovative in how they gained a huge amount of knowledge of computer systems, enabling them to model real – world objects in 3D spaces (Chapter 1, History of 3D, pg10).

“Image of the Sketchpad interface (1963)”
3D started to get more highly developed due to more advanced software, which got 3D Digital Design more involved in Hollywood films. It was in 1982 the film Tron, was the first film to possess 3D graphics in  a motion picture. Which in the end didn’t create much of a impact, by having too much detail in the 3D visual quality, it made the film unsuccessful. This was because the 3D motion graphics was lacking realism, that made the two elements separate. It was during 1993 when the realise of the hit film Jurassic Park wowed audiences, with it’s realistic graphic qualities. From the growing success of 3D Graphics, the CGI animation production company Pixar Studio came with the first fully animated film Toy Story (Chapter 1, History of 3D, pg 12-13). Having such a big impact on the film industry, Toy Story has always been a source of conceptual and graphical inspiration for me. Mostly because of it’s overall perspective on 3D animation, and how it interprets the story through pure 3D graphics.


“Tron, 1982”


“First fully animated film”

With 3D Digital Design at the standard that it is now (2010), the new and improve film Tron has been remade with high quality designs and graphical concepts, that is sure to guarantee to make a huge impact o audiences.

“Tron, 2010”

As 3D graphics grew it’s concept of three dimensional space was incorporated into various other industries, such as the world of architecture. Before architect designers had to used ink pens to produce sharp accurate concepts illustrations on their building complexes. Thanks to 3D Digital Design, they have found a way to simply their way of constructing buildings, by using 3D to create a digital visualization of their building structures. Which I think also came with better techniques that allowed the architects to use a light radiosity on their design renders, giving it a more accurate and precise design layout. Providing a better perspective on how their building designs would or could look with various light exposures (Chapter 1, History of 3D, pg 16).

“Architectual Structures designed in 3D space”

When it comes to 3D Game production, 3D was and still is considered the source of it’s intense visualization with 3D capabilities. The concept of game design was down to generating 3D graphics In movie and video production, illustration, or visualization, which resulted in high quality rendered images. These rendered images became time consuming, because of the level of quality, for when it came to games the level of quality was completely different. Since 3D objects usually take a lot of time to render or animate into a moving sequence when at a high level of polygons, known as the amount of 3D plains that make up the entire model. It became necessary to model games at a low polygon count, which compromised more consistently with the playability and speed of the games interface. This resulted in the game models being at the lowest quality possible, considering the quality that is added on by the textures that are applied to the models anatomy. With these precisions designers were capable of creating games at a much higher rate, even though back then it was at such a low quality. Yet all the same they gave a strong impact on the target audience (Chapter 2, 3D in the Real World, pd 36-37).

“3D Texture mapping to low poly model”
The process of animation as a 2D artist is very technical, because it is based on accurate drawing and depending on the level of detail it can be very time consuming. With 3D artist, they have programmes that deal with producing animation not only in 2D/3D but also at a much faster rate. Through using a process known as key framing, where an objects position is captured in one shot. Which continues as a sequence focused on the objects movements, that are taken as individual key frames. When it comes to animating an object in 3D specifically, the animator records a key frame of an object. Moves it to a different location in the 3D space that it’s modelled in, and record a second frame from where it has been moved to. From this point the computer takes over to do it’s magic, where it creates a smooth interpolation between the two key frames that have been recorded. Connecting the values of the two key frames to create a simple animation sequence, which then can be played back or rendered (Chapter 4, 3D Core Concepts, pg 92-93).
“Animtion motion sequence”
I found the concept of animation very stimulating; by observing it from my point of view it has made me want to be more engaged with my work as a 3D animator.
In conclusion to the book, I think it has strong elements that revolve around the specific aspects of 3D design and the evolutionary progressions that it’s under gone. I also think that I have gained a better understanding of the basis on the 3D process in animation, which brought up a lot of good theories. Which I thought was relevant and visually interesting.


Image1. Wikipedia. 2010.

Digital 3D Design, Simon Danaher, 2004, United States.