1st Edition

Essential Skills for 3D Modeling, Rendering, and Animation

By Nicholas Bernhardt Zeman Copyright 2015
    270 Pages 277 B/W Illustrations
    by A K Peters/CRC Press

    272 Pages
    by A K Peters/CRC Press

    The Key to Fully Understanding the Basics of a 3D World

    Prominently used in games, movies, and on television, 3D graphics are tools of creation used to enhance how material and light come together to manipulate objects in 3D space. A game-changer written for the non-technical mind, Essential Skills for 3D Modeling, Rendering, and Animation examines the complexities of 3D computer-generated art, and outlines the basics of how things work and are used in 3D. This text describes the three cornerstones of 3D—modeling, rendering, and animation; focuses on common elements; and provides a full understanding of the foundational concepts involved. Detailing the skills and knowledge needed to become an accomplished 3D artist, it includes step-by-step instruction with ample examples, and allows absolute beginners to move at their own pace.

    Master Anything You Are Tasked to Model

    The author incorporates historical information—presenting a contextual understanding of the various techniques and methodologies in their historical place. Each chapter builds on the fundamentals of 3D computer graphics and augments skills based on the concepts, enabling the student to learn both theory and application simultaneously. The book highlights two basic geometry types, polygons and NURBS surfaces, showing the student basic modeling techniques with both. While more techniques are available, an artist can cover any model by grasping these basic techniques.

    • Supplies examples that are specifically taken from Autodesk Maya
    • Contains exercises that are meant to be used in conjunction with the training videos on the website
    • Includes a documented history of computer graphics

    Essential Skills for 3D Modeling, Rendering, and Animation offers a fundamental understanding of the mechanics of 3D graphics to modelers, animators, texture artists, render artists, game developers, and production artists, as well as educators teaching an undergrad or tech course in 3D animation.

    3D Space

    How Do We Know Where Things Are In 3D Graphics?

    How Do We Determine These Positions?

    What Are The Coordinate Systems? Are There More Than Just One?

    What is Local Space?

    How Do I Change an Object’s Position in Space?

    From Where Does an Object Move When You Move It?

    Can I Reset the Transforms After Moving My Object?

    Exercise: Transforming Objects in Space with Maya


    Polygonal Geometry

    What is a Model?

    But How Can Triangles Build Smooth Surfaces?

    Triangulation and Polygons

    How Do I Create Polygon Models?

    Polygon Primitives

    How Do I Edit Polygon Models?

    Exercise: Modeling with Polygon Tools

    NURBS and Curve-Based Geometry

    Questions to be Answered

    What is a Curve?

    What are NURBS Curves and How Do They Work?

    How Do You Create NURBS Curves?

    How Do I Ed it NURBS Curves?

    What Are NURBS Curves Used For? What Do I Do With Them?

    What are NURBS Surfaces? How Are They Created?

    How Do I Edit NURBS Surfaces?

    How Do I Create NURBS Surfaces Out Of My Curve Out lines?

    Is There A Way To Cut A Hole In A NURBS Surface?

    How Do I Convert NURBS Into Polygons?

    NURBS Concepts Conclusion—When Do I Use NURBS?

    Exercise: The Wine Glass

    Lighting, Materials, Textures, and UVs

    What is "Rendering"?

    What Are the Things Required to Render a Scene?

    How do Cameras Work in 3D?

    What is Shading?

    When Do I Use Depth Map Shadows? When Do I Use Ray Tracing?

    What are Textures?

    What is "UV Mapping"?

    When Do I Need To Create UV Mapping?

    How Do I Create UV Maps?

    How Do I Create More Complex UV Mappings?

    How Do I Render An Image?

    Exercise: Creating a Complex Material

    What You Learned


    What is Animation?

    How Do You Animate?

    What Can I Animate?

    What Are The Different Methods Of Animating?

    What Are Other Ways To Animate?

    How Do I Create Great Hand-Key-framed Animations?

    How Do I Create Acceleration and Deceleration?

    How Do I Become A Good Animator?

    Exercise: The Ball That Bounces Itself




    Nicholas Bernhardt Zeman started his career in 3D graphics at the University of Kentucky, where during graduate school he began working in 3D Studio Max for the first time. After almost 12 years in character rigging for sports games, he decided to leave the employment of game developers and focus on the academic pursuit of interactive development as a professor at Northern Kentucky University. He began his own digital media technology company, RHZ Development LLC, where he continues to consult and produce functional games through gamification, mobile apps, and mobile games under the studio brand Little Fish Games and RHZ Development.

    "Zeman’s instruction took me from a complete novice, having only dreamed of using 3D, to a proficient modeler, rigger, and animator for indie game development and has given me the foundational information to be able to quickly learn any 3D program."
    —Nick Brummer, Indie Game Designer, Curriculum Developer