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What Is a 3D Model Maker?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 16, 2024
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A three-dimensional (3D) model maker is typically a piece of software that can be used to make a digital model of an object which exists in virtual space. These programs are used for a wide array of applications, including the creation of special effects for film and television and the graphics found in video games. There are also programs used to make a pattern or template that is printed out on paper, which can be cut out and used to make a physical object. A 3D model maker may also refer to a piece of hardware that functions with a virtual model in digital form and creates it as a real world object.

There are quite a few different programs that can be used as a 3D model maker to create virtual objects. This software often functions through the creation of points that are used as vertices, which connect one or more lines between them. These lines are referred to as a "wireframe" and create the edges of polygons that form the surface of a virtual object. This type of 3D model maker can be used to manipulate these vertices and polygons to create a nearly unlimited range of different shapes and forms.

Such programs can be used in film and television, often to create digital assets for special effects and virtual characters in these works. A 3D model maker can also work in engineering and architecture, to create digital versions of different objects for prototyping and construction. This type of software is frequently used to make the computer graphics in different video games, including the backgrounds, environments, and characters within the game world.

Other types of 3D model maker include software that can help in the creation of paper objects. These programs often function with software that makes digital models, which are then converted into a different format. Once processed by the paper 3D model maker, the shape is effectively unwrapped to represent how it can be printed out on paper. Simple shapes like a cube, which only has six sides, can be printed on a single sheet of paper; complex forms may require hundreds of separate pieces and many pages to create them.

A 3D model maker can also be a program that is used to create physical, real world objects based on virtual models. These devices often build an object through the use of Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) plastic that is extruded in thin layers to create intricate shapes. The entire process is mechanized and a wide range of different forms can be built through this type of 3D model maker. Although it is typically limited to non-moving parts, numerous pieces can be built individually, and then assembled into a fully functional complex device, such as a car motor.

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