Radical 3D Blog
3D Effects: The Art of Animation

Unless you have been living under a rock for quite some time, you have most likely seen 3D digital art numerous times. It has been featured in countless media, from print, television, and internet advertisements to movies and video games. However, many people do not know anything about its short yet interesting history.

Although it seems that many people either study or are otherwise familiar with 3D art, it is still a relatively young field. For this reason, more research about it is necessary to master this art. Those who work with 3D effects continuously study this art to in order to use its full potential. This is sometimes difficult to do since the fact that it is a rather new art form means that some schools do not even have a program for 3D art yet. Furthermore, many of the schools that do feature digital art combine it with other majors, making it more difficult to delve deeply into this art form.

Many people seem to assume that one can create 3D effects quickly, but it often takes weeks or even months to perfect just one 3D object. This is especially true when the effects are for television, movies, or video games, even with teams of 3D effect artists. It takes the longest when artists are creating from scratch, making objects as they imagine them, as is often the case in the media.

Luckily many different software programs exist to assist artists in their endeavors. Programs like Corel Bryce 3D, Adobe Photoshop, Lightwave 3D, Maya, Curious Labs Poser, and Jasc PSP, just to name a few, can help artists with many different aspects of 3D art. Artists choose among such programs depending on the task at hand. For example, Lightwave 3D helps with spline control, which is a complicated process, requiring that the simpler aspects of 3D animation are mastered first. On the other hand, Adobe Photoshop can help with any artistically oriented project, from drawing and painting to web design and photo retouching. Thus, it is helpful to learn several of these programs.

In order to become above average at 3D effects, you must become good at modeling, which is selecting and changing points and polygons. You then must master animating, determining both framing and motion paths, and finally texturing, involving basic surfacing and image mapping. Once you learn these basic areas of the art, you can only improve at creating 3D effects from there.