Basics - CG Concepts
by Dariush Derakhshani
Modeling is usually the first step in creating computer graphics (CG). It's the topic that garners a lot of coverage in publications and captures the interest of most budding CG artists.
You most often start a CG scene by creating the objects you need to occupy your space. It can end up taking the majority of the time in your process. This is why downloading or purchasing models from the Internet can often cut down the amount of time you spend on your project. This, of course, assumes you're not a fan of modeling and prefer to spend your time animating or working on texturing and lighting.
There are many modeling techniques, and each could be the subject of its own series of books. The choice of which technique to use usually depends on the modeler's taste and preferred workflow, as well as the subject. Some options are polygonal modeling, NURBS modeling, and subdivision surface modeling. Knowing how an object is used in a scene gives you its criteria for modeling.
Architectural and environmental modeling includes architectural previsualization for the design of buildings as well as the generation of backgrounds for sets and environments. Typically, it involves modeling buildings or interiors as well as mountains or anything that is required for the scenery, such as benches, chairs, lampposts, and so on.
The more experience you gain using models in scenes, the better you'll develop your eye for exactly how much detail to provide. When you're starting out, however, it's a good idea to lavish as much attention on detail as you can; this can teach you perhaps 70 percent of what you can learn about modeling, which in turn will benefit your overall speed and technique. As you gain more experience, you'll be able to discern exactly how much detail to add to a scene and not go overboard.
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This article is excerpted from Introducing Maya 2011 by Dariush Derakhshani, copyright © 2010, with permission of the publisher, Sybex, an imprint of John Wiley & Sons.
The "Ambient Occlusion" rendering mode in Autodesk Maya creates contact shadows and detail in the dark areas of the image, enhancing the look of the color rendering.
Image: Huyen Dang
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A raster image, shown at its original size (above) and blown up several times (below), is composed of a fixed number of pixels and thus does not scale elegantly.
Image: Courtesy Sybex, an imprint of John Wiley & Sons
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