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3D Primer – page 5

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5.0 Reference matertial


A great deal of the information found in the PRIMER can be gleaned from the internet, 3D modeling books, training DVD’s and from the manuals that come with some of the software mentioned. Not much of it is new and we haven’t managed to cover off every topic and tool from every 3D Modeling program. The site has been designed to evolve and it is our hope that the PRIMER will grow with it. As information is added via the forums we will update the PRIMER at regular intervals.

Below is a list of the books and sites that we see as essential reading:


5.1 Websites and forums – A varied collection of 3D tutorial. Very informitive and great production values.
Spiraloid – Bay Raitts Digital Sculpting Forum and the spirit of his forum
IZWare – Home of Miria Software
SpinQuad Forums – Lightwave Forums
CGTalk community
ZBrush Central – ZBrush Forum
Show me do me with Glenn Moyles -Great modeling videos with ots of Blender related material.

Subdivision Surfaces: Organic Modeling Techniques 
Aimed at an audience already familiar with much of how Maya works but who has less familiarity with Subdivision Surfaces. Pages 1 through 5 discuss theory. Pages 6 through 10 are devoted to different approaches to modeling using Maya. Very helpfull information
A website providing resources to those interested in subdivision. It also compliments the book Subdivision Methods For Geometric Design
Subdivision Surface Theory
By Brian Sharp

5.02 Books

Game Character Development – Ant Ward
Building Digital Dinosaurs – Ken Brilliant
Building a Digital Human – Ken Brilliant
Polygonal Modeling – Mario Russo
LightWave 3D 8 Modeling a Definative Guide – Steve Warner (June 2006)
LightWave Cartoon Character Creation Volume I – Jonny Gorden
LightWave Cartoon Character Creation Volume II- Jonny Gorden
Modeling a Character in 3DS Max – by Paul Steed
Modeling in Lightwave – Johnny Gordon


5.03 DVDs and Video training

re-write needed

ZBrush to Maya Workflow – Zack Petroc
Get into SILO – Glen Southern
Get into ZBrush – Glen Southern


5.4 Glossary

This is Lightwaves implementation of Split face loop and allows the modeller to very accurately split a selected line of faces thus adding a new loop of Edges.

This is where the back of a Polygon Face is made transparent

Or Polygon Edge is the term used to define one side of a polygon face that has a point at each end

A series of edges connected by four edged vertices, at each vertice the loop continues along the edge which does not border a polygon shared by the previous edge. Contrary to popular belief it does not have to be a closed loop.

A very useful tool that is usually performed on a selected Face or Edge. It literally extrudes a new polygon out from the parent and creates new Face and Surrounding geometry as a result.

Lightwaves implementation of Extrude Edge

A virtual plain in 3D space that usually take the form of a grid pattern.

a command usually found in solid modelers which hollows out the model (not to be confused with extrude!)
A Lightwave tool that slices through geometry with a straight line

A command which creates a 3 dimensional polygon object by rotating a spline or line.

A lattice is a cage of sorts that has an influence over the shape of the geometry it contains.

A command which creates a 3d polygon object by connecting a series of splines or lines with a “skin” of polygons.

Or Polygon Face. A componant of a polygonal model that is comprised of three or more Points and Edges.

A manipulator usually sits at the central pivot point of an object and has controls for moving, rotating and scaling the object in 3D Space. It usually has a different color for each axis

Typically maintains a serial progression of modeling steps wherein the earlier steps influence the later ones. This differs from parametric modeling where features can affect ones that weren’t necessarily modeled after it.

A polygon with more than 4 sides. Not all modeling programs support N-Gons and to make a model as compatable as possible it is best to limit the amount of N-Gons used in a model.

NORMALS (Also known as Surface Normals)

NURBS (not covered in this article)
NURBS, short for non uniform rational B-spline, is a computer graphics technique for drawing curves. A NURBS curve is defined by a set of weighted control points, the curve’s order and a knot vector.

Wherein the software maintains the relational attributes of a feature. Parametric modeling allows one to develop relations between features and hence can be contiuously updated

A surface generated by 4 intersecting splines where the surface is generated within the intersecting boundary

A point on or in an object that acts as a pivotal centre. If the object is rotated it revolves around the pivot point.

See Vertices. A point is one component part of a polygon face. Points are connected by Polygon Edges.

a vertex (point) that connects 3, 5 or more edges also sometimes called a star.

A geometric shape generally made up of Points, Polygon Edges and a Polygon Face. Several Polygons joined together form an Object.

A series of polygons bordered by two edge loops.

Similar to sweep but uses a profile spline, a path spline and one or more rail splines which describe the scale of the profile at any given point. It can be used to create objects of variable cross section like a trumpet.

This is Lightwave’s version of an Extrude Command and works by Extruding a selected polygon or Edge out from an existing component part.

Most polygon modeling applications treat the model like an egg shell which means you can have a single polygon in isolation or a plane created from a single layer of polygons, these are 2 dimensional models. A few applications, notably Mirai, Nendo and Wings3d are solid modelers. That is they treat the model like a piece of clay which always has 3 dimensions.

A 3 dimensional line used to describe paths and profiles in polygon modeling. Bezier splines are probably the most powerful and are almost identical to the Bezier paths found in many 2d applications like Photoshop.

A command that allows a modeler to add new edges by splitting polygons. Usually by clicking on a point or edge then moving to another point or edge and clicking again.

A command that splits a line of selected faces in two (Also see Bandsaw)

See modeling history

see pole!

These are polygons models than have a control cage that has a subdivided, derived surface. Sub-Division modeling allows you to create a polygonal model that acts as a `controller` that contains the structure of the smoother, subdivided one. Only the smoothed version is taken into account at render time. It is achieved by using sub-division algorithms (math routines that do the smoothing)


A command which creates a 3d polygon object by tracing the movement of a profile spline along a path spline. This can be used to create objects of constant diameter like a pipe.

Or Triangle is a Polygon face with three points and three Edges.

A point in 3D Space that, along with Edges defines the perimeter of a Polygon face.

Another name for manipulator.

This is how geometry is viewed when the Polygon faces are hidden and literally looks like a model made of wire.

This mode of viewing a model is a popular way to view the model during its creation. It allows the modeller to see the polygon faces but also the Wireframe over the top. It is popular because it allows you to see and select all of the component parts of a polygon (e.g.. Points, Edges, Faces or the entire object)

Common/Generic names for the Axis in 3D Space. X for left and right, Y for up and down and Z for in and out.

A modelling tool in ZBrush that uses ZSpheres and Link ZSpheres to define a shape that can be converted to geometry

An innovative 3D program from Pixologic that combines 2D and 3D tools. Although the current version (V.2.0) doesn’t contain many traditional polygon tools it makes up for this with a range of Sculpting tools and brushes.

A fictional modeling technique often mentioned by experienced modelers in order to confuse beginners!



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