Creating a 3d model can be done through computer software such as Fusion 360, Blender, Tinkercad, etc. . The artists can use models for a multitude of purposes: animation, games, visual data, art, and so on, essentially a 3d canvas. For now, this passage will focus on the creation of a 3d model. Most if not all models created via a program follow similar steps: first beginning with a primitive shape (cubes, spheres, pyramids) and slowly detailing out the vertices of the model of the desired object.
However, creating a 3d model is never easy and requires the artists to know not only what they are creating but also how their program works. I have had a bit of practice using Fusion 360 in my high school years making simple objects like phone stands and a more difficult boat hull and was hard to learn at first but once I got the process and understood the program better I naturally improved. I also experimented with Blender as well, I was trying to make a character through a youtube tutorial, however, due to the complexity of the program has discouraged me from continuing, this high hurdle to overcome is what sets it apart from other forms of 3d modeling such as 3d scanning.
Developers of these programs do acknowledge the difficulty and have implemented various tools to help with the process, such as mirror tools, allowing the artist to only need to create half of the model, the X-ray function in Blender makes the model see-through and enables the “other side” to be selected. The “subdivide” function allows for more detailed modeling by subdividing an existing surface into more polygons and creating more complex shapes and higher polycounts.
Apart from the skill and time needed to 3d model, the appropriate hardware is needed for creating such. Depending on how complex your model is it may require only Nvidia’s GTX 1650 or for more industrial or 3D CAD up to an RTX 3060ti and while there is no bottom line most programs will be requiring at least an Intel i7 CPU and 16 GB of ram, according to 3D solved. This heavy entry fee may also discourage 3d modeling as the minimum setup could cost upwards of $1000.
The uses of 3d models in terms of data are immense. It allows researchers to archive like never before, instead of the text of the replica, 3D models can be used for artifacts, this allows the artifact to be preserved essentially forever and allows for access without seeing the actual artifact. While 3D scanning can achieve this flawlessly, 3D modeling can come in and “fix” broken artifacts, allowing researchers to theorise the origins. The project to reconstruct the Ancient Greek Temple of Hera by Philip Sapirstein, Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto. One of the objectives of the project is to reconstruct the pillars, photogrammetry was used to study the Dorian style of the building and by using a 3D modeling program, he ‘would have missed details’ if he hadn’t.
Another use of 3D data can be seen in the ‘Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass’ VR exhibition by the Louvre Museum, the exhibition seeks to debunk the mysteries behind the Mona Lisa painting by presumably using 3D models to bring life to the picture. It was also used to tell the story of the Mona Lisa through more interactive means.