Finding opportunities in graphic design may be difficult with an over-saturated market however don’t think two dimensional, think three-dimensional. Incorporation of the third dimension into design school might be what post-graduates need to find work placement. The fields in which 3d models both on computers and physical models are used are definitely not limited.
Fields such as architecture, industrial design, engineering and scientific models all use 3d models to visualise and imagine what structures, objects and materials will, can and do look like. Teaching this third dimension into the graphic design field may be an answer to unemployment. It can open the field to creating models, designing them and distributing them. Sure, its covered in industrial design courses, but why is it limited to them? One example of 3d design that industrial design and applied science fields do not cover is 3d modeling for games. A steep learning curve, however worth it for an industry that is growing significantly.
Another field which has become more popular and available is 3d printing. Allowing digital information on a file to be printed in a variety of methods. The most popular materials which 3d printing uses for personal and commercial use is plastic which is heated to a certain temperature and placed in a certain point in the print area. The printer prints layers on top of layers to create an object and can be a cost effective method to demonstrate a model that has been prepared. This method is not bound to plastic but also other materials such as metal and ceramic mediums.
Creating the basis of a model and understanding what an object is in the digital medium can benefit people studying graphic design in a linear fashion. Understanding a model in the 3d form ultimately equates to the knowledge of how it should be drawn up, designed (worked upon) and finished. The fact that 3d modeling has little limitations in terms of design, leads to designers learning how to design in another way.
An aspect that designers may not be familiar with is the mathematics that is required for some applications of 3d design. This is not much of a concern because becoming equipped with skills in 3d modeling software requires precise measurements and mathematics. Therefore, to learn the software one must learn this knowledge to operate such software. Obviously engineering, architecture and science based applications must have some mathematically gifted individuals, however this will filter the more mathematically gifted designers from the more artistic and conceptual designers.
Let’s get into what exactly 3d modeling and design is. The fundamentals of 3d modeling is assigning a point or two dimensional shape made up of said points (polygon) in a three dimensional space. These polygons can have any type of angle in space which means if I wanted to create a very simple shape like a cube, it would require six polygons of which are; four sided and have four points (quadrangle). Arranging these polygons makes a 3d model of a cube. This is the basis of making a model, connecting polygons to each other which create a model of some sort.
It may sound simple, however models can vary in their complexity depending on the amount of detail that you want to include. This complexity comes through adding more points and vertices to established polygons. A vertices is simply the line which connects two points. Adding more points along a vertices adds complexion and this is how generally a curve is created. Designers may be well aware of creating curves in the form of vectors in software such as Adobe Illustrator. Such vector tools are also incorporated in 3d modeling side of design. Using a large amount of computer resources in graphics engines and models generally scale in the same way vectors do in Illustrator. These vector tools are essential in making objects and images, together relating traditional, digital media and the 3d modeling fields.
On the topic of graphics engines and computer resources, this is where many people would call it quits into understanding 3d modeling. Graphics engines are an engine to drive the force behind creating the polygons, vertices, points behind your model and being able to render it as a shape rather than a sea of points and lines. Computing power is necessary to creating complex models. Depending on the engine you are using computing power can vary but it doesn’t hurt to invest in a computer ready to handle a large amount of graphics processing power.
Once the model is made up of polygons and such, it might be time to give the model an essence of what it represents. Each polygon has its own face in 3d space as if its flat. This makes room for the polygon to be filled in with a colour, or assortment of colours. Modeling software usually has a way of dividing a model into separate components and flattening them to allow images to be placed on top of in photo-manipulation software such as Adobe Photoshop. This process is called UV Wrapping. This image which looks like a flattened model that you have created stores information on where the image is placed in relation to the actual model. Once this image has been painted onto with an array of textures, images and colour the model is ready for its spot among a world of 3d modeled objects and components.
Each and every object you see in any 3d game you have played has been individually modeled and painted with lines, points and images. They are then placed to interact and be a part in the players or viewers perspective and environment. Creating these components to work with each other and demonstrate a story or an understanding of an object could be an answer to over-saturation in the graphic design field. It could also become an extra set of skills that a graphic designers can learn to work in a variety of fields in which he/she may want to work in if further study in that field isn’t plausible.
There are a variety of ways that these skill sets may reach the hands of graphic designers. It may be through the rough competitiveness that the graphic design industry has become, an interest in different fields which include some type of design needs or a way to further educate students in Graphic Design courses for exposure on more possible fields and study options.
Article by Liam Crowe