3-D Graphics

Overview A few years ago, only the most powerful computers could display 3-D graphics. Luckily, that's changed. Most modern PCs are equipped with powerful 3-D video cards and fast processors that display 3-D graphics and animation that were once only available on powerful computers designed specifically for 3-D animation. Many 3-D computer games, applications, and affordable 3-D animation programs are readily available for download or online purchase. Check out the below links for information about 3-D graphics, software packages, and resources such as tutorials and FAQs.

General Information Modern 3-D graphics software is rooted in vector graphics technology. Refer to Wikipedia.org's definition of "vector graphics".  Like vector graphics, they use mathematical expressions to describe the lines, shapes, and curves that make up an image. How do 3-D graphics artists create these images from such a simple set of line drawing tools? To answer this question, visit Webopedia.com to read their definition of “3-D graphics” and to view links to 3-D graphics software sites. There is an in-depth article about 3-D graphics at the HowStuffWorks.com page: howstuffworks.com/3dgraphics.htm. This article will provide you with a good foundation about the exciting and rapidly changing, world of 3-D graphics. This Yahoo.com Directory page contains links to 3-D resources on the Web, including links to manufacturers’ sites and learning guides. There are also links to tips, tricks, and other general 3-D graphics resources. 

3-D Graphics Resources Are you interested in learning how to create your own 3-D graphics and animations? If so, be sure to visit the Web page http://graphicssoft.about.com/  to see information about 3-D graphics software, a list of tutorials, and clip art. Another site for those interested in 3-D art is the 3-D Artists home page www.raph.com/3dartists/.  A good general resource is the 3dlinks.com site (http://www.3dlinks.com/index.cfm) which includes links to 3-D art galleries,  tutorials, and forums. The http://www.3dcafe.com/ site also provides many useful 3-D graphics resources, including job listings, training guides, and software manuals.

3-D Graphics Software Visit About.com’s Graphics Software Guide to find out about the latest commercial 3-D software packages. The site includes product descriptions, pricing, and availability. For freeware programs, visit the Open Directory Project’s 3-D Graphics Software page. Here, you can find information about many 3-D software programs including ray tracing, 3-D rendering, and 3-D animation. 

The Caligari home page (www.caligari.com/) provides information about their trueSpace and iSpace programs. While trueSpace is a 3-D drawing program, iSpace is used for creating 3-D images for the Web. Another popular 3-D graphics program is Poser (my.smithmicro.com/dr/poser.html). Poser helps you to create high-quality 3-D images and animation with a wide variety of textures, light sources, and skins.  One of the most popular freeware 3-D graphics packages, Autodesk's 3ds Max, has received good reviews by graphics professionals.  For a free download, and  3ds Max resources, visit their Web site at: Autodesk.com. Google SketchUp is available for Mac and Windows for free download.  It "is software that you can use to create, modify and share 3D models".