**Modeling Process**

There are Three popular ways to represent a model:

- Polygonal modeling - Points in 3D space, called vertices, are connected by line segments to form a
**polygonal mesh**. The vast majority of 3D models today are built as textured polygonal models, because they are flexible and because computers can render them so quickly. However, polygons are planar and can only approximate curved surfaces using many polygons. **Curve modeling**- Surfaces are defined by curves, which are influenced by weighted control points. The curve follows (but does not necessarily interpolate) the points. Increasing the weight for a point will pull the curve closer to that point. Curve types include nonuniform rational B-spline (NURBS), splines, patches and geometric primitives**Digital sculpting**- Still a fairly new method of modeling, 3D sculpting has become very popular in the few short years it has been around. There are currently 3 types of digital sculpting:*Displacement*, which is the most widely used among applications at this moment,*volumetric*and*dynamic tessellation*. Displacement uses a dense model (often generated by Subdivision surfaces of a polygon control mesh) and stores new locations for the vertex positions through use of a 32bit image map that stores the adjusted locations. Volumetric which is based loosely on Voxels has similar capabilities as displacement but does not suffer from polygon stretching when there are not enough polygons in a region to achieve a deformation. Dynamic tesselation Is similar to Voxel but divides the surface using triangulation to maintain a smooth surface and allow finer details. These methods allow for very artistic exploration as the model will have a new topology created over it once the models form and possibly details have been sculpted. The new mesh will usually have the original high resolution mesh information transferred into displacement data or normal map data if for a game engine.

The modeling stage consists of shaping individual objects that are later used in the scene. There are a number of modeling techniques, including:

- constructive solid geometry
- implicit surfaces
- subdivision surfaces

Modeling can be performed by means of a dedicated program (e.g., Cinema 4D, form•Z, Maya, 3DS Max, Blender, Lightwave, Modo, solidThinking) or an application component (Shaper, Lofter in 3DS Max) or some scene description language (as in POV-Ray). In some cases, there is no strict distinction between these phases; in such cases modeling is just part of the scene creation process (this is the case, for example, with Caligari trueSpace and Realsoft 3D).

Complex materials such as blowing sand, clouds, and liquid sprays are modeled with particle systems, and are a mass of 3D coordinates which have either points, polygons, texture splats, or sprites assigned to them.

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