Have you ever asked yourself just how old 3D visualization really is?
Well, there's no definite answer here to be precise, but we do know that visualization has been present for many millennia. It started simple and primitive, and it has come a very long way to become what it is today.
Today, 3D visualizations are some of the most effective ways of representing creative ideas for a wide range of industries and areas. Before the world was blessed with the very first visualization software tool, professionals had to draw 3D visualizations by hand.
That was exceptionally tedious and time-consuming, and it required the use of vanishing points. Because of that, 3D artists had to be extremely knowledgeable and skillful, not to mention patient. The game considerably changed with the appearance of pioneering rendering and 3D modeling programs.
This software helped make the job of designers and architects a lot easier. With improved practices came the ever-increasing demand for such practices. These advanced software tools had incredibly useful features, and these features made an incredible impact across the world industries.
Nowadays, certain industries could not be functioning without the most advanced features of top-class rendering and 3D visualization software tools.
Incredible availability, mind-bending accessibility, improved features, advanced tools, reduced efforts and working process, user-friendly interfaces, these are just some of the benefits that modern 3D visualization tools have to offer.
Visualization is everywhere around us. We can see examples of it in both real life and digital environments. Still, what we fail to see is the rather rapid progress of 3D visualization and rendering.
There are innovations on a daily basis. Since we can see the massive difference between the first rendering program and the latest, most advanced visualization software, let's delve deeper into how 3D visualization developed into what it is today.
The need for the most advanced 3D visualization came from one simple concept - bridging communication gaps between clients and artists. One of the primordial purposes of visualization was communication. Because of that, visualization has continuously been evolving.
Visual communication started with the appearance of the First Men. This way of communication is known as parietal art, also known as cave painting or simply a pictogram. The very first civilizations used materials and textures to establish visual communication and express their creativity.
Many centuries after, we can still communicate with ancient civilizations through architecture. It gives us insights into the preserved remains of ancient visual communication.
The history of architecture and art showed us that many ancient artists used perspective with vanishing points to create different materials, lighting, textures, and space. These elements were used to form a new way of visual communication.
The first person to use visualization in his art was Da Vinci. He's considered to be the pioneer of visualization. He was known for his affection for science, art, and innovation. Da Vinci started drawing 3D models when no one else even gave thought about such a perspective.
He was very ahead of his time. His 3D visualizations depicted incredible innovations for that time, such as hydraulic machines, convex lens grinding mechanisms, a flying machine, etc. Still, it was Protagoras who came up with an entire philosophy that was centered around one simple thought - that man is the ultimate measure of all things.
This thought enhanced science, architecture, and art, and this is still the primary measure, even today, in modern architecture. Most modern 3D visualization software solutions use this primary measure or its modified version.
The evolution of 3D visualization was sped up when 3D visualization officially became an integral element of architecture.
It was Bauhaus who made it so. It was the German architects from the Bauhaus school who were the first to create 3D visualization with vanishing points. In fact, thanks to them, 3D visualization became a vital element in the representation of architectural solutions and ideas.
Still, it was the industrial design and the mass production of furniture that really helped the evolution of 3D visualization. The entire industrial design industry depended on 3D visualization.
The process of manual drawing and hyper-realistic painting led to the next phase in the evolution of 3D visualization - the development of the first 3D rendering and modeling software.
Everything changed with the use of fractals in computer graphics. This has become a common practice among architects. The moment they realized that 3D visualization had fantastic potential and how useful it was to them and their projects, things were set into motion, irreversibly.
A new era of computer-aided design courses was about to begin. All those who aspired to become professional architects realized the importance of these courses for their professional development.
Even though 3D animation looked more attention-grabbing, many architects began to realize the importance of 3D visualization. The 80s and 90s made 3D visualization widely available, and architecture was digitized up to a certain degree.
It was the right moment for the next phase in the evolution of 3D visualization - moving from hand drawing to procedural design.
The time to create 3D visualizations with computer graphics has finally come. The 90s brought a new wave of innovations, this time directly related to the development of advanced 3D visualization software.
These new programs were based on ray tracing, and they led to the development of the first 3D studio that included five basic modules:
● Material editor
The first version of the studio was excellent for drawing, basic mesh editing, geometric primitives, lofted surfaces, and spline lines. All these elements have become fundamental features of the next 3D studio version - Autodesk 3ds Max.
With such advanced basics, the future of 3D visualization was more than bright. Each new software was faster, more powerful, and advanced, containing the best features of the previous visualization programs.
The latest versions of 3D visualization programs are designed for performing numerous tasks and handling multiple projects simultaneously, which was previously unthinkable. Still, the best perk of the latest 3D visualization software tools is the speed. They are much faster than before.
Fast forward to today, and we can clearly see that one thing has significantly changed when technological development is in question - the primary goal is now user satisfaction.
This change required better technology to allow artists, architects, and professionals to cope with ever-increasing client demands. That led to the development of the technology of 3D printing.
The invention of the machine that can print visualized objects revolutionized the concept of architecture.
When they first emerged, 3D printers were mostly used for 3D art and design. Still, 3D printing technology quickly found its way into all pores of our society. So much depends on this technology today.
It helped make 3D visualization more useful and tangible. Aside from architecture, 3D printers can be used in pretty much every industry, but there's no doubt that 3D printers transformed 3D visualization into something more than just art.
What 3D printing technology has started, VR equipment perfected. The appearance of VR took our understanding of 3D visualization to a whole new level. While programs for 3D animation and visualization have existed for many years, it was VR that added a whole new dimension to the way we visualized things and space in a 3D environment.
In fact, VR helped 3D visualization break free from the boundaries of architecture and spread on to other industries and creative fields.
Still, both 3D printers and VR were just an introduction for what's to come - holographic imagery. This is the highest peak of the evolution of 3D visualization so far and the best pointer as to where 3D visualization is today.
This imagery is now used in commercial efforts, medicine, retail, military, architecture, and many other industries. Holograms are now among the primary tools for 3D visualizations.
VR and holograms help both clients and architects explore an imaginary idea and influence the entire process of development of that idea. With such vast potential, it's hard to tell what the future may hold.
From the times of old to today, people have been using 3D visualization for many different purposes. Its evolution has never stopped, and this fantastic technology is evolving with each passing day.
Thanks to this evolution, we now have the most advanced methods of expressing our creativity, ideas, and imagination. A wide range of 3D visualization, rendering, and modeling software tools are mostly accessible to everyone.
Because of that, we have more and more professionals who are making efforts to harness the power and potential of such modern technology to create amazing and purposeful things people can use in their daily lives. It's safe to say that future 3D visualization will make the world a better place.