The Evolution of 3D Artists and Their Work
The Evolution of 3D Artists and Their Work

Today, there are thousands of organizations and businesses offering 3D services, pre-built 3D data, plug-ins, and 3D software tools to the ever-increasing numbers of 3D artists and content creators.

3D artists of today have their own global community and hiring platforms where thousands of 3D artists, as well as professional architects, designers, and programmers, use an array of 3D tools and technologies across various industries. These include graphic arts, film, publishing, video production, game development, architecture, interior design, and so on.

3D art has come a long way since its inception, and 3D artists have a bright future ahead of them. 2020 saw the increase in popularity of 3D modeling, allowing 3D artists to choose different career paths.

From production, manufacturing, 3D concept, and motion graphic design to 3D printing, interior design, visualization, and engineering, the job market is overwhelmed with how many 3D artists are looking for work.

Today, the best architectural visualization studios offer the broadest range of fresh talent from the 3D art domain capable of doing incredible things. Many factors have affected the continued evolution of 3D art and artists.

It’s an entire 3D ecosystem, powered by the growing availability of pre-built 3D content, the increasing worldwide influence of online 3D communities, and the rapid development of the cutting edge 3D software tools.

With all this in mind, let’s see how 3D artists and their work evolved, where it all started and where it goes next.

Who are 3D Artists?

The history of three-dimensional art is quite a long one, too long to be mentioned here, so we’ll start by defining who 3D artists are and what they do. According to a definition, 3D artists are essentially CGI artists who create computer-generated imagery.

Their task is to create moving and still visual effects and images using the most advanced and powerful software tools and machines with great computing power. These images could be pretty much anything from special effects to environments to characters.

3D artists are high on demand in industries such as video games, TV, or film. When it comes to what they do, there is an array of things to include:

●        Designing 3D models

●        Project management

●        Collaborate working

●        Using 3D artist software such as Adobe Creative Suite, V-Ray, and 3ds Max, and tools like SketchUp and Maya

The three most important elements comprise great 3D artists – lighting, photorealism, and attention to detail and composition. These are professionals with great knowledge and understanding of scene ability, 3D modeling, architectural rendering and visualization, and real-time performance.

It All Started With Sketchpad

In 1963, Ivan Sutherland created a computer program named Sketchpad, the first program of its kind to use a complete GUI – graphical user interface. Sketchpad was the ancestor of the most powerful, advanced, and modern programs we have today, such as CAD and other computer-aided design programs.

Thanks to its GUI, Sketchpad could be used for both technical and artistic purposes. The best thing about Sketchpad was the pioneer of using instances and objects in creating master drawings. If an artist changed any detail in the master drawing, all the related instances would follow.

Another great thing about Sketchpad was the introduction of geometric constraints that allowed the artist to constraint individual geometric properties in the master drawing. Because of these fantastic inventions, Sketchpad pretty much revolutionized visual simulation and 3D computer modeling, setting a new era in the history and evolution of 3D media.


BIM and CAD took the evolution of 3D art to a whole new level. Used by construction managers, architects, engineers, and 3D artists, CAD and BIM have completely replaced manual drafting and helped these professionals create designs in both 3D and 2D to transparently and visualize all the elements, components, and details of construction.

CAD enables the optimization, modification, and development of the design process. It allows professionals to create the most accurate representations with all the necessary modifications to allow others to easily manage and improve design quality.

Because of these properties, CAD is the ultimate tool that helps designers, engineers, and construction managers to consider all elements such as plumbing and electricity and create a more comprehensive design.

The same goes for BIM or building information modeling. BIM is an intelligent process of creating a 3D model that allows construction, engineering, and architecture professionals to get the necessary tools and insight to more efficiently plan, design, and build structures and manage infrastructure and buildings.

BIM helps optimize architecture and building performance, plumbing, electrical, and mechanical design quality, and create more connected and intelligent workflows to improve overall productivity. It’s the main reason why both CAD and BIM are so important in the modern AEC industry.

The Development of Computer Technology

The last advancements in the development of computer technology helped 3D art evolve beyond recognition. Modern 3D artists have an increasingly rich and abundant range of software tools for creating the most breathtaking, photorealistic images and 3D content ever.

Back in the day, multi-purpose, large 3D software tool packages such as Maya and 3ds Max were the dominant force on the market of commercial tools. The latest editions of these tools are now more complete and sophisticated thanks to the efforts of the best 3D software developers who enriched and complemented those tools with various plug-ins, thus extending their functionality.

Today, we have the most powerful, top-class 3D modeling and rendering tools, with the widest range of unique features that allow 3D artists to do outstanding things. It’s no wonder these tools found their way into the worldwide industry verticals and became the ultimate solution for rendering, crowd and character animation, sculpting, modeling, terrain generation, and more.

The 90s and New 3D Visualization Tools

The 90s contributed to the development of 3D visualization software we’re still using today. In fact, if it wasn’t for the 90s 3D visualization tools, we wouldn’t be having the most advanced rendering and visualization tools we have today.

All 3D modeling and rendering software tools for visualization are based on one thing – ray tracing. The 90s were so important for 3D art simply because that was when Autodesk created the first 3D studio based on five modules – key-framing, material editor, editor, loftier, and shaper.

The studio allowed artists to draw fundamental features of 3D visualization tools, such as basic mesh editing, geometric primitives, lofted surfaces, and spline lines. This 3D studio gave way to the development of the latest 3D visualization tools that rely on AI, VR, and AR technologies, holographic imagery, 3D printing, and more.

Advanced Tools for More Realistic Results

We now have a huge range of different streaming services and companies, investing heavily in movie and TV content, which created a high demand for top-class animators, and VFX and 3D artists.

Those artists who know how to use the most advanced tools to produce the most realistic results are the ones who get ahead of the competition curve. These tools are now designed to allow artists to breathe life into their work by creating the most photorealistic visualizations and 3D renders.

Thanks to such computing power, modern 3D artists allow their clients to take virtual tours around structures and objects just before they are built. Clients can view every aspect of a future building through animations, 3D renders, and architectural visualizations, and use the power of AR/VR technology to experience what a structure feels and looks like in real life.

Photorealistic 3D Rendering

The latest and most advanced tools for photorealistic 3D renderings brought many great benefits to the 3D art table. 3D artists can use these renderings to show their decor and products in the best light and from many different angles and aspects. In photorealism, there are no limits.

The only thing a 3D artist really needs is a photorealistic rendering to enhance their works and place them in the matching surroundings. This enormous level of adaptability allowed 3D art to attract different types of consumers and users, and it helped 3D artists save incredible amounts of time.

More importantly, photorealistic 3D rendering, and the latest 3D modeling technology, in general, allowed professionals to make changes on the go.

They can change a light, a landscape, a product, a location, or a color, without disrupting the workflow and delivering the product on time. In a way, photorealistic 3D rendering allowed both artists and clients to save time, money, and effort.

3D Animation

In the digital age of the internet, 3D animation has many benefits to offer to a 3D artist. Since they depend on marketing techniques to attract an audience, 3D animation has become a great marketing tool that allows 3D artists to find work. In terms of 3D art, 3D animation allows professionals to:

●        Grab audience attention – 3D animation allows artists to introduce their clients to services and products in the most interesting way.

●        Promote interactivity – 3D animation is one of the best ways to engage with your audience by presenting imaginative effects and concepts.

●        Create branding – there’s no better way to promote your work than through 3D animation, which is why it’s a perfect tool to create your branding.

●        Attract online traffic – with the right branding, attracting online traffic becomes much easier.

●        Reduce costs of operations – 3D animations are marketing tools in their essence, which allows you to improve cost-effectiveness.

3D Panorama

3D panorama is the art of creating 360-degree photos and videos. The advantages of this incredible technology are endless, but we could start by saying that it is on the fringe of mainstream consumer awareness and the most effective way to make an entrance into a market.

3D panorama is so beneficial because consumers can enjoy it on devices they prefer. Because of that, the 3D panorama is a great gateway to new marketing platforms, as they are the preferred content across a wide range of social media networks, helping the latest 3D art concepts spread across the world.

This technology provides unlimited possibilities for consumers, and it’s a great way to inspire consumer loyalty. That’s one of the main reasons why 3D panorama is the most used advertising and marketing tool in both the AEC and real estate industry.

3D Visualization and Virtual Reality

3D visualization started as an innovative and new branch in architecture. It was based on newly emerging technologies as it offered solutions for many challenges. It made communication between professionals and clients more streamlined and much easier.

More importantly, it allowed contractors and engineers to better understand the concept they had to turn into reality. However, it was the main cornerstone of 3D visualization that took things to a whole new level.

The emergence of VR pretty much revolutionized the way clients immerse themselves in a 3D environment. Through VR-enabled visualizations, clients can enter the world of artificial environments and inspect, or, better yet, experience a 3D model in real-time. Because of that, VR has quickly become one of the most wanted tools in 3D art.

Things Modern 3D Artists do in Architecture

When it comes to what 3D artists do in architecture, opinions are very divided. However, one thing is for certain – 3D artists make 3D visualizations and create various forms of 3D art that are in service of the industry the artists work for at the moment.

They create 2D and 3D animations, photorealistic images that are focused on details of architectural designs of interior or exterior. The main purpose is to help clients and other professionals understand all details involved in the construction process of a structure, object, or building.

Their main goal is to deliver the most realistic renderings of the requested design with as much detail as possible, including the surrounding environment, proper scale, exterior, lightings, furnishings, and more. Even with this being so, their work far surpasses the domain of architecture.


If we consider all the things mentioned above, it’s safe to conclude that the evolution of 3D art affected the evolution of 3D artists. One can’t exist without the other.

Their mutual coexistence is intertwined, and together, they make a powerful, ever-evolving, and growing entity, bound to change the world or at least, the way we perceive it.

From the current perspective, it’s hard to say what the future holds for 3D art, but we can agree that it will be a bright future.