3d- illustration might seem somewhat confusing, since
onscreen ( or in print ), we see an image in only two
The image though, is built in an application where we
work in ( a virtual ) 3d- space and have height,
width and depth ( X, Y and Z ).
By placing points ( vertex points ) in this 3d- space
and connecting them, we get planes ( polygons ). A
polygon needs 3 sides at least, but best results are
achieved by using quads.
Now if we connect several of these polygons into a
mesh, we can create 3d- objects.
This mesh can be seen as some sort of chicken wire we
can bend and stretch to create an object.
Now we can also put some colour or texture on these
planes and by adding some kind of lighting to our
scene, we can build a realistic representation.
At right, you can see an object created using seven
polygons. Next image shows this same object in
colour, and at far right, I added some lighting and
Now such a simple illustration could easily be drawn
in 2d of course, but there' s a lot of advantage in
using 3d for illustration.
3D objects can be rotated, skewed, moved, modified,
etc and we can change lighting and colour on the
useful, is that we can reuse 3d objects over and over
When using 2d, we could end up starting all over
again if we need to change some major component of
our drawing, while a 3d scene allows us to change any
part of our scene without starting all over again.
Most 3d applications are suitable for animation as
well, what expands our toolbox tremendously.
Now to fine-tune our « chicken wire », we can
subdivide the polygons to get smoother or more
The individual vertex points can be moved to alter
the object like if we are moulding clay or drawing
vectorshapes as in2d-
We can also change texture, reflection or
transparency to create almost anything we want.
If a 3d model and its environment are finished, we
can render it all into a 2d- illustration (or
animation) and - if needed - manipulate it in a 2d-