3D modeling industry has gone a long way since its inception – from the 1960s to the point where it became one of the cornerstones of a new emerging digital world. Today, when a whole list of events is taking place it changes the rules of the game on the cusp of a revolution we all stand. Industry 4.0 is in the process!
Today, we are witnessing Industry 4.0, where smart technologies take supply chain automation, monitoring, and analysis to the next level. At the core of a new digital reality are the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) and Cyber-Physical Systems, including equipment, robots, and vehicles.
From smart industries and factories to smart warehouses and logistics – the Fourth Industrial Revolution turns all parts of the supply chain “smart”.
Consequently, a new industrial revolution unlike any previous one inevitably changes the way we work, play, socialize and shop.
Industry 4.0 involves a new approach to production based on the massive introduction of information technology in the industry, large-scale automation of business processes, and the spread of artificial intelligence.
AI, IoT, 3D printing, AR/VR, and neurotechnologies – these latest technologies are game-changers. However, taking into account the latest hype around the Metaverse, on the verge of Industry 4.0 3D modeling becomes one of the cornerstones of complete digitalization. But first, let us go through a brief tour of this game-changing technology history, applications, and evolution to analyze the industry’s potential transformations and development vectors.
What is 3D Modeling?
3D modeling refers to the work in three-dimensional space. It indicates the task to create a 3D model of the object with a certain pack of soft. Today 3D modeling is widely used in gaming, cinematography (for example, character-building), architecture, environmental objects, etc.
Even though complex mathematical formulas are at the heart of 3D modeling software, the programs automate all calculations for users by providing a user-friendly interface. Creating high-quality 3D is a kind of art, sometimes quite difficult and time-consuming.
The emergence of 3D modeling – from Euclid to Evans & Sutherland
The history of 3D modeling dates back to ancient times. In ancient Egypt, builders used geometry to construct the paramedics and restore the boundaries of farmland after the flooding of the Nile. Moreover, in ancient Rome, civil surveying became a profession, and surveyors created measurement systems to evaluate and create records of conquered lands.
Farther, Greek mathematician Euclid developed geometry, stating its basic ideas, which are still widely used in 3D modeling today. Later, in the 1600s, French mathematician René Descartes laid the foundation for an analytical geometry called coordinate geometry, which is the basis of three-dimensional earthwork modeling.
In the 18th century, European surveyors already knew much more about determining an exact location – a technique known as triangulation. Later, new surveying instruments such as measuring wheels, Kater’s compasses, and Gunter’s chains became widely used. The English mathematicians James Joseph Sylvester and Arthur Cayley developed matrix mathematics, which today allows modern computer images to display reflections or light distortions.
The first commercially available computer-aided design (CAD) systems that converted survey data into visual representations appeared in the 1960s. The very first company to start doing 3D modeling was Evans & Sutherland. Starting from 1968 the company did a lot to improve, develop and make CAD more available.
Since then, users have moved from using surveying poles to 3D modeling and control machines.
3D modeling industry global market trends
The 3D model industry market is one of the most promising and fastest-growing segments of the digital space. The key prerequisites for future growth are:
- Increasing use of 3D models in films, television, games, media, etc. (For example, the biggest animation companies have their 3D modeling software – Renderman by Pixar, and Autodesk Maya by Disney);
- Plans for the development of virtual and augmented reality technologies, including projects to create the Facebook Metaverse;
- Growth in demand for 3D cartography from navigation, geopositioning, and defense industry services;
- Improving 3D scanning technologies, increasing the availability of 3D scanners and specialized software. An important contribution to the development of this direction was made by unmanned aerial vehicles. The installation of laser scanning devices makes it possible to quickly and cheaply obtain accurate three-dimensional terrain models.
- Development of 3D printing and 3D milling, availability of these services upon request. A new model of a trade-in for many consumer goods is being formed on the market when the buyer purchases a three-dimensional executive file – a drawing for a machine tool and orders the manufacture of the desired product at one of the production services.
2020 was a year of tremendous decrease in the global 3D modeling market, however, in 2021, growth resumed.
By 2025 the global 3D modeling market will reach $7.6 billion according to MarketsandMarkets forecast.
How 3D printing benefits businesses
Technological progress in 3D printing greatly benefits businesses, opening up a wide range of opportunities for the entry of 3D products into the consumer market.
So, Ikea, one of the world’s largest furniture and home goods retailers, offers a whole line of interior accessories made by 3D printing. Ikea is known for its collaborations with several legendary designers such as Martin Bergstrom, Noboru Nakamura, and Chris Stamp. The opportunities opened up by new technologies can contribute to the history of design. This is just one example of how businesses are using 3D modeling extensively and ingeniously.
Latest innovations in 3D modeling industry
The field of additive technologies is growing at a rapid pace, and its achievements are becoming real game-changers of the future. Back in 2020, HP conducted a survey among digital manufacturing and 3D printing decision-makers. The vast majority of respondents (89%) said they were already changing their business models to be sustainable, and nine out of ten were looking for new solutions to ensure supply chain sustainability. Let’s have a look at last year’s breakthroughs that will dominate the field of additive technologies in the coming years.
Now, businesses and consumers are increasingly choosing greener products and packaging, which has an impact on supply chains. 3D printing enables businesses to adopt more sustainable manufacturing practices, from a design process that minimizes final product weight and minimizes industrial waste, to a carbon-neutral manufacturing process.
Decathlon, a French company, is taking advantage of 3D printing technologies at its additive manufacturing lab, ADDLAB. This division is responsible for the production of spare parts for Decathlon products, the development of prototypes and design approval, and the manufacture of small tooling.
Digital manufacturing is about to change several major industries; it will drive innovation and generate new value for businesses and consumers.
3D modeling in healthcare
The healthcare industry will undergo significant changes too. The new comprehensive digital orthotics solution Arize allows to automatically determine the anatomical features of the patient’s foot on a special scanner, and then quickly and at affordable prices print orthopedic insoles for shoes according to individual parameters. Such individualization is not available with the traditional method of manufacturing insoles.
Another remarkable breakthrough of recent years is the first custom products ordering platform BeeGraphy which unites several innovative solutions in one place. BeeGraphy is included in the most prospectus Armenian startups list by InTech Express. It is the world’s first Custom manufacturing hub that includes tools and resources providing unique innovative opportunities for 3D designers, manufacturers, and custom product orders. BeeGraphy Platform includes BeeGraphy Editor – an online parametric/algorithmic software, custom products marketplace, hub for manufacturers and customers, etc.
The future of 3D modeling is in the Metaverse
The 2021 Metaverse received incredible hype making some technologies more than promising. And this is not surprising – metaverses are about to transform our daily reality, communication, perception of content, and much more. And here, the role of the 3D modeling industry has grown significantly.
Everything that will surround us in the Metaverse is three-dimensional graphics – avatars of real people, locations, and objects will be created in 3D.
Moreover, the Metaverse will be filled with UGC (User Content). This is already practiced in gaming. People with 3D modeling or programming skills will create their content and earn money. Such a Metaverse will be a convergence of physical, augmented, and virtual reality in a common online space, where everything that surrounds us is made in 3D graphics.
Well, it’s very interesting to follow the 3d modeling industry’s development trends while waiting for the moment when we will meet our readers in Metaverse!