History of 3D Rendering Explained: Where It All Began

CGI is something new and modern. Do you still think so? We assure you that everything is much more interesting! Nowadays, 3D technologies look impressive, but before that, they have come a long way and continue to do so. I can’t wait to tell you where it all started.

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We have already told you many stories about architectural visualization, its benefits, and opportunities. It seems that this technology is now used everywhere. But don’t allow yourself misleading – CGI is not an invention of the last decade! And the fact that now the realistic rendering has reached very high standards of photorealism is the result of many years of work and improvement. If you are surprised, we will try not to be boring by telling the story of how it was.

But first, a little theory for a general understanding. Maybe someone is encountering 3D for the first time (unlikely, but still).

3D rendering is a digital visualization technology that allows you to create a three-dimensional photorealistic image of any object or environment. This requires the use of specialized rendering software such as Autodesk 3ds Max, Maya, Blender, etc.

The 3D rendering process is somehow present in various areas of professional activity, whether it is the film industry, video games, virtual reality or video blogging, and other industries. Most often, rendering is the final stage in work on the project, after which either a small post-processing is done or the work is considered completed. In the field of architecture and interior design, realistic visualizations are used for project presentations, marketing campaigns, and as content for social networks.

History of 3D Rendering

We don’t set ourselves the goal of telling you the long and tedious history of 3D graphics and how 3d modeling software changed, so let’s take a look at the most significant moments in the evolution of CGI.

The 1960s

The term “3D modeling” dates back to 1960. It was invented by William Fetter, a graphic designer at Boeing company, and his team leader, Verne Hudson. And in 1963, Ivan Sutherland wrote a program called Sketchpad. This allowed the user to draw, edit and manipulate simple shapes. In addition, it was the first 3D rendering software that introduced object-oriented programming and geometric constraints. The program laid the foundation and contributed extensively to the rapid development of computer 3D modeling, visual modeling, and CAD software.

The 1970s

The 1970s were a decade of some real breakthroughs in rendering and computer-generated images. It all started when Ivan Sutherland joined David C. Evans at the University of Utah. There they began to teach a revolutionary class of analog computer graphics, which made a significant contribution to basic research in this field. There were many talented graduates on the course, including future co-founders of Pixar and Adobe Systems.

In addition, it was the time when the most famous 3D model of all time was created. The so-called Utah teapot was made by Martin Newell, who also studied 3D modeling at the University of Utah in 1975. It was one of the first 3D models to be modeled using Bézier curves (a modern CG tool we still use today) instead of accurate measurements.

Another important advancement is the texture mapping pioneered by Edwin Catmull in 1974. Texture mapping originally referred to diffuse mapping. It was a method that simply mapped pixels from a texture to a 3D surface.

Since then, the teapot has become so iconic that it has been featured in museums and various software. It has even appeared in several animated films and series, including “Toy Story,” “The Simpsons” and “The Monster Corporation”.

The 1980s

In the 1980s, 3D computer graphics animations ceased to be exclusively a scientific and academic field. Home computers have become more common, “The Star Wars” franchise has gained millions of fans, and children have started playing the first video games from Nintendo … All this, as well as new technological advances and the appearance of new companies, have increased the commercial use of 3D modeling.

The 1990s – present

From the 90s until today, we have seen a steady improvement in the quality of computer rendering and the animation industry as a whole. Modern equipment is powerful enough to process more data in much less time than before. Such software has also become much more sophisticated. All this has gradually led to greater photorealism, more natural-looking animation, the emergence of interactive visual formats such as virtual reality and augmented reality, and more.

And we use all available CGI capabilities to create incredible architectural renderings and computer graphics animations. We hope that a short excursion into brief history was interesting and useful for you. It’s time to take full advantage of technology to grow your business!

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