Digital 3D Design by Simon Danaher covers a complete range of topics and aspects of 3D, covering mostly the basics and intermediate levels of working with 3D.  The book covers the history of 3D; 3D graphics in the working world; the links between 2D and 3D design; core concepts and theory; recommended tool set; and some advanced tips and tricks, and an analysis of existing works such as a storm scene (Chapter 6 p162-163) and compositing 2D and 3D imagery (Chapter 6 p166-167).  The book also previews works such as Russian artist, Pavel Fedorchuk’s Golden Grifon [sic]

The book starts by giving an overview of the history of 3D animation, including the importance of motion blur in the first successful animated movies. One of the first movies to use 3D graphics was Disney’s Tron (Directed by Steven Lisberger, 1982), although the movie was a ‘flop despite huge investment’ (Digital 3D design Chapter 1, p12).  Danaher goes on to say that the movie was held back by its highly stylised treatment due to poor 3D technology at the time.  What would have helped the film was motion blur, it was only in 1993 that Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park featured fully photorealistic CG dinosaurs, complete with motion blur, that 3D was a fully viable option.

Although Tron was not a visual success, it is still a major landmark in the development of animated computer graphics, originally inspired by the also iconic Pong game, a sequel of Tron is set to return to screens in  stereo 3D during 2010.

The book also explores the use of 3D graphics in games and for use in broadcast, then goes on to suggest some future advances in the field such as overhauled workflow in Modo and the possibility of virtual reality, and real-time photorealistic rendering (Chapter 1, p22).

The book also briefly explains how stereoscopic 3D, such as what we are seeing in current films and selected TV programmes today, works.  However a more in-depth explanation of how it works and history can be found in issue 14 of 3D Artist, p36-41. This article details how the technology works currently, and looks into the possibility of 3D TV without the need for glasses.  This is a very exciting advancement for the 3D artist and all eyes will be on how this technology develops.


Digital 3D Design by Simon Danaher

Chapter 1 page 12, 22

Chapter 6 pages 162 – 163, 166 – 167

3D Artist issue 14, “Get Set for Stereo” pages 36-41