Looking Into the Future of 3D Rendering
Three-dimensional (3D) rendering converts 3D models into 2D representations on the viewer’s screen. It may involve effects to make the 3D model in a 2D format look like a photo, or it may not, depending on the application. For example, when showing off an architectural design, adding details like landscaping is intended to make the customer buy into the vision. In some cases, 3D rendering converts three-dimensional simulations into 2D animations. Let’s look at the future of 3D rendering.
3D rendering is becoming more popular because the graphics hardware required for 3D modeling in high resolution and fast processing speeds are becoming cheaper. This isn’t new. It is based on Moore’s Law, which found that processing speed doubled every eighteen months, and economies of scale keep that processing power affordable.
We’ve seen a spike in the price of video cards because their fast processing speeds made them great Bitcoin miners, but that’s an exception to the trend. Normally, the most expensive cards were bought for creating PC gaming stations. If Bitcoin’s prices continue to fall, we’ll see a wave of hardware intended for graphics rendering show up again on the market and lower costs. The reduction in 3D rendering costs due to cloud computing is notable. That’s what has allowed for a wave of high quality digital movies by relative amateurs to flood the market, presenting shifting angles and points of view in a rich environment.
We’ve already seen 3D rendering move from 3D movies to use by the average architectural firm. Engineering firms now routinely use 3D design work exclusively, while the 2D renderings are regularly used to create thumbnail images for people to review when browsing. A major area for 3D design is the design of items for 3D printing, and we’re seeing a wave of software seeking to support the needs of everyone from hobbyists to students to study their design in all dimensions while viewing it on a tablet or PC.
One issue that is rarely addressed is the growing number of tools that let companies combine 3D rendering on screens with 3D virtual reality simulations. For example, the ability to display on 2D screens what the person in the VR goggles sees could help make the sale to the entire group in record time. As the technology becomes associated with making million-dollar sales, it will become a common part of the salesperson's toolkit.
Gamers tend to pour significant amounts of money into their immersive experience, and game developers keep their attention by maximizing the quality of the game. While virtual reality tries to provide a 3D gaming experience, the bulkiness and poor quality of the output means we aren’t going to see 3D rendering for gaming go away. Instead, we’ll continue to see the quality of gaming graphics improve.
As the price of 3D rendering comes down, it is being adopted by far more people for even more applications. 3D rendering is becoming cheaper because the hardware that supports it is becoming cheaper; no longer is 3D rendering limited to big corporations. Today and in the near future, the rising tide of affordable and open-source tools will allow amateurs to create amazing videos and 3D designs seamlessly.