3D Production Pipeline – Part One

Today I will be discussing the production of a three-dimensional pipeline and the various stages it requires to create 3D graphics. These stages have clearly been outlined in the SAE course material. However, doing my own research on the subjects, I’ve discovered that these terms are universal for producing any object using 3D technologies and programs.


Before getting started in any 3D component of a project, it’s important to formulate the concepts the 3D Artist wishes to create. During this pre-stage, designers must accumulate various ideas for characters and environments, including the look, style and flow of these animated worlds. By creating a large variety of concepts, it offers a wider scope of choices for the management team of the project to choose the final product from.

From this stage, concept artists are able to work alongside digital sculptors in order to construct preliminary imitations for the desired designs for characters, while the research and development team finalize the special challenges for finer character details for later stages.

3D Modelling

With the final character design chosen, the project is further passed on to the 3D modellers. At this stage, it’s the responsibility of the modeller to take the two-dimensional concepts and, by using programs such as 3DS Max, construct them into three-dimensional models that can be given to animators for further work.

There are two main techniques that modellers are able to use in a production pipeline today. Polygonal modelling is primarily used to translate more mechanical/architectural models like environments, while digital sculpting is best suited for creating organic models, such as characters.

The following video provides a quick look at the stages of modeling that was required for the Oscar nominated hit film of 2012, “Marvel’s The Avengers”. Not only does it demonstrate the character models, but also gives everyone an idea of the scope it required to create such a large environment.


Boudon, G. (2013). How Does a 3D Production Pipeline Work. Digital-Tutors Blog. Retrieved 12 March 2015, fromhttp://blog.digitaltutors.com/understanding-a-3d-production-pipeline-learning-the-basics/

ILMVisualFX,. (2013) Behind the magic: The Visual Effects of “The Avengers”. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnQLjZSX7xM

Slick, J. (2015). An Introduction to the 6 Phases of 3D Production.About.com Tech. Retrieved 12 March 2015, fromhttp://3d.about.com/od/3d-101-The-Basics/tp/Introducing-The-Computer-Graphics-Pipeline.htm


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