Exploring the fundamentals of 3D

23/02/2024 by Patil Angaladian (Marketing DIrector)

3dverse is on a mission to transform the 3D content creation and deployment process by delivering new experiences for creators and end-users to connect like never before.

As you delve deeper, you'll find layers of meaning and innovation beneath our vision. So, what does this mean and encompass?

What is real-time 3D anyway?

3D is a primarily used word, and it might mean different things for different people.

In our case, we're not talking about the effects you see in movies with 3D glasses or 3D-printed objects. What we are talking about is computer-generated graphics that are rendered on a flat surface (computer screens, XR headsets, etc.), and that give the illusion of depth.

Inside this realm of 3D rendering, we can find two major subdomains:

  • Pre-rendered (or pre-calculated) 3D rendering

  • Real-time 3D - the 3dverse method

Pre-rendered 3D rendering

This method dominates movie production for special effects, full-length animated films like those by Pixar, architectural visualizations, and advertising. The output can be astonishingly lifelike. However, it demands significant time and heavy hardware, resulting in non-interactive final products.

The final result often boasts impeccable quality, occasionally mirroring reality so closely that differentiation becomes difficult. However, this precision comes with a caveat: extended production times. Rendering a single image requires hours, while a brief clip spanning mere seconds necessitates days, making quick iterations challenging. Furthermore, such a process requires potent hardware. And, while the outcome might be visually captivating, it offers no interactive capacity for the consumer.

Real-time 3D

Real-time 3D, on the other hand, is all about interactivity; the user can directly influence the image they're looking at, be it by changing their point of view - i.e., moving their virtual camera - or even by directly altering the virtual world they're in, by changing the color of an element or even opening a door in a house. In this case, everything needs to happen in real-time, and almost nothing can be pre-rendered as the immediate inputs of the user highly influence the final image.

Iron Man before and After

The video game and simulation sectors have been at the forefront of advancing this technology, recognizing it as a fundamental aspect of their mediums. However, its influence is expanding, with numerous other industries increasingly integrating real-time 3D for its substantial advantages:

  • Enhanced interactivity

  • Instantaneous feedback

  • Adaptive environments

  • Deeply immersive experiences

Rendering house

Despite its myriad of benefits, real-time 3D is not a one size fits all solution. It may only sometimes be the preferred choice, especially when the goal is to achieve the pinnacle of photorealism or to simulate physics with the highest fidelity.

Note that in both pre-rendered 3D and real-time 3D, 3D elements are modified in real-time and thus technically using real-time 3D. The key distinction lies in the discrepancy between the working model and the end product. With pre-rendering, the initial models are substantially refined for the final output, whereas in real-time rendering, the initial and final visuals are closely aligned.

Frame rates in Real-Time 3D

A crucial aspect of real-time 3D is the concept of frame rates, which play a significant role in how smoothly these interactive experiences unfold. Frame rates, measured in frames per second (FPS), refer to the number of images (or frames) rendered and displayed per second. Higher frame rates enable smoother motion and more responsive interactions, essential for a seamless and immersive experience in real-time 3D applications. Since real-time 3D is all about interactivity and seeks to mimic interactions within a digital environment, users must perceive motion as fluid and lifelike as possible. When frame rates are too low it can break the illusion of real-time interaction and disrupt the user experience.

  • 30 FPS is the minimum FPS for real-time 3D experiences and applications.

  • 60 FPS is typically used for high-quality, real-time experiences with fast-paced environments like video games.

  • 60+ FPS targeted in specialized applications like virtual reality (VR), however, most applications operate anywhere between 30-60 FPS.

The choice of frame rate in real-time 3D depends on the application's nature and the desired balance between visual fidelity and performance. In video games and simulations, where quick reactions and real-time feedback are critical, striving for higher frame rates is common. However, a lower frame rate might be acceptable in applications where photorealism and detail are more important than speed.

Building the present

As we’ve explored, 3dverse stands at the forefront of a paradigm shift in real-time 3D content delivery. While pre-rendered 3D has its place in high-quality productions, real-time 3D is the cornerstone of a dynamic world where interactivity, adaptability, and collaboration are the core. This approach doesn’t just change how we view 3D; it redefines the possibilities of digital interaction, opening doors to new realities where changes occur in the blink of an eye, and users are no longer passive observers but active participants in the 3D applications. This is not the future; it’s the present we’re building.

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