Images have existed for hundreds of years, dating back to the Stone Age. However, with the time passing on, the human race evolved, and so did their products, including art. And while images were mostly in two dimensions, classified by their width and height, with the begging of the computer age, images very soon gained a third dimension - depth.
3D graphics were first created in the 1960s, when vector images were introduced. The vector approach allowed for the 3D graphics to be created, using the same techniques - mathematical formulas calculating the position of each pixel in the 3D image. Once the 3D graphics became popular, they quickly gained popularity in the art world for their various uses. Quickly, 3D images were animated and CGI images (Computer Generated Imagery) became extensively used in cinema and computer games.
3D graphics offered a different approach, compared to the one utilized in 2D images, creating images closer to reality. Even though the first 3D images were clearly computer created, today a 3D image can be almost as real and vibrant as real life.
3D animation was introduced shortly after 3D images became popular and played an important role in the promotion of 3D graphics. Used in movies and video games, 3D images provided a different perspective and allowed the creators much more possibilities. They could now create images and animations using computers, which would be too costly or simply impossible if they had to be created by real people.
Software, such as 3D Studio Max (now 3ds Max) and Maya were able to create complex images with almost no effort and very fast.
3D image art
The first 3D image software solutions were very expensive and accessible only to a selective group of people. With the popularization of the 3D art, open source software 3D image editors were created, such as Blender and Geist3D, which allowed everyone to use software, almost as powerful as the paid solutions, such as 3D Studio Max. This inspired a lot of small-time designers to create 3D images and very soon the Internet was full of 3D art.
The 3D art is divided mainly into two streams - abstract art and generic art. The abstract 3D images represent unthinkable shapes and designs, which are almost impossible to be drawn by hand. They quickly gained popularity among a great deal of Internet users, who were by then tired of the graphical designs.
Generic 3D art represents real life objects and shapes. While the abstract 3D art has only aesthetic value, generic 3D images are used in a lot of websites as part of the web page design and also as technical illustrations.
3D Studio Max
3D Studio Max is one of the leaders and the first name that comes to mind when talking about 3D image manipulation. It is one of the first 3D image editors, and by today is used in the making of a great deal of video games and movies. One of the biggest advantages 3D Studio Max offers is its plugin architecture, which allows for additional functionality to be added at any moment. The plugins also mean that everyone can make a contribution to this software. 3D Studio Max also offers a great deal of visual effects, which can be instantly added to an image, without the need to create them by hand. With each version, the number of out-of-the-box effects grows drastically and today this software offers such a variety of custom effects, which can scare any novice user.