The 3d modeling stage could be described as shaping individual objects that are later used in the scene. There exist a number of 3d modeling techniques, including, but not limited to the following:
constructive solid geometry
NURBS 3d modeling
polygonal 3d modeling
3d Modeling processes may also include editing object surface or material properties (e.g., color, luminosity, diffuse and specular shading components—more commonly called roughness and shininess, reflection characteristics, transparency or opacity, or index of refraction), adding textures, bump-maps and other features.
3d Modeling may also include various activities related to preparing a 3d model for animation (although in a complex character model this will become a stage of its own, known as rigging). Objects may be fitted with a skeleton, a central framework of an object with the capability of affecting the shape or movements of that object. This aids in the process of animation, in that the movement of the skeleton will automatically affect the corresponding portions of the model. See also Forward kinematic animation and Inverse kinematic animation. At the rigging stage, the model can also be given specific controls to make animaton easier and more intuitive, such as facial expression controls and mouth shapes (phonemes) for lipsyncing.
Tessellation and meshes
The process of transforming representations of objects, such as the middle point coordinate of a sphere and a point on its circumference into a polygon representation of a sphere, is called tessellation. This step is used in polygon-based rendering, where objects are broken down from abstract representations ("primitives") such as spheres, cones etc, to so-called meshes, which are nets of interconnected triangles.
Meshes of triangles (instead of e.g. squares) are popular as they have proven to be easy to render using scanline rendering.
Polygon representations are not used in all rendering techniques, and in these cases the tessellation step is not included in the transition from abstract representation to rendered scene.
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