Chapter 23

It’s Showtime!


Creating 2D working drawings from 3D models

Visualizing 3D models

Lighting your models

Applying materials

Assigning a background

Applying render presets to 3D models

The word design has the same Latin origin as designate: “to point out to or to show to others.” If you have an idea and produce it yourself, you aren’t a designer — you’re an artist or a craftsman (not that there’s anything wrong with that). You don’t become a designer until you tell someone else about your idea so that they can do all the dirty, heavy work of producing it.

Two-dimensional orthographic drawings date to Roman times, but only in the past few years have I seen a significant change in how things are designed — and how designers communicate their visions to others. No, I don’t mean 2D CAD on a computer, because that’s simply a more efficient way of producing Roman-style drawings. The world we live in is 3D, but paper is 2D. Orthographic engineering drawings were developed for the sole purpose of transferring the designer’s 3D idea into 2D format. The recipient of the drawing then transfers the idea back into 3D, first as an image in the mind and then as the physical object.

The significant change is that low-cost computers are now powerful enough, and software is becoming sophisticated enough, to let designers work in 3D on their personal computers. At the same time, 3D printers can now use a 3D model on your computer to produce a real-world object. This type ...

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