The Invention of 3D Modeling Changed The World of Animation

For years, animation was done in two dimensions. The invention of 3D modeling has changed the animation world forever. In 1972, the first attempt at 3D modeling was made: a hand was made by Ed Catmull and Fred Parke, the co-founders of Pixar, transforming the world of animation forever. My concentration is New Media and Animation and I’ve noticed in my studies that 3D animation has been one of the largest and most interesting forms of animation. People tend to enjoy it more than other types of animation, making it a very popular form of animation.

The different opportunities created by 3D modeling have opened doors for people to do amazing things with animation. This new platform of art has given artists the ability to create worlds that are fake but look real to the passing eye.

3D modeling has also given people the ability to make anything they want with a 3D modeling program, and with the help of 3D printers, they can bring their ideas to life.

This has proven successful in several fields, not just the movie industry. The healthcare and construction industries especially have benefited from this incredible innovation. The use of 3D modeling all began 1972 when the cofounders of Pixar made a 3D model of a moving hand and head, sparking awe in their viewers. With this creation, Ed Catmull and Fred Parke had opened the door for 3D modeling to play a role in popular films. Thirty-three years after the initial, basic 3D animations were released, the world’s first 3D animated movie and Pixar’s own first movie, Toy Story, was created.

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Toy Story was new for its time, and it wowed viewers.

According to the article, Is It Real … or Is It Motion Capture? The Battle to Redefine Animation in the Age of Digital Performance, states that this movie won the coveted, rarely won Oscar award for Special Achievement. Years later, movies such as Star Wars, Superman and Tron also became some of the first few movies that used 3D animating. Another film that was considered innovative in its time is Jurassic Park. This movie brings together reality and fiction using CGI, or computer-generated imagery, to create an immersive environment and gripping plot. After these two movies made their debut, audiences and animators alike began to envision all the new possibilities 3D animation allowed for. Now, artists can create computer-generated characters and creatures which actors can interact with.

Once the creation of creatures and characters using CGI had been mastered, animators began creating entire worlds in CGI by creating backgrounds to their scenes. Nowadays, an audience may find it hard to determine which elements of a film are real and which are artificial. When comparing an older film like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which uses motion capture alongside various 3D visual effects, to newer movies, one can see that movies have come a long way. For example, the animation in a newer movie such as Moana is far cleaner, more detailed, and of much higher quality than the animation in Pixar’s first 3D film, Toy Story. The water in Moana looks like it could come off the screen and splash the audience, which is far better compared to the water in the first Toy Story movie which looks more similar to the plastic toys in the movie than to actual water.

Likewise, movies like Jurassic World: The Fallen Kingdom have improved in the quality of the visual effects. The major thing that has changed is that the animators now have the ability to work more details into their pictures. Just like the two fully animated films mentioned, the original Jurassic Park movie and the newer Jurassic World: The Fallen Kingdom share some differences as well in their 3D effects and animations. In the first film, the movements that the filmmakers couldn’t create with their animatronic dinosaurs were done with CGI dinosaurs, therefore the movie involved more CGI than actual physical animatronic movement. This wasn’t received well by the fans of these movies, because the movie did not appear very realistic. Jurassic World: The Fallen Kingdom has since utilized more animatronic dinosaurs than the first movie and it has positively impacted the popularity of the franchise. This concludes that the presence of CGI graphics does not solely determine the quality of the film.

In addition to the quality of movies, 3D animation has also allowed for the creation of virtual reality worlds in video games. Not only is this innovation stunning for the user to experience, but it has also given video game personnel the opportunity to create games that are realistic and breathtaking. Being able to use the third dimension in video games has helped video game users get closer with the characters they play as by literally stepping into the character’s shoes. Adding the third dimension and detail into video game graphics makes it possible for the scenery to look almost life-like. Another improvement made by the creation of 3D animation is in the medical field. Doctors and scientists are now able to construct 3D prints and 3D models of parts of the body of a patient to understand a patient’s problem and help them recover.

By giving themselves a life-size, realistic copy of the body and the disease, doctors can better prepare for procedures and solve problems with more accuracy. 3D modeling can also be utilized by companies that have to build large-scale structures. The use of 3D animating software allows for construction companies to take measurements and try out design plans to see how they would look when the building is completed. In conclusion, the innovation of 3D modeling from its start to the present day has brought to us a multitude of different advances in virtually every field.

Made originally for movies and entertainment purposes, 3D modeling and CGI graphics have since made movies and entertainment transform from basic, dull 2D animation to breathtaking, realistic 3D animation. 3D modeling has also helped movies get more realistic artificial objects onto the big screen to improve a story’s uniqueness and to spark interest in the audience. Not only is this innovation used for movies, but it has also improved the video game industry as well with the addition of virtual reality. However, 3D modeling is not only for the use of entertainment companies. CGI is also importantly used for improving accuracy and planning for the medical and contracting fields, helping society not just emotionally, but practically. No matter what it is used for, 3D modeling effects everyone’s lives, not just those in art fields.


Works Cited

  1. “‘Jurassic Park’ made a dinosaur-sized leap forward in computer-generated animation on screen, 25 years ago.” The Conversation,
  2. “How 3D has made an impact on the film industry.” Europac3D, Accessed 12 November 2018.
  3. “Thornhill, Ted. “Nearly 40, but still looking good: How Pixar founders made the world’s first 3D computer special effects in 1972.” Daily, Accessed 12 November 2018.
  4. Age of Digital Performance.” Velvet Light Trap: A Critical Journal of Film & Television, no. 69, Spring 2012, pp. 38–49. EBSCOhost,
  5. Freedman, Yacov. “Is It Real…or Is It Motion Capture? The Battle to Redefine Animation in the
  6. Gonzales, Dave. “Jurassic World’s dinosaurs are mostly played by people.” GEEK.COM, 30 April 2015.
  7. Renee, V. “Watch: Why Does ‘Jurassic Park’ Still Hold Up as the Greatest CGI Film of All Time?” nofilmschool, 23 August 2016.
  8. Scott, Ryan. “Jurassic World 2 Has the Most Animatronic Dinos Since Jurassic Park.” MOVIE NEWS, 25 April 2018.
  9. Tenanov, J., Liciu, E., Chirila, M. O., Dusca, A., & Ulici, A. “The Use of 3D Printing in Improving Patient-Doctor Relationship and Malpractice Prevention.” Clinical Legal Medicine, n.d., pp. 279-282. Accessed 12 November 2018.

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The Invention of 3D Modeling Changed The World of Animation. (2021, Dec 18). Retrieved from

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