3D Modeling and CAD Programs – Relation and Difference

Posted by: Admin | Posted on: January 31st, 2013

From characters peeping through the pages of comic books to animated characters is a journey which has been possible only through computers. In fact, 3D(3 dimensional) graphics includes 3D modeling, 3D animation and 3D rendering.

WHAT IS 3D MODELING – 3D modeling involves creation of 3D models using computer. These 3D models evolve on three planes(X,Y and Z) and can be viewed from various angles, can be zoomed in and out and even be rotated.

We come across 3D graphics everyday in films, product designs and advertisements. It blends art and science: art involves conceptualisation of a new world and characters; science of imaging renders it shape and  texture while  facilitating its interaction with the environment.

The background of a jungle and whole environment  in the film ”Pirates of the Caribbean” is an apt instance of animation and creation of 3D environment.

3D MODELING APPLICATIONS – Some 3D modeling applications are 3ds Max, AC3D, Alladdin4D, Bryce, BricsCAD, Cheetah3D, Carrara, Cinema4D, Cobalt, CityEngine, GPure,Grome, Inventor, LightWave 3D, Houdini, Maya, NX, Poser, RealFlow, Mudbox, Shade 3D, Vue etc.

WHAT ARE CAD PROGRAMS – CAD (Computer Aided design or Computer Aided Drafting) such as AutoCAD deal with technical aspects in industrial designing, architecture, mechanical designing and aerospace engineering etc.  CAD is used for technical designs and drafting. It is imperative for these designs to be scale accurate and precise. CAD models are used in production, construction and physical simulation.


Programs like Google Sketchup has tried to combine the two but it has been observed that the quality of output is hampered. Detailed models can be produced in CAD software but it will surely result in spending a lot of time. 3D animation and modeling programs come with bone systems, particle systems, hair systems and other such maps and tools which aid in giving shape to imagination.

Similarly, although 3D animation and modeling programs can be used to create accurate, functional, architectural and engineering models/blueprints, accuracy will always be an important factor to reckon with.

CONCLUSION – Each program is best in its own place, designing what it can do best. 90 runs is a good score but a century is always best!