The following posts under this heading outline what I found to take place in the various steps of the most general pipeline for creating 3D graphics, taken from sample on the web and occasionally tangible published pieces. The stages have been outline by the SAE course material, but upon further reading I found that they are pretty universal stages of production for any 3D graphic project.


Prior to beginning the actual 3D elements of any production there must first be a degree of planning into what the 3D artists are going to create. This stage in production is where most of the concepting for production takes place. Designs for character and environments, colour palettes and styles that may match the design aesthetic and a focus on creating as many possible concepts to provide a maximum of choice for the director, producers and art leads to review for use in the final design.

By the end of this process it should be possible for the digital conceptors on the team to create mock-ups for the characters, while R&D have a clear idea of the more complex moving elements like hairs or cloth to research for the later stages.

3D Modelling

This is the stage in development where the 3D modellers take the concepts from the pre-production phase and use programs such as 3DS Max and Maya, which follow a generally more rigid form of polygonal modelling, and/or sculpting programs such as Mudbox or ZBrush, which can be used to great effect to create a basis for organic objects, to construct the 3D models.

Generally this is done in an empty scene entirely from scratch but previously established models or those sculpted with Mudbox or Zbrush can also be altered to achieve the final product. The 3D model as it will eventually appear though is a series of carefully placed points known as vertices, which when linked together form a mesh of polygons, creating a viewable 3D model.

Embedded below is a look at the pre-production work being taken into 3D for the recent film Dredd 3D. It shows a good example of a multitude of concepting and research being processed to a finished 3D scene.


Boudon, G. (2013). How Does a 3D Production Pipeline Work. Digital-Tutors Blog. Retrieved 19 February 2015, from

Prime Focus World,. (2012). Dredd 3D – The Foundations of Mega-City One (Close Up). Retrieved from

Slick, J. (2015). An Introduction to the 6 Phases of 3D Production. Tech. Retrieved 19 February 2015, from