Three-dimensional computer graphics have superseded two-dimensional ones. These 3D graphics are usually produced with the help of special software. There are about 40 different applications for that purpose. Moreover, there are numerous free packages of 3D software available on the internet.
The creation of 3D computer graphics can be divided up into three stages: modelling, layout and animation, and rendering. A 3D model can be generated by an engineer who either scans a real-world object or shapes it on the PC with the help of a modelling tool. Other ways to produce 3D models are procedural modelling and physical stimulation. The so-called vertices shape the model; three or more vertices form groups of polygons. Before the object can be rendered as a 3D image, it has to be placed in a scene in order to define its location and size. The object becomes an animation if it moves or changes its form over a period of time. This can be achieved with the use of kinematics, motion capture or keyframing. Rendering creates a 3D image out of the model which can either be photorealistic or non-photorealistic. The rendering stage is usually accompanied by the use of computer graphics software which uses the techniques of light transport and scattering to achieve realistic images.
The majority of algorithms for the creation of 3D computer graphics is identical with those for 2D computer vector graphics, which are used in the wire-frame model, and with those for 2D computer raster graphics, which are used in the final rendered display of the image. The boundaries between 2D and 3D images in computer graphics is blurry: 2D occasionally makes use of 3D effects while 3D may use the same rendering techniques as 2D.
Modern 3D movie blockbusters are created with the help of computer programmes. Computer-generated images, so-called CGIs, have become very popular for films, video games, commercials, simulations and print media. CGIs can be both static and dynamic. In recent years, software for the production of computer-generated imagery has become more easily available and computers have become much faster, which enables even smaller companies to produce high quality products.