The Race for 3D Content

We’re witnessing the biggest renaissance in the 3D design space in 40 years. Here’s a look at the past and the future of 3D design creation platforms.

The excitement about Apple ARKit and advancement in technologies like AR and VR raised an important subject: 3D content. Like any other publishing platforms, AR and VR are worthless without great content. Having books for the ‘Amazon Kindle’ or signed artists and music labels to any music streaming service out there now are important more than ever for these platforms. It seems major companies like Google, Facebook and Microsoft took a note and it’s a matter of time until we will see Apple and Amazon follow.


The History of 3D Design Software

3D content is amazing, but at the same time, very hard to create. It all started in 1972, by Fred Parke and Ed Catmull, who will later be one of the founders of Pixar. 3D modeling and animation, back then, was still something you had to program and not design.

Three years after ‘Industrial Light and Magic’ (ILM) was founded (1975) and soon after in the 1980’s we could see a flourish of commercial products, created by companies like Autodesk, Omnibus Computer Graphics, Pro/ENGINEER and more.

First Face and Hand 3D animation by Ed Catmull and Fred Parke (YouTube)

In the 1990’s we saw a progression in a shape of affordable and more user-friendly software. Software from different fields, like 3DS-Max for animation (1990), SolidWorks for solid modeling (1995) and SketchUp for Architecture design (1999) were created and allowed more people to join the 3D design space, each in their way and field.

3D Design Software Market Evolution — 1980–now

These softwares were focused on professional designers and programmers since the learning curve was very steep. Although many tried to find the right user interface for a 3D design software, it was always the biggest challenge, and some of that challenge remains with us even now.


And Then Came the iPhone…

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