We live in a 3D world. You can thank 3D renderers and designers for bringing
those three dimensions to life in the commercial and entertainment worlds.
3D renderers gather hand-drawn sketches, blueprints or other materials
that show dimensions, positioning and detail to construct realistic 3D models.
The renderer incorporates graphic computer files into the work.
Photos can be scanned and changed to create all types of lighting, animate
figures or drawings, select a point of view or make objects move.
The actual rendering process converts all the data to an image that the
renderer can manipulate and shape into a crisp image. For example, the products
you see on store shelves all started as a 3D image on a computer screen.
"Designing is hard work," says Mary Khoun, an industrial designer at Conair
Corporation. "There's so much that goes into it.
"It's not just drawing, model making, and 3D modeling," says Khoun. "It
is a way of thinking and seeing things that normal everyday people can't think
of. You will eat, live, and breathe it. You won't be able to stop yourself
The level of the work is often somewhat dependent on the quality and limitations
of the chosen computer program. Therefore, 3D renderers need to master specialized
"It's a lot of dedicated hours learning software and staying current with
software," says Chris Kowal, a 3D renderer and designer. "Twenty percent of
my time is probably spent doing unpaid R and D research and development).
"I'm watching new stuff that's coming out, I'm demo-ing new stuff, I'm
beta testing stuff for people, because it's just part of the industry," says
"It moves really, really fast. To stay relevant, and to stay employed,
you kind of need to do that. You need to be fast, efficient, good, and always
using the latest software."
There is a wide variety of opportunities for the 3D renderer. Three-dimensional
services are used in magazine and book covers, logos, animation and virtual
reality. A lot of 3D rendering work is needed in product illustration, packaging
illustration, website design and illustration, information graphics and video
title sequences. CD-ROM productions, technical illustration, computer game
design, kiosks, architectural renderings, and interior design renderings are
also sources that use 3D technology.
3D rendering for video, such as for television commercials, is a big source
of work for 3D renderers and designers. Product design is also huge.
"For product design, you're very cheap compared to what it used to cost
to make a prototype," says Kowal. "Now I can make a prototype, I can run simulations
on it, we can even digitally print out something to take a look at it. You
can do all these things that before cost a lot of money."
As in all jobs where the worker is sitting on a computer for the most part
of the day, repetitive motion injuries are common. But the work is not otherwise