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View Full Version : How do you describe 3D to people that don't know about it?



shrox
11-28-2009, 06:26 PM
I often describe it as "electric clay", that it's more like sculpting. A real world analogy might be making a sculpture, then taking photographs of it.

Now that we're in the season where you'll be meeting relatives and others that have no clue as what we do, how do you describe it?

Nangleator
11-28-2009, 08:29 PM
I say, "you know what CAD engineers do? It's like that, but I've got a virtual camera and lights, so I can make the pictures pretty."

Silkrooster
11-28-2009, 09:36 PM
Maybe there is something on the wikipedia that you could refer them to.

h2oStudios
11-28-2009, 09:42 PM
Oh God, the torment of having to try and explain 3d to people. -

;) And you gotta talk slow when -

"Well it's kind of like this - You sort of sculpt like a character in the computer using software, and the character is kind of like made up of this virtual mesh/wire type thing. But the wire/mesh have kinda like their own rules when manipulating them, you know. Then you "basically" (yeah right) give the character like a skeleton, not a real skeleton but a like an armature, and then you add controls to make it move, you know... Oh f**k it! Have you ever heard of spinning Quads, UV vertex mapping, Skelegons, Bone orientation, Heading, Pitch, & Bank angles, Gimbal Lock, Weightmaps, Subdivision Surfaces, Endomorphs, Parent/World/Local space relationships, Forward/Inverse Kinematics?!?! No? Well that's a lot of what I do." :D

"Oh, I see. So, you're like a graphic designer, right? Can you make me a website?"

"Oh, Jesus... Yeah, so I'm like a graphic designer, and no I can't make you a website."

PS - I was going to make this my first rant on the "what grinds my gears thread" a little way back. lol.

Eroneouse
11-28-2009, 09:50 PM
Ok did you ever make a flicker animation in school, you know when you draw a match stick figure in the corner of the book and on each page after redraw it but change it a bit so as you flick the pages it moves.

Well its like that but on electronic pages with depth and colour except when you get to the important bits you're book crashes.

JMCarrigan
11-28-2009, 10:10 PM
Okay. I play photographer at times (while I'm waiting). So It's like photography except I build my own models or purchase them. (Vicky 4 is a lot cheaper than even the least expensive real life model.)

After I have built and/or acquired all my models I set the scene up just like in the real world but with way more control over them. I can't lift a car and put it over there you see.

I also have way more lighting possibilities than I do with the TD-5's I have....

Hey! Where you goin'? You asked, I'm tryin' to 'xplain.... Sheesh. :)

Nangleator
11-28-2009, 10:10 PM
"My grandmother is going to buy a digital camera. Can you recommend every last electronic purchase for every last person I know, for the rest of your life? And fix all the problems that come up, over the years? And make house calls to fix all the computers and cameras and gizmos?"

toby
11-28-2009, 10:10 PM
I just tell them it's just like a video game or virtual reality, but with a rendering process at the end that gives you the photo-real quality.

h2oStudios
11-28-2009, 10:13 PM
I often describe it as "electric clay", that it's more like sculpting. A real world analogy might be making a sculpture, then taking photographs of it.

Now that we're in the season where you'll be meeting relatives and others that have no clue as what we do, how do you describe it?

Honestly though, all frustrating experiences aside, you pretty much nailed probably the more practical explanation of 3d. So texturing would be "painting the sculpture", and rigging would be "Building the sculpture over a wires so you can bend it into poses...etc,etc.:D:thumbsup:

LazyCoder
11-28-2009, 11:17 PM
It's even worse when you have to explain "rendering" to people:

YOU: The computer can't process all that information in real time.
(Person points to viewport)
PERSON: then what's that?
:2guns::2guns::2guns::2guns::2guns:

Dexter2999
11-28-2009, 11:33 PM
I had a guy that does electronic repairs and builds computers ask me to explain it to him.
It was gut wrenching.
"So, I tell the computer to draw a box..."
"Wait! How does it know you want a box?"
"Well, I hit the keystroke to give the software those parameters. So, It knows to make eight points formed into a box."
"But how does it do that?"
::SIGH::
"A point in space is dicatated by X,Y,Z coordinates. So the computer plots the series of points and makes connecting lines into surface planes."
"WOW, That sounds seriously complicated."
"Not for me, the software and the computer do all the work. I just draw a box."

I swear the guy walked out thinking I was like a Brain Surgeon or Astro Physicist. I couldn't make him understand I wasn't doing anything all that hard.

JonW
11-29-2009, 01:35 AM
With architectural models both scale models & 3d.

I am a mind reader. Solve complex technical problems which the architect is incapable of solving as their 2d drawings never translate to 3d. Plans, sections & elevations are always doing different things. My last resort, I also have a crystal ball on the desk which I use far too much.

I also play God, planting trees, giving life to architectural models & 3d renders.

Job description in brief: Artist, technical engineer, God.

akademus
11-29-2009, 02:12 AM
Xy+z

jameswillmott
11-29-2009, 03:48 AM
I don't care too much about the relatives, but when my daughter bursts into tears at school because she can't explain what I do, when every other child can explain what their Dad's do, I considered a career change...

Now I've explained it to her and she just says I draw pretty pictures of houses and make movies. That seems to work well with adults too.

cresshead
11-29-2009, 04:27 AM
How do you describe 3D to people that don't know about it?

just use the hollywood method, show them some hand drawn sketches then talk abit about how the voice actors lark about alot.
finally make a big deal about the music score being recorded with an orchestra
...that's all there is to it really
...see?
...3d's not that hard to get a grip on at all.

biliousfrog
11-29-2009, 06:17 AM
"My grandmother is going to buy a digital camera. Can you recommend every last electronic purchase for every last person I know, for the rest of your life? And fix all the problems that come up, over the years? And make house calls to fix all the computers and cameras and gizmos?"

LOL...you too huh?

" you work with computers don't you?.....mine keeps crashing/ getting viruses/ makes a funny noise/ won't start.....etc."

They never ask my aunt who's an estate agent and works on a computer all day, why should I know any more than her?

biliousfrog
11-29-2009, 06:23 AM
I often describe it as "electric clay", that it's more like sculpting. A real world analogy might be making a sculpture, then taking photographs of it.

Now that we're in the season where you'll be meeting relatives and others that have no clue as what we do, how do you describe it?

I rarely need to describe how I do anything, they usually glaze over anyway, but describing what I do has become much easier since helping on a TV commercial...in fact my mum will normally jump in and say, 'he worked on that XXXX commercial', which is generally sufficient. Before that it would be painful trying to explain about '3d' and 'models' that aren't real and that the computer doesn't actually do everything for you.

I'm actually trying to write a presentation right now for 30-40 school kids on the CG industry. I was hoping for some words of wisdom on here :D

UnCommonGrafx
11-29-2009, 06:46 AM
I just mention the incredibles.

cresshead
11-29-2009, 07:03 AM
I rarely need to describe how I do anything, they usually glaze over anyway, but describing what I do has become much easier since helping on a TV commercial...in fact my mum will normally jump in and say, 'he worked on that XXXX commercial', which is generally sufficient. Before that it would be painful trying to explain about '3d' and 'models' that aren't real and that the computer doesn't actually do everything for you.

I'm actually trying to write a presentation right now for 30-40 school kids on the CG industry. I was hoping for some words of wisdom on here :D

i think most school kids will totally get it as their games are now 95% 3d..they don't play board games or schoolyard games anymore they just huddle around in paks with their nintendo DS's and mobile phones...:D

when i used to teach 3d at college we had a get you up n running fast by talking about computer games characters they'd know and showing them some similar characters in the viewport and zooming into show selected polys and verts.

then we did the bouncing ball thing for animation and rendering a teapot for lighting:D

keep it simple but also show some more interesting stuff they can equate to everyday tv/games and products.
i was using max ususally for demos so darging out a biped and throwing on some footsteps ususally wow'd them enough to enquite more as it looked SO simple a child could do it..

maybe load up some mocap characters in lightwave also?

shrox
11-29-2009, 09:10 AM
Sometimes I refer to the old game Battlezone. At least if they remember that then they have an idea of a wire frame model.

http://nideffer.net/proj/proxy/tutorial/image/battlezone.gif

Nangleator
11-29-2009, 10:25 AM
just use the hollywood method, show them some hand drawn sketches then talk abit about how the voice actors lark about alot.
finally make a big deal about the music score being recorded with an orchestra
...that's all there is to it really
...see?
...3d's not that hard to get a grip on at all.
Heh.

You forgot B-roll of a building, a cube farm, and a quarter-second video of a guy at a workstation, rotating a T-pose character.

JonW
11-29-2009, 03:05 PM
I did a little presentation for my 6 year old Nephew’s class.

I had an architectural model and a set of plans. I had the model covered & showed this after discussing the plans. It worked out really well. At this age it was, this is the plan so the builder knows where he has to lay the bricks. This is the north elevation so the builder knows how high to build the wall & this is what the building will look like from the north when the walls are built & all the windows are installed. Where is the Kitchen? How many bedrooms? What other rooms do you need in the house? Where are these rooms? Explain one or two items & then ask a simple question or two in relation to it. It gets them involved through the entire presentation & this stretches out the work you have to present. & they do want to ask things which does make the presintation much easier & more importantly enjoyable.

Keep it short, simple & to the point. Some physical things or things moving go down well. Have some physical things that the kids can touch. eg, if you have a man walking in a short movie , get a kids robot or two & show how you have to use the movement of a limb, then you will have the kids involved, whether or not they are translating this to the screen or short movie doesn’t matter so much. You could get them to draw up a short story board for their own imaginary scene. Pencil & paper still works the best.

You will have a question time, & you will get a lot of questions, try to involve the quiet kids but don’t push them. If it is not a clear question, just change the answer somewhat so is sounds good, short & simple.

Its actually pretty easy.

Silkrooster
11-29-2009, 09:55 PM
I don't care too much about the relatives, but when my daughter bursts into tears at school because she can't explain what I do, when every other child can explain what their Dad's do, I considered a career change...

Now I've explained it to her and she just says I draw pretty pictures of houses and make movies. That seems to work well with adults too.

Oh man, that must have just about broke your heart knowing that about your daughter. I agree with the other post that most kids now know what 3D is. But maybe if you thought of a popular video game that the kids in that school play, it may help. If it is any consolation the older she becomes the more aware she and her friends will be to what you do. So hang in there.

Stooch
11-30-2009, 11:31 AM
I model. Thats all you need to know baby, now slide that thong off... I ve got some extruding to do. followed by liquid simulation.

h2oStudios
11-30-2009, 11:33 AM
I model. Thats all you need to know baby, now slide that thong off...

LOL, Right on!

JMCarrigan
12-01-2009, 10:12 AM
I model. Thats all you need to know baby, now slide that thong off... I ve got some extruding to do. followed by liquid simulation.

Dang! Might have thought of that if I weren't married though. :D

biliousfrog
12-01-2009, 10:52 AM
I model. Thats all you need to know baby, now slide that thong off... I ve got some extruding to do. followed by liquid simulation.

I love that expression you get when someone overhears a conversation about modelling. I had a great one recently in a quiet pub when I had to answer the phone at the bar midway through buying some drinks. A client asked if I could see him the following day and I said something like, 'I'll come over in the afternoon once I've finished off the modelling'....it was like that scene in American Warewolf in London when they walk into the pub and everyone turns round.

dmack
12-01-2009, 01:49 PM
Does it really matter how you describe it? I mean when you get to the end you know you're just going to get "Oh...you work with computers" and then when you explain a little further, you'll get "those computers are so clever". At this stage you'll want to resort to physical violence....so just cut the whole thing short..

If you're asked what 3D is, just slap 'em really hard and walk away.

:D

sandman300
12-01-2009, 02:43 PM
I just say "You ever see Toy Story? I make stuff like that." :santa:

OnlineRender
12-02-2009, 12:10 PM
I model. Thats all you need to know baby, now slide that thong off... I ve got some extruding to do. followed by liquid simulation.

best post ever .............................

edit --------------

that's when she turns around and says .

" are you a member of hardcore ? "

shrox
12-02-2009, 12:47 PM
What about when they already know what you do, and now they want you to explain it them?

toby
12-02-2009, 01:40 PM
What about when they already know what you do, and now they want you to explain it them?

That's where the video game analogy comes in. It's like a game, or a virtual reality set, where you move objects and lights around and set the colors.

OnlineRender
12-02-2009, 01:46 PM
Best ones are those who don't have a clue "like my gran , bless her,she just turned 80 , and rote of her car last week :D anyway i Just say I use Ms-paint :P

Philbert
12-12-2009, 12:39 PM
Most conversations I have with people about work go something like this:

Them: What do you do?
Me: 3D animation
Them:
Me: You know, like Shrek
Them: Oh!

With the exception of my 8 year old niece who added "You made Shrek?", so it took a little more explaining. I tend to avoid saying modeling or even saying I'm a modeler because the response is [B]always "you're a model??".

OnlineRender
12-12-2009, 01:15 PM
Most conversations I have with people about work go something like this:

Them: What do you do?
Me: 3D animation
Them: [blank stare]
Me: You know, like Shrek
Them: Oh!

With the exception of my 8 year old niece who added "You made Shrek?",".

She's 8 ,you should have said yes and Toy Story and Planet51 and ..........

Kiddin :) My 4 year old knows not to go near my office pc "because it's Rendering daddy ":P

sandman300
03-04-2010, 02:28 PM
Most conversations I have with people about work go something like this:

Them: What do you do?
Me: 3D animation
Them: [blank stare]
Me: You know, like Shrek
Them: Oh!

With the exception of my 8 year old niece who added "You made Shrek?", so it took a little more explaining. I tend to avoid saying modeling or even saying I'm a modeler because the response is always "you're a model??".

Years ago, I was at the Computer shop picking up my (then, before I built my own) new computer. We decided to test it on last time, just a simple power up test. My daughter who then was 3 years old was mesmerized by the LED fan on the side of the case. It felt like slow motion as her little finger moved slowly to the blades as everyone from all over the shop happened to be looking at her with a chorus of Noooooooooo. Fortunately she was not hurt. And I got the full screens instead of the cool skull cutouts.

Philbert
03-04-2010, 02:36 PM
Might be different for a 3 year old but I've stuck my finger in my case fan before. It doesn't hurt, just stops the fan.

shrox
03-04-2010, 02:42 PM
Might be different for a 3 year old but I've stuck my finger in my case fan before. It doesn't hurt, just stops the fan.

I don't have kids, but it's probably about avoiding a scene as well as injury regarding incidents like that.

Riff_Masteroff
03-04-2010, 10:48 PM
Roughly about five years ago, a project engineer on a construction site said to me . . . We don't recognize this 3d stuff. Officially we only 'put stock' in 2d plans, elevations and sections.

And my reply was: "How do you drive home at night?" What I meant was that you cannot use a set of blueprints to drive a car by. One needs to apply their innate and sophisticated 3d imaging, tracking and targeting ability in order to drive home. My project engineer friend's face turned red and he did not reply. :)

Sadly, as I speak, many people in this, the LightWave community do not believe in the extended use of our software. I just got through being bullied on another thread for my improper use of 9.6.

MentalFish
03-05-2010, 03:24 AM
Oh the joys of telling people what 3D is...

Not sure if I could claim to be in a worse spot than others here (being a programming "artist"), because when people ask me what do you do, I have tried saying: "I do design and programming of interactive 3D solutions"... but yeah, that does not work. I just end up saying... "I work on computers and such", if it is in business situations I sum it up as: "I can make virtual worlds for you".

biliousfrog
03-05-2010, 04:27 AM
I just received my new business cards...I decided on '3D Pixel Wizard' as my title. It gets an inquisitive response rather than a blank stare and plays to the whole 'computer picture magician' image that many people have.

Lightwolf
03-05-2010, 04:36 AM
Xy+z
Z-space is where it's at man...

Cheers,
Mike

JeffrySG
03-05-2010, 06:34 AM
She's 8 ,you should have said yes and Toy Story and Planet51 and ..........

Kiddin :) My 4 year old knows not to go near my office pc "because it's Rendering daddy ":P

That's great! :thumbsup: Too funny.... kids are great.