9 Essential Mistakes You Must Avoid When Designing a 3D Model, by Lauren Groff
You could make obvious mistakes when designing a 3D model, and that’s a model for any purpose. You could put materials in the wrong places, add a huge number of vectors where you don’t need them, export to the wrong required format, and so on. And that’s not even getting started on the creative side of things.
However, the more mistakes you’re aware of, the more mistakes you can avoid, which is what we’re going to be focusing on in this guide. I’m going to talk you through nine of the most fundamental mistakes you must avoid if you want your 3D design processes to be a success.
1. Not Being Accurate with Measurements
When you’re 3D designing, you’re going to be using some kind of CAD application, which means you can be incredibly accurate with your measurements. If you’re not using these features to their full potential, then you’re going to increase the risks of mistakes later.
Many applications will allow you to work to three decimals points, so use it. Sure, if you’re keeping measures to round numbers, that’s great, but when you come to more complex projects, you’re going to want to have mastered this powerful habit.
2. Ignoring 3D Printer Requirements
I don’t want to make this article about 3D printing because there are so many articles like that out there, but this is a point that’s very important to mention since, let’s face it, you’re going to be designing for a 3D printer at some point during your career, especially with how fast the industry is taking off.
No matter what 3D printer you’re designing a model for, you need to make sure you’re aware of how the printer operates and what restrictions it has. You don’t want to spend 100s of hours on a complex design, only for it to be rejected by the printer. Always make sure you’re finding out the criteria you need to know in advance.
3. Ignoring Software Guidelines
The best 3D designers in the world will use different applications for different purposes and for completing certain tasks, and this is something you’re going to need to be thinking about. While there are certainly some great design applications out there, there’s not one application that shines above the rest. Most have their own ideal niche and unique selling point, and these are things you need to know.
For example, Solidworks’ premium version is absolutely fantastic when it comes to reverse engineering products and gives you access to state-of-the-art wiring and pipe routing and functionality that barely any other applications come close to providing.
On the other hand, the Autodesk series excels in nearly all kinds of design production, but, this is really the application infrastructure you’re going to want to use if you’re working within a team because of the collaboration features like desktop, cloud, and mobile integration are just outstanding.
Ideally, you’re going to want to use a mixture of applications to get the job done to the highest possible quality and in the most streamlined way. There will be budget concerns, especially if you’re starting out, but it’s certainly something you want to be thinking about.
4. Not Investing in a Design Review
You may be the best of the best when it comes to 3D designing, but you’re still only human, and every human being on the planet makes mistakes. It’s inevitable, but this doesn’t have to be a problem if you take precautions to find and fix any errors that appear in your work. In the case of 3D designing, this means getting yourself a design review.
This basically refers to another pair of eyes from another 3D designer who will look over your work to see whether it’s up to scratch, whether anything needs to be improved, and highlighting any mistakes that can be corrected.
You may have someone in your team who can do this for you, or if you’re working independently, you may need to hire someone like a freelancer. It may seem like money you don’t need to spend or like time wasted, but if you’re working on a larger project and there’s a tiny mistake, it can set you back so many hours of work.
As with a lot of the considerations in this article, it’s good to get these habits nailed down so you can easily apply them when working on larger, more complex ideas.
5. Not Designing for Purpose
Suppose you’re designing a building for a 3D virtual tour because the owner is trying to sell the property. In that case, the idea of the design is to captivate the seller and make them want to buy it, which means your priorities are going to be making the design as visually appealing as possible.
If you’re designing a product prototype, then the design’s purpose is to make it accurate enough that it can be flawlessly manufactured and the product is in a working, sellable condition.
If you’re 3D modeling an electronic product, then accuracy is going to be of the utmost importance. If you’re designing a new car prototype, you may be trying to go for visual appeal once more to attract buyers or investors.
No matter what kind of project you’re working on, there will be a purpose for the model you’re designing, and you need to make sure you have this purpose in mind, so you know exactly what you’re aiming for every time to sit down to work.
6. Not Considering Materials
Whether or not you’re planning to 3D print your model or you’re designing a 3D virtual tour of a house, you need to make sure you’re thinking about the materials you’re using and the limitations they have.
Some materials can’t be used for specific purposes, such as using a single pane of glass as a supporting role of a house or flammable materials near the engine of a car. In most cases, you’ll probably be working with criteria and have set goals and a materials list, but it’s always worth thinking about so your design is fit for purpose.
7. Exporting to Poor Resolution Formats
Once your design is done and dusted and you’re ready to export, you need to be thinking about what format you’re choosing. Scratch that, even when you’re saving your 3D design as a project file, you need to be thinking about what format you’re saving in because you don’t want to be losing essential resolution you need for detail.
Whether your resolution is too high or too low, you may be risking problems, so it’s always worth checking. As a rule of thumb, choose a tolerance of 0.01mm, just to be on the safe side, ensuring all your details have saved, thus preventing a lot of potential reworking the next time you open the project.
8. Not Being Open to Learning
There are always new things to learn, new ways to get better, and new techniques and processes to master when it comes to the design industry, especially since the technology is ever-evolving and new concepts like AR and VR are becoming hugely popular.
One of the absolute biggest and most impactful mistakes you can make is getting stuck in your ways and not being open to these new ideas and ways of working. If you haven’t got the readiness and openness to learn, you’ll become stagnant, and will be holding yourself back from your full potential.
About the Author:
Lauren Groff is a writer at OX Essays. Lauren used to work in graphic and 3D design before using her skills and experience to become a consultant and help new people get into the industry.