What is 3D Modeling and Rendering: Best Beginner’s Guide

In this post, you’ll learn the basics of 3D modeling and rendering. For this post I worked closely with a AUHA PWRD, a professional 3D artist who has been working in the industry for quite a while now.

And today we’re going to talk about what is 3D modeling and rendering, covering topics such as what is the difference between a rendering and a model, what does a 3D render do, what is needed for 3D rendering and how are 3D models rendered plus much more.

Think you’re interested in learning more about what is 3d modeling and rendering? Let’s get started!

Firstly, let me introduce you to AUHA PWRD, he collaborated with me on this post as I had lots of questions regarding 3D modeling and he was kind enough to share some of his experience with me as he rebuilds his portfolio and online store.

Professional 3D artist – meet AUHA PWRD

AUHA PWRD is a former photographer and cinematographer working with lots of international clients for the past few years. AUHA PWRD likes hard surface modeling and organic modeling, shading and texturing, but the most exciting part for him is photography, even inside of the 3D software.

His current joy is recreating mini 3D car models of sports cars, classic cars and muscles cars. Converting images of real scale into mini fun 3D models which can be ordered via his BigCartel website.

He uses a free open source tool called Blender to create his 3D models and renders. While this tool is not the industry standard, it is one of the best free tools for anyone wishing to create 3D models and renders and can’t afford the professional level software that professionals use such as Autodesk which can cost over $1700 annually.

3D Graphic rendering is also referred to as CGI by many.

In car modeling the main key is “a good understanding of topology”, AUHA PWRD can’t stress this enough. Also, that car modeling itself is not hard surface modeling but organic modeling. The follow video explains how topology works.

blender topology video

He states:

I’ve “swallowed” the pain of not understanding topology. By understanding it, you can work much better and faster with more efficiency.

It’s indeed a hard process for anyone but for those who want to make it, they need to learn it.

What is the difference between a rendering and a model?

When working in 3D modeling and rendering, there is a slight difference between the two but they are incorrectly used interchangeably by many who don’t know the difference.

A 3D model is what the object looks like in 3 dimensions and a rendering is what an image made from the object looks like in 2 dimensions.

So a 3D model is 3 dimension, a rendering is 2D image of the 3D object (hope that didn’t confuse you further).

What does a model render do?

A model renders what it should look like in real life, such as if you were to take a picture of something with your camera. It captures what objects would look like photographed from different angles.

Who uses 3D rendering?

Both artists and engineers use this technology to model what a product will look like.

Artists are also cleverly using 3D rendering and models to create the fast growing and in-demand digital art form of NFT (Non Fungible Token) crypto art.

What does rendering mean in modeling?

It’s the process of what something looks like while being processed or generated, so it would be what an object looks like while being generated but not necessarily put into a real world situation.

What is needed for rendering?

In order to get good renders you need good lighting and textures, which can both affect how well your render turns out. If things are too dark then everything seems very washed out and if there aren’t enough details on textures then objects end up looking flat.

How do you make images from models?

You take screenshots! Take as many as you want and also trawl online for source materials or ask your clients for as many photos as they can supply that cover what they want rendered from all angles.

What do I need for rendering?

You don’t really need anything besides your computer and software that has been used for creating or editing models. You will also then want different types of add-ons depending on what kind of images you’re making, such as lighting effects, materials etc.

The more add-ons you have, the better quality image output there can be, but it takes longer to render because more details are needed to create those high end visuals.

Now, some people might say they need things such as cameras and lights but what these actually refer to are software tools within your program which help with rendering these effects digitally.

3D rendering software free

You could pay for lots of expensive software but you can pretty much do a decent job using open source tools such as Blender, especially if you are a beginner and building up a portfolio.

Keep in mind that some ‘free’ rendering software actually comes with a hidden cost where they will charge you to unlock premium features or add-ons. This is the reason why we prefer Blender. It is open source and actually free.

There are other free 3D rendering software, I have listed them below:

Blender (our pick)

No matter what type of work you are doing, Blender has the tool for it. Create jaw-dropping renders thanks to Cycles and its high end production path tracer capabilities with sculpting retopology modeling curves all in one place.

It’s actually so easy my 7 year old worked out how to use it to make custom Roblox shapes and skins to import into his game.


3D sculpting and painting programs are becoming more popular than ever before, with ZBrush being one of the most powerful tools for today’s digital artist.

It offers an elegant interface that makes it easy to use while also providing access to advanced features you can’t find anywhere else!

Cinema 4D Studio

Cinema 4D Studio is perfect for professional 3D artists who want to create advanced graphics quickly and easily. It’s also great if you’re new to the industry, looking at getting into freelancing or just need some guidance with your designs!


FurryBall RT is extra simple and easy to use for an artist – you can tune whole image quality with only a single parameter if want.

GPU rendering doesn’t load up your CPU at all which means faster work on system during the render process!


Katana® is a highly efficient, collaborative look development and lighting solution that gives you the creative scope to meet today’s most demanding CG-rendering project needs.


3D and Augmented Reality content can be published to any website, on all platforms with Vectary Web AR. With a fully-featured 3D design tool you have access the tools that help bring your ideas into reality!

How are 3D models rendered?

AUHA PWRD likes to start his projects by making the body of the car first by looking at real life photos and any other sources such as online schematics and diagrams for reference.

He states that you need as many images as you can get so that you have all angles covered to accurately create a 3D model and render.

Otherwise the 3D artist will need to rely on their imagination and that will lead to an inaccurate 3D model and rendering.

The steps required to creating 3D models and renderings are a combination of what you know about geometry, art and design.

I could write thousands of words but a picture tells a thousand words and a video tells about 100 thousand words.

So here we go. I have linked to Part 1 of a Blender tutorial to explain how the process works.

blender 2.8 beginner tutorial

If you enjoy the first video, then click through to the YouTuber’s video to follow Part 2 and more.

Part 2 of blender tutorial video

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