3D refers to the three-dimensional representation of an object on a two-dimensional surface. 3D is also referred to as 3D computer graphics. With the increased capabilities of modern computer hardware, 3D is now used in everything from computer games, to advertising, to movies.
The process of creating a 3D graphic simulation can be broken down into three phases. The first phase is 3D modeling which is the process of forming the shape of an object. Next comes the layout and animation which describe the motion and placement of the objects in the scene. And finally there is the rendering process which creates the image.
There are many software products that are available to facilitate the creation of 3D images. Some are very specific; for the modeling of the human figure, one such product is Poser from SmithMicro, and for creating landscapes and terrains there is Vue from e-On Software. Others have wider scopes and more range such as CINEMA 4D from MAXON. All of these products have footholds in the artistic and/or film markets.
There is still a lot of growth to be had in 3D technology and much of that growth is dependent on the development of new technologies and equipment. There is some speculation that 3D graphics will be integrated into our daily lives via the use of 3D headsets for gaming or perhaps 3D business use, but only time will tell.