Surface Modeling

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What Does Surface Modeling Mean?

Surface modeling is a mathematical method usually provided in computer-aided design applications for displaying solid-appearing objects. Surface modeling makes it possible for users to look at the specific object at specific angles with solid surfaces. Surface modeling is a popular technique for architectural designs and renderings. Surface modeling has wide range of applications such as in consumer products, marine vehicles, body panels of automobiles and aircraft structures.


Techopedia Explains Surface Modeling

Surface modeling is considered a more complex technique for displaying objects than wireframe modeling. Surface modeling has much less ambiguous display functionalities compared to wireframe modeling, but not as much or sophisticated as solid modeling. The technique often involves conversions between various three-dimensional modeling types.

Typical processes involved in surface modeling are:

  • Generation of a model combining the three-dimensional surfaces and solids
  • Conversion of the model to procedural surfaces, taking advantage of associative modeling
  • Validation of imperfections with surface analysis tools
  • Rebuilding surfaces of objects to apply smoothness to the object

When it comes to controlling curves, the surface modeling technique makes use of B-splines and Beizer mathematical techniques. One of the unique properties of surface models is that they cannot be sliced open like solid models. The objects used in surface modeling can be geometrically incorrect, unlike in solid modeling, where it needs to be correct. Apart from architectural illustrations, surface modeling is also used in 3-D animation, particularly in games.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.