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Expert opinion: The tech set-up for top 3D artists

Tech Page One

3D computer workstation


Contemporary 3D design professionals demand an exacting computing environment to support their demands. Over and above the need for processing power, data storage and overall device functionality, designers require an inherent level of integration that pervades throughout their computing system to ensure interconnectedness, compatibility and seamless operation.

Today’s 3D design professionals need workstations that are capable of extreme digital sculpting, polygonal modelling and graphical rendering. To ensure that these functions can be executed quickly (often in close proximity and succession to each other), desktop machines with carefully built (often custom-created) components need to provide the optimal set up for what is a highly demanding role.

Clocking in on clock speeds

As the central beating heart of the computer, Central Processing Unit (CPU) power is a crucial consideration for 3D design professionals. This type of working environment demands hardware that has often been specifically tuned and optimised to be suited to computing tasks that are inherent to the 3D pipeline.

High performance computingAugmenting the power of the CPU with a Graphical Processing Unit (GPU) and graphics accelerator card is supportively deployed RAM quality, which helps to create a machine that is altogether capable of these types of tasks.

3D design computer systems can be most productively used when the architecture of the machine itself has been specifically tuned to the job in hand. With 3D modelling and graphical rendering in mind — imagine if a graphics or animation based job is composed of what may be a ‘massively subdivide asset’ such that the machine has to look for data in various different systems very quickly.

Intelligent software based on highly performing hardware is the only sure-fire means of making these functions happen within a reasonable and acceptable amount of time.

While many users would consider 1920×1080 HD displays as being top of the pile, 3D designers are starting to demand 4K UHD displays with a resolution of 3840×2160 pixels. It is this kind of presentation layer technology that will ultimately help the designer to work at a precision level of detail — and, consequently, this precision will be carried forward into the final design if indeed, where a physical product is fabricated or manufactured.

Aspects of Windows 10 from Cortana speech recognition voice commands and onward to multi-touch support will also have a positive impact on the way workflows can be carried out. According to designer Paul Champion, “Windows 10 brings another layer of productivity [to my role] by offering native support for Thunderbolt 3. At 40 GB/s transfer speeds anyone transferring large amounts of data or footage such as animators and compositors will recognise the importance of faster rates.”

Photo-realistic models and the future

As we have discussed before on Tech Page One, high-end workstations can be used to provide immersive 3D modeling experiences for customers. Designers can also pair web servers with rack-based workstations and start to present photo-realistic models can then be displayed online, allowing customers to interact with their products.

As 3D imaging and design start to move outside of the engineering department of firms into marketing and other functions, the capabilities of these systems will start to become even more important.

To find out more about Dell’s creative solutions, click here.


Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian is a technology journalist with over two decades of press experience. Primarily, he worked as a news analysis writer dedicated to a software application development ‘beat’; but, in a fluid media world, he is also an analyst, technology evangelist and content consultant. He has spent much of the last ten years also focusing on open source, data analytics and intelligence, cloud computing, mobile devices and data management.

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