Curriculum Overview

3D Modeler and Core Fundamentals

01. Course Introduction – What you’re going to learn

Welcome to the Wayfair© 3D Modeling Guideline! We hope that you’re as excited as we are that you’re going through this curriculum. We will be using a number of different software packages and plugins, but 3DS Max and V-Ray are the leading combination for this industry.

Product shots that have been produced by the artist team at Wayfair©


02. Why 3D Modeling?

  1. Wayfair is committed to ramping up 3D modeling capabilities for the products we sell on our sites. One of the largest benefits we see is providing our customers with an enhanced shopping experience by offering beautiful, compelling, photorealistic imagery of the products we sell.
  2. We sell over 8 million products on our site, and we are working toward modeling as many of those products as possible. 3D images allow for inspiring visual imagery without the expense of product samples and physical photo studios.

03. Process Breakdown

a) Gather Reference Images and Product Information

One of the biggest problems with artists achieving a realistic is neglecting the information and reference that is all around them. The first thing you should be doing is gathering images, dimensions, seat height and any other relevant data for the object you are trying to create in 3D. Use these references and study them closely as they are your most valuable resource.

Product details and images are all provided through one of our Extranet tools; this part of the process will be covered at a later time outside of this curriculum. If you are developing models based on your own in-house products then we encourage you to speak with your design and marketing departments to get as much information as possible.
Remember, it’s important to not only determine shape, proportions and overall dimension, but also surface details, color, texture, etc. This information is important when it comes to creating the different materials for the product.


b) 3D Modeling

The content below is meant to build a foundation of terminology and help you understand the overall process involved. Everything will be covered in more detail in the upcoming sections.


i) Model Components Overview from GuerillaCG (Referred to as “Sub-Objects” in 3DS Max)
Polygon Modeling: Points in 3D space (vertices) are connected together via line segments (edges) to form a polygon (also referred to as a “Face”); each polygon is made comprised a minimum of 3 edges and 3 vertices. A group of connected polygons is referred to as an “Element”.

ii) Objects (video: GuerillaCG) – are collections of polygons and/or polygon elements that are moved, scaled and rotated together. This video breaks down object properties and the many ways they can be used and edited.

iii) What are Primitive Objects? (video: GuerillaCG) – Geometric primitives are familiar as objects in the real world like boxes or spheres. A single primitive can be used to model many objects, or you can combine primitives into more complex objects. This video goes over the generic application and different parameters of primitive objects. Some of the many primitive objects in 3DS Max include:

Box Cone Sphere
Cylinder Tube Torus
Pyramid Teapot Plane

Click here (Autodesk Knowledge Base) for more detailed information on 3DS Max’s Primitive Objects


c) UV Unwrapping

Texturing – is the art of applying a 2-dimensional image onto a 3-dimensional object. Think of texturing like a candy wrapper where the model is the candy bar, and the texture is the wrapper you wrap around it. The process of unfolding and flattening the “wrapper” (3D model) is called UV Unwrapping.

If you remove the wrapper you can flatten it out and make it into a 2D image just like the way it was designed; however, the wrapper is fabricated to wrap around that 3D candy in a very specific way so the chocolate is completely covered.


d) Material Creation

i) Materials – Materials are assigned to objects to define their appearance. You can use the texture to tell the material what color the model should be, but the material also defines many other variables about the surface quality of the object. These variables include reflectivity, bumpiness and more.

ii) Where V-Ray fits into all of this –  V-Ray Render Gallery (Chaos Group). When creating materials for Wayfair’s process we always use V-Ray Materials. These are special nodes in the material editor that are designed to be used in the V-Ray render engine. They are optimized to work with all other aspects of V-Ray (lights, cameras, render settings, etc.).


e) Rendering

i) Rendering is the process of shading a 3D scene using the lighting that has been established. V-Ray is the rendering engine that we use to calculate these scenes in a more photorealistic way versus standard methods that come with 3DS Max. V-Ray stands out amongst the rest due to its ability to accurately calculate global illumination through various algorithms.

Chair model

Chair Textured Model

Chair Render