3D illustrations and renderings are amazingly realistic images. By checking the popular files and bestsellers on e.g. Depositphotos you stumble upon quite a few examples. The 3D illustrations being sold, range from simple stick figures to full blown animations and photorealistic scenes.
This style of illustrating is interesting for designers (and especially stock contributors). It allows you to create realistic images from your imagination with automated physics, light sources and shades. In addition you can use the 3D object after creating it once in several different ways: you can render the object from all angles, compose it with other backgrounds in different scenes and animate it. So it may take a little longer to design a 3D object compared to a 2D object, but it will save you a ton of work by being easily adjustable later on.
Of course there are a few programs to choose from. One of my personal favorites is Blender.
Blender is a completely free to use open source software, with an impressive amount of professional options and useful extensions. Everything from 3D design and modeling to developing computer games or animating video clips is possible with this program!
You can download it on the Official Blender Page.
To render your work, you can choose between the older “Blender Render” or switch to the more advanced “Cycles Render Engine” that makes photorealistic results possible. The physics simulation tools let you simulate fire, smoke, water, textiles, particles and many more.
For more detailed information check out the Blender Wiki. On there you will also find a variety of useful tutorials on how to get started with a step by step manual.
Selling 3D Illustrations
Because there have been problems in the past, with customers not being able to distinct between photography and realisitic 3D illustrations, agencies like Shutterstock introduced a new set of rules.
To sell your 3D images you have to follow these simple steps:
- All 3D content should be uplaoded as “Illustrations”.
- Include the term “3D rendering” or “3D illustration” in the description as well as the keywords.
- 3D renderings of room interiors will continue to require a 3D Property Release. This is not required for 3D renderings of objects, people, animals, vehicles and exterior architecture.
- If a reference image was used to create a 3D model, you must own the copyright to the reference image. This does not apply to vectors.
More information on Shutterstock’s 3D policy: http://www.shutterstock.com/blog/3d-content-policy-change