3D Modelling (Cinema 4D)

Does 3D modelling matter in higher education? Short answer: no. Modern lecturers will benefit greatly from being able to communicate their ideas in a visual format. However, rarely if ever this level of design is required in standard course design, but might be more applicable in programme or institution marketing efforts where a return on investment can be achieved for a still or animated 3D model. Cinema 4D is touted to be the broadcast, motion graphics and graphic design industry standard with tight integrations to Adobe After Effects, Adobe Illustrator, CAD applications. The potential is endless and some stunning creations can be done. However, be ready to spend hours, days, weeks, or even months to achieve the desired result if you decide to take this path. For the rest of us, take a look a Adobe Spark to create some nice looking 2D graphics in the simplest way possible.

What is shown on the screen beyond the narrator gives the educational designer a plethora of possibilities, which have been studied from various perspectives. Clark and Mayer (2008) proposed there are six different graphics types in learning:

  1. A decorative graphic is put there only to look visually pleasing but provides no value in terms of learning performance.
  2. Representational graphics, which is an illustration of a single object (i.e. bicycle pump with a text “bicycle pump”). Representational graphics are useful for depicting unique information that is not self-evident (i.e. concepts and facts), but can be considered redundant if the object is self-evident (e.g. an image of a bicycle).
  3. Relational graphics depict relations between quantitative elements, such as a pie-chart, which helps to visualize data.
  4. Organizational graphics depict relationships among ideas or whole concepts and helps to visualize where different parts are located (e.g. class schedule).
  5. Transformational graphics show change as time passes and thus helps to easily perceive temporal changes in the correct order (e.g. an animation of a tire being changed).
  6. Interpretive graphics show invisible elements such as the workings of an atom and helps to visualize something that might not be readily available in the student’s mental structure.

According to Clark and Mayer (2008), images added for dramatic value are not only costly to create but can actually depress learning (extraneous cognitive load). In other words, illustrations should be congruent with the instructional message (germane cognitive load).

Here is a 3D mockup done for an ice-themed event by Vakaa that exemplifies interesting lighting effects and polygon style artwork. 


Clark, R. C., and Mayer, R. E. 2008. E-Learning and the science of instruction. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.