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Learn about procedural modeling with online courses

Procedural modeling and generation allow users to create 3D models, textures, and even complex architecture. By using a set of rules or algorithms rather than relying on user input, procedural modeling can lead to new innovations in many different fields.

What is procedural modeling?

Procedural modeling is a form of computer-generated design that relies on mathematical algorithms and formulas rather than human input. When you play a video game that immerses you into a new world, it’s highly probable that you are interacting with procedural modeling. It’s responsible for generating the landscapes and terrains that make your virtual environment feel infinite.

Realistic content is especially important in training scenarios. Flight simulators generate surroundings that mimic real-world scenarios. Architects can create renderings to model the textures and interiors of the buildings they develop. Military troops can prepare for a variety of situations through the use of virtual and augmented reality. All of these applications are made possible by the methods that underpin procedural modeling.

In order to take full advantage of procedural modeling and its capabilities, it’s essential to develop strong mathematical and programming skills. Ready to get started? Explore online courses on edX that can help you take your next professional step.

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Procedural modeling course curriculum

Interested in learning about procedural modeling? If you’re approaching the topic with no prior experience, consider familiarizing yourself with introductory computer graphics and 3D modeling concepts. From there, you can move into programming fundamentals and procedural modeling basics, which may cover:

  • Python, a beginner-friendly programming language

  • Essential mathematics for computer graphics

  • Procedural generation and texturing

Depending on your goals and interests, you may decide to further your knowledge and explore advanced or specialized topics within procedural modeling. Courses may discuss:

  • L-systems, Voronoi diagrams, and cellular automata

  • Parametric design principles and generative art techniques

  • Terrain generation techniques

  • Skeletal animation, inverse kinematics, and procedural motion generation

Learning about procedural modeling can supplement your knowledge of computer programming and scientific research. edX offers a variety of educational opportunities for learners interested in studying these topics, as well as a host of other disciplines. A boot camp can provide flexible hands-on learning for those who want to upskill quickly, while executive education courses are designed for busy professionals. You can also pursue a more comprehensive curriculum in a bachelor’s degree program or, for more advanced learners, a master’s degree program. Find the right learning path for you.

Explore jobs in procedural modeling

Procedural modeling is used in many different industries, particularly those that rely on technology in some way. Whether you’re interested in a career in gaming and entertainment, or you want to contribute to scientific research, procedural modeling skills can open up new job opportunities, such as:

  • Technical artist: Creates custom procedural systems within game engines or 3D software to assist artists in generating complex environments.Footnote 1

  • Research scientist: Explores new algorithms, methods, and applications of procedural modeling in various industries.Footnote 2

  • Game developer: Implements procedural algorithms to generate terrain, buildings, vegetation, and other elements dynamically during gameplay.Footnote 3

  • Augmented reality (AR) developer: Optimizes the performance of AR experiences while providing visually rich and dynamic worlds for users.Footnote 4

  • Technical director: Works with procedural modeling tools to create complex scenes, special effects, and simulations.Footnote 5

While many of these roles exist within similar industries, employment qualifications for careers that may utilize procedural modeling skills differ based on the position and employer. Some roles may require a higher level degree in computer science or management, for example. Before deciding on which learning path will work best for you, research potential roles you hope to pursue and align your coursework with your professional aspirations.