Box Modeling: A History Primer


Box modeling is an art process of 3D modeling, usually starting with a box or other 3D primitive object. It's approach is like adding to clay, as apposed to poly modeling which is like adding flat pieces of paper.

Wikipedia defines Box modeling a technique in 3D modeling where a primitive shape (such as a box, cylinder, sphere, etc.) is used to make the basic shape of the final model. This basic shape is then used to sculpt out the final model. The process uses a number of repetitive steps to reach the final product, which can lead to a more efficient and more controlled modelling process.


The goal of this document is to be a rough history of polygonal box modeling in 3d computer graphics over the years. It will be a timeline from the 1970s through the 2000s. Any inaccuracies are welcomed to be reported to me. is a good place to reach me.


LISP Machines

Early modeling was achieved via Symbolics Lisp Machines and their S-Graphics suite of software. Symbolics Lisp Machine Museum


Industry Changes

- Final Fantasy Spirits Within - from NURBS to Sub-D - Subdivision Surfaces - 3DS Max 5 poly tools

Perfecting the Tools

- Wings3D - Modo - Subdivision - Quads

End of an Era

- ZBrush

Future of the Technique

- Retro - Cyclic Life thedaemon