Now with all those definitions laid out in a linear fashion, I am going to tell you how the 3D creation process is anything but linear. We find a quasi-linear nature of the 3D process. The first step to a 3D project is to plan, plan, plan. I know, everyone wants to jump in and get started right away, which is an important thing to do when just beginning in 3D, but sooner or later, you will want to actually create an entire project. In my experience, every hour spent developing effective plans for a project saves 10 hours in actual production time. A large part of the planning process involves numerous drawings.
Michelangelo had volumes and volumes of sketches. To us today, these sketches are masterpieces; to him, they were a means toward an end. Some were studies of the form and shape of anatomy, objects, or people. Others were layout plans, draftings of different compositions, balances, and designs. While some artists today are able to create fantastic pieces of artwork based on reactions to what they just laid on canvas, all of the great artists of the past took time to plan how their final project would appear.
3D should be no different. If the final project is a still image of a set of gears and cogs, sketches on how the cogs look, how they will be laid together to form a cohesive image, and notes on color and lighting are important. If the final project is a character, sketches of the character, its personality, and form provide a valuable visual resource during those tedious modeling hours.
If the final project is an animation, many minutes of final footage can be saved if an effective storyboard is laid out with careful attention paid to camera angles, timing, and shot composition.