Glossary of Terms - for those new to Digital Art and DAZ 3D
Hello and welcome to the world of 3D graphics and modeling. I say that because if you are reading this you probably are new to this stuff and don't know any better than to be looking here and not somewhere that you could actually get a proper answer. I'm lordvicore and I'm compiling these terms and their definitions into a sort of "glossary", to give a quick answer to terms that often pop up on forums, conversations (yeah, right) and in CG magazines found in peoples bathrooms. I've also thrown in a few "internet abbreviations"and terms for any folks who may have just discovered "3D" or that the "web" is not just a thing spiders make on the back of your computer. You should also know that my English is bad (I speak "New York") and that I was raised by wolves who also taught me how to spell and use grammar (and potty trained me too, but that's another story altogether...). So if you don't find the answer you are looking for, don't like the way I write or find this annoying and pointless may I suggest you get the answer from someone who actually went to school and does not pee on the carpet.
You can also see the original post in the Old DAZ 3D Forum.
Aliasing:An artifact or distortion, often referred to as 'jaggies', that occurs in a digital image when not enough samples are taken to accurately represent straight lines and smooth transition between highly contrasted edges. In a 3D rendered image, the most common example is the stair-stepping effect seen along the edges of objects.
Alpha Channel: Alpha Channel is information about pixels stored in images.
This concept enables the storing of transparency information in images.
Amapi: Amapi is an application used for the conception and creation of high-end 3D models, often used for product design and architecture.In June 2006, Amapi, Eovia's last remaining product, was acquired by e frontier. However, the future of Amapi's development is unclear, as it relies on the rendering engine from Carrara 3, now a DAZ 3D product.
Ambient color: A global pervasive light color that is applied to a scene.
Ambient Light: Ambient Light is light that doesn't seem to come from a specific source, but is
just there. Look under the desk - it's pretty dark, but there's some light there. In the real world, this is caused by stray photons bouncing around and occasionally ricocheting under the desk. Ambient light is basic,minimal amount of light in the whole scene. Adding too much ambient light makes a scene look washed out. Since the light doesn't come from anywhere, all sides of an object are illuminated equally, and it won't have any shading on it.
Ambient Occlusion: 1- a shading method which attempts to approximate the way light radiates in the real world, particularly off what are normally thought of as non-reflective or matte surfaces.
2- (contributed by Valendar)-Ambient Occlusion is a simulation of how light tends to not reflect as much when two objects are close to each other, as their proximity causes it to bounce back and forth between the two objects, rather than off in the direction of the viewer. The practical end result is a mild self-shadowing in cracks and grooves. To see it in action, hold your palms facing each other about a handwidth apart, and look at them. Then bring them together, and look at the point where they meet - there will be a black line at the point of meeting, VERY rapidly fading to normal skin tone.
The primary use in rendering is to promote realistic light distribution. It can also be baked as a map, and overlaid on a texture (usually the specular or reflectivity maps) to further emphasize this effect, as well as to more accurately simulate metals and other reflective surfaces.
Anti-aliasing (AA): The process of averaging between pixels of different colors to remove aliasing artifacts. This result is a smoother, more blended transition between the edge of two areas rather than a distinctly jagged appearance. Some examples are oversampling/supersampling and filtering.
AFAIK: "As Far As I Know".
AO: Ambient Occlusion... See previous definition to find out what that is. Often confused with APO which is ArmPit Odor- a condition one develops when the ratio of bathing to computer use is not balanced.
Apps: Apps is short for for application. An app is software, that can run on your computer,the Internet, on a good phone or other electronic devices like Giant Killer Robots.
ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange): The international standard that assigns unique seven-bit binary numbers to each of 128 standard characters, including letters, numbers, punctuation, and control codes (such as the character that marks the end of a line of text). Developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), ASCII (pronounced "askee") is one of the fundamental standards of computing. The ASCII Table shows the base 10 number for each character: An uppercase A, for example, is the number 65 and a lowercase z is the number 122. Several eight-bit codes based on ASCII have been developed to support languages other than English, adding a set of 128 "upper ASCII" characters (for a total of 256). A superset of ASCII called unicode adds a second byte for each character, raising the number of possible combinations to 65,536, enough to support the unique characters contained in hundreds of langauges around the world.
A.S.S.: Anonymous Stalker Syndrome(contributed by Rezca)
Autofold: The process of skewing, distorting, or folding geometry by selecting a specific point on an edge or face and moving the points
Avatar: An image or Icon one uses to misrepresent themselves online. Used in place of an actual photo of the person so as to avoid embarrassment and or terrifying small children.
Axis: Y and X axes, or Y, X, and Z axes, perpendicular lines used in the Cartesian coordinate system. Named after French mathematician and philosopher René Descartes, inventor of the "Cartesian Croissant".
Axis of Motion: In 3D space, the line that an object follows during movement.
Axis of Rotation: In 3D space, the line that an object rotates around.
Axonometric: Meaning 'measurable from the axes.' An axonometric projection is a view of a model in which lines appear parallel in both 3 dimensional and 2 dimensional space, and lines have a length that is to some scale.
Bad CGI Mojo: When nothing the tutorial says should work does work,following the manual or book proves useless and every fanboy of said program swears it it is you or your stupid computer and not the holy software.
Back light: A light positioned behind the scene to cast light on the edges of the scene objects.
Background image: An image file that is set to appear as though it is in back of the scene.
Baking: 1-Baking Textures:This involves taking a model, applying (usually) procedural maps or vertex based lighting, then rendering that to a diffuse (or other type of) map. As an example, one could use one's (baking capable) program of choice to render a pure white version of the object with Ambient Occlusion directly to a map, which is then brought in to your image editor of choice and multiplied, overlaid, or what have you on top of various other maps. It can add a lot of realism when multiplied over a specular or reflectivity map, among other things.
2-Baking Normals / Displacement:A bit more involved, this usually involves having two versions of a model - the low or mid polygon count version that is mapped and prepped, and a super-high polygon version with all of the detail in the actual model itself. Both are in the exact same pose and position, so that they overlap each other slightly. The program then (usually) creates a "cage" based on the lower poly figure, and uses this to determine ray casting direction. It then renders to a Normal Map or Displacement map, using the rays of the low poly where it hits the high poly and calculating both the angle of impact, and the height difference. The angle of impact is more important to a Normal Map, while the height difference is more important to a Displacement or Bump map.
3-Baking Morphs: Making the morphs work in export formats for other programs.(contributed by Valendar).
Beta: A term used to label software that is not quite ready for commercial release. Often this software has bugs, is missing functionality or makes you ask questions like "When are they going to fix this" or "What the hell were they thinking".
Bevel mapping: A beveled edge refers to an edge of a structure that is not perpendicular (but instead often at 45 degrees) to the faces of the piece. The words bevel and chamfer overlap in usage; in general usage they are often interchanged, while in technical usage they may sometimes be differentiated.
Bézier: Bézier surfaces were first described in 1972 by the French engineer Pierre Bézier who used them to design automobile bodies. Bézier surfaces can be of any degree, but bicubic Bézier surfaces generally provide enough degrees of freedom for most applications.
Bi-cubic spline (B-spline): A mathematical interpolation method of describing complex curves and surfaces.
Bilinear texture filtering: Bilinear texture filtering enhances a computer's ability to scale 3D graphics in a smoother, more realistic way. With 3D graphics, especially with games, you don't want a graphics card to grab texture maps from memory and simply write them on your computer screen: as the polygons drawn onscreen grew bigger, they would take on a blocky look. To improve the ability to scale 3D graphics, you need to filter them. Bilinear texture filtering does this by averaging the four adjacent texels (the basic elements of a texture map), thus creating a new texel that renders a more subtle, realistic texture.
Bitmap: A method of depicting a graphic image on a computer screen, a printer, or a scanner. As its name suggests, a bitmap is a map of dots--similar to what you see when you look at a photo of a nude person under a strong magnifying glass. Bitmaps come in many file formats (GIF, JPEG, TIFF, BMP, PICT, and PCX, to name a few) and can be read by paint programs and image editors such as Adobe Photoshop. If you scale up a bitmap, it will look blocky.
Blender: A sophisticated "freeware" modeling and animation program, know to cause the heads of "Noobs" to explode. Can be found here:
Also a device used to mix Frozen Margaritas, a useful way of relieving the pain when first learning "Blender".
BMP: Bit Map format(I don't know where that "P" comes from). A lossless compression format native to Microsoft Paint.
Bone: A rigid object analogous to a real bone, placed inside the ‘skeleton’ of a character during the process of rigging it for animation. When a bone is moved, it acts upon the mesh of the character model, deforming it.Also something a dog likes to chew on.
Boolean Modeling: A type of solid modeling that involves adding or subtracting from a "primitive" form such as a sphere. Think of it as sculpting with clay. Bryce uses Booleans to create complex shapes.
Named after George Boole, inventor of Boolean logic, which is the basis of modern digital computer logic. Really.
Bounding Box: Computer programs deal with onscreen objects, such as images, by placing them in an invisible rectangle called a bounding box. You can see an example of a bounding box by clicking an image inside a word processor such as Microsoft Word. The outline that appears around the image is the bounding box.
BO: Body Odor: a condition often arising from too much Internet or Computer use and not enough showering. A can of "Commercial Air Freshener" or "Industrial Body Spray" can be used to mask its effects on the environment.
Browser: A browser provides a graphical interface to the World Wide Web; it interprets hypertext links, displays images, and lets you view sites(and materials of questionable moral content) as well as navigate from one Web site to another.
Bryce: is a 3D modeling, rendering and animation program specializing in fractal landscapes. The name is taken from Bryce Canyon — a rugged region with many of the same landscapes that were first simulated with the software.The first commercial version by MetaCreations, Bryce 1.0, appeared in 1994 for the Macintosh. It was later sold to Corel and up to version 5.01 it languished until its 2004 purchase by DAZ 3D (YAY!).
It can be found here:
But... things change over time and for all I know, by the time you read this DAZ 3D may be run by giant mutant hamsters hellbent on renaming the company and all the software (GMH3D).
BTW: By the way. Also Big Tough Wombat.
Buffer underrun: An error that occurs when a memory buffer feeding a device runs out of data. For example, the data stream from your hard drive to your CD-recordable drive is interrupted by requests from another program, starving your CD drive's buffer and forcing the write laser to shut down. Until technologies came along like BURN-Proof, the buffer underrun would ruin your CD media. Buffer underruns can be caused by program or operating system glitches,gremlins, evil gnomes, a too-slow computer, or a CD-recordable drive with an insufficient buffer.
Bug: In the computer world, a bug is an error in a software program. It is believed that the term dates back to the 1940's when the Giant radioactive moth "Mothara" destroyed ENIAC the worlds first functional computer.
Bump: Or "Bumping" the act of making a simple post in a thread to "Bump" the thread back up to the front of the forum queue. Usually just the word "Bump" is posted.A side note about bumping: Quoting Richard Haseltine-(in reference to bumping)"Which is frowned on, since we don't want competitive bumping trying to keep people's favourite threads at the top of the list."
Thus try not to abuse this new knowledge and use the power of the "Bump" sparingly. After all "With great power comes great... something?"...My DVD of "Spiderman" always skips on that part, so I assume something great happens when you are powerful. So be careful how you use Bump or you could end up like Peter Parker's Uncle.
Bump mapping: Bump mapping is a technique where at each pixel, a perturbation to the surface normal of the object being rendered is looked up in a texture map and applied before the illumination calculation is done. Bump Mapping use a gray-scale image map to change the direction of surface normals. You can use this to simulate height, so that you can paint wrinkles and bumps.50 % grey means neutral (no change is made),lighter means higher, darker means lower. Note that the position of faces is not actually changed; by rotating just the normals, lighting will change too, to give the illusion of a height difference. This has downsides too: the outline of objects isn't changed, so the trick is given away. Okay, I copied and pasted that one... I'm not even sure what "perturbation" means... I'd of guessed something that too much of will give you hairy palms.
CAD: Computer Aided Design. Come on, did you really not know that? Could also refer to a man who seduces a young woman, often to her social or financial ruin or the former Central Ammunition Dump at Hawthorn, Wiltshire UK... it might still be for sale. Really, look it up.
Camera: A piece of software's interpretation of the user's point of view.
Caffeine: A bitter, white crystalline xanthine alkaloid that is a psychoactive stimulant. Caffeine was isolated from coffee in 1820 by a German chemist, Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge Von Frankenstein to help make a monster he had created, dance better. Caffeine is found in varying quantities in the seeds, leaves, and fruit of some plants, where it acts as a natural pesticide that paralyzes and kills certain insects feeding on the plants.
Caffeine which is also found in Tea, Cola, Coffee and Mountain Dew is often consumed in large quantities by those addicted to or employed in the area of CGI art. It is generally used to gradually replace the highly inadequate naturally occurring human blood which is of no use to CGI artists. This strategy creates a state where sleep is no longer necessary and dreams and reality blur into one swirling kaleidoscope of thought and universal singularity, as well as having the added benefit of helping paralyze and kill certain large carnivorous insects which feed on CGI artists while they wait for their renders to complete.
*Disclaimer: Do not replace your blood with caffeine based beverages, it is very painful and messy and most of the insects that are feeding on you while you work, will only feed faster due to their own built up immunity and addiction to caffeine.
Camera Dots: An interface control in Poser, used to remember and recall camera properties and positions.
Cartesian Coordinates: A three dimensional system whereby the position of a point can be defined with reference to a set of axes at right angles to each other.
Carrara: Is a general purpose modeling, 3D figure posing, landscape design, rigid and soft-body dynamics, animation and rendering application. Carrara is compatible with Poser and DAZ format 3D figures and includes a selection of landscape generation tools, together with its more traditional modeling features. Carrara began in 1996 when MetaCreations merged two of it's newly acquired 3D graphics programs Ray Dream Studio and Infini-D into one single application. In 2000 MetaCreations sold Carrara to Eovia. Evovia developed Carrara until version 5 when in 2006 it was acquired by DAZ 3D. Today it can be found here:
1- The light patterns generated on a surface by refracted or reflected light rays. Photon mapping is one example of this.
2-Caustics in optics is a bundle of light rays. For example a caustic effect may be seen when light refracts or reflects through some refractive or reflective material, to create a more focused, stronger light on the final location. Such amplification, especially of sunlight, can burn — hence the name. A common situation when caustics are visible is when some light points on glass. There is a shadow behind the glass, but also there is a stronger light spot. Nowadays, almost every advanced rendering system supports caustics. Some of them even support volumetric caustics. This is accomplished by raytracing the possible paths of the light beam through the glass, accounting for the refraction, reflection, etc.
CD: Compact Disc.... where the hell have you been?
Child: An object assigned to a "Parent" object. A child object is controlled by the parent object it is linked to. Also a small human.
CINEMA 4D: Is a modeling, animation and rendering package developed by MAXON Computer GmbH. It is capable of procedural and polygonal/subd modeling, animating, lighting, texturing and rendering.
CKP: Cute Kitty Pictures.
Clipping plane: A plane positioned parallel to the camera that defines the border beyond which scene objects are not visible.
Cloud of points: A set of x-y-z coordinates obtain from a 3D scanner or digitizer. The data can then be turned into a continuous surface and used in a 3D model. Often used in reverse engineering applications.
COLLADA (COLLAborative Design Activity): A data exchange format for 3D applications (specification by Sony/Khronos). COLLADA files .DAE are based on XML.
Collision Detection: In video games and computer simulations, collision detection involves using algorithms to check for collision, or intersection, of two "solid" objects.
Compositing: The combination of two or more images to create a new image. A simple example would be a foreground character superimposed over an environmental background.
Conforming clothes: Clothes or props that are designed to fit a particular character exactly and to remain fitting as the character's pose changes.
Conforming prop: A model object that is deformed to fit a given character.
Constrained group: (in dynamic clothing) A group of cloth vertices that are constrained so as to not be moved by the dynamic simulation.
Constructive Solids Geometry (CSG): A solid modeling method using primitives to build more complex models and Boolean operations of add, difference, and intersection.
Content Collection: A group of content gathered together that can include content from several different categories.
CCT: Short for Content Creator Toolkit, a feature new to DAZ Studio 4 Pro and also available separately as a Plugin for DAZ Studio Advanced, it includes the following features:
• Weight-Map Brush - Paint TriAx and traditional weight-maps for your figures.
• Transfer Utility- Transfer rigging, grouping, and shapes from one object in your scene to another.
• Polygon Group Editor Tool - Create/Edit polygon groups on any model.
• Figure Setup Tab - (previously Skeleton Setup) Define the bone hierarchy for a figure, associated geometries, and the relationships between them.
• Joint Editor Tool - Manipulate the Joint Parameters of a figure, along with the ability to create and/or remove bones.
• CR2 Exporter - Export figures to the Poser Character (.cr2) format.
• Property Editor Tab - Mass editing of property attributes, as well as creation, deletion, grouping, ordering and linking.
• ERC Freeze - Adjust property values (via Parameters tab or Presets/Poses) and link those properties to a controller; automatically calculating the scalar required to drive the properties to their current value when the controller is set to its current value (or 1 in the case of a 0 value).
• Morph Loader Pro - Quickly and easily add your own custom and third-party morphs to objects in your scene, using Wavefront Object (*.obj) files, with many more options and much greater control than the Advanced version.
• ExP Exporter - Generate ExP product files through a visual interface. This tool greatly simplifies a very tedious and time-consuming process that had to be done by hand prior to this tool.
A great help to individuals serious about content creation for DAZ studio and not to be confused with Cybernetic Chipmunk Terrorist which is something altogether different.
Convex hull: The “skin” created by enclosing all the extreme points of a 3D object.
Cookie: A small data file written to your hard drive by most Web sites. Cookies typically contain such items as passwords, lists of pages you've visited, or the dates when you last looked at certain pages. Web sites usually read the cookies they leave every time you visit in order to track user behavior in aggregate. When you register at a site, cookies can make logging in later unnecessary, but they also enable a site to log every session under your name. Also a small disc shaped baked good often consumed with milk.
Coplanar: A reference to entities that exist in the same plane.
Chord length: The distance between the starting point and the ending point of an Arc entity.
CSG: Constructive Solid Geometry- Term used in some apps for boolean geometry. Constructing solid objects from simple 'primitives'.-(contributed by AestheticDemon)
Cute Kitty Pictures: Used to defray tension in volatile forum debates and to hijack a thread bringing it off topic faster than the speed of light. (by: DestinysGarden)
CV: Control Vertex. a control handle or point used to manipulate the shape of a NURBS curve.