3D computer graphics

3D3D graphicsthree-dimensional3D computer graphics software3-Dthree-dimensional graphics3D software3D animation3DCG3-D graphics
3D computer graphics, or three-dimensional computer graphics (in contrast to 2D computer graphics), are graphics that use a three-dimensional representation of geometric data (often Cartesian) that is stored in the computer for the purposes of performing calculations and rendering 2D images.wikipedia
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2D computer graphics

2Dtwo-dimensional2D graphics
3D computer graphics, or three-dimensional computer graphics (in contrast to 2D computer graphics), are graphics that use a three-dimensional representation of geometric data (often Cartesian) that is stored in the computer for the purposes of performing calculations and rendering 2D images.
In those applications, the two-dimensional image is not just a representation of a real-world object, but an independent artifact with added semantic value; two-dimensional models are therefore preferred, because they give more direct control of the image than 3D computer graphics (whose approach is more akin to photography than to typography).

Computer animation

computer-animatedcomputer animatedCGI
The resulting images may be stored for viewing later (possibly as an animation) or displayed in real time.
Modern computer animation usually uses 3D computer graphics, although 2D computer graphics are still used for stylistic, low bandwidth, and faster real-time renderings.

Real-time computer graphics

real-timereal-time renderingreal time
The resulting images may be stored for viewing later (possibly as an animation) or displayed in real time.
The term can refer to anything from rendering an application's graphical user interface (GUI) to real-time image analysis, but is most often used in reference to interactive 3D computer graphics, typically using a graphics processing unit (GPU).

3D modeling

3D model3D modelsmodels
The objects in 3D computer graphics are often referred to as 3D models. 3D computer graphics software produces computer-generated imagery (CGI) through 3D modeling and 3D rendering or produces 3D models for analytic, scientific and industrial purposes.
In 3D computer graphics, 3D modeling is the process of developing a mathematical representation of any surface of an object (either inanimate or living) in three dimensions via specialized software.

3D rendering

rendering3D acceleration3D
A model can be displayed visually as a two-dimensional image through a process called 3D rendering, or it can be used in non-graphical computer simulations and calculations. Although 3D modeling and CAD software may perform 3D rendering as well (e.g. Autodesk 3ds Max or Blender), exclusive 3D rendering software also exists. 3D computer graphics software produces computer-generated imagery (CGI) through 3D modeling and 3D rendering or produces 3D models for analytic, scientific and industrial purposes.
3D rendering is the 3D computer graphics process of converting 3D models into 2D images on a computer.

Animation

animatedanimated filmanimated short
One of the first displays of computer animation was Futureworld (1976), which included an animation of a human face and a hand that had originally appeared in the 1971 experimental short A Computer Animated Hand, created by University of Utah students Edwin Catmull and Fred Parke. Some may be able to generate full-motion video of a series of rendered scenes (i.e. animation).
Computer animation can be very detailed 3D animation, while 2D computer animation can be used for stylistic reasons, low bandwidth or faster real-time renderings.

Polygon (computer graphics)

polygonspolygonpolygonal
Basically, a 3D model is formed from points called vertices (or vertexes) that define the shape and form polygons.
Polygons are used in computer graphics to compose images that are three-dimensional in appearance.

Computer graphics lighting

lightingdynamic lightinglighting effects
In computer graphics software, 2D applications may use 3D techniques to achieve effects such as lighting, and, similarly, 3D may use some 2D rendering techniques.
Polygonal shading is part of the rasterization process where 3D models are drawn as 2D pixel images.

William Fetter

William Fetter was credited with coining the term computer graphics in 1961 to describe his work at Boeing.
Subsequent development of computer aided design programs for 2D and 3D production drawings began in the mid-50s.

Autodesk 3ds Max

3ds Max3D Studio Max3D Studio
Although 3D modeling and CAD software may perform 3D rendering as well (e.g. Autodesk 3ds Max or Blender), exclusive 3D rendering software also exists.
Autodesk 3ds Max, formerly 3D Studio and 3D Studio Max, is a professional 3D computer graphics program for making 3D animations, models, games and images.

Blender (software)

BlenderBlender 3DSuzanne
Although 3D modeling and CAD software may perform 3D rendering as well (e.g. Autodesk 3ds Max or Blender), exclusive 3D rendering software also exists.
Blender is a free and open-source 3D computer graphics software toolset used for creating animated films, visual effects, art, 3D printed models, motion graphics, interactive 3D applications, and computer games.

Edwin Catmull

Ed CatmullCatmullEdwin E. Catmull
One of the first displays of computer animation was Futureworld (1976), which included an animation of a human face and a hand that had originally appeared in the 1971 experimental short A Computer Animated Hand, created by University of Utah students Edwin Catmull and Fred Parke.
In 1971, Catmull made his earliest contribution to the film industry: an animated version of his left hand which was eventually picked up by a Hollywood producer and incorporated in the 1976 movie Futureworld, the science-fiction sequel to the film Westworld and the first film to use 3D computer graphics.

Computer-generated imagery

CGIcomputer-generatedCGI animation
3D computer graphics software produces computer-generated imagery (CGI) through 3D modeling and 3D rendering or produces 3D models for analytic, scientific and industrial purposes.
The visual scenes may be dynamic or static and may be two-dimensional (2D), though the term "CGI" is most commonly used to refer to 3D computer graphics used for creating scenes or special effects in films and television.

Ray tracing (graphics)

ray tracingraytracingray-tracing
Most 3D modelers contain a number of related features, such as ray tracers and other rendering alternatives and texture mapping facilities.
Optical ray tracing describes a method for producing visual images constructed in 3D computer graphics environments, with more photorealism than either ray casting or scanline rendering techniques.

Procedural modeling

proceduralparametric modelingprocedurally
Models can also be produced procedurally or via physical simulation.
Procedural modeling is often applied when it would be too cumbersome to create a 3D model using generic 3D modelers, or when more specialized tools are required.

Wire-frame model

wireframewire-framewire frame
3D computer graphics rely on many of the same algorithms as 2D computer vector graphics in the wire-frame model and 2D computer raster graphics in the final rendered display.
A wire-frame model, also wireframe model, is a visual representation of a three-dimensional (3D) physical object used in 3D computer graphics.

Full motion video

FMVfull-motion videoFMVs
Some may be able to generate full-motion video of a series of rendered scenes (i.e. animation).
With the rise of 3D graphics and the introduction of hard drives and CD-ROMs to arcades, the large, expensive and small-capacity Laserdisc could not compete and disappeared.

Game engine

enginegraphics engine3D engine
Some video games use restricted projections of three-dimensional environments, such as isometric graphics or virtual cameras with fixed angles, either as a way to improve performance of the game engine, or for stylistic and gameplay concerns.
The core functionality typically provided by a game engine includes a rendering engine ("renderer") for 2D or 3D graphics, a physics engine or collision detection (and collision response), sound, scripting, animation, artificial intelligence, networking, streaming, memory management, threading, localization support, scene graph, and may include video support for cinematics.

2.5D

pseudo-3Dthree-dimensional3/4 perspective
Such games are said to use pseudo-3D graphics.
By contrast, games using 3D computer graphics without such restrictions are said to use true 3D.

Isometric video game graphics

isometricisometric perspectiveisometric graphics
Some video games use restricted projections of three-dimensional environments, such as isometric graphics or virtual cameras with fixed angles, either as a way to improve performance of the game engine, or for stylistic and gameplay concerns.
Once common, isometric projection became rarer with the advent of more powerful 3D graphics systems, and as games began to focus more on action and individual characters.

3D projection

projectionGraphical projectionprojected
Altering the scene into a suitable form for rendering also involves 3D projection, which displays a three-dimensional image in two dimensions.

3D scanning

3D scanner3D laser scanningscan
The two most common sources of 3D models are those that an artist or engineer originates on the computer with some kind of 3D modeling tool, and models scanned into a computer from real-world objects.

List of 3D graphics libraries

3D computer graphics API3D graphics API3D graphics libraries
This step is usually performed using 3D computer graphics software or a 3D graphics API.

Texture mapping

texturestexturetexture-mapped
Most 3D modelers contain a number of related features, such as ray tracers and other rendering alternatives and texture mapping facilities.

Match moving

camera trackingtrackingmatchmoving
Match moving software is commonly used to match live video with computer-generated video, keeping the two in sync as the camera moves.