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3D terminology

Postby Endoperez » Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:10 am

I'm writing a thesis on 3D terms and stuff. I have some questions for the various modders / game devs / hobbyist modelers here. This is just to decide on the direction I want to go, and won't be referred in the actual paper.

Basically, what do you do when you find a word you don't understand, such as:
E.g. ambient occlusion, diffuse map, tangent-space normal map, rig, bake

1) Where do you go if you want to check what an unknown word means?

2) Is the definition enough, or do you search for examples? Is this in addition to checking the meaning, or do you search for example INSTEAD of checking how the wod is defined?

3) How weird are the words? How incomprehensible is the 3D lingo?

4) If you're not a native English speaker, what language do you use to discuss 3D modeling etc? In Finnish, we just use the English words and mangle them to better fit into Finnish speech. Sometimes we skip that and just switch to full English.
"Bake a diffuse map in Max (the 3DS Max software).
"Beikkaa diffuusimäppi Maxissa."
Approximation in Google Translator (click the Finnish side)

This makes it easy to recognize the English words, especially in text, but it's far enough that English speakers can't understand it at all.

Oh, and if you want to check what words mean but don't know where, these two might be useful:
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Re: 3D terminology

Postby rodeje25 » Tue Mar 10, 2015 10:28 am

1. google
2. most of the times the definition is enough unless it's something usefull
3.haven't seen any weird words yet
4.english (there aren't many people that speak dutch and make 3d models)
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Re: 3D terminology

Postby EPR89 » Tue Mar 10, 2015 2:55 pm

You used the term "thesis," so I'm going to assume that you write this for a course and need to adhere to certain formal standards of academic writing.

If you are writing a thesis with a specific focus on those terms (i.e. you give definitions), Google will definitely not be enough. Definitions need to be sourced in a thesis. The ideal way would be a written source. If there is some sort of dictionary for 3D applications that would be perfect. Otherwise consider other written texts, like introductions to the programs.
Online sources can work too, specially in a computer based program, but you need to be careful. In my field, linguistics, you are usually not even allowed to use more than two internet sources because they tend to be imprecise or the author is not listed. Sources without an author who can be considered an authority on the subject are unusable in academic writing. I once wrote a paper on inter-European linguistics and I knew that the relevant Wikipedia page was pretty much exclusively written by my professor. But the nature of Wikipedia makes it impossible to use it as a source.
The bottom line is, make sure that it's a reliable source and that you cite it correctly. The glossary you have linked to seems to be taken from a book. So that would be perfect. Just make sure that you cite the book properly. The forum post is not a proper source.

If you think that examples are useful in order to understand the concept, use them. If the definition is enough, leave it at that. Read your text and imagine whether someone who has only a basic understanding of that stuff could understand what yo are trying to say.

Regarding the language, I don't think those terms have translated versions. "Ambient Occlusion" is called just that in German as well. "Bake" is also used the same way (although the grammar may have been adjusted a bit. German often takes English terms and applies German grammar to them). So use the accepted standard of the terms and don't try to translate them if that's not how they are actually used.
Last edited by EPR89 on Tue Mar 10, 2015 2:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 3D terminology

Postby Thomason1005 » Tue Mar 10, 2015 2:57 pm

yo im using bing (sonetimes google) but im just clicking whats seems most understandable (example / definition / code), sometimes its cool to search it on youtube too to see it in action.

i think one of the main problems is that the terminology isnt really defined, so there are multiple words for one thing(parallax mapping = offset mapping = deep normal mapping) or that some things refer to multiple things or are used differently.
also some meanings change over time.
some things just arent defined well enough, p.e. almost all programms read tangent space normal maps differently which leads to annoying artifacts

i think a big problem is that some terms are introduced by companies but they dont provide enough information/documentation as they fear that itll be stolen, so its invented again by someone trying to achieve the same effect(which of course wont be exactly the same)...

in germany, we completely use english terms, but mostly still put them in german sentences as if they were a german word (in the beginning of times there were german programming lanuages but they died)
i have almost all my programs installed in english so its easier to follow tutorials & documentation.if you dont youre just guessing which menu point the translator might mean, really difficult not to go insane then.
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Re: 3D terminology

Postby Endoperez » Tue Mar 10, 2015 3:45 pm

Thanks Thomason, those were pretty much my thoughts as well. Nice to hear I wasn't too far off-base.
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