Blender 3D: Noob to Pro/Blender Glossary

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Please add words and phrases to the alphabetical glossary at Blender 3D: Noob to Pro/Glossary.

General Terminology[edit]

  • 2D (adjective): two-dimensional (flat)
  • 3D (adjective): three-dimensional
  • axis (noun): one of the primary directions used to define a coordinate system; plural: axes
  • coordinates (noun): a string of numbers (usually two or three) which denote a location
  • coordinate system: a scheme for denoting locations by means of coordinates
  • disappearing taskbar: a taskbar which appears only when the mouse pointer reaches an edge of the display
  • geometry:
    1. the branch of mathematics concerned with positions, directions, angles, lengths, areas, volumes, and so on
    2. the portion of a 3D model that deals with shapes
  • GIMP: an open-source software tool for editing 2D computer graphics
  • illusion of depth: the human propensity to imagine a 3D scene when presented with a flat (2D) picture of it
  • light (verb): to describe the intensity, color, direction, etc. of the light sources in a 3D scene
  • model (noun): an abstract description of a 3D object (or scene) which is suitable for rendering
  • model (verb): to create models
  • numpad: a numeric keypad
  • orthographic view: a 2D view which represents a scene's parallel edges with parallel edges; contrast with: perspective view
  • perpendicular (adjective): forming a 90-degree (right) angle
  • perspective view: a 2D view which represents a scene's parallel edges with edges that converge toward a vanishing point
  • pose (verb): to position objects and their parts in a 3D scene
  • render (verb): to generate a 2D view from a 3D model of a scene, by means of a computer
  • rig (noun): to describe how different parts of an object are capable of moving relative to one another
  • texture (verb): to describe how a 3D object interacts with light (scattering, bending, etc.)

Blender User Interface Terminology[edit]

  • active window: the window currently responding to keystrokes
  • blender unit: the height and width of each grid square in a 3D View window
  • header: a row of controls along the top or bottom of a window
  • panel: a rectangular area in a Buttons window which can be rearranged relative to other panels
  • window (noun): a rectangular area of Blender's user-interface which can be split or resized
  • window type (noun): one of the sixteen varieties of windows in Blender's user interface:
    • Scripts Browser - This window is used to initiate any Python scripts saved in Blender to add functionality.
    • File Browser - Browses the files on your computer in Blender.
    • Image Browser - Browses the files on your computer in Blender with visuals of images displayed.
    • Node Editor - The enhanced material editing system in Blender in which you can customize the input/output of materials or scenes and composite them together.
    • Buttons Window - Displays the Blender scene and object editing options.
    • Outlines - Breaks down the entire collection of objects and their properties in an organized list.
    • User Preferences - Allows you to change Blender's controls and preferences.
    • Text Editor - Simple text editor for any notes/Python code.
    • Audio Window - Allows you to upload, enhance, and save audio files into the Blender library.
    • Timeline - Shows the animation's beginning, ending, and current frame, as well as a timeline with marks indicating all the key positions of an object.
    • Video Sequence Editor - Feature for the composition of sound, scenes, videos and other cinematographic elements.
    • UV/Image Editor - Allows you to add and alter image files in Blender and also apply these images onto the faces of meshes in an editable fashion as a material.
    • NLA Editor - Allows you to change the key positions of all actions/IPOs.
    • Action Editor - Allows you to alter the key positions of an armature and it's collection of bones.
    • IPO Curve Editor - Allows you to insert saved key points of the positions, transformations, and settings of objects of the course of a series of frames.
    • 3D View - Window through which you work with, add, and place objects in a 3D world.

Blender Modeling Terminology[edit]

  • Quad n. - A face with four sides.
  • Mesh n. - A collection of faces, edges, and vertices which can be modeled and manipulated in Edit Mode.
  • Vertex (pl. vertices) n. - A 3-dimensional coordinate, which in groups comprise a polygon. With default settings, it is represented in Blender by a purple dot when unselected, or a yellow dot when selected.
  • Edge n. - A wire-like line representing the boundary of 2 adjacent vertices.
  • Face n. - A planar connection of edges representing a boundary, field, or solid surface. Identified individually in Edit Mode as a black box in the middle of the corresponding face.
  • Icosphere n. - A sphere composed of n triangular faces composed in a manner to give the best "smoothness" for the lowest memory consumption.
  • UVSphere n. - A sphere composed of n square faces arranged in rings to allow the smoothest application of real-time movement of vertices/faces and application of images onto the spectrum of faces.
  • Lamps - Category of 5 light-emitting objects:
    • Lamp - Light is emitted in the scene with a uniform spherical output which fades with distance, decreasing eventually to 0. The distance can be specified in its options.
    • Sun - Light is emitted in the scene with a uniform spherical output and remains uniform regardless of the distance from it.
    • Spot - Light is emitted in the scene in a predetermined conical area with light properties similar to lamp and also initially calculates the shadow (lack of light) present behind an object (Known as ray shadow).
    • Hemi - Sun-like light emitted in a 180 degree arc. Works just like a Sun lamp, but with less functionality. Best used for quick, broad illumination.
    • Area - Light which works similar to a Spot lamp but shape of the cone is definable.
  • Ray shadows n. - Method of generating shadows cast by light by calculating the angle and faces of the interfering object to create a smooth, sharp and complete shadow. Memory-intensive, best quality.
  • Buffer Shadows n. - Method of generating shadows cast by light by calculating the angle of a mesh's edge and creating a set amount of shadow "squares" on the shadow-receiving objects which are calculated from a set buffer-ratio. Memory-friendly, while possibly lower quality.
  • Camera n. - An object which acts as the viewpoint (when active) for the scene when the scene is to be rendered.
  • Armature n. - An object which contains 'bones'. Bones are sub-objects which are connected with each other in a chain, each bone-link is parented to the bone before it. The purpose is to parent any objects to the bone, and also you may parent a mesh to the entire armature and have selected vertices of the mesh parented to bone(s) percentage-wise (0% means no effect, 50% means vertices copy half the transformation value, 100% means vertices transformed as full child of bone.)
  • Empty n. - An object with no mesh or relating object data. It is useful for using in object input fields where the object needs no specific properties e.g. parenting it to an object for organisational purposes.