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Application Glossary

Compiled by Roland Hess

Although most 3D applications share functionality, the terms used to refer to different tools and procedures
can vary from program to program. Here you will find several items and procedures in Blender that use
names that may not be familiar to you. We've listed them by their more generic names and added a short
description and a page number in this book where you can learn more about it.

Also, Blender has an extensive set of importers and exporters to help it fit right into your existing work flow
(.3ds, .obj, .lwo, COLLADA, DirectX). Just look at the Import and Export items in the main File menu to see
the entire list.

Animation Blocks/Curve Blocks/Tracks: A set of curves for an object or skeleton bones that are grouped
together and visualized as a single piece of animation. Blender term "Action" 201

Curves/Animation Curves: The visualization of the interpolation between key frames. Often shown as Bezier
curves, but can usually be interpolated in ways as well. Blender term "Ipo Curves" 58, 76

Depth Mapped Shadows/Shadow Maps: Using a pre-calculated depth map to render shadows, as opposed
to ray tracing. Blender term: "Buffered Shadows" 268, 275

Deformers: Functions attached to objects that accomplish live effects, such as smoothing, subdivision
surfacing, array duplication, Booleans and displacement. Blender term "Mesh Modifiers" 84

Directional/Direct Light: This lamp type casts parallel light rays. Blender term: "Sun Lamp" 264, 274

Graph/Curve Editor: An editing screen that allows you to directly manipulate the animation curves and keys
of an object. Blender term: "Ipo Editor" 58

Hair and Fur: Blender term: "Strand Particles" 296, 309

Maps: Some 3D packages refer modules and images that vary colors and settings across materials as
"Maps." Blender term: "Textures" 234

Non-linear Animation/Trax Editor/Motion Mixer: An editing screen that allows you to blend different sets of
animation data, as well as to see, adjust and freely rearrange blocks of animation data. Blender term "NLA
Editor" 140

Null Objects: Used as reference points, placeholders and assistants when building complex animations,
these objects do not show up in renders and usually have limited object attributes. Blender term "Empty" 52

Omni/Point Light: This lamp type casts light in all directions at once.
Blender term: "Lamp" 274

Paint Deform: This is a method of "painting" on a mesh to push and pull faces and vertices along their
normals. Several packages have full-blown sculpt modeling interfaces, and this functionality falls under that
heading. Blender term: "Sculpting"113

Scripting/Plug-ins: The use of an embedded scripting language and pre-written plug-ins to expand the
functionality of the program. Blender uses Python as its embedded scripting language. 360

Shape Animation/Morph Targets/Mesh Targets: The process of causing a mesh to reshape itself into a
different form by modeling the different shapes and interpolating between them. Blender term: "Shape Keys"
194, 203
Skeletons: A construction of bones used for character animation. Blender term "Armature" 154

Sky Light/Hemisphere Lamp: This usually refers to the effect seen with lighting that mimics a cloudy day, i.e.
no directional light, but general illumination and shading where objects are nearer to each to other. Blender
term: "Ambient Occlusion" 271, 277

Soft Selection/Selection Falloff: The ability to transform selected portions of a mesh and have the
transformation also affect non-selected vertices (or edges and faces) to create a smoother transformation.
Blender term: "Proportional Editing" 89

UVW/Unwrapping: The process of assigning texturing coordinates to faces of a model. Blender term: "UV
Unwrapping" 244, 253

Widget: Graphic elements that can be grabbed by the mouse and manipulated on-
screen to transform (translate, rotate, scale) objects. Blender term:
"Transformation Manipulator" 49