Glossary - #


3D or 3-D stands for "three dimensional" and denotes a world that can be perceived in three dimensions (see Cartesian coordinates). Three-dimensional objects have volume, as opposed to being flat. 3D often indicates technologies used for displaying or viewing seemingly three-dimensional objects on a flat (two dimensional, 2D) media (paper, film screen, the computer screen, etc.).

3D computer graphics (a.k.a. three-dimensional graphics) is a special designation for the scientific aspect of computer graphics that works with three-dimensional objects. Transferring 3D objects into a two dimensional representation is known as rendering. 3D computer graphics are widely known for their role in creating animations, such as those used in films or computer games. However, 3D graphics are also used in science and industry (such as computer simulations or a three-dimensional view of organs). Research in the field of 3D graphics occurred simultaneously in many places, however most notably in the United States in the 1960s. The University of Utah played the most important role. There, in 1968, a project to develop computer graphics was founded by David Evans. Several researchers from the University later established major companies in the field of computer graphics, such as Silicon Graphics® (Jim Clark), Adobe® Systems (John Warnock), Netscape® (Jim Clark), and Pixar® (Edwin Catmull). The indispensable product of the University of Utah was the most famous model in the history of computer graphics, the Utah teapot, created by Martin Newell. The first film to use 3D computer-generated graphic images was Futureworld©, created in 1976. The first feature-length 3D-animated film was the famous Toy Story®, created in 1995.

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