[WML-Source: Glossary.wml][TOC][Part00]




Blender makes a distinction between selected and active. Only one Object or item can be active at any given time, for example to allow visualization of data in buttons.


The alpha value in an image denotes opacity, used for blending and anti-aliasing.

[point]Ambient light

Light that exists everywhere without any particular source. Ambient light does not cast shadows, but fills in the shadowed areas of a scene.


To give motion to an object or a group of objects over time.


A series of images that create an illusion of movement when displayed rapidly in sequence.


Algorithm designed to reduce the stair-stepping artifacts that result from drawing graphic primitives on a raster grid.


"Audio Video Interleaved". A container format for video with synchronized audio. A AVI-file can contain different compressed video and audio-streams.


Blender uses two buffers to draw the interface in. This double-buffering system allows one buffer to be displayed, while drawing occurs on the back-buffer. For some applications in Blender the back-buffer is used to store color-coded selection information.


Beveling removes sharp edges from an extruded object by adding additional material around the surrounding faces. Bevels are particularly useful for flying logos, and animation in general, since they reflect additional light from the corners of an object as well as from the front and sides.

[point]Bezier Curve

A curved line defined by its functional control points.

[point]Bounding box

A six-sided box drawn on the screen that represents the maximum extents of an object.

[point]Bump map

A grayscale image used to give a surface the illusion of ridges or bumps. In Blender bumpmaps are called Nor-maps.


  1. Some DataBlocks can be linked to a series of other DataBlocks. For example, a Material has eight channels to link Textures to.
  2. Each Ipo block has a fixed number of available channels. These have a name (LocX, SizeZ, enz.) which indicates how they can be applied. When you add an IpoCurve to a channel, animation starts up immediately.


Objects can be linked to each other in hierarchical groups. The Parent Object in such groups passes its transformations through to the Child Objects.


Removing, before drawing occurs, of vertices and faces which are outside the field of view.

[point]Collision Detection

The ability of objects to register contact with other objects.


The process of combining multiple images, or layers, into a single image


Series of vertices between which interpolation occurs, allowing for fluid and detailed procedural shapes.

[point]DataBlock (or 'block')

The general name for an element in Blender's Object Oriented System.


Blender uses two buffers (images) to draw the interface in. The content of one buffer is displayed, while drawing occurs on the other buffer. When drawing is complete, the buffers are switched.

[point]Environment Map

Texture mapping technique to mimic a mirroring surface.

[point]Extend select

Add new selected items to the current selection.


The creation of a three-dimensional object by pushing out a two-dimensional outline to give it height, like a cookie-cutter. It is often used to create 3D text.


The triangle and square polygons that form the basis for Meshes, or for rendering.


Frames from videos in NTSC or PAL format are composed of two interlaced fields.


A programming term for a variable that indicates a certain status.

[point]Flat shading

A fast rendering algorithm that simply gives each facet of an object a single color. It yields a solid representation of objects without taking a long time to render. Pressing ZKEY switches to flat shading in Blender.


Frames per second. All animations, video, and movies are played at a certain rate. Above ca. 15fps the human eye cannot see the single frames and is tricked into seeing a fluid motion. NTSC uses 30fps, PAL 25fps, and movies 24fps.


A single picture taken from an animation or video.

[point]Frame Rate

The speed at which frames are displayed. Normally denoted in fps (frames per second).

[point]Game Engine

The code that Blender uses to run games, including the game physics.

[point]Gouraud shading

A rendering algorithm that provides more detail. It averages color information from adjacent faces to create colors. It is more realistic than flat shading, but less realistic than Phong shading or ray-tracing. Hotkey in Blender is CTRL-Z .


Objects can be linked to each other in hierarchical groups. The Parent Object in such groups passes its transformations through to the Child Objects.

[point]Inverse Kinematics (or IKA)

A character animation tool which allows the animator to move the endpoint of a hierarchically linked chain to determine a character's position.


The main animation curve system. Ipo blocks can be used by Objects for movement, and also by Materials for animated colors.


The Ipo animation curve.


The general name for a selectable element, e.g. Objects, vertices or curves.


A frame in a sequence that specifies all of the attributes of an object. The object can then be changed in any way and a second keyframe defined. Blender automatically creates a series of transition frames between the two keyframes, a process called "tweening."


A lathe object is created by rotating a two-dimensional shape around a central axis. It is convenient for creating 3D objects like glasses, vases, and bowls. In Blender this is called "spinning".


Three dimensional grid of vertices, used to deform meshes, surfaces, and particles.


A visibility flag for Objects, Scenes and 3DWindows. This is a very efficient method for testing Object visibility.

[point]Lens Flare

Artifact created by a light source shining directly into a (camera) lens.


The reference from one DataBlock to another. It is a 'pointer' in programming terminology.


  1. Each Object in Blender defines a local 3D space, bounded by its location, rotation and size. Objects themselves reside in the global 3D space.
  2. A DataBlock is local, when it is read from the current Blender file. Non-local blocks (library blocks) are linked parts from other Blender files.


Contains all the information about the appearance of an object, such as color, sheen, and the mapping of textures.


The relationship between a Material and a Texture is called the 'mapping'. This relationship is two-sided. First, the information that is passed on to the Texture must be specified. Then the effect of the Texture on the Material is specified.


This is the triangle and quad mesh data forming a object. It contains vertices, faces and normals.


Spherical or tubical objects that can operate on each other's shape.


Video compression standard by the "Motion Pictures Expert Group". Due to its small size and platform independence, it is ideal for distributing video files over the internet.


"Motion Pictures Expert Group"


An imaginary ray pointing out from the surface of a polygon, and perpendicular to that surface.


Blender term for bumpmap.


TV standard by the "National Television Standards Committee". Most common industry standard used in the USA and Japan.


Non-Uniform Rational Bezier Curve. A mathematical description of a curved surface.

[point]ObData block

The first and most important DataBlock linked by an Object. This block defines the Object type, e.g. Mesh or Curve or Lamp.


The basic 3D information block. It contains a position, rotation, size and transformation matrices. It can be linked to other Objects for hierarchies or deformation. Objects can be 'empty' (just an axis) or have a link to ObData, the actual 3D information: Mesh, Curve, Lattice, Lamp, etc.

[point]Orthographic View

A view in which an object's distance from the viewer has no effect on the size at which it is drawn.


"Phase Alternating Line", a TV standard common for Europe.


An object that is linked to another object, as the parent is linked to the child in a parent-child relationship. A parent object's coordinates become the center of the world for any of its child objects.


The process of creating a hierarchical organization of objects in a scene.


Non-volume, non-surface 2D pixels in 3D space, to which forces can be applied.


Special type of curve. Any curve can become a path, any objects parented to a path will use it as a trajectory.

[point]Perspective View

In a perspective view, the farther an object is from the viewer, the smaller it appears. See orthographic view.


A point that normally lies at an object's geometric center. An object's position and rotation are calculated in relation to its pivot-point. However, an object can be moved off its center point, allowing it to rotate around a point that lies outside the object.


A single dot of light on the computer screen; the smallest unit of a computer graphic. Short for "picture element."


A piece of (C-)code to load during runtime. This way it is possible to extend the functionality of Blender without a need for recompiling. In Blender we have Texture plug-ins and Sequencer plug-ins.

[point]Point Light

A light source that emanates from a single point in space in all directions.


A two-dimensional, closed non-intersecting geometric figure. Polygons can be triangles or squares. Also called 'faces' in Blender.


Basic 3D geometric shapes like a cube, sphere, cylinder or cone. The building blocks for more complex objects.

[point]Procedural Textures

Random patterns (such as marble, wood, and clouds) generated by mathematical algorithms. Each 3D coordinate can be translated directly into a color or a value.

[point]Proportional Editing Tool (PET)

Adds a magnet like function to Grab, Scale, and Rotate.


The interpreted, interactive, object-oriented programming language that can be used with Blender to manipulate data.


A method to calculate softer, more natural shadows.


To create a two-dimensional representation (i.e. a picture for print or to display on the monitor) of an object based on its shape and surface properties.


Moving an object around a specific center and axis.


Changing the size of an object along one or all axis.


The basis of the 3D world. A virtual stage that determines what, and how much, will be rendered.


Blender makes a distinction between selected and active. Any number of Objects can be selected at once. Almost all key commands have an effect on selected Objects.

[point]Single User

DataBlocks with only one user.


Stretching a surface over a series of 2-dimensional "ribs" or cross-sections.


Subdivision mesh. Each face is calculated with a smooth subdivision on the fly.


A rendering procedure that performs vertex-normal interpolation across a face before lighting calculations begin. The individual facets are then no longer visible.


Special type of nurbs curve, with interpolation in two dimensions (U and V).


Special type of curve. Only Postscript Type 1 is supported.

[point]Title Safe

An area which is completely visible on all consumer TVs. In Blender, this area is denoted by the inner dotted line in the Camera view.


Menu containing almost all keyboard commands (hotkey: spacebar).


Change a location, rotation, or size. Usually applied to Objects or vertices.


A surface property that determines how much light passes through an object without being altered.


When another DataBlock referenes a DataBlock, it has a user.

[point]Vertex (vertices)

The general name for a 3D point. Besides an X,Y,Z coordinate, a vertex can have color, a normal vector and a section flag.

[point]Volumetric Light

Light with some type of volume perceived. This done with HALO Spots.


A representation of a three-dimensional object that shows only the lines of its contours, hence the name "wireframe."

[point]X, Y, Z axes

The three axes of the world's three-dimensional coordinate system. In the front view, the X axis is an imaginary horizontal line running left to right; the Z axis is a vertical line; and Y axis is a line that comes out of the screen toward you. In general, any movement parallel to one of these axes is said to be movement along that axis.

[point]X, Y, and Z coordinates

The X coordinate of an object is measured by drawing, through its centerpoint, a line that is perpendicular to the X axis. The distance from where that line intersects the X axis to the 0 point of the X axis is the object's X coordinate. The Y and Z coordinates are measured in a similar manner.


For a Zbuffer image, each pixel is associated a Z-value, derived from the distance in 'eye space' from the Camera. Before each pixel of a polygon is drawn, the existing Zbuffer value is compared to the Z-value of the polygon at that point. It is a common and fast visible-surface algorithm.


Modification of the camera's focal length. This is done with a camera's 'lens' setting.
-cw- Last modified: Mon Nov 6 18:50:50 CET 2000 <