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Chapter 6. 3-D Animation > The 3-D World

The 3-D World

To the uninitiated, it may seem to be ponderously difficult to put three-dimensional objects and realistic spaces on a 2-D computer screen. 3-D programs do this by maintaining a complete 3-D space in the computer's memory and representing objects as complete three-dimensional objects. But then the software draws the spaces and objects on the screen in perspective projection—in the same way that a slide projector displays photographs of 3-D objects on a wall. Conversely, you manipulate objects within these projections in two dimensions by dragging your mouse around, and the software translates your manipulations from the screen's perspective to its virtual 3-D world.

This is a little confusing at first. Imagine a cutout photo of a friend. You place that cutout on a photograph of a football field, so that your friend appears to be standing in front of the field. It's easy to see how you could drag her shape to get her left and right or up and down in front of the field, but how can you move her shape so that she appears to be farther away, standing in the middle of the field? You can't move something into a 2-D image, can you?


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