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Summary

Computer 3D graphics is a specialized form of computer graphics that has evolved considerably over the years. Although human beings are wired for 3D, thanks to our highly evolved vision system, computer screens are flat, 2D surfaces. As a result, 3D data must be projected onto computer screens in a way that produces the illusion of depth. To create this illusion, computer 3D programs commonly employ monocular depth cues introduced and refined by Renaissance artists (such as size differences, occlusion, lighting and shading, texture density, linear perspective, and atmospheric perspective).

3D computer graphics can be broken into two primary steps: modeling and rendering. Modeling involves creating three-dimensional objects and arranging them into a scene (also commonly referred to as a world or universe), while rendering is the process by which such content is actually displayed on-screen to the viewer. 3D coordinate values (X, Y, Z), or vertices, can be used to define points, lines, polygons, and curves used in the construction of objects, although a variety of other object-construction techniques are also used.


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