Some CG, Computer Graphics, Lingo
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Dateline: March 7, 2001

"Whoah dude, did ya see the way that skinned av moved with some smooth IK in that portaled space they got a whole render farm on it, blew me away, ain't CG cool!"

Are you CG (Computer Graphics) lingo impaired. Do you have trouble knowing gettin' in tune with CG speak. Although it's not clear a "normal" geek would talk this way let's parse the sentence.

"...did ya see the way that skinned.."
Skinning is slang for the creation of a controllable curved surface based on spline or NURBS curves. Usually skinning is used in relation to virtual human characters. The result of a skinned surface is a manipulable surface that can be used to represent the expansion and contraction of surfaces such as muscles on a figure.

"...that skinned av moved..."
An AV is slang for avatar which is a term used to describe a proxy for a person in a virtual space. When you go into a multi-user virtual environment you are represented visually in that space by your avatar. Some avatars are simple 2D graphics, for example in The Palace, however the more interesting avatars are full 3D representations of humanoid figures, common in blaxxun worlds such as Cybertown. These characters can perform complex gestures such as waving hello, or dancing or other activities. Rob Polvoi has a great explanation and illustrations of skinning in a skinny article.

"...with some smooth IK..."
IK is slang for Inverse Kinematics, a software capability often found in character animation systems. IK enables the different limbs of a figure, for example the arm to be positioned by leading the end of it, i.e. the hand. The IK calculations figure out exactly how much each limb should be rotated and translated in order to result in the end point, the hand, being positioned where put. IK can be used for robots or any other hierarchically connected figure not just humanoids.

" that portaled space..."
Portals are a technique used to create highly dynamic environments. A modification of portals are used for Quake. The technique is used to determine, quickly, the visibility of areas of the scene. Portal environments must be authored using special software then breaks the scene up into portal areas. Portals are used to connect "cells" typically different rooms of an architectural environment. Note that when in a cell you can only see the area of other cells through a transparent portal.

"... they got a whole render farm on it..."
Rendering is the process of painting the display screen according to the geometric models and lighting in a computer's memory. Rendering is often a complex compute intensive process taking many minutes or even hours for each frame of an animation. A render farm is a whole bunch of computers each working on the same job by rendering separate frames or if possible different areas of the same frame. Render farms are available for rent and can work with common animation systems such as 3D Studio Max.

"ain't CG cool!"
Slang for Computer Graphics, CG is commonly used in the special effect industry when describing type of effects. For example "We can put the man in this rubber suit or do it with CG."

That's the skinny for now, check out the Glossary for more lingo.

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