Art for Total War - Terminology
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If you're not familiar with computer/game art, some terms may seem alien. Here follows a basic overview of common terms in alphabetical order. If you are new to 3D, then it would be useful to familiarise yourself with these terms.
- The process of assigning vertices to bones. The vertices take on a child relationship according to their weight (between 0 and 1) to the bone, which acts as the parent. Also called weighting, painting weights, or incorrectly called rigging.
- Object that vertices of the model are attached to.
- An object that inherits its transformations from its parent object, and can move independently as well. (3ds Max)
- Series of parent-child relationships. (3ds Max)
- Controls the transformation of its children. When you move, rotate, or scale a parent, the child objects behave accordingly, using the parent's pivot point as their own. (3ds Max)
- Correctly refers to the number of triangles in a model.
- A polygon is a 3D surface connecting 3 or more vertices.
- Quad, Quadrilateral
- A 3D surface connecting 4 vertices. A quad is composed of two triangles.
- The system by which animators manipulate bones that animate the character. It also incorrectly refers to the binding or weighting of a character.
- A hierarchy of bones that create the armature for animation of a character.
- Tri, Triangle
- 3D surface connecting 3 vertices. All 3D surfaces are broken down into triangles.
- Node point in 3d space.
- See binding. Also called painting weights.
- .dds, Direct Draw Surface
- A compressed texture file, the format Total War games use for unit textures and more.
- Gloss map
- see Specular map.
- Normal map
- Displays the "bumps" on a surface. They have an overall blue color (128, 128, 256 RGB to be exact).
- Concerning art, usually refers to the size of a texture, in pixels. All texture sizes must be in a power of 2 (2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048, 4096).
- Specular map
- This controls the highlights, or shine, on a surface.
- CA's proprietary texture format (.dds file with header added)
- .tga, Targa
- An uncompressed texture file, which means the image does not lose any detail when it is saved (in comparison to something like a jpeg) which can have all sorts of artifacts. Its file size is also very large, and thus not often used for display of real-time content.