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2D Projection: Your 3D scene must be interpreted as a 2D projection; that's how it is translated to your 2D screen! Pretend your 3D scene is a drawing on a (2D) piece of paper, which is in front of your camera lens; you have control over the right/left up/down position of the paper (Pan controls), and over the scale of the drawing (Zoom/Scale tools). 2D Projection values are an important factor in defining a View for your scene.

3D Transformation: This is a term that refers to any operation relating to the size, rotation, and position of any object. There are in fact other types of 3D transformations that are possible in 3D space, such as deformations, sweeps, and lathing; but Bryce is not a modeler, and supports only the basic three: size, rotation, and position.

3DMF: 3D MetaFile format from Apple for exchanging 3D geometry between applications.


Absolute Coordinates: Values which express an absolute location, rotation, or size, whether they are location coordinates, degrees of rotation, or units of measure.

Additive Mode: A color blending algorithm which adds the brightness value of colors from one item to the brightness values of another.

Algorithm: A finite step-by-step problem-solving procedure.

Aliasing: A visual artifact caused by low resolution sampling that can cause hard edges or areas of high frequency in an image to look jagged (often referred to as “jaggies”). See “anti-aliasing.”

Alpha Channel: A separate grayscale channel accompanying any PICT/BMP file that can determine which areas of the PICT/BMP will be visible in the final image and which will not. Typically, white areas in the alpha channel describe the areas in the corresponding image that will be visible, while black areas in the alpha channel describe the areas in the corresponding image that will not be visible. Also referred to as a mask. In the absence of an alpha channel, Bryce can use the luminance values of any 2D PICT or 3D solid texture as alpha information.

Altitude: A measurement of height. In Bryce, many textures will change their behavior based on altitude.

Ambient: Light that has no point of origin or specific direction, and is presumed to strike every point on every object with equal intensity. Since it is not affected by other environmental light, it tends to affect objects in shadow, and can make objects visible even with no specific light source.

Amplitude: In Bryce, this refers to the intensity of the cloud definition. Increasing the amplitude will make cloud contours harder, while decreasing it will result in softer edged, more diffuse cloud formations.

Anti-aliasing: The process of eliminating aliasing by higher resolution sampling, so that hard but jagged edges appear smooth and clean. Aspect Ratio: The relationship between the width and height of your document, expressed in pixels as a width to height ratio.

Auto-update: A feature in the Sky & Fog palette and Nano-preview which will automatically update your changes into your rendered scene or Nano-preview, respectively.


Banking: Camera rotation around its Z axis; kind of a left/right tilt. Also known as roll, it creates the illusion that your horizon is tilted. Batch Rendering: A process that will allow you to automate the rendering of multiple scenes. Just drag and drop a group of scene files on the Bryce application icon, and Bryce will do the rest.

Bitmap: Literally, a “map of bits.” Your screen is comprised of pixels, and each one of those pixels expresses a level of color, whether it is one bit (black and white) or 24-bit (millions of colors). Your image, when rendered, can be thought of as a pixel-by-pixel map of color, hence the term “Bitmap”.

Boolean: A fancy word that is used to describe a system where there are two possible states: On/Off, Yes/No, 0/1, True/False, and so on. With respect to Bryce rendering, a Boolean attribute such as Negative or Intersect will determine whether a particular part of a group of objects will be Rendered/Not Rendered.

Boolean Rendering: A rendering process wherein either the space taken up by “negative” objects is subtracted from “positive” objects, yielding an object with portions removed; or two or more objects are combined to form a composite object combining the mass and dimensions of all contributing objects.

Bryce Units of Measure: An arbitrary system of measurement for 3D objects in Bryce 3D. Most Bryce objects when they are created are a default size of 2048x2048x2048 Bryce units.

Bump Mapping: A process that interprets changes in an object's surface luminance or color values and, without actually affecting the object's geometry, expresses them as perturbations on the object's surface.

Button: Term used to indicate text or a graphic to be clicked on in order to access a palette, tool, or additional options. Used interchangeably with “icon.”


Camera: A metaphorical “tool” for viewing areas in a scene. The metaphor refers to the conical projection of the scene onto a 2 dimensional plane along a specific direction.

Camera Space: A method for representing objects in 3D space. It uses a set of Cartesian coordinates which are relative to your camera.

Center Scaling: The ability to perform resizing or rotating operations on an object based on the object's center, rather than an alternate point, such as its base.

CMYK Color: A well known subtractive color standard widely used in the print industry. CMY color models blend Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow to approximate colors for print; almost always used with a fourth ink, black (K), to compensate for ink impurities.

Conversion: The process of changing an object of one type into an object of another type. Use the little arrow in the Edit palette.

Convert Boolean to Mesh: The process of converting a boolean group into a mesh that can be exported from Bryce and then imported back into Bryce or into another 3D program.


Deformation: A special form of 3D transformation which will deform an object's geometry, creating bulges, twists, bends, and more. Bryce 3D does not support this kind of transformation; but you can certainly import deformed objects from other modeling applications via the Import DXF and 3DMF feature in Bryce.

Depth Cueing: The effect we use to create the appearance that wireframes far away are dimmer than wireframes closer to the camera. This effect is adjustable.

Derivative Objects: Most primitives available in the Create palette also have a few derivative objects as well. For instance, the Sphere is accompanied by an Ellipsoid and a Squashed Sphere; both are considered to be Spheres by Bryce, but they have had some post-processing applied to change their sizes.

Diffuse: Light that is evenly reflected from an object's surface, visible regardless of the angle from which it is viewed. Diffuse is associated with matte objects.

Document Resolution: The actual size of your working document area, expressed in pixels. When your Render Resolution is set to 1:1, the Render resolution is the same.

DXF: Originally developed for use with AutoCad®, at one time, this was the most common 3D file exchange format.


Edit: Any action performed on an object after its initial creation. Includes moving, resizing, rotating, copying, assigning textures, pasting, and more.


Family: A kind of logical association, assigning a Family attribute to a set of objects allows you to select and display sets of objects based on an assignable wireframe color and associated family name. This way, objects which share some characteristic such as distance, structure, material, or other, can be easily seen, selected, soloed, and so on.

Field of View: Field of View values describe the range, from 1 to 180°, which your camera is allowed to take in.

Frequency: A measurement of the number of times certain textural characteristics repeat themselves within a fixed area.


Gel: A texture or picture which is applied to a light and treated as a transparency or slide, enabling the light to project colors, textures, or images onto objects in your scene.

Gradient: A smooth progression of two or more colors.

Gradient Lights: A light object that colors surfaces differently depending on the distance of the surface from the light object.

Grayscale-to-Height Mapping: A process that interprets a grayscale range from black to white and expresses that range as height, from low to high. Also referred to as “G2H” Mapping.

Group: Grouping, a kind of spatial association, allows a set of objects to be treated as one. To achieve Boolean rendering effects, objects must be grouped.



HLS color: An alternative color model: Hue, Lightness, and Saturation.

HSV color: An alternative color model: Hue, Saturation, and Value.


Icon: See “Button.”

Illumination: In Bryce, any property or characteristic related to how an object responds to light. This includes Ambient, Color, Diffuse, Reflectivity, Refraction, Specular, and Transparency.

Image Based Lighting:

Image Resolution: Since Bryce renders bitmaps at 72dpi, the only image resolution you need to determine is the height to width ratio of your image.

Infinite Plane: A two dimensional surface that extends infinitely along the X and Z axes. Bryce 3D's Ground, Cloud, and Water Planes are all infinite planes, though they exhibit different textural properties and are placed in the scene at different altitudes.


Landing: Dropping an object straight down onto the object directly beneath it. Usually used to “land” an object on the ground.

Link to View: A Bryce feature which locks the sun's position to the camera position. This way you can use the sun control to set your sun position, and you will not lose that position if you move the camera.

Location: An object's position in 3D space. Synonymous with position and offset.


Mapping: The process of interpreting data input of one kind and expressing it as another. See Bump Mapping, Grayscale-To-Height Mapping, Pict Mapping, and Texture Mapping.

Marquee Selection: Marquee is a noun which refers to a tool, in many applications, which will create a selection area; it can also be used to refer to the selection itself. Bryce has no marquee tool per se, but you can click and drag in the wireframe window to marquee a selection (here the term is used as a verb), and you can click and drag in the rendered image to marquee a selection for discrete rendering.

Material: In Bryce, the sum of up to four textural elements, either 3D procedural or 2D picture-based, used to drive various effect channels, plus post processing, used as a surface property for Bryce objects

Materials Channel: The rows in the Materials Grid, grouped as Light, Effect, and Color; can be driven independently or by Texture Components.

Materials Grid: The gameboard-like area in the Materials Lab where Texture Components drive parameters in the various Channels in the Grid to make a Material.

Matrix: The term is used only in the Bryce Edit menu, for the Copy/Paste Matrix commands. When you use these commands, you are copying and pasting an object's position, rotation, and size; you are not copying size, rotation, or position alone, but the matrix of all coordinates, hence the name.

Memory Dots: This feature, available in the Control palette for use with Views, and in the Sky & Fog palette, allows you to simply click on a Memory Dot to save the state of the parameters to which it pertains.

Mesh: Sometimes known as polyhedron. Used in reference to imported geometry as well as Bryce's internally created Stone objects. Similar to Polygon, but polygonal faces have been diagonally split, or triangulated.

Metaballs: Spheres that blend into each other based on proximity. The closer two Metaballs are to each other, the more their shape merges together. Metaballs can be used to create fluid shapes that are otherwise time-consuming or even impossible to create using primitives and Boolean operations.


Nano-Editor: The Nano Editor is a small version of your wireframe window, which you can use to edit your scene quickly.

Nano-Preview: A small preview of an object or scene. The Nano-preview window is at the top of the Control Palette.

Network Render Client: A computer connected to a TCP/IP network that receives and renders sections of an image, and then sends the rendered sections back to the network render server.

Network Render Server: A computer connected to a TCP/IP network that controls the other machines on the network, sending them sections to be rendered and reassembling all of the rendered sections into the final image or animation.

Network Rendering: A special rendering mode that sends sections of a render to multiple computers. This reduces the amount of time required to render a complex scene without sacrificing the complexity of the scene or the quality of the final rendered image or animation.


Object Space: A method for representing objects in 3D space. It uses a set of Cartesian coordinates which are relative to a given object.

Object Type: Though Bryce creates and imports many kinds of objects, for the purpose of selections and conversions it must sort these objects into types. These types can be clearly seen in the Conversion option and in the Edit palette. Cubes and their derivatives are all of the Cube type; Cloud, Water, and Ground planes are all of the Infinite Plane type; Pict objects and 2D Faces are all of the 2D Face type; all imported objects are of the mesh type.

Offset: An object's position in 3D space. Synonymous with position and location.

Opacity: The degree to which light cannot pass through an object. In Bryce, the term primarily refers to the opaque portions of alpha-channels.


Orientation: An object's orientation in 3D space, expressed in degrees; synonymous with rotation.

Orthogonal: A special projection of your scene which has no perspective distortion. Kind of a perspective-free drafting board view, used for precise alignments. All Views with the exception of the Camera View are Orthogonal. The term can be used interchangeably with the term orthographic.

Output Resolution: Available in the Export Render dialog, you can set the print resolution of the resulting rendered image expressed in dots per inch.


Parallel Light: A light which cast rays that are perfectly parallel to one another.

Patch Rendering: A technique you can use in Bryce: select a specific area, or patch, of your image for further rendering. Useful to examine areas for detail before doing a final render, or for re-rendering specific areas after making a change, thereby avoiding having to re-render your entire image.

Pict Mapping: A process that interprets a 2-dimensional Pict and expresses it as the surface of a 3-dimensional object, according to a specified algorithm.

Pitch: Camera rotation around its X axis; kind of a tilt forward or back.

Plop-Render: Name for Bryce's way of representing a marquee selection of your rendered image. Selections appear to “plop” forward, with attendant drop shadows and rendering controls. This feature can be enabled, disabled, or hidden, as you wish.

Polygon: All 3D objects in Bryce 3D are built from multiple-sided (in Bryce, we use 4 sides) geometric surfaces, and are therefore inherently polygonal in nature.

Primary Rays: The quantity of virtual rays of light that are initially “shot” into the Bryce scene.

Primitive: A basic geometric form, such as a cube or sphere, used as a basis for constructing compound 3D objects such as buildings, rocket ships, or snowmen.

Primitives: Like primary colors, Primitives are the primary objects in Bryce. Spheres, cubes, cylinders, pyramids, cones, disks, squares, and tori are all primitives.

Procedural Objects: Procedural objects are objects that require special constructions or “procedures” to create them. Procedures can include operations such as assignment of materials, randomization of internal parameters, or assignment of light properties. For example, terrains.


Radial Light: A light which casts rays equally in all directions.

Ray Hits: The total number of times all rays strike objects in your scene. Note: The total of Ray Hits and Misses is not equal to the total of Primary and Shadow rays because secondary rays are not quantified in the Render Report.

Ray Misses: The total number of rays that are fired, but strike no objects in your scene. Note: The total of Ray Hits and Misses is not equal to the total of Primary and Shadow rays because secondary rays are not quantified in the Render Report.

Raytracing: An image synthesis technique by which a virtual beam of light is projected from a virtual camera into a 3D scene in order to evaluate shading and visibility. The virtual beam may be absorbed, reflected, or otherwise affected to some degree by every object it strikes. For instance, if it hits your sky, then a blue sky color ends up on that portion of your virtual “film”, your image. In this way, a final color is determined for each pixel in your image.

Reflectivity: The degree to which an object bounces light back from its surfaces.

Refraction: As a light wave passes from air through another medium such as water or thick glass, it seems to bend or turn to a certain degree. This phenomenon is known as refraction, and the degree to which light bends or turns in these situations is controlled by the Refraction channel in the Materials Lab.

Relative Coordinates: Values which express location, orientation, or size relative to the current location, orientation or size.

Render: The complex process of building a 2-dimensional bitmapped image from all the information contained in your 3-dimensional wireframe scene.

Render Resolution: The size of your rendered image, expressed in pixels, or as a multiple of your Document Resolution. The implication here is that your rendered image can be larger or smaller than your Document Resolution.

Replicate: While Duplicate will create a copy of your selected object, Replicate will create a copy of the object and the last 3D transformations applied. If you create an object, move it up a bit and rotate it a bit, selecting Replicate will create a copy, move it and rotate it for you; Multi-replicate will do the same with multiple copies in one step.

Roll: Camera rotation around its Z axis; kind of a left/right tilt. Also known as banking, it creates the illusion that your horizon is tilted.

Rotation: An object's rotation in 3D space, expressed in degrees; synonymous with orientation.


Scale: Values that express the space an object occupies; synonymous with Size, though Size implies an absolute space.

Scene: a) The complete content of your Bryce world; b) The two-dimensional screen projection of your 3D scene; c) The file that Bryce saves, containing all information regarding your landscape.

Secondary Rays: When a primary virtual light ray strikes an object, if that object is reflective or transparent, another secondary ray is fired from that location (either bounced, if reflective, or bent, if transparent/refracted) to continue through the scene. This process is repeated up to six times, to find a home for the ray, and therefore a final color for a pixel in your scene. Secondary rays are not quantified in the Render Report.

Shadow Rays: Once a primary or secondary virtual light ray has found a final resting place, it must determine whether or not to create a shadow behind the object. To do so, another ray is fired from that location, and this is a shadow ray.

Size: Values that express the space an object occupies; synonymous with Scale, though Scale implies a relative size.

Sky Dome: A secondary environmental ambient light, used to create a color cast in a scene where there is little visible global light.

Smoothing: Imported objects consist of polyhedral faces, which, when rendered, appear quite chunky. This is not, in most cases, desirable. Use the smoothing command to eliminate this chunkiness. You can set a threshold angle for smoothing as well.

Snap To: A special form of 3D Transformation changes the selected object's position based on the Snap To. command you select. These commands are located in the Edit palette, in the Alignment Options menu.

Solid Texture: A three-dimensional mathematical description of an object's textural characteristics. Often referred to as procedural texture.

Specular: The “highlight” of any object with a shiny surface; light that reflects non-uniformly in specific directions depending on the surface roughness. “Specular highlight” refers to the point where specular reflection is most pronounced.

Spotlight: A light which casts rays in a cone shaped spread; often used top create the classic “Hollywood spotlight” effect.

Square Spotlight: Similar to the Spotlight, but casts rays in a pyramid-shaped spread; think of it as a slide projector.

Symmetrical Lattice: A procedural Bryce Terrain object which has another Terrain mirrored at the base.


Terrain: An object used in Bryce as the basis for mountains, islands, plateaus, and other landscape objects.

Terrain Canvas: The area in the Terrain Editor onto which you paint and apply effects. Terrain data can be rendered at many levels of detail, from 16×16 to 4096×4096. This resolution does not refer to the wireframe that is used to represent the terrain, but instead to the grayscale data used to determine the internal level of detail used to generate the terrain. Terrains with lower resolutions will appear chunky, and will render very quickly; use these for terrains that are far in the background or where detail is not so important. Terrains with higher resolutions will show increasing levels of detail, and will take much longer to render; use these for foreground terrains, or in other cases where detail is important.

Terrain Resolution: Terrain geometry can be rendered at several levels of detail. At very low settings, you may see geometric “facets” in your terrains, even with “smooth surfaces” selected. In this case, increase your terrain resolution. Low resolution rendering is often best for items in the far background, where detail is not so important.

Texture Component: A part of an object's material. Texture Components, which can either be a 2D Picture or 3D Texture.

Texture Mapping: A process of applying detail to a surface without actually affecting the object's geometry. Values from the texture can determine or affect any surface characteristic, including color, reflectivity, transparency, or bumpiness.

Torus: A Bryce primitive that looks like a donut.

Transparency: The measure of an object's ability to transmit light through its surfaces.

Triangulation: The process of splitting up geometric faces into triangles for greater flexibility.


Unity: The state a Bryce object is in when it is first created, or just after the Unity button has been pressed; positioned within a “cube” of fixed size in an invisible 3D grid, with no rotation applied.


View: The sum of camera position in 3D space, plus 2D Projection pan and scale values.


Wireframe: A mesh representation of a 3D object.

Wireframe Resolution: Your onscreen wireframe objects can be displayed at various levels of detail; this display resolution can be set discreetly for static, selected, and moving wireframes. This resolution has no relevance to document, render, or output resolution.

World Space: A method for representing objects in 3D space. It uses a fixed, or absolute, set of arbitrarily determined Cartesian coordinates.


Yaw: Camera rotation around its Y axis; kind of turning to look right or left.