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gradient

A smooth blending of shades from light to dark or from one color to another. In 2D drawing programs and paint programs, gradients are used to create colorful backgrounds and special effects as well as to simulate lights and shadows. In 3D graphics programs, lighting can be rendered automatically by the software. See 3D graphics.




A Gradient
The software generates the gradient automatically as in this example created in Photoshop.






3D graphics

The creation, display and manipulation of objects in the computer in three dimensions. 3D CAD and 3D graphics programs allow objects to be created on an X-Y-Z scale (width, height, depth). As 3D entities, they can be rotated and viewed from all angles as well as be scaled larger or smaller. They also allow lighting to be applied automatically in the rendering stage. See graphics, graphics pipeline, Gouraud shading, Phong shading and 2D graphics. See also 3D visualization.




The 3D Stage
In 3D graphics, objects are created on a 3-dimensional stage where the current view is derived from the camera angle and light sources, similar to the real world. (Image courtesy of Intergraph Computer Systems.)






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